Free-Range Knitter

By STEPHANIE PEARL-MCPHEE

The readers of Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee’s blog, The Yarn Harlot, know that she’s not just writing about fiber; she is speaking universal truth. Regular readers appreciate McPhee’s self-deprecating humor and her honesty and willingness to share the intimate details of being a knitter, wife, and mom. Her dry tone sneaks up on the reader. Hers is the casual voice of an old friend pulling up a chair to the kitchen table, thanking you for that cup of coffee and relating the day’s events. She writes, “I definitely think more about knitting and knitters than most people, which I guess isn’t that hard, since I have recently confirmed an ugly truth that explains a great deal: Most people aren’t thinking about knitting or knitters at all.” She is our voice. The chapter “Glory Days” begins with a meditation on the joys of autumn — when the knitter’s art is displayed in full bloom in sweaters and scarves before jackets smother their beauty. The serenity of the beginning slowly rises into the crescendo of the furnace wars in Pearl-McPhee’s family, who have a delusion that it is possible to delay the long Canadian winter by not turning on the furnace. Just as she begins to waver, she observes, “As I watch my sixteen-year-old cross the living room in leg warmers, two sweaters, a scarf, a hat and mittens, all the product of my needles, I know the truth. I am not turning the furnace until ? somebody has to break the ice in the toilet. Put on a sweater.”