Is there a knitter alive who does not owe a huge debt of gratitude to Barbara Walker? Her body of work spans half a century. Her stitch dictionaries are some of my most precious design tools. Her innovative thinking rivals Elizabeth Zimmerman’s. She created the mosaic technique of color work that only uses one color per row. She pioneered the resurgence of top-down knitting. She unvented the ssk! She is a living legend and a Goddess in the knitting universe. And she still has so much to teach us.
So we should not be quick to turn our faces away from her designs, right? But when was the last time you looked at a garment she designed? Let’s parse today’s Fabulous of Gawdawful offering.
I know your first impulse is going to be, “not in a million years,” but wait a minute. Let’s start at the bottom. I admit knitted pants are trying to most figure types. The way they cling. The way they bag. The way they get pill-ie and worn across the bum. Not so lovely. But look at this beautiful stitch work.
Now use your imagination. Boot toppers? Leg warmers? Leggings? Hmm. Not so terrible after all. Even the colorway works better if there is a little less of it and it’s applied to a contemporary style accessory.
And the top? Forget the hair style and matching reticule. Just look at the beautiful stitching.
Love the updated application of traditional Scandinavian colorwork across the shoulder and upper sleeve. Love the scaled red and gold body. Again, use your imagination. What if it were a tiny bit longer? Would you wear it with jeans? Or what if it were a tiny bit longer, with leggings, or tights and leg warmers? Probably.
And I have to say, I really love the modified set in 3/4 length sleeve.
Everyone uses the stitch dictionaries as templates for creative design. Could we use the original patterns in the same way?