The Best Kind of Souvenir

How many of you have ever had a friend go off on a trip somewhere and bring you back yarn as a souvenir? If you have, I think this must mean you have reached a particular stage of Knitter-dom, somewhere past the “casually enthusiastic” phase and moving towards the “obsessive level similar to that dude down the street who collects miniature frog sculptures” phase, if people going to foreign countries see yarn and think of you.

Not that there is anything wrong with this, mind you. This is what just scored me a few bits of Lopi, direct from Iceland itself.


My friend Kate who works as a travel agent just got back from a sponsored excursion to Iceland (her flights both narrowly missed airport closure dates – and it sounds like the country in general has a moderate struggle ahead of them as far as generating tourism post-ash cloud), and by all accounts had an awesome time. She also went looking for souvenirs and had a few moments of “Hm, they don’t sell snow globes here. But hey, there’s yarn! I know people who like yarn!” And so she gathered up this handful for me – 3 skeins each of Lopi and Lopi Lite, in beautiful colours.
I have never worked with Lopi before, but clearly I have to find something to make with this. Perhaps even something felted. Or with a few more skeins added in to increase the range. It will ponder in my stash for a bit.

The pattern booklet is wonderful. It is written entirely in Icelandic. So far I have been able to figure the notations for stitch counts, gauge, and needle size pretty easily (they are metric), although anything past that and I may go looking for an Icelandic-to-English dictionary.

What’s the best knitting souvenir someone’s ever gotten for you?


  1. Michelle · ·

    One of my friends went to Alaska, and while it’s not out of the country, she brought me back a beautiful skein of hand dyed sock yarn. It’s possibly the best knitting present I’ve ever gotten!

  2. a friend of mine brought me a plump ball of noro bonburi from tokyo – a complete surprise, since i didn’t know that she knew i’m a knitter. she knows absolutely nothing about yarn and knitting, but she selected a really beautiful yarn for me.

  3. Lyn (DownwardDogFbrs) · ·

    I also had a friend bring back 3 skeins of Lopi from Iceland last year! She’s a good friend to have, as she’s going to Australia/NZ this fall, and I’ve mentioned merino many times…

  4. I have a dozen or so skeins of light lopi in multiple colours in my stash that I’ve had for years, so if you think you might need a couple more colours for a project let me know, I’ll gladly gift them to you since I have no idea what I’m going to do with them! Moving, and more specifically packing has made the thought of parting with yarn much more bearable!

  5. I didn’t know other people got “souvenir yarn!” If my husband goes anywhere without me for more than a day, he brings back yarn. It’s wonderful! Now I have to decide whether I want him home or the yarn! (Him, of course – you can’t beat a husband that dares to go into a yarn store by himself.)

  6. kateohkatie · ·

    Oooh how cool is that?!

    I got a bunch of Lopi for free a couple years back; I think the original owner had intended for it to be a sweater but that would’ve been way too thick and scratchy for me! I’ve turned it into a couple garter-stitch striped table runners and it serves that purpose well πŸ™‚ Of course, this Lopi was also from the 80’s (I’d guess) so I bet your stuff is better and softer than mine πŸ˜‰

    No one’s ever brought me a yarn souvenir once, but when we went to Minnesota last summer I did shop my way up the north shore – I got to go to 4 different shops, and choose souvenirs from each one! πŸ™‚

  7. Melissa · ·

    When my brother and sister-in-law went to Iceland, that’s exactly what they brought back, 16 skeins (in 4 colors) of Lopi. The only drawback is that they intended it for both my mother and me, and we’re still fighting over who gets it: “You take the yarn! You have more time!” “No, you’re the better knitter, you take it!” I’m sure we’ll make up our minds the moment one of us comes up with an actual project.

    It’s by far and away better than the first yarn gift they gave me – a pound of acrylic whatever. They can be taught!

  8. Two of my friends got me a lovely skein of hand-dyed sock yarn at a Ren faire they went to. : ) I really wish I had gone to the fair, but I’m glad they thought of me at least.

  9. wenchfaery · ·

    I missed out getting Lopi while I was in Iceland, but I’ve used some here and it’s great! I cat-sit for friends of mine when they go on vacation, and they bring me back yarn as a thank-you gift, but they’re both knitters as well, so I’m not sure if that counts, lol. Although the best “souvenir” yarn I’ve received is when my husband went to Ottawa for the weekend – he tracked down a yarn store and brought me back a skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock. I *love* it, and it made some awesome-looking socks. πŸ˜€

  10. Your Lopi looks lovely! Good luck with the translations.

    My mom visited my cousin in Ireland (from the US), and she trekked all over Dublin looking for a yarn store that specifically carried “Irish” yarn. The yarn she brought me is beautiful and I made us matchy arm warmers. And 2 years ago my boss went on a New Zealand cruise (also from the US) and while the ship was docked, she ran into a yarn store and bought some pretty NZ wool for me. I have a nice boss. πŸ™‚

  11. I also bought some Lopi for my BKF on my visit to Iceland in March. I think, like you, she was thrilled but has no idea what she’ll do with it.
    I usually pick up souvenir yarn for myself whenever I travel. Since I’m allergic to wool I got some silk from Denmark instead of the Lopi for myself when we went to Iceland.

