Stephanie Pearl McPhee s deepest wish is that everyone understand that knitting is at least as fun as baseball and way cooler than the evil looped path of crochet Every project, from a misshapen hat to the most magnificent sweater, holds a story Yarn Harlot tells all those stories with humor, insight, and sympathy for the obsessedOvermillion people in America knit The average knitter spends betweenand , a year on yarn, patterns, needles, and books No longer just a fad or a hobby, knitting has advanced to a lifestyle Yarn Harlot The Secret Life of a Knitter moves beyond instructions and patterns into the purest elements of knitting obsession, frustration, reflection, and fun Stephanie Pearl McPhee s humorous and poignant essays find humor in knitting an enormous afghan that requires a whoppingballs of wool, having a husband with sizefeet who loves to wear hand knit socks, and earns her yarn harlot title with her love of any new yarn she ll quickly drop an old project for the fresh saucy look of a new interesting yarnSince the upsurge in knitting began in the early s, the number of women underwho knit has doubled Knitting is no longer a hobby for just grandmothers women and men of all ages are embracing this art Describing its allure is best left to Stephanie who explains It is a well known fact that knitting is a sparkling form of entertainment, as spiritual as yoga, as relaxing as a massage, and as funny as Erma Bombeck trapped in a PTA meeting


10 thoughts on “Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter

  1. Dawn Dawn says:

    Honestly, I laughed out loud, I cried silently, I saw myself on nearly every page and I can barely knit This is a book about addictions the healthy ones that all of us find ourselves tangled up with at some point in our lives, and we find that we are suddenly obsessive compulsive about something and just don t know how to put it down Since there seems to be no cure, we do our best to make the activity meaningful not only for ourselves, but also for our families and others around us I fee Honestly, I laughed out loud, I cried silently, I saw myself on nearly every page and I can barely knit This is a book about addictions the healthy ones that all of us find ourselves tangled up with at some point in our lives, and we find that we are suddenly obsessive compulsive about something and just don t know how to put it down Since there seems to be no cure, we do our best to make the activity meaningful not only for ourselves, but also for our families and others around us I feel that the author captured and exposed that part of the human psyche that finds fulfillment and happiness when we are engaged in something we love to do, and when one does not have any such thing, there is a hole within that longs to be filled Hats knitted ones, of course off to Stephanie McPhee


  2. JoAnna Spring JoAnna Spring says:

    Knitting humor.Seriously It is fun stuff Nearly as fun as blocking your first lace shawl or rolling around naked in your yarn stash.Stephanie Pearl McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot, is a knitter, a mum she s Canadian , a doula, the inventor of the word kinnearing and a super fun writer I ve been reading her blog for a few months and finally picked up one of her books Yarn Harlot The Secret Life of a Knitter is described as a sort of David Sedaris like take on knitting, but it is really so m Knitting humor.Seriously It is fun stuff Nearly as fun as blocking your first lace shawl or rolling around naked in your yarn stash.Stephanie Pearl McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot, is a knitter, a mum she s Canadian , a doula, the inventor of the word kinnearing and a super fun writer I ve been reading her blog for a few months and finally picked up one of her books Yarn Harlot The Secret Life of a Knitter is described as a sort of David Sedaris like take on knitting, but it is really so much better Yeah, her stories are a mix of fun and touching and mostly involve hilarity at her own expense, but Pearl McPhee seemshonest andwell she talks about yarn and knitting a lot which I can relate to much easier than say, being a gay guy in France.Also, to limit the Harlot s writing to a take on knitting is too narrow She isn t a knitter who writes She is a strong, self aware, interesting woman who knows how to tell a good story and also spends a lot of time knitting.In case you didn t know, by the way, knitting is, like REALLY cool right now There has been a huge resurgence of fun young people learning to knit and Pearl McPhee has been very much involved The Secret Life of a Knitter is a collection of tales of her 30 something years as a knitter.She gets it She knows why people knit and she tells a good story that knitters can related tothe insanity of finishing knitted gifts hours before Christmas Day, running out of discontinued yarn with half a sleeve left to knit on your first sweater, convincing friends that wool is God s gift to people and really not at all scratchy, and explaining to your spouse why that lost double pointed needle MUST be found even though it only cost 1 and there are a bazillionat the store When Pearl McPhee described the overwhelming joy in blocking her first lace shawl, I had to put on my first shawl and restrain myself from shouting at the book I know Isn t it amazing image error The Harlot s best stories evoke honest emotions felt by all people, even if they aren t cool enough to be knitters like the comforting an ill friend or reveling in the success of a new skill and conquering a challenging project I loved her description of her nana a hard woman to love She doesn t sugarcoat her childhood but relates honestly that, even though we love our family, sometimes it s darn hard to figure out why or how.She s also very funny On her teenage daughter who declared that knitting was boring and that she didn t want to do it I fear for her future I really do If knitting is boring then what s it going to take to hold her interest Hitchhiking Spearheading a revolution Dropping acid Do kids still drop acid That s something I should probably find out, now that my very own flesh and blood is talking about not knitting It s a slippery slope, I tell you First you tell your mother that knitting is boring and next something horrible has happened, like drug addiction, not folding your laundry, or God forbid declaring wool is itchy Mostly I enjoy Pearl McPhee because we share the same passion She gets geeky over the same little things that I love about knitting heels in socks that miracle, the cunning three dimensional heel , capturing bits of your life in a project I know it looks just like a hat, but really, it s four hours at the hospital, six hours on the bus, two hours alone at four in the morning when I couldn t sleep because I tend to worry , and the wonder of wool.The world has come a long way, and astonishing and intriguing machines arrive every day, but there is still not a machine on this earth that will shear a sheep Every ball of wool starts with some man or woman somewhere in the worldholding fast to a pissed off sheep while cutting its fleece free Every ball of wool you and I have ever knit, all the balls of wool in the world in every country in the whole history of the world thus far, came from the sweat and grit of a person wrestling a hot, dirty, furious sheep And now that wool is on my and the Yarn Harlot s feet Very cool


