Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pretty Much My Entire Personality Encapsulated in Two Christmas Presents from My Parents

Item One.

As Worn with Kilt

Steve Madden "Ajax" Boots.

Item Two.

Welcome to the Family

Hat form from Wilshire Wig. I've named her "Hedda."

Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Little Krampus

It's Christmas Eve in Chicago. Though a bit more gift wrapping must be seen to, the approach to a quiet holiday is otherwise unobstructed.

I know not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, but it's certainly part of my heritage. In the spirit of the season, I'd like to offer a warm cup of holiday knitting to one and all–regardless of whether or not you usually partake.

There are veritable snowdrifts of patterns for knitting up Santa Claus, snowmen, candy canes, reindeer (plain- and red-nosed), elves, nativity scenes, mice (stirring), bears (teddy), toy soldiers (because nothing says Peace on Earth like a trained killer with a rifle) and most the rest of the cast of sugarplums.

But I was shocked–shocked–when I consulted the Ravelry pattern database and found not a single representation of the character I (and many millions of others) consider essential to a well-balanced festive season: Krampus.

Do you know Krampus? If not, a few words of introduction.

He is, mainly in Alpine countries, the friend and companion of dear Saint Nicholas. His useful function is to deal with the children whose behavior in the year past has been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

This is, I believe, a most logical and reasonable division of labor. In America, we not only expect Santa Claus to reward the good children by scattering presents around; we also require–in the course of the same evening–that he stick lumps of coal into the stockings of the naughty. Have you ever held a lump of coal? I have. It's heavy, it's dusty, and it leaves black smudges all over everything.

Is it fair, I ask you, to make a man wearing white fur cuffs distribute tons of coal and tons of gifts from a miniature sleigh with less horsepower than a riding lawn mower? I think not.

Countries which employ Krampus do things far better.

Saint Nicholas visits only the nice children, hands around the goodies, and calls it a night. Krampus, meanwhile, drops in on the bad children–the ones who didn't finish their vegetables, and stuck out their tongues at Grandma, and boosted the ratings for Glee while Community was put on hiatus. He smacks them soundly with a bundle of birch twigs; licks them with his long, slimy tongue; carries them away screaming in the basket on his back. When he's good and ready, he tears them limb from limb and then eats them.

Note that coal doesn't even enter the picture. Krampus is very eco-friendly and discourages the consumption of fossil fuels.

That such a darling fellow should be absent from the knitting round-up appalls me. To redress the imbalance, I present the Little Knitted Krampus.

He Sees You When You're Sleeping

He is made from several colors of Skacel's excellent Fortissima Socka sock yarn, and the free pattern will appear in a few days.

He Knows When You're Awake

My gift, gentle reader, to you–provided you've been a good child.

He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good

Otherwise, expect the Real Thing to tap on your door and spread you on toast like a chicken liver.

Merry Christmas from me, Dolores, Harry, and whole of the Sock Yarn Colony. We love you very much.

P.S. If you'd like to see more of Krampus, including absolutely adorable Krampuskarten from the 19th and 20th centuries that I used as visual references, visit this site. An animated treatment sure to gladden the hearts of your children (show it to them just before bedtime) is available on Youtube.

P.P.S. Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochiland, I wouldn't have had the chutzpah to tackle my first knitted toy design without your inspiration, encouragement, and the excellent treatment of the technical aspects in your books. Thank you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Go Forth and Twirl

The last time you saw it, it was just a hood.

Pink Thing Preview

To knit the rest has taken almost exactly a year and a heap of Cascade 220 Sport–a yarn I love to pieces. Happily, the fit is generous; so the recipient should (in spite of considerable growth) get a goodly amount of use from it.

I might have finished faster; but the cape was knit, ripped back to the hood, and re-knit four times. The file for this piece has eleven swatches, and forty pages of instructions–most of them crossed out. The problem with me as a designer is that I'm not very good at it.

Children's clothing is a tough nut for me to crack, mostly because I fear my taste is not in step with the modern child–not to mention the modern parent. I wouldn't put my son in a Fauntleroy suit or my daughter in petticoats. On the other hand, I look to nineteenth-century children's clothing and sigh for the neat tailoring and the elegant details. Most of the kids in these parts run about in loud, shapeless rags and usually look as though they were dressed in the dark by a drunken nanny. (In these parts, they probably were.)

