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Treasury of Knitting Patterns
Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns
A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns
Barbara G. Walker
published by: Schoolhouse Press
are many books containing knitting stitch patterns, but
the Treasury series by Barbara G. Walker is the most authoritative
and comprehensive. If you are a designer these volumes are
a must have. Even if you don’t think of yourself as
a designer get your hands on one of these books and simply
insert a stitch pattern into a basic sock pattern recipe
or cast on and knit a number of repeats until you have the
length of a scarf, or repeats of an edging until there is
enough to edge a pillowcase – voila – you are
Design inspiration can come from anywhere – colors,
nature, architecture, other crafts such quilts, etc.
But my best design inspiration comes from swatching and
understanding how various stitch patterns work. Of all the
stitch pattern books that I own (I have quite a few), I
find that after hours of flipping through all of them the
one I come back to more often than not is A Treasury
of Knitting Patterns (originally published in 1968,
reprinted in 1998 and currently published by Schoolhouse
This book is not as pretty (not in color) as more recent
books and contains no charts (unfortunately) but it does
have more than 550 of the most commonly used stitch patterns
broken down into categories:
Simple Knit-Purl Combinations, Ribbings, Color-Change Patterns,
Slip-Stitch Patterns, Twist Stitch Patterns, Fancy Texture
Patterns, Yarn-over Stitch Patterns, Eyelet Patterns, Lace,
Cables, and Cable Stitch Patterns. It also has a lot of
charming commentary by Ms. Walker sometimes giving the history
or alternate names for a particular stitch pattern, often
suggesting optimal uses for a particular pattern, and properties
of a pattern such as ‘looks good on the wrong side
too’ or ‘this pattern has a lot of lateral stretch’.
For example, of Lace Rib, page 48, she states, “Either
side of this delicate ribbing may be used as the right side,
though they are different in appearance.This pattern makes
a lovely finish on lace-stitch blouses or dresses”.
If you enjoy lace stitch patterns then you must also have
in your library A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
(1970, reprint 1985, Schoolhouse Press Edition 1998). This
book has 700 more Knit-Purl Combinations, Slip-Stitch Patterns,
Slip-Stitch Color Patterns, Mosaic Patterns, Fancy Color
Patterns, Fancy Texture Patterns, Twist-Stitch Patterns,
Cables, Cable-Stitch Patterns, Yarn-Over Patterns, Eyelets,
and last but certainly not least: Lace, Lace Panels and
Insertions, Borders and Edgings. I believe (but cannot find
substantiation) that this book is a compilation of The Craft
of Lace Knitting (1971), The Craft of Cable-stitch Knitting
(1971), and The Craft of Multi-color Knitting (1973).
It’s fun just to read Ms.Walker’s introductions
in the beginning of these two books. In the first book the
introduction gives some knitting history, discusses swatching,
and encourages the knitter not to “just knit something.
Knit something beautiful.” In the Second Treasury
she further explains why these pattern collections are a
great resource for even beginning knitters, gives details
about how to adapt the stitch patterns to circular knitting,
and provides a short discussion on continental style knitting.
There are also (generally) very clear written instructions
on performing various maneuvers such as P2 tog-b (purl two
together through the back loop) or LT (left twist).
Between these two books there are enough stitch patterns
to keep you busy for many years - but wait – there’s
Charted Knitting Designs, A Third Treasury of Knitting
Patterns (copyright 1972, reprint 1986 and 1998).
In this collection Barbara Walker included 350 charted stitch
patterns that she personally created (plus a few created
by others) together with [at that time] new techniques for
working the patterns that she also developed. Did you know
that Barbara Walker is known as the inventor of ssk (slip
slip knit) which most today use in place of skp (slip knit
pass)? This book also introduced a system of charting stitch
patterns and gives a very clear explanation of how to read
the charts. It is a bit confusing to utilize the charts
because they are not as pretty as the charts we use today
and it is necessary to flip back to the beginning pages
to find the symbol key.
A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns
(1973, republished in 2001 by Schoolhouse Press). This book
of nearly 200 charted patterns includes those from Sampler
Knitting (1973). Ms. Walker gives us her knitting
autobiography as the introduction of this book. Then the
book is broken down into chapters. In the first she discusses
and exhibits basic shapes created in garter stitch; next
are examples of mosaic, lace and cable sampler projects.
Finally she presents 82 ‘new’ stitch patterns
in ‘knit, purl and texture’, ‘cables and
traveling’, ‘lace’ and ‘uncharted
miscellany’. The charts in this book are much improved
over those in Third Treasury and particularly the cable
charts are very useful as well as easy to use.
Other knitting books written by Barbara G. Walker include:
Learn-to-Knit Afghan Book (1974); Mosaic Knitting
(1976), (revised 2006); and Knitting From the Top
Barbara G. Walker later discontinued knitting and went on
to write well-known books about feminism and mysticism.
For a complete list of books written by Barbara G. Walker
Together with Elizabeth Zimmerman, Barbara G. Walker is
the most well known and influential knitting author. There
are 8,340 matches if you search “Barbara Walker”
in the Ravelry Forums. In 2009, she was an honored guest
at Sock Summit. The story goes that when Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
(YarnHarlot) phoned and asked this most famous knitter to
attend she said “but no one will know who I am”!
by Robyn Diliberto
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