by Cameron Hildreth

Join the's time for a new KAL!

It's time for the first KAL of the year! We Stix Chix have finally ...
Join the's time for a new KAL!

It's time for the first KAL of the year! We Stix Chix have finally admitted to ourselves that the primary reason we host KALs is because we just want a good excuse to make whatever the subject of the KAL is for ourselves. Both Cameron and I have been wanting to make a traditional Icelandic yoke sweater for a while now, so please join us in a little post-holiday selfish knitting.

 For those who aren't familiar, a KAL is a knit-along. Much like the sheep we all revere, humans are basically flock animals.  Yarn-loving humans (Mammalia Homininae Amans Lanae) seem to be a special breed. We love to congregate with others of our flock and work on similar projects, share progress and compare notes.

needleclicksETC (photo credit)

Starting January 27th, we will be hosting a KAL which will be 3 sessions of knitting camaraderie, moral support, and cheerleading while we all work on a classic Icelandic yoke sweater. If you'd like to participate, please come in by January 13th to select your favorite (preferably) bottom-up Icelandic yoke sweater pattern and choose your perfect shades of Alafoss, Lett, or Plotulopi. If we don't have exactly the shades you'd like, we will be placing an order with Lopi to arrive in time for the KAL to begin.

Here are a few things to know about Lopi yarns. They are spun from the wool of Icelandic sheep. These hardy sheep are among the oldest and purest breeds of sheep in the world, in the family of Northern-European Short-Tailed sheep. They were brought to Iceland about 1100 years ago by some of the earliest settlers. The sturdy, long-fleeced sheep are rugged and well-suited to cold winters with sparse grazing prospects. Icelandic sheep ranchers utilize the breed for meat, fiber, and milk products.

icelandic sheep

We yarn people, of course, are mostly interested in the fiber part. The fleece of Icelandics is made of two parts: the topcoat, or tog, is long and coarse, water-resistant and very strong-wearing. The undercoat, or thel, is much softer and finer. The two are spun together to make the traditional Icelandic Lopi yarn; the combination of their qualities makes yarn which is very warm yet lightweight and airy, providing the same qualities of water resistance and insulation to humans as it does for the sheep.

All of these qualities make for a garment perfect for our frigid Montana winters. Icelandic wool takes dye very well too, which make for lovely vibrant colors as well as the more natural sheepy shades. 


 Cameron is very excited to begin a Riddari Pullover. 

She has always loved the intricate yoke design of this sweater, but is thinking she might like to make it a bit more modern in style. To this end, she will make it a little on the cropped side and use a contemporary color palette. The shades she is currently dating (she hasn't decided to marry them yet) are a sunny yellow for the main body with shifting shades of gray for the yoke. What do you think?

balls of icelandic wool in shades of sunny yellow and gray on a dark surface

I have chosen the Öræfi sweater. I adore the patterned cowl neck! I like everything about it, really. I may also be secretly hoping I will resemble a powerful young Viking woman with icy blue eyes when I wear it. 

Young blonde woman wearing a black and white sweater with a cowl neck.

Because of the cozy cowl neck feature, I have chosen to use Malabrigo Merino Worsted for my sweater. I know, I should not stray from the Icelandic flock but Lopi can be, well, a little itchy. I do adore Lopi in all its' weights, but I just don't think I can stand that much of it up on my neck.  Please don't judge me, and we won't judge you either if you'd like to use a different yarn for your sweater. We have loads of this yarn as well as Malabrigo Chunky on the way in for anyone who does not wish to use the Lopi. 

two skeins of yarn, one white and one purple, standing on end against a wooden box on a dark surface

I'm using a warm dark purple with natural cream for the accents. I can't wait to cast on!

Making a sweater like this is a such a creative process. Selecting the pattern and colors you love is fun! Spending time with each stitch is meditative and comforting, and while you're making it you know you are creating an heirloom garment that will last for many years. The KAL is a great way to spend time with others who love the process as much as you do. Please join us!

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1 comment

Day 5 of fighting the Flu. Think I would like to do an Icelandic but too wimpy to decide today!

Caryle Merrill

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