Hand knitting – designing from nature with Sasha Kagan

Constructed and woven textiles

Ref: S3D11779

Book now

Places available

About this course

Learn how to interpret flora into design motifs. Using Sasha's intarsia knitting technique, make repeat patterns and work with colour and texture. Making up, blocking and finishing details will be discussed.

Course Description

Learn how to interpret leaves and flowers into design motifs for hand knitting. West Dean Gardens provide source material as you learn how to graph out your designs. Then use Sasha's intarsia knitting technique, make repeat patterns and work with colour and texture. You will need only basic knitting skills in knit and purl. The all-important making up, blocking and finishing details will be discussed.

Taking inspiration from nature, after a tour of the gardens you will learn how to hone down the essence of an image in order to translate ideas into motifs for hand knitting. Looking at leaves and flowers in turn to extract the main characteristics of each specimen then drawing directly on to graph paper. The motif is then 'squared up' taking into consideration the yarn to be used, and fine tuned into a motif. You then graph out your design and then use Sasha's intarsia technique to knit a swatch from one or more of the motifs you have designed. Hands on technical advice – how to hold yarn in left and right hands and feed in yarn alternately to produce a 'woven in' knitted fabric, will be covered.

This will be developed using applications such as repeats, half drops, learning basics of positioning motifs hand knitting, alternative colour ways and use of alternative yarns and textures. This will illustrate how versatile the medium can be. Expand your knowledge and understanding of hand knit design and processes for future independent projects which translate ideas and images into hand knitted fabric. Those who have attended previous courses with Sasha are welcome to take design skills to a stage further and cover creating repeats and different colourways.

Through this process, you will gain confidence to use your own images for hand knitting, and be equipped with the skills to hand knit your own designs opening up the possibilities of hand knitting as a vehicle to communicate ideas into fabric. For a professional couture garment the all-important making up, blocking and finishing details will be covered on the final day.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • An inspiring collection of yarn from 4-ply to Aran weight, in wool, silk, alpaca, cotton and blends, supplied by the tutor for use on the course

What students need to bring

  • Please make and bring a collection of pictures/postcards/drawings of images that you would like to interpret into knit design. Magazine tear sheets of garment shapes and small balls of your favourite yarn, knitting needles sizes 2.75 to 5mm, darning needle.
  • Small balls of your favourite yarn
  • Knitting needles sizes 2.75 to 5mm, Darning needle
  • Scissors
  • Coloured pencils, useful if you have some

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Graph paper
  • Pencils, pens and rubbers
  • Notebook
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Sasha Kagan

Sasha Kagan is a tutor with 40 years experience in design for hand knitting and crochet. She specializes in designs inspired by nature. She trained at Canterbury, Exeter and the Royal College of Art, London. She teaches extensively, giving workshops and master classes internationally. She exhibits at Made London and Made West Dean and in 2011 had a major travelling retrospective exhibition "My Life in Textiles - four decades of hand knit design. She is the author of sseven books.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.