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Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter
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Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  3,867 Ratings  ·  442 Reviews
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's deepest wish is that everyone understand that knitting is at least as fun as baseball and way cooler than the evil looped path of crochet. Every project, from a misshapen hat to the most magnificent sweater, holds a story. Yarn Harlot tells all those stories with humor, insight, and sympathy for the obsessed.

Over 50 million people in America knit.
Paperback, 219 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
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Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: crafters
Recommended to Dawn by: Jane Luce
Honestly, I laughed out loud, I cried silently, I saw myself on nearly every page--and I can barely knit! This is a book about addictions--the healthy ones--that all of us find ourselves tangled up with at some point in our lives, and we find that we are suddenly obsessive/compulsive about something and just don't know how to "put it down". Since there seems to be no cure, we do our best to make the activity meaningful not only for ourselves, but also for our families and others around us. I fee ...more
JoAnna Spring
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Knitting humor.

Seriously! It is fun stuff. Nearly as fun as blocking your first lace shawl or rolling around naked in your yarn stash.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot, is a knitter, a mum (she's Canadian), a doula, the inventor of the word "kinnearing" and a super fun writer. I've been reading her blog for a few months and finally picked up one of her books. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter is described as "a sort of David Sedaris-like take on knitting," but it is really so m
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I crochet. I already have a yarn stash which is defying the laws of physics, and making my housemates a little nervous. I've taught my best friend to crochet, and one of my housemates is in the process of learning. (We're incredibly proud of a very, very long row of chain stitches, which are going to become -- eventually -- a scarf for my teddy bear.)

My girlfriend knits. I own a full length replica of the scarf Tom Baker wore as the Eighth Doctor, on Doctor Who, knitted for me by her. I have a k
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is an awesome writer who can take an ordinary story and make it sound like the funniest knitting story you have ever read. I love reading her books because they cause side-splitting laughter and that my friends, is a good thing.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was such fun, full of situations us knitters can relate to. The last few chapters did scrape the barrel a bit but I will definitely be looking to read her other books if I get the chance.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: knitting
I skimmed through this book fairly quickly since it is a bit of a guilty light-reading for me. For a non-knitter this book would probably make no sense whatsoever. For someone who has is slowly being pulled into the lure of the craft, the book is slightly amusing and mildly entertaining, reading like a series of blog entries. It consists of short stories and essays, ranging from falling in love with lace knitting, the excruciating pains of knitting gifts for Christmas, and the infamous yarn stas ...more
Jane Stewart
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it
2 stars. Readers who knit might enjoy this. It’s not for me.

I did not laugh. There are 37 chapters. Each one is like an amusing personal essay. For example: First chapter is the author’s attempt to knit a large afghan. The project is too big, and she has trouble staying motivated. Second chapter is the author and a friend each knitting a sweater. Problems include running out of yarn and fixing the size. Third chapter is about the author knitting a cardigan for herself. I only read those three c
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Staphanie spins a good yarn.....(get it!!!) about the secret lives of knitters.......their life of stash concealmet.............., their unrealistic goal setting.............. their frustrationa with deisgners....their wool fetishs. I laughed out loud many times as I recognized my habits of my friends ............and my own off and on again relationship with this most wonderful craft.

I had two favorite chapters. One is very serious as she is requested to take on the stash of a very dear friend w
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really fun read! Totally justified my yarn hoarding stashing habits. I don't even usually enjoy nonfiction and flew through this laughing out loud along the way. Maybe someday I'll be a capital k Knitter too! ;)
Alesha Hubbell
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting
I love reading about knitting. It is so inspiring to me as a fiber artist. Plus this book is very funny and relatable to knitters and non-knitters alike. There were also some very poignant and touching moments where I teared up a bit, which of course just inspired more kniiting.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've almost never laughed harder. Maybe you have to be a knitter to really get it, but I don't think so. I think even those of you unfortunates who can't or won't knit will laugh out loud.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Sprout for introducing me to this book! a great mix of comedy (when a squirrel steals her wool), drama (when she runs out of room for her stash), horror (moths!) and practical tips (to avoid all of the above, keep yarn in the freezer). Recommended for all knitters or those seeking to understand them.
Jennifer Johnson
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's my favorite "Pearl-McPhee" so to speak. She at one point is beyond hilarious and the next moment she can bring you in and break your heart. Knitters and crafters alike will enjoy her insight, her humor and most of all, her passion for her craft.

