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A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way Through Love, Loss, and Laughter

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,412 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
In these 20 heartfelt essays, Rachael Herron celebrated romance novelist by day, 911 dispatcher by night, and founder of the hugely popular blog shows how when life unravels there s always a way to knit it back together again, many times into something even better. Honest, funny, and full of warmth, Herron s tales, each inspired by something she knit or somet ...more
ebook, 144 pages
Published July 22nd 2011 by Chronicle Books (CA)
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My goodness, what a sweet surprise this book was. What I expected was a book of musings on knitting, which I would've enjoyed, but probably not found memorable. What I got was a selection of poignant, funny, and well-written essays on Ms. Herron's life - with the role that her particular hobby has played in it. Make no mistake, this would be a brilliant book even without the uniting thread of stitchcraft. But through her knitting, Rachel Herron shows us how a hobby can bring incredibly disparate ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
I came across Rachael Herron's essays by chance. I was waiting for my husband at our local Wellness Center, and I picked up a copy of a "woman's magazine" sitting in the lounge. (I honestly don't remember which magazine it was.) An article on knitting caught my eye. I read it and wrote down the author's name and blog site. When I got home, I read her blog "" and went to Amazon to buy the book from which her essay was extracted. I was not disappointed. Her collection of essays about ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read Rachael Herron in 2004 when I was doing a search (pre-Ravelry) for "ChicKami" - a pattern for a knitted tank top (she's knit a LOT of them). Rachael's blog, Yarnagogo, became one of a handful of knitting blogs I was reading regularly while learning how to knit. Admittedly, I often skipped the posts with no knitting content, but when I did take the time to read them, I was always affected in some way. In the past few years, my blog reading has dropped, but I've been reading real book ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Tevilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book of essays. I am not sure if you need to be a knitter to fully appreciate these writings but it helps. Each essay was wonderful, full of heart and soul.

I have been reading Rachael's blog for years, and knew some but not all of many of the stories. I knew about Lala, and watched the relationship grow on the blog, little Mama and the love and sadness when she died, the blanket that was sent to heal, and Digit. I don't know how many times I have read the post about Digit's return o
Jun 25, 2013 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, favorites
After reading Rachel Herron's essays I searched for her blog and read more. Tried to borrow her romances, especially HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG, but only found it on e-audio which I dislike. Haven't given up and I will read her fiction one day. I cried with this book as I read about her disbatch work and her co-worker and her mother's passing. I hugged Gracie, the tablet I was using as an ereader, as I read about her attempt to knit a wedding dress. I enjoyed Rachel Herron's views and writing so mu ...more
Sarah Mackey
Dec 20, 2011 Sarah Mackey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I am unable to be unbiased about this book because (a) Rachael is my friend, and (b) it's a book of knitting essays by a sarcastic Bay Area-residing writing nerd, how could I NOT love it. But it's so much more than a book of knitting essays - saying this book is about knitting is like saying Friday Night Lights is about football. Knitting is just the structure behind the story. This is super readable, extremely well-written, and just all around delightful.
Feb 11, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Rachael. I've been reading her blog for years, tweet with her, and when I have had the chance to meet her in person, I just want to rent a big house where all the knitters can crash and hang out with her. I enjoy her fiction.

All that aside, I am grateful that she wrote A Life in Stitches. Rachael's blog is beloved for the authenticity of her voice. She shares the happy stuff (have you seen her playing the ukelele?) and the deeply sorrowful moments without making more or less of them than
Apr 24, 2015 Trisha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read. I don't know how to knit, but I do know how to crochet - easily taught to me by my very efficient mom. She is also learning to knit.....teaching herself. Maybe I'll learn that too one of these days.

