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All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,232 ratings  ·  175 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 Harlo

Inside All Wound Up, New York Times best-selling aut...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published September 21st 2010)
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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
21st 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
107th out of 134 books — 126 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,051)
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Terre
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...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...more
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
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
Ashley
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
Kendra
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
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
Kay
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...more
Stephanie
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
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
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
Danielle
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
Deanna
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
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...more
Gwen
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...more
Robin
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...more
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....more
J M Padoc
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
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...more
Patricia Palazy
The Yarn Harlot always brings a smile to the knotty-tired-of knitting with her sense of humour and goodwill. A yarn diva of the highest order - providing that it's a serving of home-made soup because it's off to knit night - and Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee is a true treasure. Down-to-earth, user and reader friendly, she is more than able to share stories that most people, especially knitters, can easily share and to which they can relate in some fashion.

Easy reading for tired knitters.Sure to lift t...more
Alisa Krasnostein
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...more
Laura
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...more
Ashley-Marie
I recieved this book from First Reads. First of all, I put my name in this giveaway because my mom is an obsessive knitter and I thought she would love this book. But to be true to First Reads, I said that I would read it first then give it to her. And I'm so glad I did. I loved the humor and the craziness (sorry Steph) in these stories and events. I enjoyed the book the so much, the punchlines, the knitting, the little bits of family life (I'll never look at water balloons the same way...) and...more
Hester
I must be a self-hating knitter because it seems wrong that the finest prose I have read in a long time was crafted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for this book. The essays are both erudite crytoscopophilia, anyone?) and humble (the cool table). While I get the feeling that her house is much cleaner than she claims, I certainly sympathize with dilemma in her life between cleaning and knitting. I am glad I read her essay on gauge, right after I had a sock/gauge disaster.

While someone needs to know ab...more
Tracy
I really really like the Yarn Harlot. I think her writing makes for blog perfection. Small doses of humor, insight, wisdom, knitting, and general warm fuzzies delivered a few times a week via my blog reader is a very good thing. It makes my life just a little bit better.

That is the Yarn Harlot at her best. And is why I think her books don't quite measure up. It's just too much at a sitting. Not quite as funny. The jokes get a bit worn and overplayed. It's a bite too much of the dessert that you...more
Nicola
I promised myself that I would read more non-fiction this year, but am always drawn to the amazing synopsis I read on the fiction books. This book however, caught my attention so I thought I would give it a try. I found it laugh-out-loud funny, which is unusual for me. Perhaps because I could relate to the topic, but definitely because of the way Pearl-McPhee writes. I felt that I was with her in her tiny little Toronto home sharing stories while we knit. (Yes, I did knit while reading the book!...more
Karen Gordy-panhorst
Stephanie's books are laugh-out-loud funny. I've read and re-read them.
svm
i purposely read this one slowly so i could savor it since pearl-mcphee's books are usually about 2 years apart on average. this one was well worth the wait and slow read. her hysterical spot-on sentiments about how the rest of the world views knitters had me constantly laughing out loud but she can also write really wonderfully about non-knitting topics. so, if you've read this far in my review and are NOT a knitter but enjoy funny, insightful essays discussing everything from beloved washing m...more
Amy
I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Her obsession with knitting makes mine feel minor. :) And she never fails to make me laugh.
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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 Free-range knitter: The yarn harlot writes again At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much Things I Learned From Knitting (whether I wanted to or not)

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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.” 66 likes
“As usual, the sock yarns have no idea what is going on.” 8 likes
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