What a treat! I bought the first 3 in the series (out of 4) from Elann for $35 each and am really happy that I did. These feel like complete compendiums. There are hundred and hundreds of stitches, cables, lace patterns and charts for motifs. Unlike the Harmony guides which have separate volumes (I think) for different stitch types, each of the Treasury guides contain plainer purl and knit stitches, slip stitch designs, two- colour stitch patterns, cable patterns, lace patterns and a few motifs. The volumes offer more and more of each of these and from what I can tell are exclusive of each other. If you can only buy one, I think the second book contains a greater number of stitch patterns.
The first two guides offer written out instructions only while the third one contains charts only. Note that I've seen criticism (somewhere) about her charts in the third book because they do not use standard abbreviations. Since I have never really used charts (I prefer the line by line instructions) this is not a problem for me as I would still need to use a "legend" whether standard or non-standard abbreviations were used.
The wonderful thing about these for me is that as my knitting skills evolve and my repertoire of basic patterns grows (like the yoked baby sweater and the cutom-fit raglan sweater, for instance) I can see myself going back to these books to find new and interesting stitch patterns and motifs to spruce up these basics. See my first try above. I used the seamless yoked baby sweater pattern and inserted the Madeira lace border from the first treasury of knitting. I found that the lace pattern was really well written out and easy to follow and am really pleased with the result.
Here are some of some stitch patterns from the three books that I think are representative (they're pictures I took of the pictures in the book so the quality is a little lacking but don't worry the actual pictures in the book are better!). Note that all the stitch patterns are photographed in these books albeit in black and white only. Colour would be nice, but the stitches are easy to see in B&W so this is not really a problem either.
Perhaps the best thing about these Barbara G. Walker books is that each stitch pattern includes a little note from her about what it might be used for, the stiffness (for instance) of the resulting fabric and whether they use up a lot of yardage. As a novice when it comes to designing knits, I find these advice tidbits really useful.
So all in all, I'm really happy I bought these (they are so inspiring) and will probably get the fourth one too. I give it a definate two needles up ;0)
Have a great weekend!