Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again

Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again

by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee


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This paperback edition of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's popular Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again reminds us of the joy we felt upon first encountering her hilarious and poignant collection of essays surrounding her favorite topics: knitting, knitters, and what happens when you get those two things anywhere near ordinary people.

For the 60 million knitters in America, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot) shares stories of knitting horrors and triumphs, knitting successes and defeats, but, mostly, stories about the human condition that ring true for everyone--especially if you happen to have a rather large amount of yarn in your house.

Funny, unique, and gleeful in her obsession, Pearl-McPhee speaks to knitters of all skill levels in this delightful celebration of craft and creativity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780740769467
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Edition description: Original
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

 Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the author of several books and three collections of essays: Yarn Harlot, Free-Range Knitter, and All Wound Up. (Two of those are New York Times best sellers, which both Stephanie and her mum are really proud of.) She maintains a popular virtual home at, and a less organized (and popular) actual home in Toronto, Canada. She's a mother of three, a wife of one, can drive a standard, and has owned two cats in a row that don't care much for her.

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Free-Range Knitter 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
CheapAndLazy More than 1 year ago
The book is a sweet treasure about knitters and the ways in which knitting can touch our lives and test our mettle. Perhaps a little less humorous and more poignant than her previous books. Only a couple of the essays did nothing for me. Others did make me laugh or touch me in other ways. I am a fan and regular reader of her blog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not a how-to-knit book. This is a book about life as seen through the eyes of someone who almost always has yarn in her hands. I was hooked in the second chapter when she described the "furnace wars" - a bragging rights contest about who waits the longest before turning on the furnace in the fall. Sounded like something my dad would do. This book is funny, touching, warm. I've purchased four copies to share with family and friends and they all love it. You won't regret reading this book - you can do it a chapter at a time or cuddle in for a nice long read. I'm so glad I got to meet Stephanie in this book. And I suspect you will too. And you might just find you have an urge to go out and buy some yarn.
Julia Sanders More than 1 year ago
There are things about this book I absolutely loved. It challenged some of my own thoughts and routines, not about knitting (I'm actually a crocheter, but I get it), but about humanity and society. I've noticed my own creative output comes in waves (crochet til my hands hurt, or until the yarn runs out; reading the next week; working on some other random project after that). There are other things I couldn't really get behind, (Really, Stephanie...motherhood is the ONLY career where you are trying to work yourself out of a job? Physicians, therapists, personal trainers, teachers...) On the whole, I enjoyed the book and plan on shipping it off to my mom for Christmas so she can laugh, reflect, and see a different side of herself through Stephanie's keen eye.
BeckyJG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You probably don't know this if you're not a knitter (or a bookseller), but the craft of knitting has a long tradition of literature. Not only how-to books, although there are certainly plenty of those. But even the most basic learn-to-knit book contains rumination on the craft, the art, the tradtion. Most knitting books don't merely tell you how to knit: they also examine why we knit and what it means. No silly, not what the knitted product means; there are only so many ways to dissect a muffler or a sweater or a pair of mittens. Rather, knitters love to chew over what it means that we knit, the near-universality of the craft (Do you know how many cultures make garments by weaving threads together with the use of two sticks? Do you know how long humanity has been clothing itself in this manner? How's this for an answer: a way, way lot of them and since the days of yore. So there.)And not only is knitting a near-universal among cultures, there is also something so, well, so zen about the whole thing. It's a meditative, be-here-now kind of activity, one which soothes and calms (when it's not inciting and infuriating, that is). No wonder knitters write so much about knitting!Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the creator--she would probably say the perpetrator--of the Yarn Harlot blog, is one of the brightest, most original voices currently writing about knitting. All of her books contain stories, anecdotes and light philosophical musings; her latest, Free-Range Knitter is no exception. The essays in this collection are grouped loosely by subject matter, gathered together into chapters with headings such as "Yarn Over: Stories of Challenging People, Projects, and Knitters," and "Cast Off: Stories of Ends, Giving Up, and Living to Knit Another Day." Pearl-McPhee is at her best and funniest when telling stories of her own failures. Sweaters with arms long enough to make a straitjacket, mufflers that are 6 inches wide at one end and 12 at the other, hats that start life as a ski cap and end as a three foot long stocking cap because the she didn't know when to finish. She's also wonderful when giving knitting instruction--the one thing missing from this collection; her patterns are simple, easy-to-follow, and--of course--hilarious.Definitely recommended for knitters...and who knows, if you're not a knitter this collection might make you want to pick up needles and start.
