The sweater and its cardigan version, with the colors of ashes, is named after Fimmvörðuháls, a mountain pass in Iceland at the site of the now-famous eruption of glacier Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. Hélène Magnusson knitted the sweater while walking this pass, in one of her Knitting Treks in the summer of 2011. It is typical of an Icelandic lopi yoke sweater, but also seek inspiration in the Old costume jackets (close-fitted shaping and unusual elbow shaping) and the Icelandic lace shawl tradition: the colorwork in the yoke is faked with a typical undulating lace pattern and the crocheted chain bind-off adds a feminine touch. 

 Back to Issue 05 – Return to Iceland


Fimmvörðurháls Pattern

6 €


Fimmvörðurháls Léttlopi KIT (without pattern)

from 20 € (plus shipping)


The pattern story

Hélène tells us more about the pattern


"The sweater is named after Fimmvörðuháls, a mountain pass in Iceland, at the site of the now famous eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. I knitted the sweater in the summer 2011 while walking during one of my knitting treks in Iceland: the Hiking and Knitting Tour between Fire and Ice (see pictures). The trail goes through the pass, between the two glaciers, and over the two new craters and the recently formed lava. I knitted while walking, just like in the Old days when no time could be lost and Icelandic men and women where knitting when going from one farm to another or, especially the men, when working around in the fields. I hold the skein under my armpit. I missed the white skein into the black ashes a few times, making a point for all the knitters in the tour that Icelandic wool is indeed hardwearing and dirt repellent! The sweater is typically an Icelandic lopi yoke sweater: the tradition is quite new – reaching its peak in the 70’s - but the sweater also seeks inspiration in older Icelandic knitting traditions: the close fitted shaping and the unusual elbow shaping can be found in Old Icelandic knitted jackets. The colorwork in the yoke is faked with an undulating lace pattern, typical of Icelandic shawls. The crocheted chain bind off, also very common in the Old shawls, ads a feminine touch. The colors remind me of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier and the dirty ice covered with ashes. "

The pattern was first published in the book Knitting sweaters from around the world: 18 sweaters in a variety of styles and techniques, Voyageurs Press (2012).

The designer

Hélène Magnússon is a leading knit designer in Iceland, the author of many books about traditional Icelandic knitting and the editor of The Icelandic Knitter. She likes to put a new spin on Icelandic traditions. She began her professional life as a lawyer in Paris before she made a complete life change and moved to Iceland, where she studied textile and fashion at Iceland Academy of the Arts and worked as a hired girl in a sheep farm and a mountain guide. The varied skills she learned in those early years richly inform the amazing hiking and knitting tours she passionately guides in collaboration with tour operator Icelandic Mountain Guides. 


Wool, sizes  & info

The pattern


Adult XS(S, M, L)XL, XXL, XXXL

Finished Measurements (slim fit)

Bust: 27.5(30,34.5,36.5)41,46,49.5” / 69(75.5,86.5, 91)102,115.5,124.5cm

Waist: 20.5(23,27.5,29.5)33.5,39,42.5” / 51(57.5,69,73.5)84.5,98,106.5}cm

Body length to underarm: 14.5(15,15.5,16)17,18,18.5” / 37(38,39,41)43,45,47cm

Sleeve length to underarm:  17(17.5,18,18)18.5,18.5,18.5” / 43(44,45,46)47,47,47cm


Sweater: Léttlopi by ístex, 100% pure wool, 50g/skein, 50g = ca.100m/109 yds: MC #0051 (white) 6(7,7,8)8,9,9 skeins; CC1 #0054 (Ash Heather Grey) 1 skein;CC1 #0057 (Grey Heather ) 1 skein

Cardigan: Cascade 220, 100% Peruvian highland wool, 100g/skein= 200m/220yds: MC #8010 3(4,4,4)4,5,5 skeins; CC1 #8401 1 skein; CC2 #8400 1 skein

Gauge: 10x10 cm / 4x4” = 18 sts and 24 rows on 5 mm/US 7 needle. Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain correct gauge.

Needles: 4,5 and 5 mm / US 5 and 7 circ needle.  Magic loop is used for smaller diameters but you can also use DPN’s; crochet hook 4 mm/ US G6

Notions: stitch markers, 4 safety pins, tapestry needle, stainless pins.

Techniques: Knitting in the round, Magic loop (optional), stranded knitting, short rows, lace, crocheted chain bind off, provisional cast on

Cardigan steeked or knitted back and forth.

Pattern: once you've made your paiement, you will receive an email with a link to dowload the pattern PDF . We don't send patterns by snailmail.

Kit: Kit includes the yarn: Léttlopi from Istex. Pattern is not included in the Kit and will have to be purchased separately. Kit doesn’t include the needles and notions. Shipping costs are not included in the price.  

Errata: an addendum to the pattern was added on 28.01.2013 with extra instructions to turn the sweater into a cardigan.