Maybe shapeless rags is what twenty-first century childhood requires. If so, I know my work in this genre will have severely limited appeal. So be it.

Anyhow, here are the first photos of the finished hood and cape. With a grateful nod to reader Rams S., who suggest a variation of the name, I will call the piece Manteau Rose.

Manteau Rose Front

Manteau Rose Hood

Manteau Rose Back

I hope you'll like it, Abigail. It should twirl very, very well indeed. Uncle Franklin road tested it.

Note: After a rather unfortunate string of unsuitably, um, "whimsical" technical editors, I've finally found one who promises to deliver quality work in a timely fashion–so I hope that this and several other patterns (including the Anna Shawl) will be available for online download sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Collect 'Em All

Having already knit the Tiny Rabbit and the Tiny Mermaid–wait, sorry. I don't think I posted the mermaid here, did I? Here she is.

Chick of the Sea

Let's try that again.

Having already knit the Tiny Rabbit and the Tiny Mermaid from Anna Hrachovec's Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi, the next choice of project was patently obvious: the Tiny Chicken.

Poultry in Repose

Now, as you will have doubtless realized, I have the complete trio from the immortal anecdote about the rabbit, the mermaid and the chicken who walk into Claridge's Hotel. But my parents are due to arrive any moment, and I must dash, so I'd love it if one of you could tell the rest in the comments. Thanks awfully!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Am I the Walrus?

When I was in second grade, my science class did an electricity experiment that went haywire while I was touching the metal end of the apparatus. I looked a smidge odd until my eyebrows grew back; yet on the whole I thought the experience of being briefly connected to a live current was pretty cool.

This may help to explain why I like New York City so much.

I saw it for the first time in the late 1980s, courtesy of a gracious college roommate who invited me to stay with his family in Manhattan during Spring Break. My parents, upon hearing our travel plans, were full of grim foreboding. The words filthy, noisy, crowded, and (above all) dangerous were thrown about. They didn't mean to be wet blankets, truly they didn't; but my great-grandmother got mugged on the street in Brooklyn in 1966 and after that whole place went straight to Hell.

On the afternoon of the first day, I dutifully called home to reassure my mother that I hadn't been kidnapped and sold into white slavery like Mary Tyler Moore in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

"Well?" said Mom, "How is it?"

"I found it!"
I sighed. "I finally found the place where everybody walks at the same pace I do!"

That was not the right answer.

Americans who are not New Yorkers are not supposed to like New York. They're allowed to like certain things about it, maybe. A good musical, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or spotting Yoko Ono shopping at Barney's Uptown. But then they're expected to go home to a split-level house with a two-car garage and complain about the rushing, the crowds, the noise, the dirty streets, the overwhelming muchness of it all. Real Americans (as we were repeatedly reminded during the last election) are supposed to live in the suburbs and like it. Real Americans are supposed to prefer placid, empty, quiet, tidy.

But who would want a placid, empty, quiet, tidy New York? Not me. That wouldn't be New York, that would be Pyongyang. You may have it.

I go to New York to plug in. I love the way it wakes me up, even when it's unpleasant. Take, for insance, the smell of the subway underpass at 42nd Street. I'm not saying I savor that aroma, but you must admit it cannot be taken casually.

This month I went to the city to play with the good people at Lion Brand Yarn Studio on West 15th Street in the Union Square/Flatiron neighborhood. I gave a talk (and people came! and they laughed!) and I taught three classes (and people came! and we all laughed!).

Second Floor Window, Lion Brand Yarn Studio

The Studio serves as a public face for the company and is completely adorable. I don't care if you've never touched a skein of yarn in your life–you cannot ignore a display window that looks like this.

Ice Fishing Window

A closer view of the walrus. They were considering naming him "Franklin." I hope they did.


And the Inuit fisherman.

Ice Fishing

These folks go way beyond the customary yarn store mode of a-couple-baskets-of-yarn-plus-a-limp-sweater. The Studio interior is punctuated by spolia saved from previous installations, so you never know what you're going to encounter when you turn a corner.

I'm afraid I had only a pocket camera of limited capacity, but here are a few snaps of what I found.

