Today I have a history lesson for you, I thought long and hard about calling it a history lesson, the very thought would usually have me glaze over in an instant. But, this is a knitting history lesson, it includes pretty yarn filled pictures and a retail opportunity.
Publishers and mail order company, Schoolhouse Press, are steeped with knitting history. Founded by Elizabeth Zimmermann in the 1950’s, primarily to supply hand-knitters with pure wool and circular needles which were hard to come by in those days. Later they produced television series’ and published books. They reprinted the ‘Knitting Treasuries’ by Barbara G Walker, making them available once again to those hungry for stitch pattern inspiration.
Schoolhouse Press are currently running auctions on behalf of Barbara G Walker during October and November, selling some of her original garments. For a fraction of the price you would pay for a high street designer sweater, you could own your own piece of knitting history!
BGW23 – Black & Metallic Mosaic Pullover
“Barbara G. Walker Hand-Knitted Items Auction
Here is a rare opportunity to own a piece of knitting history. Barbara G. Walker is auctioning scores of her original garments and a few accessories: sweaters, sweater/skirt sets, pants suits, table cloths, bags, tabards and shawls; each item is hand-knitted entirely by Barbara. It is thrilling to see the actual garments that were photographed in many of the first editions of her books and to recognize so many of BGW’s original stitch-pattern designs in various sweaters and skirts. All of the items exemplify Barbara Walker’s fastidious knitting and imaginative eye for technical detail. Items are tagged with their names and Barbara G. Walker’s signature.
Schoolhouse Press will run three consecutive auctions during October and November, each with approximately 25 items and lasting ten days. Bidding is proxy style similar to auctions held on other auction sites. Payment is through Paypal.” Schoolhouse press
Take a peek at these fabulous Look books for each auction, they contain some great examples of the Stitch patterns at work in Barbara’s designs:
BGW24- Beige Cable Pullover
Want to know more about Barbara G Walker and her treasuries?
In the 1960s and 1970s, Barbara produced several volumes of knitting stitch pattern designs which have become the must-have reference for every budding designer and knitting enthusiast. To my knowledge, the Treasuries are the most comprehensive set of Stitch Dictionaries ever produced.
Barbara also wrote books on mosaic knitting, for producing multicoloured designs while knitting only one colour per row, and constructing knitted garments from the top down rather than the usual bottom-up method used in Western knitting tradition.
I would not be without my Treasuries, particulary the third book which is charted! If you would like to buy a copy, you can buy them in the UK from iKnit. The budding designers amongst you will wonder how you managed without them.
Still hungry to learn more?
There a couple of resources that you should check out:
About the project:
“Every knitter knows that Barbara Walker’s Treasuries are indispensable. We use them constantly for designing, for help with a difficult pattern, and for pure inspiration. Sometimes, though, the mostly black-and-white and small pictures keep us from seeing the full potential of a pattern. That’s where the Walker Treasury Project comes in.
We are gathering high-quality, color photos of all the patterns in all the Treasury books (including Mosaic Knitting) and putting them on the internet as a visual aide to this wonderful collection. Help your fellow knitters by choosing a pattern from a particular book, working up a nice big swatch in a light-colored yarn, and posting it to our blog. We can help you label and categorize everything. Also, keep in mind that we’re not posting the pattern, just the picture!” The Walker Treasury Project
There is also a Ravelry group for knitters who are a part of the Walker Treasury Project!