What is Lopi?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Lopi is a type of yarn derived from sheep in Iceland. These sheep are renowned for their long and very coarse wool, which protects them from the extreme cold climate of Iceland. This yarn is often used to make sweaters, scarves, hats, and other cold weather gear. It is typically knitted on round or traditional knitting needles but could also be placed in a knitting machine or crocheted.

Icelandic sheep are a distinct purebred variety, which means they have not been mixed with other breeds of sheep. This is important because these animals have developed an extremely thick coat over the centuries. As such, their wool is highly sought after by yarn makers all over the world.

Like other breeds, Icelandic sheep usually have white wool, but it may occasionally be black. Some animals may have brown or gray wool as well. White lopi can be dyed a number of different shades, so virtually any color combination is possible.

Lopi may originate from coarse or fine wool. Coarse fibers tend to be longer than finer ones, and are somewhat water resistant as well. Fine wool is typically very soft to the touch, while coarse wool may have a rough feel to it.


People who would like to knit with lopi yarn may want to use a pattern specially designed for this fiber. This is because this yarn allows for fewer stitches per inch (2.54 cm) than other types of yarn, so other patterns may produce odd-sized garments. It is also bulkier than regular yarn, which might mean a crafter needs to use circular needles to create an item. Long knitting needles can also be used, and a size 10 (6mm) is the most common one recommended.

Lopi yarn is normally sold in craft or fabric stores. It usually comes in skeins that weigh around 3.5 ounces (100 g) each. A lighter version of this yarn that is roughly half the weight and thickness is also available. Many people prefer to begin with the light variety because it can be easier to handle than the traditional type.

Garments made from lopi are generally very warm and durable. They do not usually stretch or fade easily, provided they are hand-washed and laid out flat to dry. Due to its warmth and durability, people who live in very cold climates may want to consider making items from this yarn for all members of their family.


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