In the larger upstairs classroom, spare materials for students who may have forgot something.

Large Needles

The needles are size US 300. Not sure about the metric conversion. Wouldn't want to take them through airport security.

Large Needles

This guy sits in the window of the smaller classroom, looking out to West 15th.

Knitting Lion

Hug it? Knit it? Hug it? Knit it?

Lion Face

On the way into the company owner's office, there's a crocheted Empire State Building complete with a couple of sightseeing tourists.


Inside the office, there's a vintage-style postcard (eight feet wide) celebrating the city's icons.


What you can see a little more clearly from this angle (click to embiggen)


is that the letters are three-dimensional and contain knitted and crocheted versions of (partial list!) Patience and Fortitude, the NYC Public Library lions; the giant Cup o' Noodles from Times Square; the Statue of Liberty; a Yankees cap; the Flatiron, Empire State, and Chrysler Buildings; the World Trade Center in memoriam; the Guggenheim Museum; and a hot dog cart that's half the size of the nearby hot dog. Underneath is the Brooklyn Bridge and a street crowded with a police car, a fire truck, a couple of taxi cabs and a tour bus.

At first I thought the little dude on the Brooklyn Bridge was a suicidal jumper, but it turned out to be the Phantom of the Opera consulting a city map. (Yes, he is so a New Yorker. He's been running in Manhattan since 1988.)

In the same room, there's also a chair/trellis hybrid crawling with butterflies and summer flowers.

Spring Chair

I was trying to come up with a "country seat" joke here, but it wouldn't gel.

Spring Chair

This is a box of something. I don't know what's in it. I was afraid to lift the lid.

Monster Box

Down in the basement, among the yarn storage bins, a friendly bunny keeps the staff company while they sort stock.

Basement Bunny

A wall map, about five feet across reminds one that there aren't Red States or Blue States, only states that like to play with yarn.

Map of the US

Kind of a nice thing to remember as the political candidates try to convince us otherwise.

While I was there, they caught me on cameras both still and moving:

I'm so happy I remembered to get my hair did. Also, I have a boycrush on Patty Lyons, the maven/doyenne/manager/queen of the LB Studio. She arranged the whole splendid shindig with such mastery that when she told me to stop fussing and relax, I actually did.

It was fun. I woke up. I hated to leave. I can't wait to go back. Hint, hint.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

More Lazy Haiku

Yet another airport post. Hi! I'm en route to New York City for some fun at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Back home Monday, at which point I promise new pictures of the lopapeysa, which has grown a sleeve.

Over on Twitter (yeah–I finally knuckled under and I'm @FranklinHabit), I posted a lazy haiku:

Hey! I am a cow.
Moo moo moo moo moo moo moo,
Moo moo moo moo moo.

There were requests for more, which makes me fear for the future of our world. But I live to serve, so here you go.

I call this one "Monotony of an Autumn Afternoon."

Knit knit knit purl knit
Knit knit purl knit knit knit purl
Knit knit knit purl sigh.

This one is called "Sudden Awareness."

Knit knit knit knit wait
What? Damn! Rip rip rip rip rip
Rip rip rip rip rip.

And finally, "Pastoral."

Baa baa baa baa. Hey!
Clip clip clip clip clip clip clip
Clip clip clip. Nude sheep.

I could do this for hours, but we're supposed to board soon. See you in Manhattan.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Steek Geek

The lopapeysa chugged one station closer to Finishville yesterday, after I cut the steek down the front. Snippity-snip. Instant cardigan.

Lopapeysa Steek

This isn't my first steek, but it's the first time I've secured the edges using a sewing machine instead of rows of crochet. I chose the sewing option because it was for me the less familiar and the more unnerving. Like that nice Mae West, when choosing between two evils I always pick the one I haven't tried yet.

I've only recently started to make friends with my sewing machine. There are still awkward moments, when I'm not sure of myself and she just sits there waiting for me to make a move. We have navigated successfully through a couple of hems, a square pillow and the lower portion of a doll; but never had I run a length of hand-knitting between the presser foot and the feed dogs.

A test drive was in order. I whipped out a swatch* that transitioned (like the lopapeysa) from one color to two. This took ten minutes, and probably saved me an hour's trouble in the long run.

