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Free-range knitter: The yarn harlot writes again
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Free-range knitter: The yarn harlot writes again

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,786 ratings  ·  186 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...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published September 1st 2008)
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Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth ZimmermannStitch 'n Bitch by Debbie StollerKnitting Without Tears by Elizabeth ZimmermannKnitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPheeYarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Knitting Nonfiction
15th out of 57 books — 64 voters
Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie StollerKnitting Without Tears by Elizabeth ZimmermannElizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth ZimmermannThe Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann BuddThe Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe
Must-have Knitting Books
64th out of 134 books — 126 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,697)
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SaraJane
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...more
karen
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...more
Kaitlyn
May 16, 2011 Kaitlyn rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Lynn
Nov 21, 2011 Lynn rated it 2 of 5 stars
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...more
Chris
"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
Donna
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...more
Jennifer
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...more
Julie Davis
#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...more
kingshearte
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...more
Chelsea
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.
Sharen
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.
Bonnie
Not something you read all at once. This is a series of short entertaining essays, so it was hard to get into the book as a whole; however, it is redeemed by the majority of the essays (only a few seemed like filler). I'll certainly be passing this on to a knitting friend!
Becca
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.
Beverly
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.
Kerry
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...more
Betsie
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
Hannah
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...more
Margot
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 of 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 dul...more
Kristin
I've read the Yarn Harlot blog for a couple of years now, but this is the first of her books that I've read. I really enjoyed it! Some stories were more interesting than others, and I don't always agree with her views. But it was funny and I love reading about knitting...not technical stuff, but how people knit and why. I also appreciate that she explains different types of knitters. I'm not a particularly fast or efficient knitter, but she makes me feel like that's okay. As long as I'm knitting...more
Anita
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...more
Betty
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...more
Sarah
Jan 07, 2009 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Amy
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...more
Jen (Fefferbooks)
So, here's the thing-other than the Kinnearing story, which I read on her blog and is, indeed, hilarious, I've never read any of Stephanie's work before. I guess "kniting philosophy" just isn't for me. I found much of the book shallow and pedantic, particularly the section in which she whines repeatedly about how knitting doesn't receive the respect it deserves. Who the heck cares?

I did enjoy one story, re: Abby, a 40-year-old who decides to reclaim the joy of snow. I felt Pearl-McPhee finally g...more
Snorkle
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
Justy
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...more
Haley
This was my least favorite of the three. By this point, the material felt hackneyed. The first book was so funny and touching. I read the third after that and was less than charmed but it had good points. This one was a rehashing of the same concepts -people's negative feelings about knitting, buying yarn, etc. the unique addition to this book was the stories about people in the authors life. Most felt boring. I didn't really care how these random people knit. What saved the third book (in my op...more
Josiphine
SPM is best when she's being funny and worst when she's (trying to be) heartwarming. Unfortunately, most of these stories veer towards the heartwarming (and sappy, if we're being honest here). While still quite enjoyable, the first book was better.
Vicki
Oh how I love the Harlot. I only wish her books were longer! This has been my favourite so far of the essay style books and perhaps one reason is that all but two of the essays were completely new and not previously published on the blog.
Jinger
A delightful return to what the Yarn Harlot does best! The only reason that this one didn't earn all 5 stars to me was because it didn't feel like it went as deep into emotional territory as The Secret Life of a Knitter. These stories stayed on the funny path, barely dipping below the surface. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the contrast just wasn't quite there for me.

However, the sections about how we all knit differently, in our movements and styles, that is absolutely fascinati...more
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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.
More about Stephanie Pearl-McPhee...
Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatcing, Stashing, Ribbing & Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much Things I Learned From Knitting (whether I wanted to or not) Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting

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