Yokes by Kate Davies

By Kate Davies

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Designer Védis Jonsdóttir was hired to create new patterns, and she soon began to redefine the lopapeysa with newer, more contemporary motifs. If you look at the Ístex pattern books, I think you can clearly see this development, and I personally think a big breakthrough came with Pattern Book 25. Some designs in this book became instant classics, such as Aftur, which remains extremely popular. Another sweater from Védis, Héla, was a free pattern in deep black (not sheep black or heather black), very short and neatly fitting with slight waist shaping and a zipper.

Not only do such ideas limit the fun and creative freedom that everyone should feel in relation to their wardrobe but, frankly, they are quite frequently rubbish. To my mind, whatever their shape and proportions, all women look beautiful wearing a garment in which they feel comfortable and that really is the only general rule that I will suggest. You are the best person to decide what kind of garment that is and if it happens to be a yoke, there are many different styles to choose from here. You may feel better in a high ‘necklace’ style design, such as Bluebell, or prefer the yoke pattern to be near-continuous from neck to underarm, like Buchanan; you may prefer the look of a lower, scooped neckline, shaped with short rows, (Fintry), or feel that the shape of your shoulders suits the slashed, boat-necked style of a sweater like Keith Moon.

The thicker wool allows for the sweater to be knitted completely by hand, but to still remain a viable product that might turn a profit. The wool, too, is also key – thick, yes, but light thanks to the unique qualities of the Icelandic sheep and the unspun lopi they produce. That said, a garment made in other yarns can certainly also be regarded as a lopapeysa – look at recent designs from Brooklyn Tweed, or the Hraun design from Farmer’s Market (an Icelandic garment manufacturer) which is made in a mix of cotton and merino.

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