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Things I Learned From Knitting: ...whether I wanted to or not Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 19, 2008

75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Pearl-McPhee had the crowd in – ahem – stitches.”

A front-page feature in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering Stephanie’s event stated, “ “It’s like our version of Woodstock,” Atlanta business owner Karen Jacobson observed wryly of the event.” Another quote reads, “ “It’s like when I saw the Beatles in 1964. Better, actually. This time I didn’t have to hitchhike to get there.”

(Atlanta Journal Constitution )

“Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a master storyteller.”
(Knitters Review )

From the Inside Flap

Pick up the needles, grab a skein of yarn, cast on…and let the life lessons to begin! From Patience is a Virtue and Hope Springs Eternal to Look Before You Leap, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee applies her trademark humor and wry insights to reveal the wise (and sometimes unexpected) truths contained within 45 familiar adages, understood as only a knitter could.

These irresistible reflections on life will have you laughing, crying and marveling out loud at how amazingly fortunate you are to be living your life as a knitter.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (March 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603420622
  • ASIN: B007SRW7MM
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,463,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the author of Yarn Harlot, At Knit's End, Knitting Rules!, and Casts Off. She maintains a popular blog at She lives with her family in an untidy, wool-filled house in Toronto, where she avoids doing the laundry and knits whenever she gets a minute.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Karen Tiede VINE VOICE on April 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's small, it's Stephanie all the way, and it's a good read. Probably a bit better spread out over a few days instead of all at once. It circles back on itself, but then so does knitting. There are no patterns--yippee! No space wasted on something I wouldn't knit anyway.

It's a bit like going to a support group meeting where you know most of the people except for a few newcomers, and all the oldtimers smile and nod when someone comes in sobbing about the latest disaster and say, "Yeah, that happened to me too, here's what I did to get around it." I had not thought before to compare my knitting expenditures to what people spend on golf, or lawn care.

If you live in a place that's too warm to support full-time sweater and sock knitting, you'll have to do your own translation. I wish the publisher had sprung for a table of contents. I'd like to read a book that explored the ideas in the introduction more deeply; maybe someone else will write that one.

Four not five stars because I use five for books that change my life, and this one simply makes me feel a bit more grounded in the life I have. Four not three because I'm happy to own this and don't think I would have been as satisfied if I'd only read the copy at the library.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Grigsby VINE VOICE on May 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Uncontrollable laughter while you are reading a book is a pleasure, but a tad embarrassing when in a group of total strangers. Worse yet, I tried reading this book while at a conference where I was supposed to be listening to the (rather dull) speaker. Another mistake! She is hilarious. She spells out 45 lessons that she has learned from knitting. Her descriptions of flinging the knitting across the room, using words our children shouldn't be exposed to, and opening another glass of wine while reading a lace pattern, for example, are all things that most knitters can relate to. Read it and LAUGH in recognition!
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book is small (about 6.3 inches by 4.2 inches) and fits in a purse for quick moments of reading just about anywhere you're stuck waiting. There's an introduction and 45 things learned with a few lists interspersed. So, it's a perfect book for short breaks as most of the `things' are on average about three pages. It took me a while to read because I chose to read it in short spurts reading 1 or 2 or 3 things at a time.

If you've read the Yarn Harlot's blog you have a good idea of her writing style. It's simple and down to earth, witty, humorous, and often slyly thought provoking. I say slyly thought provoking because she often says she writes knitting humor and she does. But, what she doesn't stress is that her writing is humorous because it based in the knitting culture and in society in general. The introduction talks about attention and filter theories in science (neuro) and psychology and how they apply to knitters. Often knitters take a lot of flack for knitting items that could be purchased cheaper elsewhere or for wasting time (usually said by someone just sitting and doing nothing). Stephanie Pearl-McPhee uses science and common sense to refute some of those charges and to prove to knitters that not only are they taking part in an activity that brings them joy but that also keeps their brains active and engaged, produces usable products (mittens, sweaters, socks, scarfs, and so on), and teaches them new things about life and the world everyday.

She has short essays on lesson learned such as: "Patience is a Virtue". Knitters, she writes, aren't knitters because they are patient but patient because they knit.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Moonglow's Nana on May 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Entertainment extraordinaire, with life lessons explained! How does knitting fit in today's busy busy world and do you think you might enjoy this very old pastime? Find out as you read Things I Learned from Knitting... whether I wanted to or not. This is a handy little book that will fit into a small bag. It is very very funny. I found myself laughing out loud more than once as I was reading it. The author, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee lives in Canada; she speaks and writes the Queen's English, thus the reader must often think, more than a wee bit, to extract all the meaning. That makes it all the more enjoyable. The author uses 45 old adages which illustrate life lessons and she contrasts and compares cognitive psychology to the thought processes used in knitting. That being said I think it will make a wonderful graduation present for my close friend, a young wife, mother, and knitter, who just spent the last ten years working toward her PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a speciality in Oncology. With that accomplished she now has more time to knit and to get on with life's lessons learned!!!
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43 of 56 people found the following review helpful By AuntieDepression on June 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Yarn Harlot is a funny lady with a genius for telling home truths in ways that sound fresh. I bought this book because -- okay, (a)it's McPhee, (b)I have all her other books,(c) I've never met a knitting book I didn't need to have immediately (except those that purport to be not your grandmother's something or other). Pathetic reasons, but there you are. This book divides a bunch of those home truths into brief chapterettes -- a clever way to organize the material but one which (sorry) shows off its shallowness. "Practice Makes Perfect," for instance. Oh, thanks; never thought of that. "You Can't Win Them All." Yes, well; you learn that one the first time you try to frog mohair. "Patience is a Virtue:" This little essay does raise the interesting question of whether knitting teaches patience or whether patient people become knitters. Either way, so what?

My sense is that her publishers said, "Steph, it's time; you've got to get another book out there and do another tour." My stronger sense is that between the books and the tours and the blog and whatnot, this lovely knitter is becoming too much of a brand, the voice is becoming too familiar, and the same thing is being sold over and over, with diminishing returns for the reader. Excuse me; I need to attend to my own knitting.
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