Friday, June 1, 2007

Book Review

I wrote this review back in December 2006:

Yarn Harlot: the Secret Life of a Knitter
by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. My partner is terrified that I think a book about knitting is so funny, but really, it is!

The book is a collection of essays/short true-life stories about knitting - the unending tedium of a green 8' by 10' wedding afghan that just wouldn't be finished (yes, that's in feet), the joy of knitting a lace shawl out of hand-spun alpaca yarn bought from the alpaca farmer, an evil squirrel that kept eating the wool yarn she hand spun and hung out to dry, the absolute horror of a moth infestation in her large collection of wool yarn, the extreme pressure of knitting for Christmas deadlines. She takes on famous knitting designers whose patterns just don't make sense, confesses the secret places she hides her yarn stash (my favorite was in an opaque suit bag, hung innocently in the closet, so that her husband wouldn't know it was more yarn), stares open-mouthed when a brain surgeon tells her that a little old stockinette in the round is too complicated, and becomes a true Knitter when she makes a sweater with steeks (you knit a tube, and then cut holes to attach the arms - it really sounds like a recipe for disaster.)

The author has a friendly, humorous, sometimes self-deprecating style that is easy to appreciate, and so even her horror tales are funny. A few selections were a bit more somber - one made me cry - but they all reflect on a knitter's love for knitting. If you have even a passing fancy for yarn and two sticks, you need to read this book.

I know I'm probably posting to the converted here, but this book was how I first found the Yarn Harlot.

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