hermit_9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best things about Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is that she is naturally funny. She can make a broken dishwasher something you are willing to read pages and pages about. Because of this, I encourage anyone who needs to be cheered up or encouraged about the state of humanity to pick up one of her books, including her latest, Free Range Knitter. Yes, her books are about knitting, but you don't have to be a knitter, or even to understand knitting terminology and techniques, to get a kick out of this book. Pearl-McPhee is so human—she has the same troubles and issues that we all do, but she manages to look at them in unique ways, that at the same time provide insight and inspiration to anyone. Any book that can make the debate on whether knitting or golf is more popular seem riveting is worth reading, and more important—worth giving to any knitter or lover of humor as a gift.
pennyshima on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you read Stephanie's blog regularly you will be familiar with the writing contained within these pages. That's ok. I find that I curl up differently with her frank, clear, and hilarious prose when it's in book form, than when I read it off my computer screen. I've enjoyed all of her books and this one was no exception. As always I wish there were more. I am always sad when I finish the last page and then need to wait for her next blog post to read more. (I received this book as part of the ER program and just took my sweet time getting around to posting a "review" here)
Marlyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the Yarn Harlot's latest collection of essays from Library Thing.What a charming little book. It contains things like a letter to the designer of a sweater pattern that just doesn't work, emails to a customer service representative from a yarn company, affectionate reminiscences of friends, relatives and acquatances who are knitters, and not-so-affectionate reminiscences of cheap acrylic yarn.I love Pearl-McPhee's writing. She's really good at it, and I admire and envy her so much. Until I read her descriptions (on her blog) of what she goes through on book tours.
apalone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy the Yarn Harlot's blog, you will enjoy this book. Her humor and her compassion show through in each story. Any knitter would enjoy reading her stories, but I believe any reader would love her take on "her obsession".
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Stephanie in full flight, each chapter has a few sections and there are several descriptions of how other people knit and the why of their knitting along with some descriptions of juggling motherhood and knitting. The stories are quite short and filled with the usual Yarn Harlot humour. There are moments in it where you go "yes that explains stuff" but ultimately it's a book that preaches to the choir. If you're a knitter you'll understand, if not you'll really not get this.
kristinmm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent writing, as always from the Yarn Harlot. This book is about knitters and not the act of knitting itself. Each of the glimpses into the author's life are completely relatable and many are laugh out loud funny. If you're familiar with her blog and previous books, expect more of the same intuition.
hjdong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The last line of the introduction sums up this book of essays: ""This book, though it appears to be about knitting, is actually about knitters."Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot, whirls between laugh out loud funny and endearing page by page, essay by essay. From the first essay, "Annabelle," "fast moving, dirty, bright, thrill seeking, and loud," the Yarn Harlot gained my affection and zeal, as she described my own son, positively, and also an unlikely, sometimes knitter. As you might suspect, my favorite essays in the book are those where she touches on parenting. However, the only common factor between the essays, as title suggests, are knitters.If you are a regular reader of her blog, you might recognize some of the essays. I did, but I still enjoyed them the second time around. If you are a regular knitter, you might recognize yourself in some of the essays. I did.
mlloyd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you¿re looking for a knitting book with splashy color photographs, patterns, and tips and techniques, this isn¿t it. If you¿re looking for a knitting book with wry comments, humor, and passion about knitting, then you¿ve found it. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee¿s latest book of knitting philosophy, cleverly disguised as essays, includes letters to designers, an increasingly terse exchange of letters to a yarn manufacture McPhee is convinced is holding back on that last skein of yarn she needs to finish a sweater, a knitting in public adventure which involves a skein of yarn riding on a elevator, a list of ten knitting tragedies as well as a list of ten ways to make a knitter love you more, and finding comfort by fondling merino yarn. This book is funny, poignant, thought provoking, and ends far, far too quickly. It¿s a fun read and would make a great gift for a new knitter.
JayQueue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very fortunate to receive Free Ranger Knitter as my very first Early Reviewer book. As Stephanie Pearl-McPhee writes, it is really not a knitting book, so much as a book about a knitter and those she loves. The situations they find themselves in, and how knitting has kept them together and warm, are cleverly and humorously described by the author. The essays are alternate between touching accounts, funny interludes and glimpses into the author¿s philosophy on parenting and life in general. I loved it, and my 10-year-old son enjoyed the essays I read aloud to him, especially ¿Glory Days.¿ He might not be knitting, but he found Pearl-McPhee¿s use of language very entertaining and some of the situations laugh-out-loud.
zquilts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very fortunate to have snagged a copy of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it! If you are familiar with Ms Pear-McPhees writing style thatn this book will be right up your alley. Witty, funny, relaxing - just like you were sitting in a living room knitting together. Another fun book from one of America's best and funniest knitters - this book's another winner!
