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A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way through Love, Loss, and Laughter Paperback – August 3, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews

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Go Big Knits: 20 Projects Sizes 38-54 by
"Go Big Knits" from the editors of Marie Claire Idees
Knit designs from the editors of Marie Claire Idées to ensure that women of all body shapes and types will look—and feel—fantastic. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rachael Herron is the creator of Yarnagogo.com, which receives over 90,000 hits a month, and the author of the novel How to Knit a Love Song. She lives with her better half in Oakland, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452100535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452100531
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patricia R. Andersen VINE VOICE on August 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For the record, I am not a knitter. I have knitted one scarf in my entire life and it really wasn't all that. I am a crocheter. I'm just telling you my bias upfront so you will know there a few things I don't quite get about knitting. Now that I've said that, on to the review.
Rachael Herron has written a great book about knitting and how it weaves into her life. There are 20 essays, all named for various needlework terms such as "casting on" and "double crochet". The titles are not what the essays are about, at least not in the traditional way of "I learned 3 different cast on techniques and here's how I use them" - the essay "Casting On" is about M's Herron's early life and her father.
M's Herron writes about love - romantic and otherwise. There's one on a failed relationship - one where M's Herron lost herself as well as the desire to knit. She writes of finding the love of her life - and deciding to knit her own wedding dress. And she also brings up "the boyfriend sweater curse". If you have this far into this review, you already know what the "curse" is but in case you need reminding it's when someone (usually a woman) makes something her boyfriend and after it's finished, the relationship unravels. Is it because of the sweater or not? I don't know but I have never made my love a sweater, just in case.
M's Herrons essays are brilliantly written, capturing what was going on in her life at the time of the essay. I wept as her mother was dying, remembering my own mother's death. I cheered when Digit came back and she managed to raise the money for the vet's fee. But most of all, I came to feel as if I had known her for quite some time. I feel as if I made a friend by reading this book.
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While I am a knitter and definitely a fan of Rachael's blog, this book is not for knitters only. I've had a pretty challenging summer with the death of my dad, a friend, and a couple of beloved pets. Many of these same situations are essays in the book, and I found it amazing how much this book helped me through grief and healing. The chapter about when Rachael's mom died really hit home. Some chapters are poignant, some will make you laugh out loud. It also helped me realize how much my knitting is tied to my life and has become such an integral part of me. The analogies can be transferred from knitting to anything that someone has a passion for. Rachael's writing style for the essays is so easy to read, you just feel like you're sitting down having a conversation with her. While I'm a big fan of her fiction books, A Life in Stitches holds a very special place in my heart.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I typically avoid autobiographical books. For the most part, I find them narcissistic searches for inner clarity, or meaning, or some other boring drama. I made it through the first chapter of Eat, Pray, Love, and had to put it down because the author couldn't hear me when I told her to get her head out of her...well, you get the idea. I remember loving the book the Snow Leopard when I was in high school. I re-read it later, as an adult and I was appalled. I couldn't believe this selfish guy had left his wife and children to go "find" himself. Isn't that something you do when you're 18?

So I picked up Herron's book with some trepidation.

From the very first chapter, she had me. She's a story teller, not a narcissist. Her essays revolve around other people and how she feels about them and how they add depth and value to her life. She writes about herself only in the context of the other people she loves. Her stories are engaging, and her writing style is so full of honesty and humor that you will be crying one minute and laughing the next.

I think my favorite chapter was "Basket Weave Stitch" where she writes about her cat Digit, and how she was humbled by a whole community of knitters who came together to help her care for him when he was in crisis. As you read her words, you feel her dismay at the outpouring of love that she feels she's not equal to.

Though knitting is the (eh-hem) thread that pulls the whole book together, I don't think you have to be a knitter to enjoy her writing. I say that with some uncertainty because I am a knitter, and I loved it.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Just a lovely memoir. It's easy to read. Very emotionally honest and you feel like you know the author when you're done. That she's suddenly become a friend because you know so much about her.

I loved the story about how she fell in love when she wasn't really looking for it. Her stories about her mother made me a little weepy. The wonder of finding out that there were people just like you on the internet, that too, I identified with.

Parts of it made me laugh out loud and there were parts that I read to my daughter who is also a knitter. She laughed as hard as I did in the beginning with Rachel's story about her first sweater.

Memories of cats, yarn, love and loss. If you're a fan of her blog, Yarnagogo, you probably already ordered it. If you're a knitter who likes knitting memoirs, it's worth a read. If you like personal stories, it's a good one.

The trick to writing a good memoir or blog is to write every day things in a way that makes interesting and familiar. Rachel Herron does a wonderful job of that.
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