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Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing & Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter
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Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing & Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,849 ratings  ·  347 reviews
Both a celebration of the craft and a sourcebook for practical information, Knitting Rules! is a collection of useful advice and emotional support for the avid knitter. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee unravels the mysteries of tangled yarn, confusing patterns, and stubbornly unfinished projects. Daring to question long-standing rules and encouraging crafters to knit in the way that ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Storey Publishing
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,849 ratings  ·  347 reviews

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Start your review of Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing & Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: knitting-books
There are about 56 pages of actual useful content in this book.

The actual useful content can be found starting on page 127 where she begins discussing socks. Following the sock section there are small sections on scarves and shawls. Most of this information could be gleaned by surfing the internet a bit or visiting the knittinghelp website.

The rest can be summed up as follows:

1. The author has lots of yarn EVERYWHERE and her house is a mess.

2. The fact that the author has lots of yarn everywhere
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Let's say you just knit your first hat and it did't quite turn out the way you planned. Maybe it's not quite the right size. Or shape. Have you considered your extended family and friends? Maybe one of them has a head that would be perfect for your new creation. Or maybe you need to change your mindset: your hat might be much happier as a tea cozy. Or you could put handles on it and make it a purse. Or maybe, just maybe, what you really knit was a ball of yarn, just waiting to be ripped out and ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Since about a third of the book extols the stash, I figured a third of this review should, too. The other parts of the book do have some excellent knitting advice, though, and McPhee does write some entertaining prose.

This book has lead me to the conclusion that I am not a real knitter. I have a yarn stash, yes. It’s contained in one, one bin in the bottom of my closet and is mostly made of leftover yarn from former projects. If I go to a yarn store, I know exactly what I need for my current pro
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My mother taught me to knit while she was visiting me at Thanksgiving, and so I am working on my very first item - a scarf, done in simple garter stitch with purple merino wool. Since her visit I've picked up a few books to help me, starting with two beginner knitter books and then followed by this one which I found by browsing at the store. I've read the author's blog for the last month or so and find her writing quite entertaining, so I figured I'd give this a whirl. This book is a great compa ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog on and off for almost a decade and always felt like her writing voice was the kind of friend you could hang out with. This book definitely fulfills that personally friendly and funny voice, but also with no-nonsense advice for getting started with knitting. This book is for this generation of knitters- those who probably learned from online videos rather than from their elders. She breaks down the fundamentals of creating hats, socks, scarves/shawls, and s ...more
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Now I understand why knitters become such ardent fans of Stephanie McPhee! Not only is this book full of sage advice for knitters, it's very funny. I think (admitting to being prejudiced) that even a non-knitter would enjoy this book for its humor. While it's directed at knitters, hoping to help us make our lives a bit easier with suggestion on stash/book/magazine organizing, simple instructions for generic hats, scarves, sweaters, and socks, it's also full of a wealth of practical advice on how ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, especially the tables of average garment sizes. (I already know enough to come up with all of her recipes on my own, but for a less experienced knitter I think those would also be very valuable.) However, about 1/4 of the way in I stopped seeing the author's comments as jokingly self-deprecating, and started seeing it as her almost bragging about how non-smart and self-focused she is in many, many ways - weird, and not very attractive. Despite that, I found the content usefu ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting, read-in-18

Added to my TBR April 10, 2013

There is literally nothing in this world that inspires me to knit more than reading a Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book. She's so funny, so enthusiastic, it's impossible for me to read even a page without my fingers itching to grab some needles.

Of course, then I got to the chapters about knitting socks and sweaters, and all the mathing involved, and my knitrection drooped mightily. Because math.

Still. Such a fantastic book, and hopefully my desire to knit will continue
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Part funny anecdotes, part how to, part pattern book. This wasn't quite as much fun to read through as Yarn Harlot but is one I need a copy of on my shelf to refer back to. There are a lot of practical tips and advice that I kept wanting to snap pics of to remember. ...more
Jan 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting
This book was a good find in a local Little Library. I've been reading it off and on for a few months - not that it's dense or anything (it's not!), I've just been distracted. As someone who's really gotten into knitting, I appreciated this book and the various tips and humour throughout. ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, hobbies
I really, really liked this book. I'm pausing before giving it a 5 star because I'm still in the grip of the glow of my first knitted sock following her instructions. (The instructions about the sock are clear and very good.) I'm wondering if that might false inflate the score I'm thinking about giving.

I think this is an excellent book for beginners - and has a lot to offer in the way of tips for yarn storage, knitting bags, and project management. (Yes, there is such a thing as knitting project
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of the kind of humor that will tickle anyone who has ever knit, whether a novice or an expert or somewhere in between, but especially those who have a stash of yarn and a tendency to try to bring new knitters into the fold. Beyond the humor, though, there are some very helpful knitting tips and sets of instructions for simple knitting without patterns, even for some things I don't think of as simple, like socks.