Justy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Yarn Harlot strikes again! I loved this book, it was a real page turner. This book isn't so much about knitting but is a collection of stories which show how knitting affects knitters and those around them. I think one of my favourite stories is of a small child who was sitting knitting and looking angelic. Of course this was only a reprieve because normally this child would be looking for something creative to do, like painting a mural on the walls or playing dress up with the dog. I loved seeing how knitting helped her while baby sitting this child and had helped her raise her own daughter who had similar traits as a child. It is the personal stories which make this book resonate with me. Makes me glad that I am a knitter so that I was interested enough to start reading her blog, and later her books.
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very quick read, but that could be because it's a very engaging book. A book about knitting, I suspect written for knitters (or those trying to understand knitters), this was well written, engaging, and laugh-out-loud funny. And that's not a figure of speech - I actually snorted with barely repressed laughter a few times whilst reading this book, which can get you in trouble if people on the subway misinterpret your mirth. Perhaps not for everyone, I really loved this book and now want to see if Pearl-McPhee has written more.
deety on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is more like "Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter" than any of the other books that Pearl-McPhee has written since then.Sadly, I don't think it quite lives up to that one (which is one of my favorite knitting-related books). Some of the chapters are hilarious and thought-provoking. But I think she missed the mark in others, and there were even some that felt like obvious filler or retreads of previous material.
kcarmack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not just a book for knitters. It is a very funny, very sweet set of essays on the human experience of people who just happen to knit.These are stories for any cook who has ever tried to (unsuccessfully) make a recipe his own; for any mother who wants just five minutes to go to the bathroom alone; for any parent who watches their child growing up before their eyes.You don't need to know the difference between alpaca and acrylic to enjoy this book.
lsg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was one of the first in the field of "knitting humor", but she stands out even now that there is beginning to be a bit of a crowd. The only complaint I had with her book was the inability to put it down, which cost me several hours of sleep but left me laughing.
willac on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is one of the "old guard" knit bloggers, having gained quite a well deserved following over the years. Her writing is humorous, witty, and sometimes caustic, and this little book is the perfect size to tuck into a knitting bag to pull out at odd moments. The essays are about knitting, family, and life, and are very well written. Highly recommended.
rustyk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a much adored blogger, writer, and knitter, I'm obviously not the first person to point out how incredibly hilarious and clever her books are. But, damn, this woman is so funny and entertaining, I sat down and read this collection of essays in one sitting. Her gift as a wordsmith relates even the most mundane of topics in a way that has me snorting with laughter. This was a fun, quick read that highly recommend.
karinnekarinne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I give up. I dutifully read up to page 150 of "Free-Range Knitter" and just did not want to pick it up again. It's an ARC so I felt I should slog through to the end but I can't make myself do it.Pearl-McPhee's writing is fine -- words are put together nicely, and it's funny in spots, touching in others, but there's no SNAP, no connection; I am uninterested in this essay collection and reading it was like homework.The essays with "surprise endings" are predictable, the description of knitting styles is pretty at first but starts to get snoozy after a while, and the book overall seems to lack a spark.There are a couple of essays I DID like, but I think the best way to explain it is: reading "Free-Range Knitter" is like reading a blog. It's written well enough that I'd add it to my feed at first, but it's one I'd "mark as read" if I missed more than a couple of days, and after a couple of months, I'd unsubscribe.It's entirely possible people who do more than dabble in knitting might enjoy this one more, and it goes without saying that Yarn Harlot fans definitely would. on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick, light-hearted collection of anecdotes on what it means to be a knitter, and life lessons learned through knitting.
oddbird26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been knitting for nearly 10 years, and blogging for almost 2, and still enjoy hearing other people's takes on our life-consuming hobby. The Knitting Harlot was one of the first blogs I started following. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee still can chat about this topic with wit, humor and insight, all those good things :) If you enjoy reading the blog, odd are good that you will enjoy the books as well.A warning, though, if you are looking for a sit-down-and-read-straight-through book, this is not for you. I enjoyed it as a piece-meal reading book, similar to reading the blog. With that in mind, it's a good smile to have on the shelf.
tuckertribe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Free-Range Knitter is a humorous take on the life of a knitter. Now...many people may think that knitters are boring, aged, and sad. But in today's society knitters more often have wicked tattoos and believe in a decidedly liberal worldview. Stephanie has long entertained us with her witty travails as a knitter in her blog, The Yarn Harlot. Her previous published works have been deservedly well received. This book is no exception. How she can come up with more funny things to say about sweaters and blocking and about her family's reaction to her ever-growing stash of yarn, I do not know. But she does. AND she does it with aplomb and with a self-deprecating sense of true wit. It seems she will run out of original things to say about this subject soon. Until then, she has been a delightful compatriot for all those who knit.