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All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  1,625 Ratings  ·  205 Reviews

Inside All Wound Up, New York Times best-selling author and self-proclaimed Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee spins her third yarn on knitting for the 60 million knitters in North America who collectively spend $45 billion a year on knitting-related merchandise.

In her trademark style, McPhee talks about knitting, parenting, friendship, and--gasp!--even crocheting in essay

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Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published (first published September 21st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,868)
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Terre
Oct 30, 2011 Terre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I've read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee or her blog, so I had forgotten how jealous I am of her knitting skills. Having tucked my bitterness away, I proceeded on with her latest.

Having said that, I have to say I enjoyed this collection much more than her last effort because it was, gasp, a bit "darker" - and it's not as if she has gone serial yarn killer or anything - than her other works. In this volume her musings are more about the darker side of her personality: she is "All
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Ashley
Oct 29, 2011 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
First of all, this is not a book about knitting. It does have a lot of knitting references in it, so it is probably best appreciated by fellow knitters. But in reality the essays in this collection cover a lot of ground with humor and insight: parenting, social issues, mental health, chaos theory, problem solving, fair trade, craftsmanship, self esteem. The yarn harlot herself presents the term "adoxography," meaning "skilled writing about an unimportant subject," to describe her work, and that ...more
Neeuqdrazil
This is another classic Yarn Harlot book. I giggled, I got teary, I giggled some more, and I really just wanted to pick up my knitting at the end.

Comments after second read: This one stood up to a second reading just as well as most of Stephanie's books do. Laughs, giggles, reading bits out-loud (the bit where Denny gave Steph her knitting while they were waiting to walk down the aisle at Steph's wedding and told her to do a few rows to 'take the edge off' made me both howl with laughter and th
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Malia
I admire Stephanie Pearl-McPhee a lot, and I've been influenced a lot by her as a knitter. Sometimes her humor is too much of the same thing over and over--"Teenagers, AMIRITE?"--but I like her essays best when they're a little more quiet and contemplative, or when they pull from something abstract and make it experiential. There were a few of those kinds of essays in this book, mostly toward the end.
Kerry
Jun 06, 2012 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: everything
All Wound Up is a collection of essays about a variety of things. Of course, having being written by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a. The Yarn Harlot) there is lots of witty, funny things about yarn, knitting and knitters. Personal favorites include: Knit Junkie” in which the Harlot turns to the DSM-IV’s definition of addiction to see if she does have a knitting problem, “Personal Filters” in which she reveals all the wonderfully snarky things she would like to say in response to the questions non ...more
Danielle
Feb 14, 2013 Danielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot involves many an essay, covering the topics of yarn, work and family (among other things). As Pearl-McPhee's book is my first real exposure to yarn humour, I appreciated its novelty. If you have any experience as a knitter, then it's easy to identify with the tidbits picked out in her writing. Tolerating the ignorance of non-knitters, justifying your stash, delighting in Knit Night, working stubbornly at a hopeless project, and finding solace in those quiet "knit" m ...more
Kendra
Dec 28, 2011 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, knitting
For some reason knitting isn’t considered a cool activity by a lot of people. It is an activity that can define who you are, however. No one spells out the life of a knitter as well as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. All Wound Up is her newest book, and it is an absolute hoot. The essays had me giggling out loud and made family members wonder what exactly could be so funny about a knitting memoir. If you are a knitter (even a closet one who only knits on weekends), this is just about the most hilarious ...more
Paula  Phillips
May 05, 2014 Paula Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Knitting , once seen as a sport for the elderly like sitting ducks these women sat in row after row with their knitting needles and their balls of yarn , knitting jerseys for their grandchildren - jerseys that would only come out when they visited and socks that would be hidden by their designer shoes. Now Knitting has become a worldwide phenomenon where it's not just elderly sitting their with their knitting needles but people of all ages from children to the elderly - even Celebrities like mus ...more
Siobhan
I did enjoy this book but their were a few sections closer to the end that cast a change in my experience of the book. And after reading the two previous books I found a lot of things were repeated. Then there was the section about machine knitting which totally did not sit well with me. I went to a craft school which means I had my hand in all kinds of crafts and could only be justified in turning my nose up at something by having tried it and done it over and over again. Using terms like "real ...more
Kay
Mar 21, 2014 Kay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of blogs/essays regarding the author's life with and without knitting. I instantly identified with the first essay regarding people who approach the author in public while she is knitting and tell her they are "too busy" to knit while she knits and they do nothing. People who know me know that knitting or not the phrase "I'm so busy" instantly gets me agitated. This was such a perfect little story on that topic!