I do love how fascinating Rachel Herron's life is. From the beginning, she experienced things I've never even thought. But I do love that, although it did focus on her life, it didn't stay on all the tough stuff. It really did focus on how knitting had come and go in her life
Mar 18, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. I enjoy reading essays by and about crafty people and the things they make. Especially when it's yarn-related crafts. But I have to say that I think it's time knitty people let hooky people come to the party. For all the books and all the blogs out there, you'd think the only people doing anything with yarn are knitters. I'm tired of crochet being treated like the red-headed step child of the yarn world. And I'm really tired of knitty people making fun of those of us who b ...more
Sep 12, 2015 Amina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, Rachael's simple way of marrying knitting and writing to tell us about some of her happy or sad experiences is great, sometimes you get lost in one of the essays and it looks like she's talking to you directly.. There have been good times, like when Digit (her cat)came home after four months, scary times when I wondered if he would make it, God know he reminds me of my own cat and bad times too, especially when her little mama passed away, I don't know how but I got to like thi ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words can not express how much I loved this book. There are very few books that I have read that have actually made me feel so much emotion as to actually laugh and cry (at the appropriate times). The author has such a way of making you feel everything she is going through right along with her. I felt like I was progressing through all of her knitting projects right beside her, even though I am nowhere near an experienced enough knitter. She made me want to knit more even though I didn't want to ...more
Sep 03, 2013 Zoom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, writing
I enjoyed this collection of essays very much. I love reading stuff written by people I know, and I know Rachael from her blog. I especially liked Blanket Stitch, because I'm in it (!!!), and the piece about Digit, Rachael's beloved cat, coming back home after he'd been gone for months. That story, which I followed on her blog several years ago, was monumentally touching and I cry like a baby whenever I go back and read it. (In fact, whenever I need a good cry but can't quite get started, I go d ...more
The Book Garden
Feb 20, 2016 The Book Garden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, autobiography
I was already enjoying this memoir, the author's writing style, the insights she shared about her life experiences, smiling and laughing with her one moment, then feeling her pain the next. I lost myself in all the intricate story-telling, but the surprise came at the end when she reveals her locality at a lighthouse - one which I have been to. Put a check mark next to my name that says "fan". She included the lighthouse in her next book.
Another nice touch is that she includes a pattern for kni
Dec 27, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A memoir and series of essays on knitting and life. I was looking for something light after a couple of emotionally demanding novels. While this book wasn't exactly light, its positive messages, hopefulness,and knitting tales was just what I needed. I've also enjoyed finding.the author'a knitting blog which has pictures of many of the projects referred to in the book. Great read, especially if you are a knitter.
Nov 17, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this from the library when I saw the digital copy available. I wasn't previous familiar with the author, but it involved knitting so how bad could it be? ;-) I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of essays and ended the book the book with an urge to seek out more of her work. Also? I kind of want a hot water bottle now.
Katrine Judd
I am a knitter but I believe people who are not knitters would enjoy this book. The author writes warm, honest, and entertaining essays about her life.
Rachael is a dear friend of mine and I cannot be in anyway objective when it comes to her writing--I just LOVE to read it.

That said, I just BAWLED my way through this book. So moving.
Jan 13, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Came across this book of essays by accident and am I ever glad that I did. This book is not so much about knitting as much as its about life. She teaches life lessons in a funny entertaining manner
Rhonda Kehrberg
Dec 26, 2016 Rhonda Kehrberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Rachael opened up her heart and beautifully written essays flowed out. I adored all the snippets of her life from funny and sweet to the truly heartbreaking.
Jun 18, 2016 Galina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not know what the power of this book comes from ,from words or feelings or practical advices or author's similarity with myself but it did urge me to write the next words necessarily.
The book is about woman whose love to knit is similar to obsession, who loves her cat and definitely turns reader's attention just to love simple things and...people.Doesn't look extraordinary but nonetheless.Firstly I wanted to sort the book as 'self-help' book, but re-decided.It is inspiring,warming ,making y
Apr 27, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, tbr-challenge
As seen on The Everyday Reader

A Life in Stitches was one of my picks for the 2013 TBR challenge, having been on my to-read pile for JUST over two years. I can’t remember how it first came to my attention – it was certainly on my to-read pile before I even realised that Rachael Herron was a fiction author, or the author of the yarnagogo blog.

