Thursday, December 29, 2011

All Wound Up

I recently read All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s latest book. I was first introduced to Stephanie’s world back in 2005. She was on a book tour, promoting At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. Although I did not then consider myself a knitter, my friend Jess was in the process of falling down that rabbit hole, so the two of us made an evening of it, enjoying dinner and then enjoying Stephanie’s talk. (She blogged about her Kalamazoo visit here; in the first picture of knitters, Jess & I are in the third row, on the right.)

Six and a half years later, here she is with what I think is her seventh book, All Wound Up. 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 it here. Go ahead and read it. We’ll wait.

In this latest book of essays, Stephanie writes about knitting, but she also writes about life, from a viewpoint that most of us can appreciate. She writes about the quirks of washing machines, about looking into the windows of others' lives, about the wonder and delight that is autumn. She writes about the lack of closet space (a serious problem, if you hoard yarn), and the frustration that is Mother’s Day. Landmines is a delightful essay about the challenge of simply escaping family and getting out of the house.

She writes about knitting, of course – about knitting math, about Dear John letters to sweaters, about shawls fraught with mistakes. My favorite of these knitting essays is Once Upon a Time, the story of a Bad Knitting Experience.

All in all – a great read!

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