Powell’s & Walker

On the way home from Oregon’s famed Multnomah Falls, Thor and I paid a visit to Portland’s also famed Powell’s City of Books (68,000 square feet of space containing over 1 million volumes).  Amazed (perhaps dazed would be a better word!), by its holdings, we agreed we’d go our separate ways in the bookstore and catch up later.  Of course I quickly found where all the fiber-related books lived (shelves and shelves of them!) and happily rooted around.

WalkerbookI bought Barbara G. Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs – the third in her four-volume series on pattern designs.  Over the years many knitters thought it strange that my extensive holding of fiber-related books did not include Walker’s well-known series of four.  The answer is simple:  Most of her designs are in the long-hand version of knitting patterns: row-by-row written instructions.  I prefer graphs and, at least to date, have had no desire to graph her written instructions.

So why now?  Because I saw some cable patterns I thought Thor might like on his birthday sweater (now post-birthday sweater).  As I sat in bed that evening pouring over the designs, I showed the section on cables to Thor.  He liked several: the 6-Rib Knot Cable 1 & 2 (p. 77), Double Knot Cable (p. 78), Loose Knit Cable (p. 78), and Enclosed Cable 1 & 2 (p. 81).  I will be knitting up swatches of these so he can pick the one he wants.

In the interim, I have Christmas gifts to knit for the grandchildren.  Rooting through my stash of yarn, I came across a rare find in my holdings: machine washable wool (Cascade Superwash).  Several 50 gram balls of sport weight in various colors – some of which granddaughter F and I dyed over the summer – perfect  for hats and gloves for the grandchildren!

fia_hat_xmas_2013Using granddaughter’s head measurements and Walker’s (faux) Miniature Smocking Stitch (p. 246) and taking advantage of a little bag of beads I found – vioila!  A hat for granddaughter F.

When I decreased to 12 stitches at the top and incorporating beads, I knit three 4-stitch icords, each ending with a loop of beads.

A pair of matching fingerless mittens will be ready soon.  Concerned that the four-stitch “smock” would create Gloves_fia_xmas2013too big a loop for a mitten (too easy to catch on a tree branch, tanbark, etc.), I decreased it to a two stitch “smock” stitch.

I thought it was prudent to be frugal with bead placement for granddaughter F’s mittens.  She’s an active child, and I didn’t want her mother to tell her to “mind your  mittens” as granddaughter F runs out to play.  🙂

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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6 Responses to Powell’s & Walker

  1. The pattern has to be REALLY interesting before I’ll bother doing what I consider someone else’s work. 🙂

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  2. Cute hat and mitts! I’m definitely a chart fiend myself, although I’ll certainly read longhand patterns if it’s an exciting enough pattern!

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  3. I am sure there are many equally fine books of knitting stitches. I’ve known about the BW books for years but never used them – only b/c I don’t want to use line-by-line instructions! 🙂

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  4. I wonder if it’s an individual learning style or merely the way the knitter first learned? But I’m with you. 🙂 >

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  5. kiwiyarns says:

    That is interesting about Barbara Walker’s books. They’re not so easily accessible here, and I haven’t got around to trying to find them overseas. I’m not a fan of written instructions at all – like you, I tend to have to chart them out before I can make sense of them. The Christmas knitting is looking very lovely.

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  6. I have that exact same BW book, but not the others, for the same reason. I love charted designs, but I get lost in the written out instructions. Hooray for charts!

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