The book is a series of essays on the writer’s life, with the connecting factor of her lifelong addiction to knitting. She reflects upon periods of her life
Aug 22, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved,loved,loved this book. Ok,I love to knit but this book is not so much about knitting as about a knitter. The author, Rachel Herron does weave in bits about knitting and things that she has knitted because after all, she is a knitter.

If you are a knitter, you can probably can look at a finished project and remember what was happening when you knitted it. That's what the author does and that's what I do too. I can look at a scarf and know that I knitted it sitting beside my husband's bed w
Mar 08, 2012 Blair rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
One of my favorite things while walking the dog at night is to peek into the houses that we pass. Nothing weird, just as we pass on the sidewalk in the dark, glancing in at the light-filled houses. You get a quick glimpse of a family at dinner or settling in after a long day. It's an interesting snippet of people's inner lives.

From this, I would think that reading memoirs would be a natural progression. In a memoir, I get a little more than a snippet and it's in the author's own words, instead o
Bonus points to the author for citing one of my favorite works, The Yellow Wall-Paper. What I don't understand is the obsession with hot water bottles (I'd never seen one until recently, and don't get all the knitting patterns for them). I also don't understand why she tried to make knitting seem so incredibly difficult; she just didn't understand the Cat Bordhi moebius cast-on! She just can't get kitchener! Zomg this craft is HARD! Bah. I'm no knitting wizard, but I can recognize when someone i ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Rosa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Life in Stitches is pleasant, and as comforting as you imagine the author’s knit cables to be. It’s a quick read, easy to pick up and put down because of its essay format, but the essays don’t linger much and stay with you. Perhaps they would have if I was one of her blog readers, but this was my first introduction to Herron, and she had a hard act to follow: I read this off and on at the same time I was reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, which I loved, and the two memoirs are quite di ...more
Aug 31, 2016 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Found this hanging out on my overdrive app that connects to my library. I have this thing for getting obscure books that nobody has ever heard of out there and every once in awhile I find a real jewel. This was definitely a jewel. How jealous I am of the author's childhood. Learning fun things like knitting and exploring the world. I got an abusive small town existence where I didn't know anything wonderful existed outside the Midwest until getting a hair up my ass to go to Australia by myself. ...more
May 28, 2016 Erinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 out of 5 stars!

I really enjoyed these essays that all tie into Rachael Herron’s knitting. They were all very enjoyable to read, and kept me wanting to read the next essay, keeping me up way past my bedtime.

I am giving this review 4 stars instead of 5, because at times in the stories, it didn’t hold my attention, and I can’t put a reason to it. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book.

It is amazing to me to hear about how people go from the bottom of the bottom, up to a happy lovely life of
Oct 16, 2012 Celia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: blog readers, biography lovers
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have been a follower of Rachael's blog for many years. I have wanted to read of one of Rachael's books for a long time. I finally got this book. I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. It is snippets from her life, and what she was knitting at the time.

I was fortunate to get the book on Kindle, so I highlighted some of my favorite quotes:

"...knitters, overall, are the nicest people in the world, and I mean that with all my heart." I really think so, too.

Apr 07, 2014 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 01, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book, and am definitely going to pick up Herron's fiction to read. The stories in this particular collection were centered on how knitting creates amazing things, both out of yarn and in life. I loved the visual of the author purchasing multiple enema kits solely for the hot water bottle; it reminded me that I need to pick one up for myself! There's even a pattern for a hot water bottle cozy at the end.

The relationship the author had with her mother was quite intere
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Rachael Herron is the bestselling author of the novelsThe Ones Who Matter Most, Splinters of Light,and Pack Up the Moon(Penguin), the five-book Cypress Hollow series, and the memoir, A Life in Stitches (Chronicle). She received her MFA in writing from Mills College, Oakland. She teaches writing extension workshopsat both UC Berkeley and Stanford and is a proud member of the NaNoWriMo Writer’s Boar ...more
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“Travel so far to feed a new obsession? Who would do that?” 0 likes
“And her story reminds me of this: The fact that I still have my person is just pure dumb luck.” 0 likes
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