Even though the author is a very accomplished knitter ( or maybe because of
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Stephanie
Oct 26, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even knit and this book is hilarious. It probably helps that she came and did a reading where I work and I can hear the whole book in her voice (makes it even better because she is funny as hell in person). Great little lessons and everything between the pages
Nell
Aug 12, 2014 Nell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: domestic-arts
Her subject is knitting, but she's really a philosopher. The picture Pearl-McPhee paints of herself is of someone a bit ditzy, more than a little OCD (I mean, who gets twitchy if they forget to take their knitting to a restaurant?), but there's wisdom beneath the surface. Who hasn't way optimistically overestimated what she can accomplish in a given amount of time? Who hasn't bought something that represents the self she'd like to be, instead of the one she is? I love her struggles with gauge (" ...more
Suezq
Oct 20, 2014 Suezq rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thouroughly enjoyed this book. It is a compilation of short stories/essays that had me wiping away tears of laughter.
Jacqueline
I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and have since she was only posting on the knitting lists before she started publishing. While not quite as funny as Yarn Harlot The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee I still laughed out loud in public while reading this book. Maybe it's only marginally less good because the Yarn Harlot was so new and refreshing and different when it came out. In this one several of the essays were quieter and more reflective. There were a couple that I had to read out loud to my non knitting sister. My sister is a spinner so she ...more
Gretchen
Comfy bedtime reading, a chapter or two at a time (which is all I can fit in during the schoolyear). Pearl-McPhee is very good at her admittedly particular genre--knitting humor. For people who knit, she's got the attachment, the frustrations, and the obsessions nailed. It's also nice to read someone copping up to all the inevitable disappointments of projects gone wrong, particularly as Ravelry (wonderful resource though it is) tends toward perfect pictures of perfect projects on perfect bodies ...more
Deanna
Mar 23, 2012 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was laugh-out-loud hilarious in parts of the book -- I kept bothering my husband by bursting into raucous guffaws (don't you love the word "guffaw"?). However, it is a book of essays, and therefore not my usual cup of tea. I like stories. But each essay was, in itself, a little story, of some of the frustrations of life, family, self-esteem, etc. There was one near the end of the book that gave the clearest picture of grief I've every read. It was called "Not Knitting," and describes how th ...more
Katie
Sep 21, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
All Wound Up is a great collection of observations of life by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. She is hilarious and while you don't have to be a knitter to enjoy her tales, it certainly helps.

Tales range from how you really want to answer people when they ask you dumb questions about knitting, to what your husband does when the new washer won't fit down in the basement.

I felt her pain as she made and remade the same rows of a project time and time again. Almost completing a project, only to discover that
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Gwen
May 30, 2012 Gwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It happens to everyone who knits socks. You end the final row after a particularly stressful yet spectacular "stunt" (heel turn) and you're one stitch short of the number of stitches you were expecting. You count again and again but you can't make the row add up.

*Fast Forward* Watching the sock unravel in a reverse tide back into a ball of yarn nothingness/everythingness, I experienced an all time low ebb, that felt a lot like not breathing. I quit holding my breath and accepted the disaster fo
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Robin
Dec 27, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knitting
Stephanie has honed and tested her writing through her blog, The Yarn Harlot, and I am among her faithful readers. When I picked up the book, the first thing I did was scan the table of contents, hoping that a certain blog entry had made it into the book. And there it was, on page 50: A Little Demoralizing. The original blog entry was one of the funniest I’ve ever read, about her husband Joe's getting his truck stuck in the snow. (You can find the original blog entry here:
http://www.yarnharlot.c
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Virginia
I went to the Baltimore reading and booksigning for this book. That was great, because it was literally 5 minutes from where I live.

I really like memoirs, and I really like short stories, and I like reading the Yarn Harlot's blog, so I liked reading this book. I was a little disappointed that some of the stories were recognizable blog posts - I remembered reading them previously.

Many of the stories were more about life as a knitter/person with a giant stash of yarn than about knitting itself.
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J M Padoc
Apr 10, 2013 J M Padoc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my heavens, I have not laughed so hard in ages! Pearl-McPhee is knitting's Liz Lemon. She writes with humor and transparency and humility, and I wish that I could write about my life the way she writes about hers. Her story of starting ripping out a shawl a dozen times had me in tears of laughter, and her story about the phase in her life when she did not, could not knit had me in tears of sympathy. I could completely relate to her story of being unable to do that thing that is so very tied t ...more
Maggie
Jan 11, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a kindle download.