  3. Nicky Nicky says:

    I crochet I already have a yarn stash which is defying the laws of physics, and making my housemates a little nervous I ve taught my best friend to crochet, and one of my housemates is in the process of learning We re incredibly proud of a very, very long row of chain stitches, which are going to become eventually a scarf for my teddy bear My girlfriend knits I own a full length replica of the scarf Tom Baker wore as the Eighth Doctor, on Doctor Who, knitted for me by her I have a k I crochet I already have a yarn stash which is defying the laws of physics, and making my housemates a little nervous I ve taught my best friend to crochet, and one of my housemates is in the process of learning We re incredibly proud of a very, very long row of chain stitches, which are going to become eventually a scarf for my teddy bear My girlfriend knits I own a full length replica of the scarf Tom Baker wore as the Eighth Doctor, on Doctor Who, knitted for me by her I have a knitted Clanger, an owl with a graduation hat, an elephant, sheep, a host of little aliensIt s fair to say that I think I understand Stephanie Pearl McPhee a little bit IT happened to me when crocheting Christmas presents this year I ve continued crocheting a gift at the dinner table at a friend s birthday, with my housemate providing a screen in the form of a menu, to get it finished in time I woke up at five AM on Christmas Day to frantically complete my sister s present, did just one extra , and then refused to let people go downstairs and open presents until I was done Possibly the most restful Christmas morning my parents have ever had, but my little sister for all her eighteen years was wild with impatience.Suffice it to say that I found myself in this aside from the pointed comments about crochet, and I m just going to take the higher ground here and avoid responding, as a crocheter should and laughed quite a lot It s sort of fluffy hah , but fun for those Thursday mornings when you don t have class


  4. Laura Laura says:

    Stephanie Pearl McPhee is an awesome writer who can take an ordinary story and make it sound like the funniest knitting story you have ever read I love reading her books because they cause side splitting laughter and that my friends, is a good thing.


  5. Joanne Joanne says:

    This book was such fun, full of situations us knitters can relate to The last few chapters did scrape the barrel a bit but I will definitely be looking to read her other books if I get the chance.


  6. leighcia leighcia says:

    I skimmed through this book fairly quickly since it is a bit of a guilty light reading for me For a non knitter this book would probably make no sense whatsoever For someone who has is slowly being pulled into the lure of the craft, the book is slightly amusing and mildly entertaining, reading like a series of blog entries It consists of short stories and essays, ranging from falling in love with lace knitting, the excruciating pains of knitting gifts for Christmas, and the infamous yarn stas I skimmed through this book fairly quickly since it is a bit of a guilty light reading for me For a non knitter this book would probably make no sense whatsoever For someone who has is slowly being pulled into the lure of the craft, the book is slightly amusing and mildly entertaining, reading like a series of blog entries It consists of short stories and essays, ranging from falling in love with lace knitting, the excruciating pains of knitting gifts for Christmas, and the infamous yarn stash I guess theyou ve knit, theyou can relate to these stories and theyou are able to laugh when you feel the same way Other than that, there isn t that much solid substance to the book It s chatty, but doesn t offer any theoretical, abstract or conceptual ideas about knitting That being said, Stephanie does make an interesting observation that people tend to think that knitting is hard A brain surgeon once commented to her that she would never be able to do anything as complicated as that Knitting is actually very easy two types of stitches and lots of practices is really all you need Everyone knew how to knit back in the day and cook for that matter , but somehow these historical necessities have become superfluous hobbies, that we need to have talent in order to practice them


