away . . . to Iceland


It has been an intensely busy few weeks around here, and I’m really rather looking forward to spending a few days away . . . in Iceland! I have just completed the second of two new designs for my forthcoming YOKES! book, and Mel and I are very excited to have the opportunity to photograph them in the country where their wool was raised.


You know, it is the first time I have designed or indeed knit with Lopi . . .seriously, what have I been doing all these years? So light, so airy, such rich and saturated colours, but so gloriously woolly and so very warm! I now have an intense desire to knit forever with the stuff, and the minute I bound off a YOKE on Friday evening, found myself casting on a random hat to match.


Mel and I have a great trip planned, and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when we return.

And some housekeeping: I won’t be available to answer queries this week, and any orders placed in the shop from today will be shipped on or after April 7th.

Bless bless!

54 thoughts on “away . . . to Iceland

  1. Iceland is amazing and so inspiring! I love Lopi yarn and even found some spinning fiber and a spindle at Þingborg (the wool collective). Have a lovely time.

  2. Oh have fun! I envy you the trip. And I’m very intrigued about your yoke design and book (-:
    HI to Bruce! I guess he has to stay home, eh?

  3. YOKES! I have been hoping a book would come out about them! I have been studying the different ways one can decrease a yoke, it’s just fascinating. When will the book come out?

  4. Iceland! I really want to go there too and not only for the wool. What have you been knitting though? Such a pretty coloured glimpse you’ve given us there.

  5. omygoodness x x x x

    my oldest daughter lives in Alaska and just sent me that very yarn from her local shoppe.
    Two of the most gorgeous colours!!!
    I put my nose into them—simply to be transported to Iceland.

    And now you’re going?
    BLESSED BLESSED, indeed x-x-x-x

  6. Have a wonderful adventure! I’ll look forward to your reports, and very much excited to hear more about the new book.

  7. We *loved* Iceland..visited just last May for 15 days. Sanholz bakery in Reykjyvik..the Skyr with toasted nuts and layer of chocolate. A must. Not sure you will have time, but the Snæfellsnes pennisula-take a ferry to Flatey Is for an overnight, in a residents home. Truly the best memory. Oh, how I long for Iceland.(not so much the winds).

    Yes, Bless Bless.


  8. I went to Iceland last year and came home with a whole suitcase of yarn from the Lopi factory. It was a must to stop there. I’m looking forward to your book because I already have all the yarn!

  9. I am so envious as I have wanted to go to Iceland for ages and ages! I love the colour palette you have chosen. It’s funny, I used to have a sweater knitted with lopi and my best friend refused to hug me as it was too fuzzy and shed too many hairs on his clothing! :) I think the shedding depends partly on the lopi that you choose though as I’ve seen some lovely garments knitted with it.

  10. I used Lopi yarn when I designed my first sweater using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s percentage system. It’s one of the warmest garments I own. Now I’m enamored of the unspun stuff- for use with anything at any gauge from lace to stand- by- itself. Have a spectacular trip and I’m very much looking forward to the results.

  11. Iceland is the best! My ancestors. You must read, Independent People by Haldor Laxness, Nobel prize winner if you haven’t already to get the feel of the life of the sheep farmer and the extreme poverty of the nation. There is a cod museum south of Keflavik or nearby, and there are big murals of the women who worked the industry. Probably some interesting textile comparisons, skirts and scarves although the country was so desperately poor until the early 20th century. I am so jealous!! Have a blast!

  12. I’ve just returned from Iceland and even though I knit a couple of Icelandic sweaters years ago I was surprised by the prominence of all things woolly. I was seriously tempted to bring back some lopi but was limited with luggage space. I am a felter and was inspired by the work I saw there. Enjoy. I look forward to seeing the results. It is a beautiful place.

  13. Many happy ramblings to you and Mel. Iceland is high on my list of places to return to. I’ll enjoy reading about your trip!

  14. Man oh man, I can’t keep up with all the fun. I’m still weeks back drooling over that striped sweater. Yes re Lopi. Gorgeous. Have fun and all best, robin.

  15. I have long loved creating garments made from Lopi. One of my favorite standbys I pull over my head on cold winter nights is a pullover I knit from Bulky Lopi (not regular Lopi which knits up like a bulky weight yarn – Bulky Lopi is even thicker) in a natural rich brown. I feel a bit like a bear but I will never get rid of that sweater!

  16. wow, my sister and her husband just spent 2 weeks in Iceland, all over the place and want to go back, despite winds that had her pushing open her car door with her FEET! They loved it but really, couldn’t you have waited til ‘summer’ ? haha

  17. Dear Kate, I already knit 5 yoked sweaters/coats with alafoslopi, inspired by the fantastic sweaters from islandic artist Rebekka Gudleifsdottir. She sells them but I just don’t have 600 Dollar to buy one. So I started knitting them myself. I always wondered if you know her. If not, you may have a look at her website She models all the sweaters she knits before sending them to the customers and does the most beautiful pictures out in the islandic landscape. I really love the wool, it is so warm. Have fun…

  18. I am insanely envious of your trip. I have only been once and yearn to go back. The thing I loved the most about our trip around Iceland was that you could buy Lett Lopi in every supermarket around the island. gorgeous rainbows of colour everywhere. I have been addicted to knitting with it ever since.

    Coincidentally, while we travelled around Iceland I was knitting up my very first Kate Davies design, the wonderful Paper Dolls.

    Have the most fantastic time. xxx

  19. I did my first colour work sweater for my husband in lopi – must have been in the early to mid eighties. The ‘horse blanket’ still survives! The colours look wonderful – enjoy your trip and I am looking forward to ‘yokes’.