I was intrigued by the title and the cover of this book having recently took up knitting after a very,very long break. I read a couple of sample pages and it had me grinning away to myself.

Firstly it's not a book about knitting, Stephanie is a knitter but this book is full of short essays more or less about everyday life and happenings told with humour, with knitting thrown in.
Those with craft hobbies will be able to identify with the stories, i could particularly relat
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Cheryl
May 11, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Stephanie's books. She makes me realize that I am not alone and not everyone has it all together. I loved the story about restarting a project. I have been working on a simple shawl since January (completed the second half of it in a week). Sometimes our brains just don't work to follow a pattern. Great read. It made me smile
Carla
Oct 09, 2015 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's writing. She is absolutely hilarious. I read this little volume in 2 evenings, as I could hardly stand to put it down. Her wit on all things yarny and life in general, is the stuff of side-splitting laughter. If you need a laugh, or want to know about the life of a knit-a-holic, this book is for you!
Bonnie
Mar 10, 2016 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely laugh at books. Oh, I smile or fondly chuckle once or twice but not laugh. This book made me laugh. It is so real about the life of a knitter. There are the inane questions knitters get (Are real going to KNIT? In PUBLIC?) and the answers one could give as well as the ones one should give.
Susan
Dec 24, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I enjoyed the new essays very much. As with others' comments on her books, many times blog articles are very similar to the essays, although enjoyable to read again. There were many things that were repeated over and over between the essays, which if they were in different books wouldn't matter, but in one volume of essays seemed repetitious.
Alisa Krasnostein
Aug 18, 2012 Alisa Krasnostein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really sad to have finished up the final book of Pearl McPhee's that I had left to read. I think I must have been savouring it and holding out. I've scoured the web and then gotten annoyed that she didn't have the next one out yet - then I remembered, she doesn't answer to me!
This was the perfect tonic to a bit of reading fatigue. I read the essays one at a time - couple of pages - before bed and they were funny, and personal and intimate, and hit home more often than not. Sometimes you jus
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Laura
Dec 21, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knitting, essays, 2011
After a while (I've read all of the author's books and enjoy her blog too), the stories start blending together, and so this book didn't seem quite as shiny to me as her first collection, The Yarn Harlot. That one remains my favorite, perhaps because it was a new genre.

That said, this is another enjoyable collection of humorous essays about knitting and life. My favorite was the story about how she is a legendary mother in her neighborhood because of what happened one hot summer day. I had to r
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Cynthia Bower
This book is a total hoot. It is a laugh a minute. My only regret is wishing I had thought to write it. Kudos to the author. I'm ready to read more of her books. I keep calling my friends to read the funny parts.
Vicki
Jan 03, 2015 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lost one star purely because I had read a few too many of these stories before - I'm used to that as I've read everything on her blog but I'm sure at least 2 of these stories were in her other books. Other than that, a good read.
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Ravelry Knitters: All Wound Up - August Group Read 29 70 Sep 24, 2012 01:20PM  
  • The Knitter's Life List: To Do, To Know, To Explore, To Make
  • A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way through Love, Loss, and Laughter
  • The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn
  • Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too
  • Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac
  • Knit. Sock. Love.
  • Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere
  • It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons
  • Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics
  • Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits
  • The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns
  • Modern Top-Down Knitting: Sweaters, Dresses, Skirts & Accessories Inspired by the Techniques of Barbara G. Walker
  • Knit to Flatter: The Only Instructions You'll Ever Need to Knit Sweaters That Make You Look Good and Feel Great!
  • New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist
  • Sensational Knitted Socks
  • Knitted Lace of Estonia
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Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (better known as the Yarn Harlot) is a prolific knitter, writer and blogger known for her humorous but always insightful anecdotes and stories about knitting triumphs and tragedies.
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“100 years ago, buying something you could make was considered wasteful; now making something you could buy is considered wasteful. I am not convinced this is a step in the right direction.” 73 likes
“I think my personal minimum score for anything I'm thinking about doing--knitting or not--is about a seven on the interest scale. If something's scoring a five, like a movie, then I need to add at least two points of knitting to do it for me to be able to hang in.

If it's something gripping, like a conversation with a charming and entertaining friend, I may not need to add much knitting at all. If my friend scores a nine, I might only toss in a plain sock, with no patterning or anything, just round and round on autopilot while we visit. (I can only think of one thing I do with another person that really has no room to add any sort of knitting to, but let's not discuss it here.)”
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