The Knitter

Our favourite knitting books

Create colourful knitwear that celebrates the countrysid­e with this reprint of a classic book of intarsia patterns

- by Sasha Kagan

IN A DESIGN career spanning more than forty years, Sasha Kagan has been enchanting knitters with her colourful patterns inspired by the landscapes around her home in rural Wales. Country Inspiratio­n is a reprint of Sasha’s classic book from 2000, which was photograph­ed in Wales and is filled with knitting patterns reflecting the changing seasons, from winter snowdrops and spring wildflower­s, to summer roses and autumn leaves.

The majority of the 45 projects in this book use Sasha’s favourite technique, intarsia, to ‘paint’ pictures across the knitted fabric. Roses have been a perenniall­y popular theme in her work, and there are many examples here, such as a rose-covered cardigan with a box-pleated peplum. A stunning loose-fit jacket pairs small roses with large paisley motifs, while the ‘Cable Rose’ cardigan has painterly roses with neat cables. Sasha’s ‘Flemish Rose’ motif appears on both a patchwork blanket, and on a neat V-neck jacket.

Sasha’s artistic talents are especially clear in the ‘Autumn Leaves’ section, where Wales’s native trees are recreated in knitting stitches. A pattern of ash leaves covers a wide-sleeved cardigan with a stand-up collar, while maple leaves decorate a hooded coat, which is brightened with tiny bobbles of colour and picot edgings. We love the elegant fitted waistcoat with panels of leaves and cables, and the ‘October Leaves’ throw which has a design of realistic-looking leaves.

The ‘Meadow Flowers’ section includes a shirt-style top with an elderflowe­r design, a ballet-style wrap cardigan covered with tiny violets, and a V-neck sweater with bands of forget-me-nots and a cabled collar, cuffs and hems.

Warm, rich colourwork is used for Sasha’s ‘Forest Fruits’ theme; patterns include a shawl-collar jacket and matching tam with a rosehip design, a blanket adorned with instarsia leaves and nuts, and a jacket with a brocade-like fabric.

Note that each pattern is given for one size only, although this varies from 34in busts to 50in, so there are styles to fit and suit most knitters. Many of the yarns have been discontinu­ed since this book was first published, but confident knitters will be able to select suitable alternativ­es.

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Country Inspiratio­n is published by Lemur Press.

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