I am itching to Bang Out a Sweater. I haven’t dropped everything for a new project since at least last Tuesday. I’ve never made a lopi sweater. I’m just so curious. Where will all this lead?
The mission, to recap:
• Stopover pullover by Mary Jane Mucklestone.
• We all cast on Monday, February 1.
• Finish date: As soon as we all possibly can.
Let’s dive right into that crucial decision to be made after committing to a knitalong.
Already, you can find deliciously opinionated yarn talk going on in the comments.
Now, we would never talk anybody out of using whatever yarn you like. But we do encourage you at least to read about the glories of Icelandic sheep and their unique wool. It is a very, very specific kind of wool, unique to the icy island of Iceland. If I had been exposed to the sub-Arctic climate for 1,100 years—like these sheep—I too would probably have developed a distinctive combination of outer and inner fibers.
Outer fiber: long, glossy, tough and water-resistant. Inner: fine, soft and insulating.
Ístex is the Icelandic company that makes yarn from this fiber. They are Lopi.
There are five weights of pure Lopi yarn, all the way from Bulkylopi to laceweight Einband. The Bang Out a Sweater pattern calls for Léttlopi, a worsted-weight Icelandic wool. It’s the real deal. It’s great. And it’s one of the most inexpensive wools you can buy.
I was all set to go with Léttlopi until I read a comment today from Susan that changed everything.
She writes: “Another yarn option would be to trot over to the Schoolhouse Press website and indulge in some unspun icelandic (plötulopi) which produces an even airier and lighter project. Sort of like wearing a breath.”
I WANT TO WEAR A BREATH. THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA.
I keep misreading it as plutoloopy, which seems right for a yarn that is not actually a yarn but an edge-of-the-solar-system fiber. It doesn’t even come in a ball; it’s a “plate.”
At the Schoolhouse Press website, you can see Plötulopi as it’s shipped in 18-plate stacks. It’s roving, basically, a line of flurf not unlike what comes out of your dryer filter. Pencil roving, they say. Whatever.
I am in. If it’s not really yarn, it’s not really knitting. This is going to be a trippy, awesome knitalong.
Before picking plutoloopy colors, I wanted to test out this roving-as-yarn concept. At TNNA, we were given Noro’s new Rainbow Roll which is not sushi but indeed a pencil roving that seems sort of like plutoloopy.
It’s not made from Icelandic wool, I think, which has longer fibers apparently. But Rainbow Roll is definitely a not-yarn. It says so right there on the label:
The not-knitting experience is akin to the feeling you get when you first take the wheel of a U-Haul panel truck. You drive seven miles per hour for the first half hour. Feels dangerous. Soon, you are frankly tired of going so damn slow, so you speed up, a little. You hit the brakes so hard that you feel the entire load behind you shift in your direction. You start driving faster and faster, tailgating, halfway in the other lane, but it starts to feel good, and before long, you’re just flying along get-out-of-my-way-people-I-am-U-Haulin’.
That’s what it’s like to knit with this stuff. I broke the strand five times in the first ten minutes.
I can’t wait to get my plates of plutoloopy and start not-knitting this Stopover.
PS A request: if you know a local yarn shop that stocks Lopi yarns, please leave a link in the comments. Lopi can be tricky to find if you’re not in, say, Iceland.
PSS Share your Bang out a Sweater pix on social media with #BangOutASweater. Excited to have so many folks game for this.