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on October 5, 2008
Stephanie's newest book leaves me unable to find words to match those inside the book. I doubt I can do this book justice.

This fine book is about knitting, yes, but really not so much about knitting as about what happens when knitting is part of life. The stories and essays glide and ripple and twist, carrying the reader pellmell into intimate contact with men, women, children, animals, ideas, and humor - and always the light of knitting is leaking through, shining its innocence, tough love, and grace onto stumbling humanity.

Stephanie is a master at fostering reflection through story-telling. The first story, about a very young knitter named Annabelle, holds many layers of meaning about incredibly important things. And the last story, about a very old knitter, who needed no yarn to knit, let me close the book with a sense of fulfilment. We knitters, as well as non-knitters (who would love this book) are so very lucky to have someone like Stephanie spinning tales for us, with her sharp and shiny wit rising so naturally from an honest heart. I am grateful.
0Comment67 of 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Just when I had Stephanie pegged as a writer of humor,(Just visit her website!) she pens this thoughtful, insight little book. I enjoyed reading it, and do not regret adding it to my knitting library...and yet....
I wanted to LAUGH!! The kind of "wake the hubby up because I am shaking the bed laughing" read. With a cover so like her first book, I was hoping for a repeat of that winner! There is some funny stuff, but I left reading Free Range Knitter feeling sad. I can see where she's going with the essays in the book and building her theme, and it is beautifully crafted. It just wasn't what I thought it would be or what I had hoped for.
While my copy of The Yarn Harlot is tattered from frequent reading, I rather doubt that I will reread this one.
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on October 17, 2008
I am at the half way mark and I can say this is a very entertaining book.
For a knitter, all of these situations, anecdotes are totally relatable to. Most of this has happened to a Knitter at some time !
For those who loved the previous books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, you will not regret your purchase.
For those who love this one, you will probably end up buying the previous ones.
I'm a fan of the writting, the subject matter, the lay-out of the book (really beautiful and almost delicate)
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on January 12, 2014
I enjoyed pretty much all the stories in this book. The only one I did not enjoy at all was the one about her definition of "crappy yarn" and how absolutely nothing made out of it will be pretty or any good. And anyone knitting with such yarn is wasting their time. And how the stuff they make is ugly and should be thrown away. And how the only "pretty" knitted things are the things made out of the expensive yarns. I am a knitter on a very limited budget and have to use the cheaper yarns. It's either that or I don't get to knit at all. And for me, that's not a choice. I feel that it shouldn't be about how expensive the yarn is you're using, it should be about the fact that you are knitting . I think that maybe instead of criticizing those of us that aren't rich and can't afford the high priced yarns, she should maybe be encouraging us and say it's more important that you're knitting. Just my opinion.
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on January 8, 2009
This book is a collection of stories. While it's written by knitters for knitters, you don't actually have to be a knitter to appreciate the stories. (The lingo might make a bit more sense though.) Since one of my ex-girlfriends liked to knit (and consequently, I've been on trips to buy yarn), I'm not entirely unfamiliar with knitting, but I've certainly never done anything with knitting needles that didn't involve pretend sword-fighting.

However, like I said, you don't have to be a knitter to appreciate the stories. The book's author/compiler, Susan Pearl McPhee, winds her own stories (and humourous letters) throughout the book, giving it a nice overall cohesiveness, and the stories that she's brought in from other writers are quite good. Broken up into sections which have knitting names ("Cast On" for the first, "Cast Off" for the last, etc.), the book is easy enough to read by story or by section.

There were times during the stories when I found myself laughing out loud, so I'm confident that others will really enjoy this book. Even though it's skewed toward a female audience (there's only one story about a male knitter, written by a woman, who then talks about how women view male knitters) the underlying themes of family, trials, tribulations, love, loss, happiness, and yes, knitting, speak to a human audience.
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on September 8, 2011
This isn't the book of a "Lady of Leisure," the Yarn Harlot is one of us! This is an incredibly funny book, but beware- buried in all that humor are "Pearls" of wisdom, truth about knitting, raising children and everyday life. If you though Lucille Ball was funny, you haven't met Stephanie Pearl- McPhee! Grab a glass of wine, some good yarn, sit back and enjoy.
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on October 24, 2008
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the funniest lady I know. She truly is the Erma Bombeck of knitting. I was thrilled to get this book as early as I did so that I could take it to the book signing and actually meet Steph and get it autographed.

If you have a chance to read her books - any of them - or hear her live, do it. Your sides will hurt from laughing.

It's an easy carry-around book, too. Small format and broken into short essays for short-term reading. Try it.
0Comment4 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 25, 2011
I truly love Stephanie's writing, but I actually haven't even finished this book. Her other books are much better.
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on October 29, 2010
Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, also known as the Yarn Harlot, has written another collection of essays about knitting. Writing essays is a nearly lost art, but with blogs and the internet it is not lost yet. If you have not read any of Pearl-McPhee's books this book will be a pleasure for you.

Free Range Knitter includes essays about knitting, about yarn buying, yarn stashing, nice (read more expensive) and not so nice yarn. Mostly what Pearl-McPhee does is share her love of all things related to knitting and make those who share that love laugh, cry and mostly agree with her. There is something about knitting that creates a community, as the art enjoys a resurgence and a popularity with young people, writers like Pearl-McPhee bridge the gap. Her essays verbalize the fun of knitting and attempt to explain why knitters knit.

In the past, a long long time ago, or back in the day, people may have knit to save money, to make money, or "for the troops". Now people knit for a variety of reasons, Stephanie's essay, Smarter than they think , talks a lot about why we knit. She uses the analogy of women in countries who knot rugs. These women are not allowed to learn to read and write, but their rugs tell stories about the people who create the rugs. Knitting is a lot like that, she writes that we knit to cover our children's feet when they go to college, or clothe our babies, we make hats to keep those we love warm. This book may not help non-knitters understand knitters, although it will if they take the time to read it, but it will draw knitters closer together. The book will explain why knitters spend $27 for yarn and 100 hours to make a pair of socks, while non-knitters look on and wonder why?

The first book I read by Stephanie was, The Secret Life of a Knitter, and at the time I was only knitting a little here and there, her books got me knitting again, and remind why I knit, and why I enjoy it so much. Greg Kinnear calls her the Michael Jordan of knitting (that is another story), but I view her as the Lance Armstrong of knitting, she has by the wit and joy of her writing, brought knitters out of the closet and on to buses, parks, coffee shops and more. She has reminded us with her humor how much fun it is to knit.
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on March 16, 2009
I am a huge fan of the Yarn harlot. I like her writing, I like her nature, I like how she handles herself and her business and I respect her as a knitter and a writer.

I was drawn in first by her blog which manages to be graceful and kind all the time and have been following her for years now. I faithfully buy every book of hers and can not say that I have disliked any of her books. Some of them I loved more than others, but that is simply personal taste.

If you like her blog, you will like her books. This one is my favorite of her styles, the essay books where it is like reading her off of the computer. I enjoyed it a great deal.
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