Like a lot of knitters, I love books of knitting stitches. The combinations of knit and purl that people have come up with through the years are just staggering, and these books inspire you to move beyond plain garter and stockinette to add really fun and beautiful stitches to your work.
Probably the most important collection of stitch patterns ever is Barbara Walker's four-volume Treasury of Knitting Patterns series.
All the Patterns You Could Ever Need
These four books are the most comprehensive collection of knitting stitches out there. From the basic knit and purl combinations, ribbings, slip-stitch and color-change patterns of the first book to the cables, twists, borders and edges of the second, the textures, mosaics and charted patterns of the third and the fourth book, which combines even more patterns with her previously published Sampler Knitting, knitters of all skill levels will find much to love in these books.
Republished by Schoolhouse Press, these books are a treasure for knitters who like to play with different patterns and add their own touch to designs.
The patterns are arranged in general categories and include written or charted instructions and black and white pictures of each pattern.
Patterns are derived from a variety of sources, including some of Walker's own designsparticularly in the third and fourth books. Many of the patterns have a few lines about where the pattern came from or what it is useful for, which only improves your knitting education.
I could go on and on about how wonderful and indispensable these books are, but there's really no point in saying any more than you will be glad you spent the money to get one or all of these books. You will refer to them over and over again in your knitting career.
A Great Learning Tool
No matter how experienced you eventually become at knitting, you will continue to use these books. In fact, you might even use them more as you grow as a knitter because you will be less afraid to alter patterns and try out your own designs.
For new knitters or those who would just like to learn more about knitting, these books not only provide great inspiration for new designs for projects, they also are a great learning tool.
Pick a pattern, cast on some stitches and make a swatch using the pattern. Even if you never end up using it in a design, you will have learned something. Save these swatches in plastic food storage bags along with a copy of the pattern used, and you'll have a quick, at-a-glance reference for the stitch patterns in your repertoire.
The books also provide good information on topics such as making cables, designing fisherman's sweaters, reading charts, adapting patterns for circular knitting and much more.
Making the Best Even Better
One of the biggestheck, one of the onlycomplaints knitters have about the treasury books is that the pictures are somewhat small and they are all in black and white.
Thanks to the Internet that is slowly changing. The Walker Treasury blog aims to become a collection of color swatches of all of the patterns from all of the books.
Of course the patterns themselves are not posted on the site, but you can see much more clearly what the patterns are going to look like here and then run to your book and figure out how to make the pattern for yourself.
You can also contact the moderators and volunteer to knit swatches yourself.
Knit Something Beautiful
In the introduction to the first treasury, Walker explains that her pattern collections encourage knitters to discover the wide world of knitting and make beautiful creations.
"To learn the techniques of pattern stitches in not only exciting, but it is to learn also that knitting can be almost anything, from the most cobwebby lace to the sturdiest blankets," she writes. "All sorts of fabrics are possible all are charming. Each one has its own special quality that can turn your garment into a real creationyour own creation."
With the help of these books you can discover all the different creative possibilities and you will find it much easier and more fun to, as Walker says, not "just knit somethingknit something beautiful!"