If you're interested in knitting, this will give you a hint of what an obsessio
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Loved Stephanie's humour and all the little tips and tricks.
It was because of this book that I finally took the plunge and learned sock knitting on dpn's. I cast on using sport weight yarn and big needles and followed Stephanie's recipe. I ended up with one huge blue sock, but by god I did it!
So thanks for that.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: craft
I wasn't too impressed with this book, in fact i don't think i finished it. ...more
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Good book for beginner knitter.. Good humor throughout
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I always love Stephanie's books. The 'ohmygosh I KNOW!' feeling about her stories, the tips, the 'patterns'. And now I have her basic sock pattern! Win win! ...more
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
Actually funny, in that I would force my family and friends to listen to select passages (which, as non-knitters, they couldn't appreciate, unfortunately!).

Ms. Pearl-McPhee, whom I met at a recent knitting event, describes this book as her only actually useful book, but her voice is so compelling that I look forward to reading more of her not-truly-useful oeuvre. This is a very easy read, with short essays (technically the right term, but that sounds so dry--they're not!), sidebars, lists, cavea
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting Rules! presents practical knitting advice packed with lots of humor. For example: “Skeins of sock yarn are small enough that many hundreds may be squirreled away in your home without revealing the true scope of your addiction. Look for discreet, infrequently visited locations...the pockets of luggage, tucked inside a gravy boat, behind books on bookshelves, or in the extra space in the corners of the guest-room pillowcases” (page 148) and “If you want your shawl ...more
Reading Cat
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting
Really laugh out loud funny for other crazy, stash-hiding, pattern-semi-ignoring knitters! I texted random passages to my mom (another knitter) because I had to share.

Her writing style is effortless, friendly and companionable. I think she does hit the self-effacing 'I'm a dork' button a little too hard if you read it all at one stretch but in little bites, it works well. The basic recipe/patterns are nice and I hope they brought some sense of experimentation to new knitters. All in all a fun l
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A perfect book to gift to uncertain knitters! I've been knitting for years now and had been in a slump; patterns that I thought were too difficult I stayed away from, but ones that I could do bored me. While this wasn't so much the anecdotal treasure trove some of Stephanie's other books are, this was the one to get me my mojo back! I CAN do brioche stitch, and I CAN tackle that color work. Included here, you will find some easy how to's, a little bit of cautionary advice, and a lot of humor. ...more
Cameron Toney
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: knit-together
Honestly, there are clearer, more practical guides about knitting out there. This was has some info in it, but really is like having a conversation about the knitty-gritty with a really funny friend.
I really like Pearl-McPhee's writing voice. She's witty, full of anecdotes and terrible examples, and eyes her craft with the eyes of love and the knowledge that sometimes that love can frustrate the everloving %@! out of you.
For me, that's a fun read.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, crafts
This is one of those books that's mostly humor and not a lot of actual knitting advice. Have a stash of yarn that's slowly taking over your house? Do you have more knitting needles and magazines than you do anything else? If you're an obsessive knitter or someone who loves an obsessive knitter, you might enjoy Pearl-McPhee's take on why knitters do the strange things they do. ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Came for the sock pattern recommended by Michelle, stayed for the utterly charming voice as Yarn Harlot held court on the wonders of yarn and the virtues of various kinds of knitting projects. I think I'm a bit too advanced a knitter for it to be really worth it for me to own this book, but I DO want to copy every one of her estimated size and yarn needed charts - SO handy! ...more
Sandy Dunkle
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny AND helpful

This book relates to me so well! The author tells stories and uses examples that I (and most knitters) recognize immediately and cringe at because we’ve been caught! The author breaks down hats, socks, scarves and sweaters into simple directions that make you believe that you can do it, too.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A must-read for every knitter who enjoys knitting with others. Knitting etiquette, including taking care of your favorite hard-working knitting shop owner. Great book, regardless of one's knitting experience and expertise. I didn'the realize until I read it, how much I needed this book. ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reference
The advice on everything is excellent here, with the notable exceptions of dealing with stashes and storage. It's really important for most of us who are not professional knitters to be able to think rationally about such things as storage space and budgeting. ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crafts
There were some good nuggets in here, The style is snarky and funny which started off as entertaining but wore by the end. Good discussion on the travails of knit management. I found the section on swatching very insightful.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great resource I turn to over and over again

This book continues to come in handy. I’ve had it for years, and I always come back to it. The fact that it’s hilarious and highly relatable to all my knitterly quirks is a big bonus.
Kathleen Dixon
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: craft
This is a very thorough book on everything everyone would ever want to know about knitting and all its componentry. On top of that the author is amusing, which makes it an easy read. I've been knitting for a long time, but I learned a number of things new to me - very good. ...more
Apr 28, 2021 rated it liked it
I read this ages ago, and decided to re-read it when it was part of the "book club" segment on the Unraveling podcast. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is lots of fun, and makes knitting a source of humor, too. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: add eBook & combine Kindle editions: Knitting Rules: 2 14 Oct 04, 2013 01:10PM  

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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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20 likes · 2 comments
“it is pure potential. Every ball or skein of yarn holds something inside it, and the great mystery of what that might be can be almost spiritual” 28 likes
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