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Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting Hardcover – November 11, 2013

80 customer reviews

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Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting + The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting + Adventures in Yarn Farming: Four Seasons on a New England Fiber Farm
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This is a collection of essays and one poem by well-known authors about the magical powers of knitting. The book also includes six knitting patterns interspersed throughout the book. Because the focus of the text is on the act of knitting and the feelings evoked rather than the finished product, there are no images or diagrams to accompany the knitting projects. Rather, the text invites the reader to curl up with a book or with knitting and be transported to a world of healing, peace, and calm. These are deeply personal stories ranging from true and heartbreaking (Martha Frankel attempting to keep her friend from joining a cult through knitting), to the honest and humorous (finger knitting being even more relaxing than knitting because you can drink your martini while finger knitting). This book makes you want to start knitting or resurrect an old knitting project. --Rebecca Pfenning

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“Poignant, funny, and moving, is sure to delight knitting enthusiasts and lovers of literature alike.” — Bookreporter

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393239497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393239492
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By bunnyraku on November 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a lifelong knitter and longtime teacher of literature, the idea of a collection of essays about knitting penned by such talented writers as Joyce Maynard, Elizabeth Berg, and Jane Smiley, to name but a few, is pure joy. Much like knitting itself, which these essays celebrate. Now that I have embarked on a second career as the owner of Stash Knits, a LYS (local yarn shop) near Philadelphia, I find that I have even greater insight into and appreciation for the sentiments expressed here.

Many of the essays connect the process of knitting with significant life events, others with significant people in the author's lives. This is fitting. In my experience as a shop owner, I have encountered dozens of women (and a few men) who sought and found solace in knitting during life crises. One woman, who had recently lost her husband of 61 years, wandered in with the idea to make a baby hat for her first soon-to-be-born great grandchild. The hat needed 11 months to be born, and during that time, we watched its knitter pass through many stages of grief and emerge on the other side. Another, slightly younger woman found us after a frightening diagnosis and an order to quit smoking. The needles and yarn occupied her hands; following the pattern occupied her mind.

Just as often, people seem to take up or return to knitting in response to joyful milestones and memories--the birth of a first child, a desire to connect with a loved one who is (or was) a knitter. And there are many other stories. So many that the essays in this volume not only ring true, they feel like conversations, from a week ago or perhaps to be had next week.

And the patterns! The book wisely includes directions for five beautiful projects, none of which the reader need make to appreciate. Rather, they are food for the celebration that is knitting. Though I might just need to cast on for those Banks fingerless mittens. You know, once I finish this hat. And those blanket squares.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By dogebooks on December 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As both writer and knitter, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Reading it was like pulling on a warm, cozy knit sweater on a winter day. I laughed, I cried, I knitted.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen H. Borkowski on December 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is topping my list of preferred gifts for 2013, I have always been in the company of knitters but didn't understand the mystique until now. I may not pick up yarn and needles in December but I know the book will be enjoyed by my vast "knitting circle" when they open it on Christmas morning.

Stephen Borkowski, Chair
Provincetown Art Commission
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book. I loved some of the essays--such as "turning straw into gold"--while others (endless variations on "I cannot knit, so here is a lot of complaining about that") were less interesting.

My complaint is that the Kindle version does not provide photographs of the included knitting patterns. A big omission....and so not enticing to make, which seems a waste. I went onto Ravelry to see project photos from some of the test knitters and readers of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katie on November 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting perspective on knitting from generally kindred individuals. I enjoyed reading about the varied experiences of various individuals who knit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paula Fisher on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book! It combined my love of reading with my love of knitting. I look forward all day to sitting down in the evening when everything is finally done and getting out my knitting. Sometimes I am too tired to knit so I would read this book and it gave me the same relaxing feeling that I get when I knit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teresa on February 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Great selection of essays. I identified with several of them. The book was a Christmas gift to me and perfect. There are also 5 original patterns by Helen Bingham.

The editor, Ann Hood, wrote The Knitting Circle (2008). It was very good. I recommend this as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Primelo on January 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book! Just went to Vogue Knitting Live show in NYC and Ann Hood and 3 of the authors from the book were there and did a book talk. Loved it! Can't wait for Knitting Yarns 2!!
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