Mentors I’ve never met…Barbara Walker

Why knit plain when a pattern stitch will do?

Ist treasury pg 117

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns,  pg 117

A 2nd Treasury, pg 56

A 2nd Treasury of Knitting Patterns, pg 56


(slightly modified from) A 2nd Treasury of Knitting Patterns, pg 138

This is the first of a few posts I plan to write about the women who have influenced me most as a knitter,  I think first and foremost it would have to be Barbara G. Walker.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with her she wrote, among other things, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Treasuries of Knitting Patterns.  All these books are (deservedly)  still in print even though the first treasury was originally published in 1968.  I bought my first copy of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns back in the 70’s.  It is now in two pieces and quite dogeared.  Even though it is thankfully made with sewn signatures, so will not drift apart page by page, I have purchased a pristine backup copy that stays on the bookshelf JUST IN CASE.   I rarely start a hat without opening at least one of her books, and when nothing is coming to me, I browse through her books and find a pattern stitch to jump off from.  I long ago gave up tagging designs to use in the future…I always had too many bits of paper in the books, and when I went to the page I couldn’t decide which of the stitches the tag was for anyway…

The 3rd treasury is also called Charted Knitting Designs. If you are an avid knitter, even if you are not familiar with the book, you are familiar with her concept of charted designs. The great thing for me about using this book, when I do, is that I don’t have to chart out the designs myself.  When I use the 1st and 2nd treasuries, I always have to translate either into charting or in my head so that I can knit the pattern stitch in the round.  The instructions in the first two treasuries are for knitting back and forth on straight needles.

I am sure it will take me the rest of my life to plumb the depths of these books.  Thank you Ms. Walker for writing them.

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