Knitted by great-grandmother Olga, this traditional – yet modern – Icelandic lopi sweater with a hood is worn 350 days on 365 and goes from one great grand child to another… Olga Hallgrímsdóttir died earlier this spring, aged 93 years old, so the pattern is published post mortem but the totality of Olga’s benefits are running to the Bonisa-Olga charity fund that was founded to honor her memory.

Back to Issue 01 – Autumn 2010



Olga pattern *

6 €


Kit Olga (wool WITHOUT patternl)*

from 10 € (plus shipping cost)



The pattern story

Hélène Magnússon recalls


“Olga was one of those typical Icelandic grandmothers. You could ask her to knit a sweater for, let’s say, a seven-year-old child and one or two weeks later, you would get a lovely and perfectly sized sweater.

a typical Icelandic grandmother

She explained to me that she felt it in her hands: they would figure out almost by themselves. She would not plan it, nor make drawings or anything like that, she would just, somehow, cast on the right number of stitches and make up the pattern and decide on the colors as she would knit, often depending on what she had available in her stash.

she felt it in her hands

This is exactly what happened when, back in 2007, I asked Olga to knit a new sweater for Sylvia, her great grand daughter and my oldest daughter. She came up with this sweater in three colors, extremely practical with its hood and zipper.

she put a lot of care into the finishing

I particularly enjoy this design because it retains all the characteristics of the traditional Icelandic yoke sweater but without the folklore, making it very modern. It is also extremely well done. Olga considered the knitting part to be only half of the work and she put a lot of care into the finishing.

Olga died earlier this year, aged 93 years old. She died the same way she lived, with a lot of elegance. All dressed up for a birthday party, she had a wonderful afternoon with her friends and family. When the time had come to go home, she suddenly felt a bit tired, sat on a bench with her son and passed away.

I‘m glad that Olga is publishing her first design ever, post mortem be it, on The Icelandic Knitter’s website and it was a pleasure for me to pick up the pattern and size it. I‘m sure she would be delighted to know that the totality of the benefits she would normally get are going to the Bonisa-Olga Fund, a little charity fund sustaining a shelter/playschool for young children in Cape Town, South Africa.

The funding of the Bonisa-Olga Fund is a bit of a long story if you are willing to hear it. Olga’s granddaughter, also my sister-in-law, happens to live in South Africa with her companion. She often entertained Olga with stories about Brenda, a strong African woman much involved in the rehabilitation of the Philippi block, one of Cape Town’s black ghettos, where she lives.

she made her dream come true

Brenda, also called Bonisa in Xhosa, meaning “the one who shows the way”, made her dream come true last year when she founded, just outside of her home, the Bonisa EduCare, a shelter or sort of playschool for young children otherwise left alone, without care or food, while their mothers are working.

the Bonisa-Olga Fund was founded to honor her memory

Olga followed Brenda’s progress with much interest and often asked herself how she could invest into this lifetime project. A few weeks after her death, the family gathered and wondered what could be done to honor her memory. This is how the idea came up to start the Bonisa-Olga Fund and let grandmother Olga help Brenda pursue her wonderful job.” You can follow Brenda’s progress here: bonisaeducare.wordpress.com


Wool, sizes & info

The pattern
The kit


Sizes: from 1(2,3,4,6,8,10,12) years old (big sizes).
Finished bust measurements 53(57,61,65,69,73,77,81)cm / 21(22.5,24,25.5,27,29,30,32)”.

Gauge: 10 x10 cm / 4×4” = 15 sts x 19 rows in stocking Stitch on needle 5,5mm/US 9

Yarn: Léttlopi, 100% pure Icelandic wool, 50g/skein, 50g = ca.100m/109 yds; color A: 1(1,2,2,2,2,3,3) skeins; color B: 2(2,2,2,3,3,3,3) skeins; color C: 1(1,2,2,3,3,3,3) skeins.
Shades A/B/C: grey 0058/0057/0054; brown 0052/0053/0085; purple 9417/1414/1413; green 1407/9421/1406.

Needles and notions: circ needle 4.5mm/US 7 and 5,5 mm/US 9; crochet hook 4 mm/US F; stitch markers, darning needle, stitch holders, tape measure, sewing machine, zipper. 

Techniques: knitted in the round, stranded knitting, steek (optional).

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

Kit: Kit includes the yarn but not the pattern that you have to purchase separately. Kit doesn’t include the needles and notions. Shipping costs are not included in the price.  

Errata: a mistake was found in this pattern, please check the errata.