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BOOK REVIEW: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the Jon Stewart of the knitting world. She skewers us with our own needles, unravels our obsession for the uninitiated and helps us learn to laugh at ourselves. Her fresh, tongue-in-cheek observations about the crazy world of knitting have become wildly popular on her blog, her speaking tours (accompanied by her trademark socks-in-progress) and in her three previous books.

In her newest book Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: the Yarn Harlot’s Guide to the Land of Knitting, Pearl-McPhee looks at knitting as a journey and sets off on a whirlwind tour of the land of knitting. Whether a newly arrived visitor, a long-time resident or a tourist seeking understanding of a loved one; Casts Off is an essential guide to the people, customs, tourist attractions and common ailments of this fascinating land.

Divided into the areas of reference commonly expected in a travel guide, Pearl-McPhee investigates packing tips (just how much yarn does one need to take on a trip), consulates & embassies (local yarn stores), politics (the great “acrylic versus natural fibers” debate) and common ailments (the dreaded “Yarnesia” or the debilitating Viral Second Sock Syndrome), treatment and prognosis.

Knitters who have caught the “Harlot” bug will find themselves laughing uncontrollably through Casts Off and most will remain convinced that Pearl-McPhee knows them better than their closest friend. Whether she is commenting on the “four ways knitting is like playing the violin” (both are worked from a chart) or how to cope when bad knits happen to good knitters, knitters respond to Pearl-McPhee because she understands us. She knows our foibles because she shares them and like all good enablers, she helps us explain ourselves the skeptics around us. After all, as Pearl-McPhee reminds us, “We know it looks like yarn, but it’s love…and for this it’s worth giving up all your closet space.”

This knitter recommends regular doses of the Harlot, along with infusions of social knitting and stash diving, to ensure a pleasant and healthy stay in the land of knitting.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 1580176585
ISBN13: 9781580176583

Trade Paperback
218 Pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publication Date: March 22, 2007
Author Website:


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