A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again
Mag
Articles
Lopapeysa For Everyone!

Lopapeysa For Everyone!

Words by

Published July 11, 2012

It’s hard not to miss the Icelandic sweater or ‘lopapeysa’ on your visit to the country. This wool is not only so resistant because it comes from arguably the best sheep in the world, but also because it is not spun, which makes it light but solid. Made from Icelandic wool, or ‘lopi’, it is perfect for Icelandic weather conditions, keeping you both warm and dry.
While you might guess that the lopapeysa has been around for hundreds of years as it seems to be such a traditional and practical garment, the Icelandic sweater only dates back to around the middle of the last century.
Some believe that the design was inspired by the traditional costumes worn in Greenland, Bryndís Eiríksdóttir from the Handknitting Association of Iceland tells me, while others believe that the pattern is related to designs from southern Sweden. “You would think that because the sweaters only date back to the 1940s that somebody would remember how they developed, but nobody is sure,” Bryndís says.
The traditional shades in which the lopapeysa is knitted are brown, black, grey, white and beige as those are the natural colours of the sheep. But you can find wool in any colour imaginable. “We mostly sell sweaters to foreigners, as Icelanders still like to knit their sweaters themselves,” Bryndís explains. “Tourists have been buying a lot of wool too though, and we have been selling much more to them since the crash and the fall of the króna.”
Sweaters at the Handknitting Association of Iceland are handmade, and you can get them in the traditional or more colourful shades. They come in different styles, such as jackets with a zipper, hoodies and sleeveless vest ponchos. Prices range from 20,000 to 35,000 ISK.
If your budget is limited, however, you can go to the weekend flea market, Kolaportið. Apart from the second-hand sweaters you can find on offer in lots of the booths, Soffía Jónsdóttir sells new handmade sweaters for around 13,000 ISK. She and three other women knit the sweaters during the week and then come to Reykjavík to sell them over the weekend. One of the ladies still knits at the remarkable age of 102.
Soffía Jónsdóttir explains that there are a variety of patterns that come from different traditions. She heard that it was Iceland’s esteemed writer Halldór Laxness and his wife who travelled to Greenland and brought back the typical design featured on sweaters nowadays, but nobody is entirely sure.
Another cheaper option is the Red Cross second-hand shop on Laugavegur. They always have some Icelandic sweaters for sale, at reasonable prices starting at 4,000 ISK.
If you are in Iceland for an extended time, you can also get your sweater knitted according to your wishes. Jóhanna Gunnlaugsdóttir, who learnt to knit when she was five years old, is so passionate about knitting them that she only charges for material used. You can get in touch with her via Facebook (www.facebook.com/prjona.skjona).
In any case, whether you buy the sweater new, used or specially ordered, the lopapeysa is a piece of clothing that lasts for a very long time, as it is not only robust but also timeless.   



Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Workers Unite!

by and

Earlier this month, a news story broke in the Icelandic media that a young Icelandic girl working at Lebowski Bar was fired after she asked to be paid minimum wage—effectively a pay rise over what she was getting. The story sparked shock and outrage amongst many. To others, it was merely par for the course. Restaurants, bars and clubs in Iceland are notorious for the use of what is known as jafnaðarkaup (“median pay”)—a form of wage offsetting. By most collective bargaining agreements in the service industry, a worker is supposed to receive a base hourly wage, plus an extra

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

News In Brief Late August

by

Unless you’ve been literally living in a cave for the past two weeks, chances are that you’ve heard of the possible eruption at Bárðarbunga peak. In the end (at the time of writing), this insufferable geological formation didn’t have the decency to erupt even a little bit, let alone disrupt air travel across the European continent. Instead, it rumbled, made some tremors, fooled scientists into thinking a small eruption was underway when there totally wasn’t, annoyed farmers affected by the evacuation of the area, spawned endless alarmist articles in the international press, and failed to destroy the Kárahnjúkar Dam. Worst.

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Schrödinger’s Volcano

by

On August 16, the Western media spotlight fell on Iceland once again. As is usually the case when the outside world likes to acknowledge our existence, an eruption was involved. Or was there? That day it became known that there had been a slow and steady build-up of unusually strong seismic activity at Bárðarbunga, Vatnajökull Glacier’s highest peak. All signs indicated that a subglacial volcano was about to erupt. International headlines ranged from modest “Bardarbunga eruption sparks red travel alert,” to the slightly more worrying “Eruption May Cause Monumental Flood,” to the cataclysmic “Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain’s coldest winter

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Let The Gaymes Begin!

by

A group of handsome young men gather in the historic city of Rome this week, in the hopes of winning the title of Mr Gay World, an annual beauty pageant for gay rights. The winner of the competition gets to travel all over the world as a global representative for the international gay community. Our very own Iceland has a hopeful delegate in this year’s running, the super charismatic Mr Troy Michael. “I love the gay scene in Iceland. It’s just so great and almost the whole country was at Gay Pride and everything. It’s so awesome,” says Troy. With Iceland’s gay-friendly laws

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Dyngjujökull Glacier Photo Gallery

by

On August 21, photographer Axel Sigurðarson flew over Dyngjökull glacier in a two-seater airplane through Mýflug Air. He didn’t see any volcanic eruption, but snapped some gorgeous shots for us—check them out below. See more Eruption Iceland stories.

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

“They Are A Gruesome Lot”

by

It is thought that the first cats touched Icelandic soil in the tenth century, accompanied by human settlers. Those first Icelandic cats did not leave much of a mark on history. Though cats appear in Nordic mythology and Icelandic folklore, our furry friends are seldom mentioned in Icelandic historical chronicles, sagas or other ancient literature. A notable exception to this is ‘Vatnsdæla saga’ (‘The Saga Of The People Of Vatnsdalur’), a thirteenth century family chronicle about Ingimundur the Old, the first settler in Vatnsdalur valley in northern Iceland, and his offspring. In one chapter, Ingimundur’s two sons, Þorsteinn and Jökull,

Show Me More!