Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again” as Want to Read:
Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  2,223 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
. . . a sort of David Sedaris-like take on knitting-laugh-out-loud funny most of the time and poignantly reflective when it's not cracking you up." --Library Journal on Yarn Harlot

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee returns to pen another hilarious and poignant collection of essays surrounding her favorite topics: knitting, knitters, and what happens when you get those two things anywh

Hardcover, 228 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published September 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Free-Range Knitter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Free-Range Knitter

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 22, 2012 SaraJane rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-read
Page 8 "It is my considered belief that the number one reason knitters knit is because they are so smart that they need knitting to make boring things interesting. Knitters are so compellingly clever that they simply can't tolerate boredom. It takes more to engage and entertain this kind of human, and they need an outlet or they get into trouble. Knitting probably prevents arson, prison, theft, and certainly mischief. I think knitters just can't watch TV without doing something else."

Page 22 "I
Aug 27, 2010 karenbee rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
I give up. I dutifully read through 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 sty
Nov 21, 2011 Lynn rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
This is another of those 99-cent deals I got on a whim. I used to knit quite a bit, but then I started a business and every spare second of my life was pretty much wiped out entirely. (And the only reason I read books now is as an act of rebellion and escape, somehow I can feel more noble about reading and can launch a better defense about why I'm not working armed with a book, instead of a ball of sock yarn.)

I have sorta of known about this writer/knitter for awhile now. Her first book came out
May 16, 2011 Kaitlyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: knitters
Shelves: knitting, 2011
Purchased because it was for sale for about $3 for Kindle the other day. Definitely worth the impulse buy. Cute, light, sweet, funny. Her books read much the same way as her 'blog and that's a good thing. I don't think that this was a strong as others of hers that I have read (perhaps just Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter) but I enjoyed particularly the story of her friend struggling with depression. (Or maybe "enjoyed" is not the word. I thought that and the story of her Aunt Helen wer ...more
Oct 21, 2015 MJ rated it it was amazing
I've read a few books--both fiction and nonfiction--on the topic of "sentimental knitting musings" and found that most of them didn't resonate with me at all. A lot of knitting memoirs are simply written by people I don't have a lot in common with, and it's hard to find common ground with various middle-aged white mothers who inherited knitting through some family legacy of grandmothers and whose yarn budgets and tastes differ vastly from my own.

But while Pearl-McPhee fits the exact description
Jan 11, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays, 2008, done, arc, owned, knitting
"I received this as an Early Reviewers copy. Free-Range Knitter is a collection of essays, split into seven parts as if it were a knitting project: casting on, knitting two together, yarn overs, left-leaning decreases, making one, continuing to knit even, and casting off. Each part begins with an essay about how a friend or family member knits, which then leads to deeper insights. Pearl-McPhee's trademark knitting humour is evident throughout the book, and some of the essays will be familiar to ...more
Oct 16, 2008 Donna rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
If you've read any of Pearl-Mcphee's other books, this one is most similar to Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. That's still my favorite of her books.

Some of the chapters in Free-Range Knitter are full of her great blend of humor and insight. Sadly, it feels like she missed the mark in others, and there were a few that felt like pure filler.

I didn't really care for the chapters where she talked about her friends and their knitting, because they mostly seemed like personal stories and re
Julie Davis
Jan 28, 2010 Julie Davis rated it liked it
#1 - 2010.

Picked up in a last-minute splurge before beginning my 2010 resolution of not buying new books (aside from book club requirements) for a year. Which makes it all the sweeter ...

An assortment of alternately interesting, insightful essays with goofy ones. I wound being largely unamused by the pieces clearly intended to amuse such as letters to a sweater and I was generally uninterested in the pieces about McPhee's children which analyzed them as knitters and took that into musings on the
May 16, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
I loved this book. On the back there is a quote from the author that says:
This book is about the things we have in common, we knitters, no matter where we live, whom we love, or what we are knitting...This book, though it appears to be about knitting, is actually about knitters.