Steek Swatch

I used the swatch to determine the top tension setting, the stitch length, and the amount of effort I'd need (not much, it turned out) to keep the fabric sliding along the machine bed.

This is not to say there were no bumps. Some knitters like to preserve the illusion of infallibility, but I blew that opportunity years ago. I might as well 'fess up.

The first pass–done with the wrong side of the fabric up, which I'd been told would help me stay on track–was a disaster. It wiggled like an EKG for the first eleven inches, then ran off the steek and and landed in the yoke pattern.

Notice, however, that I am still here, alive, typing this. Notice that the sweater was not wrecked. Notice that the police blotter in the Chicago Sun-Times did not report a man hurling a sewing machine out the living room window and into Lake Michigan.

I learned what happens when (horrors!) your sewn steek goes astray. What happens is you get your seam ripper and you un-pick the stitches. I decided to undo the entire twenty-inch seam. It took thirty minutes. I watched half an episode of Monarch of the Glen while I was doing it. There are worse ways to pass time.

The second and third passes (with the right side up) were uneventful, and whatever jitters attended my maiden voyage with this technique will bother me no more.

Before starting the sleeves, I decided to run a row of single crochet up each selvedge.

Steek Edging

I'm so happy I did. The edges have more body, look spiffy, and will provide a more stable base for the zipper.

Sleeves are next. I know I can do sleeves.

*I felt compelled to post a photograph of the swatch to prove that I had done it. I think not swatching and saying you did is one of the dirty little secrets of knitting. It's like flossing your teeth. Maybe you do, maybe you don't; but either way you're going to give the dentist the same answer–which is never "Oh, frankly, I just couldn't be bothered."

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Transformation of the Bunny Rabbit

Did you ever have one of those days when you woke up and knew with fearful certainty that absolutely nothing else would be accomplished until you had knit yourself an extremely tiny specimen of Oryctolagus cuniculus?

Fortunately, in preparing Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi, Anna Hrachovec (the benevolent queen of mochimochiland.com) had anticipated this eventuality and provided a pattern. It took about thirty minutes scratch to my itch.

Stage One

Cute, right? Yes. But...pedestrian. Unremarkable.

The eyes had to go. Too predictable. Bigger. Brighter. Caffeinated.

Stage Two


Then, a haircut that didn't look like a haircut. Something tousled and shaggy, probably unwashed, maybe styled with an ironic nod to the 1970s and The Doobie Brothers but decidedly modern in color.

Stage Three

And a piercing, of course.

Stage 3-B

I was going to complete the makeover by knitting the bunny an extremely small Death Cab for Cutie t-shirt, but he had decided this post was So Over.

Stage Four

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Casting On

Possibly because she's had enough of waiting for her Pink Cape,* and has decided to just do it herself, Abigail (who is pushing five, can you believe it?) asked my sister to show her the ropes. Or yarns, as it were.

Row One

In her message to me, Susan noted that I should not give the impression that my niece will now be augmenting the family income as a stocking knitter, like those kiddies of old you hear about who were turning heels at age three. She enjoyed herself, and began to get the gist of it all. But she was mightily distracted the entire time by the basket of yarn on the table. She kept wanting to stop knitting so she could pet and squeeze it.

Sounds like a Knitter to me.

*I'm at the bottom, about eight rounds from the end. Stop shovin'.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Little Man, Big Sweater

The lopapeysa isn't the only thing I've been knitting, but it's the one thing I can show you.


Having now shown it, I will confess that almost everything you see below the yoke has been ripped back and is being re-knit.

One of the great advantages of working from the top down is that the sweater can be tried on while still in progress, without any danger of this happening. For interim fittings to be of genuine benefit, however, the knitter must be able to make honest assessments of his work and correct as needed. I, perhaps due to an excess of enthusiasm, was unable to face facts until I'd nearly completed the ribbing at the hem. Denial, as I was saying to Kevin Spacey and Ryan Seacrest the other day, is a powerful thing.

The problem? The front was fine, but the back had enough extra room to park a couple of minivans, one of them pulling a trailer. It looked like that flap of skin mother dogs use to carry puppies around. This, in spite of my attempts to head off exactly such an outcome by dividing the work at the underarms with considerably more stitches in front than in back.

