A skein of Bulky Lopi
Bulky Lopi once knitted up

Yarn Profile: Reynolds Bulky Lopi

First Impressions
Reynolds has produced Lopi for many, many years. Lopi Lite and Bulky Lopi are more recent additions to the product line.

Made in Iceland, the Lopi line goes hand in hand with Reynolds' extensive Icelandic pattern collections. These are traditionally knit in the round, with elaborate color patterning around the waist, sleeves, and yoke.

Lopi is made of Icelandic wool, a sturdy, brassy fiber that isn't always suitable for next-to-skin wear. This has kept many knitters from trying Reynolds' Lopi patterns, which is a shame.

Knitting Up
I place this loosely spun yarn in the worsted category. That's because the fibers are mostly aligned in a common direction instead of jumbled together like woolen yarns. This results in a smoother, stronger yarn and less snagging.

Knitting was relatively rapid and effortless, aided by my dull-tipped Addi Turbos. Stitches appeared even and steady, and the yarn's twist stayed consistent as I worked with it.

Blocking / Washing
Lopi -- bulky or not -- will felt easily. Don't let yourself be tempted to toss anything made with it in the washing machine, even in cold water.

My swatches behaved perfectly in the wash, with no bleeding or fading. There was only a slight bloom in the fiber, and the gauge remained true.

Lopi sweaters can last for decades, assuming the moths or washing machine don't get to them first. The loose spin in Bulky Lopi can cause fibers to weaken at high-wear areas, especially elbows.

The yarn doesn't lose any of its brassiness with wash, so always be prepared to keep a buffer article of clothing between you and your Bulky Lopi.

If you can buffer them from the scratchy yarn, Bulky Lopi makes an excellent fiber for children's sweaters because it's warm and rugged.

The Lopi line is visually tempting, with a splendid array of color possibilities. When you reach out and grab that first skein, you may feel disappointed by the yarn's relatively harsh feel. I know I did.

But it's the perfect medium for Icelandic-type designs. And Reynolds produces almost more of these designs than anyone else, making this an obvious marriage.

Bulky Lopi gives you a chance to work with Icelandic wool and not wait so long for the finished product. Its larger stitch definition reduces the potential for subtle color work, but otherwise it's a great fast-knitting alternative.

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