This book, written by Barbara G. Walker – an influential knitting expert, author and feminist – was first published in 1970 by Schoolhouse Press and has been in demand ever since. It is part of a series of four encyclopedic reference books, and it is my favorite of the series – which I just had to buy after flicking through one. Available at schoolhousepress, amazon and at norli. It is fittingly dedicated “To the further enrichment of a beloved craft”. In her introduction she writes, “Some of the patterns in the this book are contemporary originals…Other patterns are traditional…I have resurrected these from old, forgotten books and translated them into modern terminology…Still other patterns have come from other areas of the world…Like music, knitting truly is a universal language.”
To give you an idea of the tremendous asset it is I will list the chapters: Knit-Purl Combinations, Slip-Stitch Pattern, Slip-Stitch Color Patterns, Mosaic Patterns, Fancy Color Patterns, Fancy Texture Patterns, Twist-Stitch Patterns, Cables, Cable-Stitch Patterns, Yarn-Over Patterns, Eyelets, Lace, Lace Panels and Insertions, Borders and Edgings. 700 different stitch patterns to chose from, presented with black and white photos with written instructions, whether you design or want ideas to make your own sampler – testing out the different stitch patterns – whether it is going to be a scarf, baby blanket or bed spread.
You do not need to be an experienced knitter to enjoy and use it. An ideal way of learning to knit different stitch patterns and how to read patterns. The book contains a detailed description of terms and abbreviations, how to adapt patterns for circular knitting and a handy index. Each pattern will tell you how many to cast on to make 1 pattern repeat as well as it multiples so you can calculate to your own size. My copy is so full of post-it notes that I have now started using yarns in different color to mark my selection of patterns to test and use. I think Barbara G. Walker will approve.