Barbara Walker’s sweaters
Monday October 14th 2013, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Life

My friend Gracie Larsen, the founder of the Lacy Knitters Guild and to whom at least one of the Interweave lace books is dedicated, and a member of our local knitting group, talking to me about eight years ago: “Alison! How’s your book coming along?!”

“It isn’t.”

“Well, that’s no good!” and she asked me what the holdup was. Then she handed me the names, emails, and phone numbers of some of her dear friends to get the ball rolling again for me.

Including, among others: Meg Swansen.

Barbara Walker.

One of the things that had been stumping me was that I wanted to use some of Ms. Walker’s lace patterns within my shawls but I had not a clue how to reach her to ask, nor whether she was even still alive; my mother had bought her stitch treasuries around 1970, and I had no idea how old she’d been then. My father had spent ten years researching and writing a book when I was a kid that someone else later pirated a great deal of, so copyright issues have always been near and dear to my heart–I wasn’t going to just appropriate those stitches.

I had finished my shawls. They had sat there.

Meg was as gracious as anyone who’s ever interacted with her in any way would know she would be. Barbara was deeply gratified at having been asked; she told me she sees knits with patterns she knows she created pop up in various places with no credit given.

My son was living not far from Barbara at the time, as it turned out, and we swapped hurricane stories a bit. I tried not to take too much of her time but was and am very grateful for her generosity and her goodwill towards me personally and the whole of the knitting community.

My husband came home from work that day and I was still just too stunned, trying to take it all in, who I’d been talking to that morning–wow! Grace’s gesture had been the knitter’s equivalent of, here, go talk to my friend the President, here’s his private line! Like it was the most natural thing in the world. And once online or on the phone with them, they made it feel like it was indeed. (Terry Martin then at Martingale, too.) Good people.

Why I’m mentioning all this. Barbara Walker is having an auction, via Schoolhouse Press, Meg Swansen’s company, of things she has knitted. Things she photographed to go into those stitch treasuries. You just have to go have a look: if you’re a knitter, this is part of our history. Pretty cool stuff.

6 Comments so far
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So wonderful to have friends and people in our lives who open windows to show us a new way to get to our goals! And really fulfilling to pay it forward (as you do every chance you get)!

Comment by Kelli King 10.15.13 @ 12:25 am

Friends are so valuable, just to talk to, visit with, lean on.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 10.15.13 @ 8:58 am

That’s what friends are for, at least in part.

Comment by Donald Meyer 10.15.13 @ 9:01 am

no matter what we do it’s always helpful to have a network — when you are fortunate, it will get you help like this! How amazing

Comment by bev 10.15.13 @ 10:09 am

What a warm, wonderful, knitted web of connections and friendship!

Comment by Channon 10.15.13 @ 6:05 pm

Oh to win the lottery this week and bid!
It is a wonderful thing just to see and learn, too, though.
I am a fan of Barbara Walker’s for both her anthropological and knitting books (knew her name for years before I started to knit) Wonderful woman!

Comment by Diana Troldahl 10.17.13 @ 8:44 am

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