Thursday, June 28, 2012

Icelandic Sweaters--Pretty and/but Itchy

Well, it wouldn't be an Iceland post without talking about wool, so let's move on to apparel and more specifically, sweaters!

Traditional Icelandic sweaters are called lopapeysa. Don't ask me how to pronounce it. In my 8 days in Iceland, I didn't pick up a single word (not counting geyser, which I already knew). My ears and mouth just can't seem to bend enough to make/understand the words.

Anyway, sweaters. Sheep are pretty much the only land animal you are going to see in Iceland, and their wool is used to create heavy sweaters with concentric geometric designs around the yoke (neck/shoulder part).

I found Icelandic sweaters to be scratchier and more like what I remember wool sweaters being growing up than the current wool sweaters you see for sale in the States. Maybe it's because they use the guard hairs and the softer hairs, as I learned from Wikipedia, or maybe it's because of the non-spinning thing that they do to make the yarn.

So, wool is hard for me on a good day, and I can really only handle merino blends or cashmere (oh, precious me...), so I found the sweaters uncomfortable. I wore a tank top and a long sleeved shirt and it still itched through the layers. The only thing that worked was when I put my windbreaker UNDER the sweater. But that was a little weird.

E has a tougher skin than I do and loves wearing his. I ended up getting one too, because it was so cute (horses! zipper! hood!), and it kept me warm (and crazy itchy).