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Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,541 ratings  ·  241 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)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  2,541 ratings  ·  241 reviews

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Jan 06, 2012 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 22, 2010 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
Maria Elmvang
I loved this essay collection :) It's the first book I've read by the Yarn Harlot (although I've read some of her blog), but it definitely won't be the last. I've only knitted "for real" for two years, but already I could see far too much of myself in it, and she gave me a lot of new ideas for how to 'knit on the go'.

It's a cozy read whose only fault was that it kept making me want to put down my Kindle and pick up my knitting instead.

Reread 2020 Unfortunately I had to downgrade the rating a bit
Nov 21, 2011 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
Jul 20, 2013 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
May 13, 2011 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 13, 2008 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
Oct 20, 2015 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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays, owned, done, 2008, arc, 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
Julie Davis
Jan 01, 2010 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
Jan 18, 2010 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 07, 2010 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
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: othermedia, 2010, memoir, humor
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.
Jane Lebak
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable book, but not a surprise because I already know I love Stephanie Pearl McPhee from her blog. The book is composed of vignettes about knitters and the mindset of knitting, some misadventures and some thought-provoking analyses of the people she's known and loved. Recommended mostly to people who are crafty but also to others who just like to read about life in general. ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
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! ...more
Jul 30, 2011 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. ...more
Linda Chrisman
May 21, 2016 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! ...more
Nostalgia Reader
Mar 10, 2017 marked it as dnf
Shelves: buzz-complete
Just couldn't get into this one. The stories seem to tend less towards the humorous and more towards the poetic wax... the style made me think of Diane Ackerman's writing style, which I am not at all a fan of. ...more
Jan 23, 2009 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.
Sep 28, 2009 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. ...more
Nicolette Kernohan
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting-fiction
Free-range knitter is a humorous mix of articles on knitters, knitting and related topics, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

This is the second book of knitting essays by New York Times best seller, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who is also known as the Yarn Harlot in her popular blog of the same name. Her first also is called Yarn Harlot. Although I have been a keen reader of her blog, this is the first time that I have reviewed any of her books.

Free-range knitter is divided into seven sections, each with a
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, memoir
Only for true knitter aficionados, this small book covers more than knitting but really focuses on those stories. Chapters like Beginnings, Belongings, Challenging, Families, and Perseverance call for the reader to take your time hearing from this blogger turned author and her knitting humor.
Jan 06, 2009 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 24, 2015 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,
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I admittedly have struggled to finish a book in far too long. I picked up this book because I knew I liked Stephanie's blog, and this book is very much in the spirit of her blog. It's an orderly collection of essays, sketches, and possibly a short story or two. Knitting is so much a part of Stephanie's professional and personal life that it feels like in all of her writing, knitting is a gateway to understanding-kind of the standard analogy or metaphor she uses throughout her writing (and I imag ...more
Jill Benson
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I love crochet and knitting and hearing someone else talk about their life as a knitter was great. While most of the stories do revolve around knitting and what it has taught her about life, Stephanie does have some stories that really are not about that and more about her family or philosophizing. The book is funny and rings true, but after a while, it seemed a little self important. I don't know if that is the right word, but it started to seem repetitive to me and I sort of had to force mysel ...more
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
I smiled while reading this book by an obsessive knitter. I see myself and have had to purchase a small project bag especially for socks which have become my new addiction. I have not read any of Pearl-McPhee's other writings but now know where to turn when I need a lift in spririts and a place to go when I feel judged and misunderstood by those who see knitting as a waste of time, which is most anyone who does not knit! ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another book of essays from the Yarn Harlot, Free Range Knitter returns to the format that best showcases the author's talents. As always, her essays are funny, poignant, and most of all real. I have found that some of her writing can wear thin after you've read as much as I have, but this book stands out as having more meat and less fat. These new essays touch the heart and amuse in a way that repeated jokes cannot, no matter how funny they may have been the first time. ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just like the first Yarn Harlot book, this one contained some essays that were so familiar to me I'd actually gotten tired of re-reading them. I think it's an even better collection of essays, though. My favorite section -- and the one I saved for last, because I knew anything by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee on women and/or politics would be good -- was Chapter 4: "Left-leaning Decreases: Stories about Women, Politics, Knitters, and Looking at Things in a Different Way." ...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.

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