Monthly Archives: February 2016

Barbara Walker Project…first year summary

Wow, it has been a year since I started knitting stuff with the stitches in A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker.  Today I am not posting anything new, just recapping the progress so far.

  • Chapter 2,  Simple Knit-Purl Combinations:  47 of 67 stitches used
  • Chapter 3, Ribbings:  21of 28 stitches used
  • Chapter 4, Color Change Patterns: 60 of 78 stitches used
  • Chapter 5, Slip-Stitch Patterns: 15 of 49 stitches used
  • Chapter 6, Twist Stitch Patterns: 14 of 24 stitches used
  • Chapter 7, Fancy Texture Patterns: 7 of 33 stitches used
  • Chapter 8, Patterns Made With Yarn-Over Stitches: 3 of 36 stitches used
  • Chapter 9, Eyelet Patterns: 6 of 35 stitches used
  • Chapter 10, Lace: 1 of 107 stitches used (this is my year 3 project)
  • Chapter 11, Cables: 16 of 57 stiches used
  • Chapter 12, Cable-Stitch Patterns: 13 of 30 stitches used

This means I have used 203 of 544 stitches.  If I manage to keep going like this, I will be finished, as planned, in 2018.  For the most part, I am liking the project.  I love the endless discovery of knitted fabric with all its texture and colour.

These stitches went into 96 projects, all of which I designed using stitches from the book

  • 83 hats
  • 3 pairs of mitts
  • 2 baby sweaters
  • one cowl
  • one headband
  • one pair of socks
  • some doll house stuff (two blankets and 3 pillows)

I guess I wasn’t kidding when I named this blog.  Gillian does knit mostly hats!


Sometimes you just have to reboot the hat, Barbara

gillianknits.comHeather was home for reading week and I was bemoaning the fact that I thought the blog was much less interesting when I didn’t have her around to critique my hats.  I usually just have her father these days and the criticism I get from him runs to “ooh, I like that one” or ‘that’s terrific”.  He doesn’t like to offer opinion on colour or style.  In fairness, he did offer an opinion for the valentines hat, then I phoned my friend Rosemary and sent her a picture.  He got overruled.  Heather is much freer with her opinions, like the pink from the triple threat hats the other day, “it kind of makes me feel sick– like I ate too much cotton candy”.  Don’t hold back honey, tell me what you really think.  I did get an “I really like that hat” from her when the hat above was finished, so, yeah

Sometimes I have to sell her on a concept.  Take this rainbow for instance.  I have always been a rainbow person.  I just love the pure colours and how nice it is to see one in real life.  We were in the wool store and she told me that rainbows were for children’s hats and I don’t do many children’s hats.  I don’t have any related children nearby, so I don’t have models.  Later, in the car, I said her cousin Ben had actually asked for the last rainbow hat I did, and he is ostensibly an adult.  At least the law school was willing to give him a degree and all.  She capitulated and I went back and bought the yarn.  This hat was pretty much a blast from my past.  Here is the sweater I was knitting when I was in labour with Jacob, 21 years ago.  (the rainbow was my idea…the pattern called for two colours in total)gillianknits.comNeedless to say the day he was born, many inches were ripped out and re-knit.  Also,when I was a field biologist in Algonquin park, we mapped the territories of White Throated Sparrows.  One of our biggest singers was banded with light blue over black colour bands, so I was thinking of this while I knit the black

This hat had totally not been working out.  I was at one of my local wool shops, Wool-Tyme a while ago and got a ball of Cascade Bentley from their discount bin.  I tried to do the hat with the Bentley in the background but I lost both the pattern and the pretty yarn.  I ripped this back and did the rainbow on this one and used the Bentley in the other hat.

STITCHES USED/DECREASE STRATEGY:  Blue/Rainbow …100 stitches of Lozenge Pattern, pg 29 then increased to 112 stitches (16 repeats) for the Gull Check, pg 78.  Decreasing four points of decrease.  Every fourth 7 stitch repeat was decreased completely to nothing over one 6 row repeat, then I moved on repeat to the right and decreased another 4 twice to 28 stitches and winged the final

Purple/Bentley 99 stitches of Puff Rib, pg47.  This is a VERY loose rib and could have been done on fewer stitches.  It is not bad but quite loose.  Increased to 116 for the Linked Stripe Pattern, pg. 79.  Used 5 points of decrease and did (slip one, knit 2 together, psso) stacked above each other, every fourth row then every second row nearer the top.  In one place I had to not do the first two decreases because I only had 19 repeats, not 20 to

It’s 80’s bagpiper chic, Barbara

gillianknits.comAt least that is what Heather called it when I finished it.  (read:  that hat looks like it was designed by an out of date nerd).  I said that tams were versatile and that you could pull them down over your ears and forhead if it got really cold out.  She said yeah, you can even use them like a balaclava if it is really cold and took a

The top turned out passable, but nothing to write home about.gillianknits.comThe stitches were Triple torch, pg. 78 and Elongated-Stitch Waves, page 81.   I cast on 120 stitches.  Barbara had mentioned that the Elongated-Stitch Waves would spread laterally, and I had been meaning to do a tam-like hat for a while, so I decided to take this opportunity.  I decreased on the second white row, 24 stitches evenly around per time, 3 times (down to 48), then 16 stitches per time twice and got rid of them by k2tog arond and ended.