    I just got back from Phoenix and I brought some yarn goodies from that land of many a wool-free yarn as well. I love buying local yarns or patterns as my souvenir of the place. It’s too bad your friend didn’t ask — there are “English” Versions of many of those pattern books. I got a couple and now to find suitable replacement yarn so I can knit them up.
    Enjoy your yarn whatever you make from it!!

  12. A friend of mine went to Alaska last year and brought me back some merino/qiviut roving. I’m talking my sister into spinning it and I’ll knit my friend a scarf from it.

  13. πŸ˜€ Cool

    as a general note the best Icelandic-English dictionary I’ve ever found is on-line (generally Icelandic-English dictionaries are hard to find … and suck)

    I think this is the link for the one I used to use all the time…

  14. Julia in KW · ·

    I would love to receive yarn as a souvenir, however, that is yet to come (I’ll start dropping hints soon!), though I have bought a lot as my own souvenirs! I did have a friend bring me back stitch markers that she found and thought I would like (I did).
    My sister recently told me of a time she was in a yarn shop and told them that her sister (me) was the one who was “into” yarn and that she wouldn’t want to buy me the wrong type of yarn…is there such a thing??? Clearly I need to have a heart to heart with my sister!!! πŸ™‚

  15. Is this a hint that she wants you to knit her something with it? πŸ˜‰

  16. I love working with Lopi – I hope you will, too. I knit a cropped cardigan sweater/jacket which kept me warm all winter. Enjoy!

  17. Lopi makes excellent caps, especially when you knit it on US size 11 to size 13 needles and felt it.

  18. When I went to London and Edinburgh in January of 2009 (jeez, has it been that long already?) I bought yarn.

    And I made sure it was local yarn.

    I ended up in K1 Yarns – where Ysolda Teague worked. I had no idea who she was, I just joined in for a knit night and noticed she was really good – people had no trouble going to her for questions, and she was super-nice and good at explaining things.

    I bought a whole ton of yarn from that shop, and from the shop in London – Β£200 worth. I ended up leaving a towel and some sheets behind so it would all fit in my bag!

  19. tinebeest · ·

    Iceland and tourism: tell them to put on more ferry lines! I’d love to go to Iceland, but I won’t fly. The only ferry I have found so far is from Denmark. A bit of a trek, even if I will be working in Holland for the next three years… Maybe I do need to buy a little sailing boat after all; it will make visiting mr beest in Cornwall very erh… interesting. And I could sail all the way to Iceland myself. Anyone fancy a trip?

  20. What an awesome gift!!! I have two skeins of Lopi that I’m getting ready to knit up and make a felted knitting basket! Enjoy your new stash of goodies πŸ™‚

  21. mary corrigan · ·

    My husband and I traveled to Peru and while we were there admired and purchased many beautiful sweaters made with alpaca. we had a tour guide while in Cusco and he took me to this little yarn store (very different from the stores in the states-it was dark and cramped tiny aisles) I was able to purchase yarn for my mother but they only had 2 colors grey and cream.

  22. My cousin who is traveling around New Zealand just sent me some roving from a farm that they passed on the road. She had asked if I wanted any yarn from NZ and I said that I’d love yarn or roving. She said visiting the sheep farm was great and something they probably wouldn’t have done if they hadn’t been looking for something for me. I was completely thrilled when I saw the bag in the mail!

  23. My kids went to Ireland with their Dad and his wife (Irish) in high school and brought me back 6 skeins of pure Irish Aran wool. We knitters DO know how to train our family and friends! πŸ™‚ K

  24. The best present I’ve received so far has been a gift voucher to spend at a yarn store. Which was pretty good, I have to say. Still waiting for that wonderful day though when I get a gift of yarn from abroad!

  25. Lynda in Oregon · ·

    How far does the gift-giver have to travel in order for it to be a “souvenir”???

    Best yarny gift from a non-knitter: My DH once brought me a whole coffee can full of knitting needles he’d bought at a yard sale for 50 cents. There were straights, circs, bamboos, Addis, and vintage — like the 1950s-era “cellophane” straights from Red Heart with little red hearts at the top end, and the 60s-era drawn nylon circs — no jog between the points and cable section. Heaven! (Oh, and a wooden crochet hook that must be a size X — it’s as big around as a #17 knitting needle.)

    Worst yarn gift from a non-knitter, but given with love: My two darling granddaughters came marching into my house in January, so proud of themselves because a friend’s mom was getting rid of yarn and “My Grandma Will Take It!!!” And you KNOW what kind of yarn it was, of course. I just smiled and said “Thank you.”

  26. I got a ton of Lopi as a gift as well, from a friend who went to Iceland. I still haven’t made anything with it, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you do. I started some mittens, but it is quite a fuzzy yarn, so I think it really wants to be felted.

  27. I’m totally guilty of this, too! I recently went to Charlottesville, VA, for a wedding and came across a fabulous little yarn shop while I was killing time earlier in the day. Everybody laughed at me for going shopping and coming back with nothing but a skein of yarn. It made the most wonderful scarf, so I got the last laugh πŸ™‚

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