The rich diversity and proliferation of folk art and handicrafts from the northern areas of Europe are owed in no small part to the long, dark, cold winters that forced people insideduring the endless winter months. The home and everything relating to it was all-important, and it was only natural that attention and care was taken to transform everyday domestic objects into hand-some decorative pieces and that many hours were spent knitting and stitching impressive, beautifulclothes for festive occasions. Folk handicrafts are directly representative of the people who madethem, the way in which they lived, their customs, how they survived and managed their lives.I have always been deeply interested in northern European folk art, and since I rst starteddesigning, I have been heavily inuenced by traditional folk textiles. Shetland, Iceland, Norway,and Sweden have always held a particular fascination for me, each with a rich heritage of uniqueknitted folk art—Shetland Fair Isle sweaters and lace shawls, Icelandic bulky round-yoke sweaters,Norwegian black-and-white Selbu mittens, and Swedish twined knitted mittens.Our lives are still inuenced by the cycles of the natural world, by the rhythms of the seasons,and, despite our central heating and cheap abundant mass-made woolens, handknitting remains ameans for making warm and protective clothing beautiful. The designs in this book, in true handi-craft fashion, are not only inspired directly from the past, but use elements from our rich heritage of folk art to combine the new with the old.