That pretty much describes the book, although I would add that the book is about mothers too, and mothers who do not knit will probably find something here that resonates. I laughed a lot, I cried a little bit, and was de
Jan 18, 2010 kingshearte rated it liked it
Some of the essays in this book were cute, but many of them just started to feel repetetive. Yes, you are obsessed with knitting. Yes, you have a massively huge stash. And yes, you are completely weak and powerless when it comes to buying yarn. So the ones dealing with those topics bored me.

Some of them really were nice, though. The tributes to various knitting friends/relatives were really sweet, and I quite enjoyed the one about the fascinating and beautiful dance one's fingers do when knittin
May 19, 2010 Chelsea rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, humor, othermedia, 2010
As funny and enjoyable as her first, but with fewer digs at crocheters this time around. And while most of the book is humorous (and sarcastic and in-jokey), she managed to get me to tear up with the very last section ("Helen"), which really wasn't fair.

Much like her other books, a great read for the knitters out there, and likely completely incomprehensible for the non-knitters.
Jul 30, 2011 Sharen rated it it was ok
This one didn't impress me as much as her first book had. I found myself reading just to get through it, hoping that I'd get a laugh or feel something from this book. There were one or two amusing stories, a couple of touching ones, but the majority of them just did not resonate with me.
Linda Chrisman
May 21, 2016 Linda Chrisman rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I DO love this woman - I have my "shawl of shame", a yarn stash my family would be aghast at (if they realized the size of it), and my favorite yarn store ( Reverie - not the snooty one in my town.) Hail Stephanie, who understands that this knitting addiction is a good thing!
Jan 23, 2009 Beverly rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This is more substantive than her previous books. She focuses on people more than on the craft of knitting. She is a humorous writer, but her style wears on you after a while.
Dec 24, 2015 Becca rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Somehow this just wasn't as good as her previous book of essays. I thought the stories were interesting, but they weren't as personal and touching. Maybe it was just my mood and the intense jet lag.
Jan 17, 2017 Valerie rated it it was ok
There's nothing wrong with this book.

It's just really not my style.

It's the same sort of style as a lot of the popular humor blogs/memoirs these days, so if you're into that, this may be a nice fluffy read for you.
If you're like me & prefer your books to not read like one-sided conversations with someone who is trying way too hard to be liked, maybe don't bother.
Jan 07, 2017 Josephine rated it it was ok
I read Yarn Harlot and really liked it, but unfortunately, this one just wasn't as interesting.
Jun 06, 2012 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Free Range Knitter is yet another great collection of essays about life, love and knitting by Stephanie Pearl McPhee (a.k.a. The Yarn Halot). By now, it should go without saying that Stephanie’s writing is witty and funny and thoroughly enjoyable and this book is no exception.

I was fascinated by a running series of essays that reflected on the way several people in Stephanie’s life knit, their motions and the way they approached it, and how it reflected something about their lives or personalit
Feb 27, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
I let this book sit on my shelf for two or three years before I cycled back into a knitting phase. I go through periods where I don't knit for years, in between periods of knitting obsessively. But since knitting has been consuming my mind lately, I thought, "What if there was a book I could read about knitting that was neither a book of patterns, nor a lame chick lit knitting fiction?" And this book came to the rescue.
So, the first half of this book, I was thinking, okay, this is entertaining,
Jul 31, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it!

Random thoughts:
* Are there really people who walk and knit? If so, my weirdness with knitting has not quite hit that point (yet).
* I didn't know there were special bags for carrying around your yarn so it doesn't roll around on the bus. I promptly went out and bought this: Sock Knitting Project Bag Hexipuff Small Crochet Wip Bag - Crazy Calaveras so that I can carry around my socks in progress (SiP?).
* The story of the ball of the yarn in the elevator seriously cracked me up.
* T
Free-range knitter contains a collection of personal essays and humorous bits pertaining to her life-long obsession with knitting. Being one of her later works, this book contains a lot of essays about the latter stages of parental life--once most of her kids have reached their teenage years.

