Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Sourcing Icelandic Yarn

When Mason Dixon Knitting launched their knit along of the Stopover sweater, called Bang Out a Sweater, using Lettlopi Icelandic wool, I was captivated, along with the 600+ readers that joined the KAL.

I shopped the web for Lettlopi and discovered it was 5.50 a skein plus postage and a sweater in my size would need 12+/- skeins. I thought maybe I didn't need to make this sweater right now.

But I was intrigued just the same and kept looking. I found the Nordic Store offers Lettlopi for 2.45 USD plus shipping. Some MDK readers were ordering from Iceland and even with shipping included it was cheaper than ordering it stateside. Huh.

It occurred  to me I might want to actually knit with this yarn to see if I liked its hand and drape before I turned myself inside out trying to get some. I asked a friend at the knitting group, who has a 30+ year old stash if she had any, and she said, "Sure! I have enough for a sweater. You want it?" Jah! I thought she might have a skein I could experiment with, but WoW!

She said she's had it in her closet for decades and if she hasn't made it yet, it wasn't likely she was going to. The bag had enough skeins in natural gray for the body. Woot!

Time went on. It turned out that this summer my husband's brother and sister-in-law were going to vacation in Iceland. (?!)

Before they left I asked if she'd be willing to buy some souvenir yarn for me. She said: "I'm happy to. Please send me a quest list. You know I'm not a knitter, so you'll need to tell me exactly what you want."

I said,
"One skein each, Istex Lettlopi
9422 Sage Green Heather
9421 Celery Green Heather
1414 Violet Heather

US prices are around 6.00 a skein. I'll be interested to learn what it costs in the county where it's made. Thank you so much! I've often admired these sweaters, but didn't think I'd ever make one."

Here's her email when they got back: "Leslie - Mission accomplished! I have the three skeins of yarn! I'm sending you a picture of the WALL of yarn in a grocery store.

I'm glad you told me exactly what to get, because there were so many brands and types available. It definitely costs more in the tourist shops, such as in Reykajick, the capital. But on the northern part of the island I was in a small fishing village with only one grocery store for MILES around. I paid the USD equivalent of 2.33 each. Everywhere we went it was being offered for sale. In the tourist shops there are women knitting 100 miles an hour and selling their wares. Fun!"

I visited the Ravelry page of over 685 Bang Out a Sweater projects that the KAL produced and this is the one I hope to make. And it's my goal to not let the yarn sit in the closet!

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