NoRtHeRn knits

Designs inspired by 
t he knitting traditions of Scandinavia,
Iceland, and The Shetland Isles

Lucinda Guy

introduction
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 inside
during 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 handsome decorative pieces and that many hours were spent knitting and stitching impressive, beautiful
clothes for festive occasions. Folk handicrafts are directly representative of the people who made
them, 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 first started
designing, I have been heavily influenced by traditional folk textiles. Shetland, Iceland, Norway,
and Sweden have always held a particular fascination for me, each with a rich heritage of unique
knitted 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 influenced 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 a
means for making warm and protective clothing beautiful. The designs in this book, in true handicraft 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.

northern knits

3

ffie fair isle
p u l l ov e r

finished size
35½ (40½, 45½, 50½)" (90 [103, 115.5, 128.5] cm)
bust circumference.
Sweater shown measures 40½" (103 cm).

yarn
Fingering (#1 Super Fine).
shown here: Jamieson & Smith 2-Ply Jumper Weight
(100% wool; 130 yd [119 m]/25 g): #54 dark gray
(A), #203 light gray (C), #FC43 sand (H), #121 yellow (J), and #125 dark orange (L), 3 (3, 4, 4) balls
each; #93 bright red (E) and #202 beige (G), 2 balls
each; #27 medium gray (B), #FC6 pink (D), #1403
dark red (F), #FC7 peach (K), #75 pale turquoise
(M), and #14 light blue (N), 1 ball each.

needles

Knitted seamlessly in the round, just as Shetlanders
have always done it, Effie is an elegant example
of a contemporary Fair Isle sweater. The vibrant,
rich colors of Jamieson & Smith’s pure wool 2-ply
jumper yarn (there are more than eighty shades!),
have been used on Shetland to knit traditional Fair
Isle sweaters for decades. Here, a combination
of twelve shades, with brights working alongside
softer, muted tones, give the ancient Shetland OXO
pattern its distinctive classic look.

Size U.S. 3 (3.25 mm): 16" and 32" (40 and 80 cm)
circular and set of 4 or 5 double-pointed (dpn).
Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct
gauge.

notions
Markers (m); stitch holders; tapestry needle.

gauge
30 stitches and 34 rounds/rows = 4" (10 cm) in
charted color patterns.

northern knits

5

gallery

Ola Placket Pullover
Annemor Turtleneck Pullover

Crowning Glory Shawl
Ulla Twined Socks

Märta Embroidered Bag
Otillia Twined Mittens

Moth Short-Sleeved Top

northern knits

7

Celebrate the traditions

and history of wool.
Northern Knits opens with an introduction that explores the traditions of
quintessential European knitting cultures, from the wool and yarns to
the history of the garments traditionally made from them. Accompanying
the information is a breathtaking montage of photos showing vintage
traditional garments, landscapes, and sheep from Iceland, Shetland,
Norway, and Sweden.
The collection of 20 women’s garments and accessories uses traditional
knitting techniques and folk motifs inspired by these regions to showcase
these classic wool yarns. The projects explore a range of techniques and
knitwear construction ideas that are both interesting to knit and very
wearable.
Featured techniques include:
knitting in the round
lace
Fair Isle
twined knitting
embroidery
Rowan designer Lucinda Guy’s newest collection includes the best of new
and old in knitwear: the inspiration of folk traditions, the wholesome
purity of natural wool yarns, and the styles of today’s knitter.
Paperback, 8½ × 9, 144 pages
80 photographs, 30 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-59668-171-2
$24.95
Available March 2010

About the author
lucinda guy is a knitwear and textile designer
and author of four books of handknitting for kids, all
originally published by Rowan in the U.K. (Trafalgar
Square in the U.S.) and all designed and illustrated by
her partner, François Hall. She started her knitwear
career designing swatches for women and menswear
and successfully sold designs to Edina Ronay, Laura
Ashley, Marks and Spencer, and Rowan Yarns.

contents
Introduction

norway

iceland

Hulda Striped Pullover
Ennid Shawl
Yrsa Laceweight Fingerless Mitts
Unnur Icelandic Pullover
Lilja Textured Jacket

shetland




Crowning Glory Shawl
Moth Short-Sleeved Top
Effie Fair Isle Pullover
Nell Shetland Cap
Hester Chevron Lace Pullover

Annemor Turtleneck Pullover
Thora Cardigan with Pewter Clasps
Inger Ski Cap
Elise Colorwork Gloves
Liv Colorwork Socks

sweden
Ola Placket Pullover
Pia Laceweight Pullover
Marta Embroidered Bag
Ulla Twined Socks
Ottilia Twined Mittens
Glossary
Sources for Supplies
Index

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