I think it's not secret that I'm pretty passionate about knitting. It's something that I do that I honestly feel truely happy while doing it... even when I'm fucking up brilliantly or struggling with the shame of an unfinished proj
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly comforting and totally entertaining. Perfect for my post-root canal mood (read cranky, irritable and a little sore, but still resisting the Vicodin)

My favorite was the list of 10 ways that parenting and knitting are alike (especially 1, 2, 5 and 7. I know nothing about 3, but I believe it):

1. You have to work on something for a really long time before you know if it's going to be okay.
2. They both involve an act of creation involving common materials, easily found around the home.
3. B
Reading Faerie
Cute and funny. This book taught me a lot about superwash yarn, the trials of big, green afghans, the dedication of becoming a Knitter instead of a knitter, and the limited color pallets of men of Newfoundland.
I laughed out loud many times, and identified in several places. I think that anyone who knits or crochets will probably see themselves at least once in this book.
However I don’t know any members of TAKE, but that may be because my mother crochets, as does my grandmother, and my cousin kn
Oct 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had to stop reading this book after the chapter in which she describes trying to convince her wool-allergic friend that her allergy is all in her head by knitting several items for her out of various types of wool. I'm sure there are some creative liberties taken for the sake of humor with this story as well as most of the other stories in this book, but I really didn't find it funny. I think that a story about tricking your wool-allergic friend into trying out wool socks you knitted for them ...more
I don't know if you have to be a knitter to enjoy this book, but being a knitter I laughed, I cried, and I recognized myself in the pages. I read some sections aloud to my husband who also laughed, but probably in sympathy to the author's husband who knows what it is like to live with someone who covers every room in the house with works in progress. If you have a knitter in your life you should read this to better understand the way their brain works, or it would make an excellent gift for said ...more
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009-reads
I know I'm probably in the minority here, but this book just didn't do it for me, like it has [apparently:] for a lot of other knitters. I didn't even finish it, to be perfectly honest.

It wasn't awful, and some things did make me laugh or smile, so I'm not saying it is a total waste of time. It's just that I find a lot of other knitters' blogs to be more interesting, and a lot funnier than this book. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog itself is often better than this book. I know it's the first one
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hello. My name is Kim. I am addicted to knitting. Seriously, I am. I had my husband wait to go out, just so I could finish reading. And I finished chuckling. The way this book ends is the way I want to leave this world. I love the down to earth stories about living the life of a knitter. I can identify.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Regrettably, even though I tried to read really really really slow I just finished the Yarn Harlot. I laughed hard at Stephanie and at myself. Now the dilemma... Do I horde the book along with my yarn or pass it along to another Knitter?
Thanks Ketti for the fun read. It was a great birthday gift.
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: domestic-arts
I'm only a knitter, not a Knitter as the Yarn Harlot defines it, but still I found this pretty funny. Especially loved the essays on her stash. Someone lent this to me as inspiration since I was feeling stuck with my current project, to show that even experienced, expert knitters go through the same angst. It did help nudge me along and was an enjoyable read into the bargain.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I still like this book. Most of the stories were amusing, a few were hilarious, and a couple were sad. All of them were quite short. I'm a knitter, so I could relate to most of the stories, which is why I enjoyed this book so much.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It's a rare pleasure to read a book in a day, but I did with this little gem, a lovely way to kick of 2017. As a Knitter (for reals, I've steeked too, I swear!) I laughed out loud many times, a high bar for me, but also teared up during this one. Well done, now back to knitting...
May 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Definitely a good read! Though parts are dry there are some "Ah-ha!" moments where I see myself in her scenarios.... there are also some that made me laugh really hard!
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting-books
I laughed the whole way through this relatable knitting tale.
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love these books! The author is so funny and she makes me feel like a competent knitter.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you love to knit, like me, you will love this book. I read a chapter or two here and there just to make it last longer. I could go on and on about this book, I’ve marked it up quite a bit with all my favorite spots. One being…….”The world has come a long way, and astonishing and intriguing machines arrive every day, but there is still not a machine on this earth that will shear a sheep. Every ball of wool starts with some man or woman somewhere in the world, a complete stranger to you, holdin ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm more of a crocheter than a knitter but I laughed so much reading this book. I started reading it again as soon as I finished it (not something I think I've done before).

I read somewhere that it's a bit like David Sedaris, which I disagree about - I've read one of his books and didn't like it at all. I loved this. Except the crushing tale in the middle. It didn't belong with the rest of the book - to have been in fits of laughter then suddenly this heartbreaking tale in the middle of it all
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I loved this book. I’m only a knitter, not a Knitter (yet) but I could totally appreciate the knitting trials and tribulations. I laughed and cried and nodded in agreement all the way through. Great stories of friendship, family, parenting, perseverance, DPNs, steeking, moths, stashes overwhelming houses, and all things knitting. So much fun.
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Few and far between are the knitters who are willing to spend thirty-four hours making a Southern belle toilet paper cover cover, but you see it in crochet all the time."

Some hilarity, some truth (steeking is terrifying), some heartbreak, and a couple of clinkers; overall, an enjoyable read.

Even if the idea of that many WIPs makes me hyperventilate.
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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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“Even when it isn't going well, knitting can be deeply spiritual. Knitting sets goals that you can meet. Sometimes when I work on something complicated or difficult - ripping out my work and starting over, porong over tomes of knitting expertise, screeching "I don't get it!" white practically weeping with frusteation - my husband looks at me and says, "I don't know why you think you like knitting." I just stare at him. I don't like knitting. I LOVE knitting. I don't know what could have possible led him to think that I'm not enjoying myself. The cursing? The crying? The forteen sheets of shredded graph paper? Knittong is like a marriage (I tell him) and you don't just trash the whole thing because there are bad moments.” 10 likes
“Really, Joe? Really? You freaking think so?” 1 likes
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