For centuries, Icelanders have depended on sheep to provide the wool for warm knitted garments that helped them to endure the long, cold winters. So knitting, which used to be first and foremost a necessity, is still a pastime for many and a highly appreciated craft.
Traditional handknitted Icelandic sweaters, known in Iceland as “lopapeysa”, are still as popular as ever. They are now a fashionable item to be worn at home or to social gatherings.
“Ever since the economic crisis a few years back, there has been a revival in the use of traditional Icelandic materials and craftsmanship and we’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity of the handknitted. Back in 1977, a few Icelandic women who had used their knitting to supplement family incomes, decided to join forces. The aim was to establish an organisation that could facilitate better and more extensive marketing of their products. Thus the Handknitting Association was born. Soon after it was established, the Association opened a store to sell members’woollen goods.
Offering a wide selection of traditional handknitted Icelandic sweaters, the range of products also includes special designs and a variety of woollen products from leading Icelandic manufacturers. Naturally, with hundreds of active knitters remaining, the main store located at Skólavörðustígur 19, in one of the oldest parts of town, is the main destination for Icelandic wool, patterns and supplies.
“Right from the very start, our motto has been: Buy directly from the people who make them. We maintain a high standard and each hand-made garment is quality checked before it reaches the shelves of our shops. Our customers can count on the fact that they’re buying quality products made with unique Icelandic materials.“