Man knits; God laughs.

It's startling for a guy to become a knitter, take stock of his measurements and realize that he requires what his dressmaker grandmother taught him is called a Full Bust Adjustment. Even if it does indicate that all those bloody bench presses haven't been for naught.

In a ready-t0-wear sweater, I might have let it pass. I'm accustomed to store-bought clothes not fitting properly. Commercial menswear lines consider stocky fellows under five feet, seven inches to be flights of fantasy, like the Loch Ness Monster or Mitt Romney's moral compass.

But there's no such excuse when I'm making it with my own hands. Rip I must, and rip I did; and the results will be worth it in the end.

I can't sign off before drawing your attention to the length of insipid pink yarn that's holding the live armhole stitches–you can see the ends hanging down. It came from a gigantic ball of shoddy acrylic I picked up years ago, when I still believed that yarn was yarn was yarn. I made three baby gifts from it, taught myself lace by using it for swatches, and have sliced off what must be miles of it in bits and pieces to use for class demonstrations, provisional cast-ons, stitch holders, and stitch markers.

The ball is still exactly the same size it was when I bought it. When Bill Clinton was in the White House.

This never happens with cashmere.

New York Calling

Online registration is open for my early December classes at Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City. This will be a first visit for me, and they'll also be hosting a talk/book signing the same weekend. The place is a kick–come and join us.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Poetry Corner

Happy Halloween, kids.

I've lost the battle, yet again, about how our merry little band is celebrating.

My plan was to dress in my favorite costume (a Cloak of Indifference), sit on the couch and stream old episodes of Acrylic Intervention with Clara Parkes on Netflix. (The one where she gets knifed at the Methodist church bazaar while counseling the lady who can't stop knitting toilet roll covers is scary enough for two Halloweens.)

In the event, I was outvoted 231 to 1 (stupid traitor sock yarn colony) in favor of Dolores's plan that we make an appearance at the Bottom Dollar Lounge's "Haunted and Humpy" party in a group costume.

It could be worse. The first idea on the whiteboard was that we all dress as the Human Centipede, with Dolores in front. After much spirited debate, she's going as Slutty Barbara Walker and the rest of us are going to be swatches and top-down sweaters.

I'm still finishing my Slutty Baby Cable costume, so I hope you won't mind re-visiting an Occasional Piece I wrote several Halloweens ago but which has never actually appeared on the blog. It's an homage to one of the great American masters of horror literature, and was created for Brenda Dayne's Cast On podcast; if you'd rather listen than read, it's available (with pipe organ accompaniment) in her archives.

And yes–I know Slutty Baby Cable is in questionable taste, but my first choice (Slutty Moss Stitch) seemed way too obvious.

Anyway, here's the poem.

Dolores as The Romney, 2006

The Romney

by Franklin Habit, d'aprés E. A. Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I knitted, weak and weary,
On a lumpy Aran sweater that was truly quite a bore,
While I cabled, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping–
As of hoofbeats gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis the maintenance man,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door.
Only this–and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember I was knitting for December
For a boyfriend who stretched six feet from his temples to the floor.
Eagerly I wished it finished, yet the skeins were undiminished–
Though I knit ’til I was crippled and the sweater was a bore–
Though that lumpy Aran sweater was a never-ending bore.
So I sighed–and knit some more.

When at last the row at last had ended and the stitches dropped were mended,
“Sir,” I said, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore.
But the fact is, I was counting and my agitation mounting
When so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you.”–here, I opened wide the door;
Darkness there–and nothing more.

As I stood upon the doorstep, suddenly I heard a sure step,
And in walked a fluffy Romney ewe I’d never seen before.
Without a word or nod, across the welcome mat she trod
And lighting up a Camel cigarette, she perched beside the door–
Perched beside the bust of Barbara Walker near my chamber door;
Perched, and smoked–and nothing more.

Then, quoth the Romney, “Knit some more.”

Much I marveled this unruly sheep to hear command so truly
In my native tongue an order rendered in a tone so sure.
“Tell me, madam,” I addressed her, “Why am I the one you pester?
Why not Mabel, Midge, or Esther?” Questions did not interest her.
She just rolled her eyes and flicked some dying ashes to the floor.