Back to Barbara

This is my kind of hat…lots of contrast and a top that

The bottom stitch was curling, so I picked up from the back of the first rows of garter stitch and did some k1, p1 ribbing up the inside of the headband.  It both made the bottom behave and made it squishy and extra warm.  Being in the middle of a COLD snap, it came in handy the other day.  I actually wore it.  And for those that don’t know, I almost never wear

I used Rippled Chevron and Three-and-One Check from page 77, on 112 stitches.

Triple threat today Barbara

gillianknits.comI had a couple of job interviews this week.  I had to compete for my job in the cooking unit, so I am now officially a cook at Upper Canada Village..yeah!!  I was on temporary assignment last summer.  I also had an interview for a job that would be a “shoot me now” kind of deal.  Four months answering emails from the public about how to fill out their census forms.  I am really glad they have reinstated the census, but.

I bought three balls of Cascade 220 and used them to make these three hats.  I used a different colour for the lower part of each hat, then used my last three patterns that use three colours.  I had to skip ahead a few stitches for the white hat to find an appropriate stitch.  I did the blue one first.  I made the bottom in a long band on two needles using Tyrolean Medallion, pg 246, then sewed the ends together and picked up and knit the body of the hat using Three-Color Basket Tweed, pg 76.gillianknits.comBecause of the bold blue lines, I was able to make a decent shot at the top.gillianknits.comThis one I knit straight up from the bottom edge using Dotted Chevron, pg. 28, then Motley Check, pg.76.gillianknits.comThe top on this one turned out so-so.gillianknits.comI did this one last and again went straight up from the bottom edge using Medallion Cable, pg.246 and finishing with Triple L Tweed, pg. 81.gillianknits.comThe top on this one is a bit of a dead loss, you can vaguely see the spiral arms of the decrease coming in but it is lost in the pattern mostly.

I had actually used two of these patterns before, way back in November, 2013 when I was doing Teletubby Puke colours.

I was a bit like a magpie, Barbara

gillianknits.comThe yarn was pretty and shiny, so I took it home….and made a hat.  I am having trouble getting the shine on the photographs.  I have taken it out in the sun, shined lights on it, etc.  All to no avail.  Take my word for it, it is shiny.

gillianknits.comAnd speaking of shiny, this is a picture of our front yard last night.  We had a small ice storm last week which turned things into a bit of a moonscape and the light from the street light across the road bounced off it.  I thought it looked kind of cool.

It is a one stitch wonder, Garter Stitch Zigzag, pg 28.  The pattern is somewhat lost in the busy yarn, but you can see a bit of the relief of the


Sometimes you have to go with the flow, Barbara

I am having a bit of a crisis about THE PROJECT these days.  After having spent most of the last year knitting like crazy from a 50 year old book, and having filled up 3 extra large Ziploc Space bags (the kind you suck the air out of with a vacuum) with hats, I begin to wonder WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING???  Is this just stupid?  I guess if I wasn’t doing this I would be knitting something else anyway, so for now, I guess I will soldier on.  190 pattern stitches down, 354 to go…are you kidding me…seriously, this is stupid.

I felt I had to get rid of the Tulip Pattern, pg 25 because I kept thinking ugh! every time I looked at it.  I did garter stitch instead of stockinette in the below and above rows of the pattern, but I feel these are just to sides of the same coin anyway.  I used 99 stitches for this, then increased to 112 for the Navajo Basket, pg 75.  I went back down to 104 for the Chevron, pg 26 because, being a simple knit/purl combination, it takes in much less than the colour work.  I did a repeat of the Chevron pattern, then decreased to 88 for another go at the Navajo

At this point, I noticed that the Chevron wanted to collapse on itself.  I had been planning to do stair steps with the Navajo Basket on the top, but I thought…lets go with this and I did another two folds, decreasing 16 stitches every time I changed patterns.  I have accordianed the hat out a bit below so you can see the structure a little

I felt like I was dialling this one in, Barbara

gillianknits,comI just looked at the stitch and automatically made the hat.  I did change one thing this time, and that was I cast on fewer stitches (96) for the 4 rows of garter stitch at the bottom than I needed for the body of the hat (108).  I have found that if you don’t do this, there is a tendency for it to flip up.  This hat uses Interlocking Lattice, pg 278.  I decided on 108 stitches because this is 18 repeats of the 6 stitch pattern.  This way, I could decrease above 6 of the little intersections (every third one).  I did a p2tog on top the intersection, then p2 tog on either side above this one two rows later and two rows after that.  gillianknits.comBy this time, the patterns had joined back up with one stitch between, I did a sl 1, k2tog, psso to join them up, then p2tog on each side of this two rows later and two rows after that.  I kept decreasing vigourously at this point and finished up at 6 stitches before running my tail through and pulling it up.gillianknits.comAfter taking the pictures for the post, I was unhappy with the top and may have re-jigged it a bit, unfortunately, I had done such a great job at burying my ends that I couldn’t repick it.  I would have carried the 6 knit stitches I got from knitting above the last 6 intersections up to the top.  This would have given a bit of a star.  Another time, maybe .