"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


My Knitting History Part IV

Barbara G. Walker

The introduction of knitting magazines and books was a MAJOR life changing event for me. I knit shawls, sweaters, hats, and mittens by the yards. I seemed to have a natural gift for not just knitting, but creating too. I started designing my own ideas and knitting them.

The person who was the most inspirational to me at the time was Barbara G. Walker and her first two Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I found them in the local library my senior year of high school. Unfortunately, they were out of print so I could not purchase my own copies of these two fabulous books. I checked them out, and kept them checked out for well over a year by renewing every month. After graduation I actually got a part time job at the library, which made it a lot easier to renew. It was these two books that turned me into a serious knitting addict. It's mind-blowing to think that so many hundreds of patterns are varieties of just two fundamental stitches, the knit stitch and the purl stitch. I would spend hours just looking at the pictures and reading the patterns. They stimulated my creative juices to flowing like nothing else. Eventually, though, my boss insisted I return them so others could have a chance at them. Sigh.

That's when I wrote a letter to the publisher asking, yes even begging them, to PLEASE put them back into print. I must not have been the only one to do that because it was less than 2 months later that I was in my favorite book store and ran across them literally fresh and hot off the presses!

If you are of the nature and ability to get creative with knitting, I highly recommend Barbara's books. They contain patterns of every type of stitch you can imagine. We're talking lace, cables, purl and knit textures, colors, mosaics, ribs, etc etc all nicely organized in easy to find categories with pics of each pattern knitted up. She has even added 2 more volumes to the first two.

While surfing the web last night I found a really cool web site called The Walker Treasury Project. A group effort has been organized to knit larger swatches of every stitch pattern in the four volumes and publish color photos of them on this site. Although every stitch pattern is illustrated in the books, the photos are small, most in black and white, and in a lot of cases don't fully show the potential use of those patterns. Larger swatches can do that. Anyone willing to help can join the project. Info can be found on the web site on how to do so. I think I'll join. It sounds like fun, and I love to 'join' knitting things anyway.

Have a great day!

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