Quoth the Romney, “Knit some more.”

And the Romney, sitting primly in the hallway, smoking grimly,
Those words only ever said, and those words only–nothing more.
So, into my armchair sinking, I resumed my fruitless tinking,
Working on the Aran sweater ’til my fingers all were sore.

And the sheep said, “Knit some more.”

And that Romney, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
Near the bust of Barbara Walker just inside my chamber door.
And she smokes, and drinks, and titters while I try to knit with jitters
On the lumpy Aran sweater that is as it was before.
Though Decembers pass away upon this sweater, every day,
I shall be knitting–evermore.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


For knitters, one of the staggering things about the streets of Reykjavik is that they are so full of people wearing handknits that you almost stop noticing. The lopapeysa is everywhere. What's more, it's on everyone. The hip and the dowdy, the young and the old, the ample and the spindly all hike about with the signature patterned yoke around their shoulders.

On day one, spotting them was sport enough. "Over there," Stephen would hiss in my ear, "by the coffee shop." Mike would snap a surreptitious picture with his iPad, if a photo taken by waving a large, flashy piece of electronic equipment in the air can be said to be surreptitious.

By the end of the trip, we had moved along from mere sighting to identifying according to which Lopi book they'd been published in. "Number 26," I'd say, casually nodding my head in the direction of a passing specimen. "That's four this morning," Stephen would note. Stephen is good at counting things. Mike would snap a surreptitious picture with his iPad, if a photo taken by waving a large, flashy piece of electronic equipment in the air can be said to be surreptitious.

You can attribute the universal popularity of the lopapeysa to many things. It's warm. It's handsome. It's durable. You can buy the yarn for it at the grocery store for thirty bucks.

But that's not the whole story. It also turns out the damned things are addictive to knit. I started my Vetur three days ago with a swatch to test the colors. I have already finished the yoke,

Front Yoke

and I'm having trouble setting it aside so that I can eat, sleep, bathe, engage in human contact.

Yoke Back

I had to force myself to put it down so I could photograph it and write this. In fact, I'm tempted to stop writing immed

Thursday, October 20, 2011


In order to compensate, in part, for no longer being surrounded by this,

River at Thingvellir

or this,

I Miss You So Much

(click to embiggen; it's worth it)

I have begun working on this:


It's Vetur, a lopapeysa by Védis Jónsdóttir, from Lopi 28. I left Iceland with a sweater's worth of yarn (thanks to Ragga of Knitting Iceland), and had thoughts of designing my own yoke. There's lots of other work on the table, however; and I decided following somebody else's instructions for a change would be a vacation in itself.

So I'm knitting Vetur as written, aside from changing it from the two original colors to four completely different colors.

Yarn for Vetur

And using Létt-Lopi (a spun yarn, with a finer gauge) instead of Plötulopi (which is unspun and slightly bulky).

And trimming some of the lower edge of the yoke, since I don't think a large yoke flatters a small person.

And eliminating the pattern from the body and sleeves.

And altering the neckband.

And making it a zippered cardigan instead of a pullover.

And working it from the top down instead of the bottom up.

Aside from that, I'm absolutely going to sit back and let dear Védis do the driving.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

They Weren't Kidding

Ladies and gentlemen, the yarn section of the grocery store–this one's attached to a mall in Reykjavik. The yarn is just past the dairy case.


Mostly Lopi, but also a very large selection of Dale of Norway. Also sock yarns, mystery acrylics, pattern books, needles, notions, and buttons.

How Very Civilized

The above is plötulopi (unspun yarn, in wheels), wrapped in plastic to preserve the yarny freshness.

I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Birthplace of Lopi

This was taken at Álafoss, a few hundred yards from the modern Istex mill where Lopi Yarn is produced.


In the early days of the industry, in the late 19th century, this river ran with naturally warm water. The raw wools were washed in it.


Today, the original mill building houses a shop that sells Lopi–including the famous unspun yarns that are put up in little wheels.

Álafoss Yarn

Footnote: Across the path from the shop is a former swimming pool that became the recording studio for the band Sigur Rós.

Studio at Álafoss

Before this trip I wasn't a fan of either Lopi or Sigur Rós. Boy, did that change in a hurry.