Things I Brought Back From England : My Lopapeysa

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I moved to Sweden in February of this year with one suitcase of belongings. For a (then) 29 year old with a book addiction, a passion for Nordic knits and an obsession with Northerly knick knacks (Replica dragon heads from the Viking era, that kind of thing…) one suitcase didn’t really cut it, and I’ve been pining to be surrounded by my ‘stuff’ for months now.

It was okay at first. Everything in Sweden was gloriously new, and I didn’t really have the time to think stuff I’d left behind. But gradually I started to long to be surrounded by the precious things I’d collected during my three decades. I wanted Sebastian’s apartment to feel like our apartment.

One of the items which immediately found a place in my suitcase was my lopapeysa (a traditional Icelandic sweater.) It was 2011 when I found it in a thrift store in Reykjavik for 300 krona. I was coming to the end of my three month stay in Iceland, and was dead set on getting myself one of the unmistakable knits.

Brand new they were above and unfathomably far from my budget limit, so I needed to utilize my thrifting skills. I knew this was the one from the moment it caught my eye from across the store. Despite my devotion to the dark side of fashion, it (surprisingly) didn’t bother me (too much) the fact that it was white and varying shades of brown. Sebastian tried it on and said he looked like a 70’s Dad…which made me wonder, for the colours are quite attuned with that era…

Wearing it for the first time, I felt proud and more connected to the country than I’d felt at any other moment during my travels. In Iceland everyone in the city and out in the wilds wears a lopapaysa all year round. Interesting fact: the decorative yoke around the neck thought to have been based on Greenlandic women’s costume.

It’s strange that, just a short time ago, my sweater was in another country, folded in a cardboard box in the loft space above my parents kitchen. It’s a comforting feeling to have it here within arms reach.

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