  7. Jamie Jamie says:

    I had to stop reading this book after the chapter in which she describes trying to convince her wool allergic friend that her allergy is all in her head by knitting several items for her out of various types of wool I m sure there are some creative liberties taken for the sake of humor with this story as well as most of the other stories in this book, but I really didn t find it funny I think that a story about tricking your wool allergic friend into trying out wool socks you knitted for them I had to stop reading this book after the chapter in which she describes trying to convince her wool allergic friend that her allergy is all in her head by knitting several items for her out of various types of wool I m sure there are some creative liberties taken for the sake of humor with this story as well as most of the other stories in this book, but I really didn t find it funny I think that a story about tricking your wool allergic friend into trying out wool socks you knitted for them by lying and saying they re cotton is just lousy Sorry Just knit them non wool socks then I also did not find the stories about stashing yarn all over the house in places like coat sleeves and inside the piano to be funny either, although I m sure I was supposed to and again I m sure some creative liberties and exaggerations were made in order to get a laugh Still don t find it amusing I also don t find the references to blowing the budget or again probably humorous exaggerated allusions to secretly spending money on yarn that nobody has to know about funny either I guess I don t think it s funny to joke about behaving in certain ways that seem really inconsiderate to the other people you live with


  8. Jane Stewart Jane Stewart says:

    2 stars Readers who knit might enjoy this It s not for me.I did not laugh There are 37 chapters Each one is like an amusing personal essay For example First chapter is the author s attempt to knit a large afghan The project is too big, and she has trouble staying motivated Second chapter is the author and a friend each knitting a sweater Problems include running out of yarn and fixing the size Third chapter is about the author knitting a cardigan for herself I only read those three 2 stars Readers who knit might enjoy this It s not for me.I did not laugh There are 37 chapters Each one is like an amusing personal essay For example First chapter is the author s attempt to knit a large afghan The project is too big, and she has trouble staying motivated Second chapter is the author and a friend each knitting a sweater Problems include running out of yarn and fixing the size Third chapter is about the author knitting a cardigan for herself I only read those three chapters and stopped.I had wanted to buy her first book, and I thought this was it but it wasn t She published two books in the same year, but At Knits End was published five months before Yarn Harlot Some reviewers said At Knits End was better than Yarn Harlot It s told in 1st person which may be appropriate for personal essays, but I prefer not to read 1st person.DATA Narrative mode 1st person Story length 219 pages Swearing language none in the parts I read Sexual content none in the parts I read Setting current day Copyright 2005 Genre humorous essays, knitting


  9. Patricia Patricia says:

    Staphanie spins a good yarn. get it about the secret lives of knitters.their life of stash concealmet.., their unrealistic goal setting. their frustrationa with deisgners.their wool fetishs I laughed out loud many times as I recognized my habits of my friends and my own off and on again relationship with this most wonderful craft.I had two favorite chapters One is very serious as she is requested to take on the stash of a very dear friend w Staphanie spins a good yarn. get it about the secret lives of knitters.their life of stash concealmet.., their unrealistic goal setting. their frustrationa with deisgners.their wool fetishs I laughed out loud many times as I recognized my habits of my friends and my own off and on again relationship with this most wonderful craft.I had two favorite chapters One is very serious as she is requested to take on the stash of a very dear friend who can no longer knit due illness The other was telling the difference between knitters and crocheters..that other breed can work very, very fast and thus to support their habit they turn to less expensive materials made from petrochemicals.and as a result produce such inane obnjects as toilet seat covers


  10. Alesha Hubbell Alesha Hubbell says:

    I love reading about knitting It is so inspiring to me as a fiber artist Plus this book is very funny and relatable to knitters and non knitters alike There were also some very poignant and touching moments where I teared up a bit, which of course just inspiredkniiting.