  20. Enjoy your trip! I love Lopi, especially for fulled mittens, I think they are the best for cold Canadian winters. I’ve been itching to use some Icelandic lace weight to make an airy shawl. I’m just waiting to come across the perfect pattern (hint, hint).

  21. I experienced the same thing with Lopi this year. I’d avoided it (thought it looked too itchy, maybe?) but prompted by the cold winter this year, I made my first Lopapeysa, and then couldn’t stop. By the middle of this month I’d made three more, for three of my daughters. Love to knit with this yarn, and it’s amazing to wear. I’ve scarcely taken mine off, it seems, over this “Polar Vortex” winter. I will be looking forward with much anticipation to seeing your version, and to your YOKES book. My favourite kind of sweater!

  22. I know exactly what you mean, Lopi is incredible, the unspun is amazingly light and warm.
    Iceland is one of my favourite places ever, wild and calm at the same time, it fills ones soul completely. Have a great time!

  23. When I first started knitting Lopi was the first yarn I fell in love with, and it’s still one of my favourite yarns. I can imagine you feeling like you never want to knit with anything else again. I’m looking forward to see your designs with lopi, but most of all I hope you have a fabulous time in Iceland!

  24. Kate, you must try unspun Icelandic. It is the most lovely wool to knit with, in single or multiple strands. My very favorite. Very versatile. Have a glorious time!

  25. We spent a wonderful few days in Iceland in February. I heartily recommend visiting the Àlafoss store in Mossfellsbaer just outside Reykjavik. So many treats inside! I came home with a huge bag full of yarn to knit sweaters for the whole family. Have a great trip!

  26. I wish you an wonderful time there. And well, I have read just good comments about the yarn Lopi here and wondering why it seems that I am the only one who has problems with pilling with the yarn. It really nice warm, but I was very upset about the little balls appearing after the first wear. Perhaps am I using the false stitch or needles?? Anyway, I think is just a personal experience and I hope that nothing like this could trouble your pleasures by knitting with it. I am so happy about the new book. Thank you for sharing your visions and talent. Best regards

  27. Hi, Kate! Would love to meet you while you’re here, but I doubt either of us would have the time! If you have some time on your hands and can get out of town, try to get to the Hespa wool-dying works near Hvanneyri. You can fine info on

  28. Iceland is so amazing! Have a fantastic time. I was there 5 years ago for 3 days and it was not long enough. I would go back in a heartbeat! Have a Fantastic time!!!!

  29. Iceland is just awesome!
    The friendly people, the breathtaking (sometimes literally) nature, the food (oh, the food!), the Lopi in every supermarket…I bought a suitcase full. Ahem.
    Last summer I was there for a wedding. Best wedding dinner ever, foodwise and peoplewise. (Including my own!) The year before me and hubby ate at the Grill Market in Reykjavik. That was the best food I have ever eaten. Ever. When the 8th course arrived, it still tasted amazing. And the dessert – to die for. Wow.
    The nature is just insaneously beautiful. Everywhere. It’s like an alien planet. And the yarn, oh the yarn… I remember wishing I somehow could take every single colour back with me.
    Enjoy your stay there, I’m sure it will be amazing no matter where you go and what you do!

  30. Oh, color me jealous! Do have fun, take amazing photos, and soak it all in. I want to live in a place that has such great wool available in every grocery store. :)

    P.S. – Will miss seeing Bruce as part of Icelandic escapade. Give him extra scruffies when you get home.

  31. I love lettlopi too – though I haven’t knit with it yet. I found this wool at the German trade fair HH in Cologne last year and I had the most inspiring chat with Hulda – the istex marketing manager. She is from Iceland and with every word she was radiating her love for Iceland, the sheep and the overwhelming landscape. She was wearing a gorgeous handknit coat made from Lettlopi and Einband – so light and warm! You will probably meet Hulda? Have a great time and a safe trip!

  32. Dear Kate. I really hope you will enjoy your trip to Iceland. I have been following your blog for a long time and it started rather dramatically as I first read it when your boyfriend was posting that you couldn´t reply your emails because of being hospitalized because of your stroke. I really like your designs and have made many of them. In Iceland you should visit Handprjónasambandið in Skólavörðustígur (full of wool) and Álafoss but really try to get to visit Hespa (70km west of Reykjavik) and Þingborg (50km south of Reykjavik) where you will get the uttermost nicest Lopi. Check out Einband as well, the icelandic type of wool I like very much. Don´t forget to enjoy our nice restaurants, Fiskmarkaðurinn is fabulous for instance. If you need any help or advice, don´t hesitate to get in touch. Best wishes, Halla in Reykjavik

  33. Can’t wait to see more ! Icelandic wool is wonderfull and I’m very excited to see your new designs !
    Have you also tried plötulopi ? it is much more light than the léttlopi and a bit softer

  34. I must admit, I am getting a little impatient to see photos from your Iceland trip Kate! Secondly, I can not wait to see what Iceland’s beauty has inspired!

  35. I just saw your twitter pic of Seljalandsfoss..isn’t it a thrill to stand behind those falls? And right beside the road! Those steps on the far side are a bit slippery but the mist on your face and the moss on the rocks. We just don’t have that in Colorado! We spend the night in a tent next the falls right up the road. The winds were so loud, I couldn’t hear the falls or my husband snoring. Thanks for the pictures:)

  36. Oh hurray! I’m going to spend August in Iceland, and am having fun deciding which Lopi sweater pattern to knit for my trip. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)