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The Yarn Whisperer Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Length: 170 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"...Clara Parkes has taken the common threads that join all knitters, and she's made them into a glorious patchwork blanket of a book. It's warm, it's beautiful, and there's love in every bit of it." - Mary Mooney, The Oregonian

"Clara Parkes is the MFK Fisher of knitting: unflinching, all-seeing, mysterious--and also kind. In this collection of beautifully wrought essays, Clara explores the territory where knitting overlaps with a life well lived." - Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner, Mason-Dixon Knitting

"I was utterly captivated by the book." -

"In this charming series of linked essays, Parkes metaphorically puts the fast whorl on her wheel and spins something entirely new, showing that she's not just a good writer but a great one. Funny, sweet, and trenchant and offered in twenty-two digestible bits, this book is not only the quintessential sampler afghan of knit lit, it is also the 'It' gift of the season. Buy a stack to stuff inside the handmade stockings of your knitting-circle friends."   -Vogue Knitting

About the Author

Clara Parkes, a celebrated raconteur, is the bestselling author of The Knitter's Book of Yarn, The Knitter's Book of Wool, and The Knitter's Book of Socks. She is also the founder and publisher of, a biweekly e-newsletter that explores the pleasures and subtleties of yarn. She lives in Maine.

Product Details

  • File Size: 544 KB
  • Print Length: 170 pages
  • Publisher: STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (September 3, 2013)
  • Publication Date: September 3, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,824 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"Quite possibly the only writer you will ever read who can make a discussion of micron counts absolutely riveting." - Mary Mooney, The Oregonian

Over a decade ago, Clara Parkes abandoned San Francisco's high-tech hubbub to build a quieter creative life on the coast of Maine. Since then, she has become a trusted voice in the knitting community. "Clara Parkes is the MFK Fisher of knitting: unflinching, all-seeing, mysterious--and also kind," writes Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Named by Vogue Knitting as one of knitting's "New Wave" along with Debbie Stoller and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Parkes is also the publisher of, has appeared regularly on the PBS Television series "Knitting Daily TV," and is a frequent contributor to Twist Collective.

In her spare time, Clara loves to putter in the kitchen and is a huge fan of butter.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Clara Parkes' Knitters Review forever and have loved her other three books. This one is no exception. It is written with the yarn lover and knitter in mind. The book contains no patterns, but rather is a collection of reminiscences or essays by Ms. Parkes. She talks about her life as it relates to knitting and yarn. "This book is a collection of my own musings on stitches - why we work them, what they do to fabric, and how they have contributed to the fabric of my own life. For life really is a stitch. It has a beginning, a midpoint, and an end. It serves a purpose, and if we're lucky, it creates something beautiful and enduring."

There is one essay that relates to steeks - sometimes we have to make a cut in something in order to give it a chance to become whole. In the chapter about the choreography of stitches she discusses her move to Tucson and the discovery of the rodeo. She also learns square dancing. She looks at myriad stitches and designers and compares them to different types of choreography. For instance, Kaffe Fassett is a modern choreographer and other designers are more traditional. There is a poignant essay about her parents' divorce and her trip cross-country. The essay on stashes really spoke to me. I have so much yarn that I could open my own yarn shop. Ms. Parkes discusses the need to cull stashes and compares them to gardens. "As hard as it is to say, I should point out that a healthy stash requires frequent and prudent weeding. It can easily get overrun before we notice what's happening". In her essay called Stitch Traffic she gives very sound advice, that "putting blind faith in anything is rarely a good idea, whether it's a GPS or a knitting pattern.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is indeed a beautifully written book with yarn as its metaphor (as stated by a previous reviewer). But after about the third chapter I began to hope that the author would let go of the metaphor. By the sixth chapter, no matter how the author spun it, I found the metaphor was becoming a cliche and I was having trouble reading more than a chapter or two at one sitting. The chapters with "less" metaphor, and often fewer life lessons, seem to work better. The chapter about the Kitchener stitch and its origin, for example, comes to mind, with its historical information. Come on Clara--more stories about yourself, about yarn and knitting, or about anything, really, but lay off the metaphor. Still, knitters will want to read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm giving a very reluctant three stars. I would have given it two stars, but the subject matter alone made it worthy of an extra star. I'm glad I bought the book because I want more essays about knitting and yarn and fiber to be written and published.

But... but...

I LOVE Clara Parkes. If I ran into her at Maryland Sheep and Wool, I'd silently freak out, channel my inner Canadian YarnHarlot style and play it seriously cool (because who the heck would I be to her?), and then freak out about it for the whole next year, much as I did when I was looking at the sheep photographs at the same time as Deborah Robson -- who wrote The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, which is one of my very favorite books ever -- at the 2013 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

That said, going back to The Yarn Whisperer... yikes. The essays are short and the metaphors are big, obvious, clunky, and shoved down the readers' throats in the least elegant manner possible. I have a very difficult time with any author using "we" to try to strike notes of (usually false) profundity. It's equally difficult to take here. Every time a writer tells me "we" do something, I want to shout back, "No, *we* don't!" speaking, of course, as myself. Writers have no business speaking in sweeping generalizations about people. Stick to specifics. Leave it to the reader to see herself in what is portrayed.

The book could have been awesome if she'd made the memoir more cohesive and detailed while weaving (no pun intended) the yarn side of her life into the story naturally. I think she should step way back to allow her readers to see connections and links for themselves.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have all of Clara Parkes' books, but I wasn't sure about this one. I usually only buy knitting-related books if they're reference or pattern books, and a memoir or collection of stories didn't seem like it would be very 'useful' to my collection. However, I got a Kindle for Christmas this year and decided to purchase the e-copy. It was a fun read and there were many times I caught myself laughing out loud -- but the true test of this book came when I was waiting on my boyfriend at the airport. There's a whole chapter dedicated to kitchnering, and I just happened to be at the toes of some socks when I was stranded at the airport with nothing else to do. I had no idea how to kitchner without directions, so I looked up Clara's anecdote in the book about the time she finally 'understood' how kitchnering works. It was just what I needed to finish the toe on my sock!
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Topic From this Discussion
is this book wrapped in real yarn?
No, I don't believe it is. It is just the way the cover looks.
Dec 1, 2013 by KellyLC |  See all 2 posts
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