Tag Archives: Barbara G. Walker

Ok, let’s fire this puppy back up, Barbara

As usual, work put a stop to all other aspects of my life. I have been off for a couple of weeks now and have rebooted my social life. Thank goodness none of my friends seem to care that I drop off the face of the earth for 5 months a year. The social reboot included a trip to Toronto for a volunteer appreciation lunch. I think it is funny that I am considered a good volunteer for a city 450km from my house, but I am, after all, a Canadian so distance means nothing.

I never did post the hats that I made on my trip to eastern Europe in the spring. I couldn’t photograph them there, so I didn’t bother posting them. I started back to work 12 hours after arriving home and …you know the rest (summer time warp).

I actually quit knitting for about 4 months and didn’t know if I was going to ever start again, but my friend Lynda decided to retire (yikes), and so I had to knit her a shawl. I had given shawls to other friends on their retirement, so I couldn’t leave her hanging. It took 2 weeks to knit this shawl and it only used 2 stitches Minature Leaf Pattern, pg 215 and Arches and Columns, pg 196 …hats are a lot more work-efficient.

Lyndas shawl

Lynda’s shawl

Actually 19 front line staff retired altogether. The provincial government changed the retirement rules and we had a mass exodus. It will be interesting to see what comes about next year. It is a bucketload of expertise going out the door. Some are planning on returning part time, but it is a huge shakeup.

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Barbara Walker … week 4

gillianknits.comIt struck me this week as I was making these socks that Julie had it OK. The only people who would know of the success or failure of her efforts were her husband, herself and the occasional dinner guest. Food was eaten and the dishes done each night. I, on the other hand, must photograph my knitting and show it to anyone who may want to look (granted, at this point, it is only a handful of people but the potential remains). When I saw this stitch, Escalator Pattern from Chapter 2, Simple Knit-Purl combinations, I immediately thought socks. It was not a great thought as it turns out. I must admit, I am not a sock expert by any stretch of the imagination. I, and I say this with trepidation given the esteem with which sock knitting is held, have never really believed in knitting socks. Gasp. When I saw my mum do it as a child, I saw how little time they lasted and felt sorry for her. With 8 kids, she didn’t have a lot of knitting time, so it had to count. Sweaters, hats and mitts were passed from one child to the next, but socks developed holes in what seemed like no time. I have been told that this is because the knitting was too loose and she should maybe have used a smaller needle, but old prejudice dies hard and I have probably only made about 5 pairs before.
Heather and I have worn slightly different socks on each foot for a long time. If we got one of those batches of socks that had a different colour stripe, we would often wear two different colours together. She went as far as to get mad at Alan if he sorted the laundry and matched the like colours together. I understand from the talk in the change room at fitness that this is a common practice amongst “the youth”-many aquafitness participants having grandchildren. I wanted to do something like this in these socks.
I changed the stitch in the second sock (the purple one) as an experiment. A few stitches after the Escalator Pattern in the book, Walker talks about how, if you are doing several rows of reverse stockinette stitch. you may want to switch it to garter stitch to reduce curl. I decided that on the second sock, I was going to do this because there was a real tendency for the sock to slouch, not a good thing in a sock. In fact when I was knitting the pink one, manatees and Michelin men kept coming to mind. Barbara Walker must have blocked the swatch before photographing it in the book, you have to really tug on the pink sock to make it look like the sample. In the purple sock, instead of three rows where purl appears on the front, I switched it to two rows of purl with a knit row between, turning the reverse stockinette into garter. It actually looks a lot more like the example in the book than the real stitch. These socks also used Crossed Knit-One Purl-One Ribbing from Chapter 3, Ribbings and Heel Stitch from Chapter 5, Slip-Stitch Patterns. They are DK weight.

right side out, with upturned brim

right side out, with upturned brim

from the top with right side out

from the top with right side out

This hat incorporates Crossed Knit-Two Purl-Two Ribbing from Chapter 3, Ribbings and Waving Rib Pattern from Chapter 2, Simple Knit-Purl Combinations. She mentions that the back of the stitch is nice too, so I made the hat reversible. Here is the inside. I think I like the “inside” better, especially the top.
inside out, with brim down

inside out, with brim down

inside out from the top

inside out from the top


I made one more hat this week using Mistake-Stitch Ribbing from Chapter 3, Ribbings and Slipped-Stitch Ridges from Chapter 5, Slip-Stitch Patterns. I really like how the top worked out on my second try (frogged the first one).
gillianknits.comgillianknits.com

Barbara Walker … week 3

This seems to be a lame week, Barbara Walkerwise, but you must trust me that I have actually been knitting up a storm. It’s just this is all that I have finished…two things from my wheelhouse…hats. I have decided that this challenge is actually making my hat creations much more boring and hopefully I can come up with something better down the road. Anyway, here goes.

Wave of Honey Stitch

Wave of Honey Stitch

This is actually a hat that I made a couple of years ago in blue. Heather wore it and wore it. She took it to Peru on her Scouting volunteer trip. It was covered in plaster dust. Alan accidentally washed it with a load of laundry…you can guess the results. I remade it this week in off white because it actually fit the challenge criteria. Knit-2 Purl-2 ribbing from Chapter 3, Ribbings and Wave of Honey Stitch from Chapter 12, Cable-Stitch Patterns.

decreases view

decreases view

Ripple Rib Stitch

Ripple Rib Stitch

I went to an all day testing session for a job last week. I had looked up the stitch and taken a photo of the page of the book on my phone so I could make the hat on the bus and in the downtimes. Unfortunately, I left the phone happily charging away at home, so I had to recreate the stitch from memory. This is why I have zigged instead of zagged and I have actually started the hat half way through the stitch instructions, but since I was at the decreases by the time I got home, I said stuff it, I am not starting again.

Decreases view

Decreases view

Barbara Walker update

As I mentioned a week or so ago I am, at least for now, embarking on a project to use the stitches in Barbara Walkers A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Here are this week’s entries.

My friend Sarah Hood gave me some doll house furniture last weekend, so I got out my skinny yarns and needles and started making some stuff.

To be accessorized....

To be accessorized….


I made a couple of bedspreads from some laceweight alpaca I had kicking around. I used 2 mm needles for the most part, but I had to go down to 1.5 mm needles for the ruched bands on the first one of them. This uses the first stich in Chapter 7 ‘Fancy Texture Patterns’. I crocheted an edging round it before blocking to try to make the stockinette stitch behave itself.
purl side

purl side


knit side

knit side


The second bedspread uses the Double Broken Rib stitch from Chapter 2 ‘Simple Knit-Purl Combinations. I did some garter stitch top, bottom and edges to offset the stitch a little bit.
knit side

knit side

"wrong side"
I also made a hat (surprise, surprise) using Twisted Knit-One Purl One Ribbing from Chapter 7 Ribbings and Broken Rib stitch from Chapter 2 Simple Knit-Purl Combinations. I used Patons Classic Wool (for a change–ha, ha) and cast on 100 stitches using 4.5mm needles. I used 6 points of decrease (sl 1, k2 tog, psso), but only decreased in 5 places the first time to get down to the right number of stitches.
twisted and broken rib watchcap

twisted and mistake rib watchcap

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

wheatsheaves

(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.