The delivery arrived from DeBondt and as usual there was a buzz of excitement- what had Marina ordered this time? After we had unpacked the latest sock yarn, lots of Catona and Chunky monkey we found these unusual discs of yarn at the bottom of the box. We've had many different shaped balls of yarn over the years, but these were more like flying saucers! As it turns out these ones are called plates and the yarn is the Icelandic unspun yarn called Plotulopi, one of the many yarns by Lopi.
Well of course we were intrigued. I must admit to going home and doing a bit of research online. I already knew that I wanted to add some to my stash, but I had to work out what to make. I found a video of a roll of Plotulopi being separated into plates. It was fascinating as it had to be done gently so as not to break the yarn. I sat transfixed as Meg Swansen (Schoolhouse Press blog) gently pulled the plates apart. The Icelandic sheep’s wool used in Plotulopi has very long fibres which allows it to be used as an unspun yarn as the long fibres hold together when being knitted but it also makes it very fragile.
Chatting to one of our regular customers a few days later she said she had used it many times and confirmed that it was a good idea to be in a very chilled and relaxed frame of mind when using it as if you pull it sharply it pulls apart. On the plus side she said that joining together just involved damping it slightly and rubbing the two ends together between your hands. The other piece of advice was to pull the yarn from the centre and to put the plate on the ground when using it.
Plotulopi is an Aran weight yarn recommending a 5mm needle. By its nature it is very light - there are 300 metres in 100 grams which is twice as long as the average plied Aran yarn. I decided to use a pattern called Simple summer tweed top-down sweater by Heidi Kirrmaier. It is a top-down v-neck sweater that I had made before using 2 strands of kid silk so I thought it would work well with the airiness of the Plotulopi.
The knitting began. I followed all the advice and naturally within a row or two I had pulled the yarn too harshly and it divided but, joy of joys, it joined up so easily and invisibly. I learned to gently pull out a good length of yarn and then knit rather than pulling from the ball as is usually done. Very soon my hands adjusted to having a very light touch and the sweater progressed rapidly. The colours are gorgeous which makes it even more difficult to choose one. They are not flat colours but more of a mottled blend - I chose green shade 1423 and calling it green does not do it justice as there are so many different shades drifting through the yarn.
The finished fabric is light and warm and very comfortable to wear. I made a 34" sized sweater and used only two plates so at €6.95 a plate it works out at excellent value.
Of course I had bought a third plate, just in case, so I decided to experiment and made a hat using 4mm needles and it worked out really well too. I think I've found my new favourite yarn.