project: troll sweater design

i need to design a lopapeysa using a troll design.  and after that modify it for an elf design.  i know nothing about lopapeysa (sweater made of icelandic sheep wool), but all the locals wear them in iceland because everybody’s mother in law knits, and quite a few guys knit as well.  so there are skeins of wool available even at the grocery store.  i came home with two of them when i returned from iceland.  one was a gift, and one was bought for 1/10 the cost of a new one at the red cross store in akureyri.  they are magnificent sweaters, but it’s 96 today in atlanta, so i’m only going to look at them for now, and wash them and put them up until winter.

one of the goals of the trollagerdi project is to open a gift shop, and develop a line of handcrafts to sell in this gift shop.  this is actually part of a much larger plan, which i heard about in reyjkavik, to open a handcraft giftshop that doesn’t sell the same horrid crap from china as every other giftshop in the country.  there are lots and lots of artists and artisans and craftpeople in iceland, and their sense of design is so individualistic and creative, so there’d be no lack of handcrafted souvenirs to sell.  they can easily be organized into themes, and then the medium left up to the artist.  it would be easy to work up a range of products across such themes as puffins, trolls, elves, northern lights, nature, using such materials as wood, wool, clay, stone, painting and photography.  i’ve left out whole categories – such as food, and books.  but pretty much everything people make by hand that is the least little bit touristy – lopapeysas, handmade elves, troll recipe books – would be welcome.  and i know a bunch of artists whose work would do just fine.

anyway, i am working with my friend kristrun to come up with some sweater designs.  right now people are producing puffin sweaters and horse sweaters (that i could find on the internet), and there are no doubt many variations of the lopapeysa design that include native animals and plants.  i’m not a knitter, but i have done surface design on scarves, and have made a few of my own designs to wear.  so i only know a little about the process as a whole, and nothing much at all about icelandic design.

here are some of the designs out there now.

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i love these because they show how creative you can get with the basic design.

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these are standard peysa designs with the figures in the body of the yoke.


as are these, but they’re larger photos, so i had to separate them.  sheep.

no elf sweaters?  no troll sweaters?  can’t find any.

here’s a good site for designing a sweater of this type.  i don’t currently have the ability to use it on my computer, but somebody else might.  i’m going to have to do it on a piece of graph paper, i think.

here are a few more examples i found just now.


this one is running hares.  they’re standing upright, like i want the trolls and elves, and tho they’re all the same, they have different attitudes depending on the stress on the wool.


here are more horses.


and some nice fish bones.  i’ve also seen this idea done in plant leaves.


and a different use of puffins


finally, a herd of reindeer.

i’ll post my progress on designing this sweater, but i have so much on my plate right now it might take awhile.  please comment with your suggestions.  perhaps i can mix trolls and elves, holding hands perhaps and facing forward, or in profile walking around the shoulders of the sweater.


3 thoughts on “project: troll sweater design

  1. Hi my lovely friend.

    I like those types of lopapeysu, but most of all I like the number 19 AUSTUR it is beautiful. And I think the black horses of the light grey lopapeysu is fine.

    Looking forward to see how the elf or troll will come out in your work :)

    Love Rúna

  2. Hi there. Great sweater finds. Where can I find the source for the puffin sweater featured, he one not being worn here but laying flat in the photo. Thanks!

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