This is the second book I've read by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and I actually found this one a bit disappointing. I particularly found most of the essays about parenting and watching other people knit rather d
Jan 19, 2010 Betsie rated it it was amazing
I do so love The Yarn Harlot. She is witty and clever and funny and I so enjoy the self-deprecation. This is the fourth book by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee that I have read and I am clamoring for another. I love how much she loves yarn and knitting. I love how she messes things up and picks up her needles to begin again. You have no idea how exciting it is that she also does not swatch. I really respect her as a knitter and even though this is a book of essays and not an instructional manual, I learn ...more
Aug 07, 2016 Collin rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic, memoir, art
I'm not sure if this counts as "memoir" but it contains anecdotes about the author's life, knitting or otherwise, so for lack of a better category or energy to create a better category, in the memoir shelf it goes.

It was fun and nice. I'm a baby knitter and get excited over doing simple projects like drawstring bags and giftcard pouches, and knitting isn't my first love so I have no real stash except for a few single balls I bought at Walmart and slowly-acquired piles of four different colors my
Sep 12, 2016 Liz added it
Another yarny memoir by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Her essays about life and knitting are humorous poignant and ring true. She cracks me up and I will continue to read more by her.
Apr 20, 2016 Siobhan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lifestyle, knitting
The second book by this author I have read within a week. I giggled while reading this one too and I was thoughtful and reflective about my own life while reading it. The end of the book made me cry a little.

Besides her style of writing which is personal, reflective, and humorous I also love the cute cartoon character on the front of a sheep knitting from it's own wool!

I'm not experienced with knitting much at all but could relate to the comical frustration when "things don't go right"! I also
Jan 07, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: other knitters, essayists
Recommended to Sarah by: the author herself (via her blog)
This is a book of essays about knitters and knitting, not a pattern book. I read the author's blog, and I enjoy her sense of humor and practicality. I especially liked the essay "All Things Being Equal". In it she discusses how people give her weird looks when she talks about going on knitting retreats, but those same people think nothing of it when a group of guys go off fishing. Also, there are more knitters in the US and Canada than golfers, and we spend way more money on our hobby than they ...more
Aug 03, 2016 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, funny, kindle
This fine book is about knitting, yes, but really not so much about knitting as about what happens when knitting is part of life. The stories and essays glide and ripple and twist, carrying the reader pellmell into intimate contact with men, women, children, animals, ideas, and humor - and always the light of knitting is leaking through, shining its innocence, tough love, and grace onto stumbling humanity.

Stephanie is a master at fostering reflection through story-telling. The first story, about
Jul 17, 2009 Anita rated it it was amazing
I just finished Free Range Knitter by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. aka The Yarn Harlot. Awesome!! I'll reread again, just for her wit, humor, pearls of wisdom and outlook on day to day life--let alone her comments on knitting. I just love the letters she sends the designers.

here's one pearl of wisdom I liked: except for good deals and good luck, you get what you pay for, and quality follows cash.

or, on kids: as she was cleaning the refrigerator, she realized that maybe, in some sort of primal challen
Nov 26, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
I think I'm a little bit in love with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. She lives in a city not too far from me, I think sometimes frequents a yarn store in town, and I think we could be friends. I'm missing a knitting friend since leaving Edmonton, and I dream that Stephanie could come over to knit with me while we drink tea and she shows me how to properly bind off my knitting, and how to block things. We would both say funny things and laugh together. Good times.

As is probably obvious, I quite liked my
Apr 04, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
Ah, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has done it again. She has written a hilarious account of what Knitters (yes, that is in fact, a capital K) must go through in their efforts of finding the perfect yarn, making socks and other trials. Stephanie has seen it all, and just when you've thought that you've got a story she couldn't possibly beat, you turn the page and are laughing so hard you drop your sock yarn. Something else that I thought was intriguing was that Stephanie had written a couple stories tha ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn
  • Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac
  • It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons
  • Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too
  • Sensational Knitted Socks
  • Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave
  • Sock Innovation
  • New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One
  • A Treasury of Knitting Patterns
  • Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits
  • Knitting on the Edge: Ribs * Ruffles * Lace * Fringes * Floral * Points & Picots - The Essential Collection of 350 Decorative Borders
  • The Knitter's Companion: Expanded and Updated (The Companion series)
  • Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere
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.
More about Stephanie Pearl-McPhee...

Share This Book