Book Review and Giveaway: The Yarn Whisperer

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Contests & Giveaways, Knitting | Comments

The Yarn Whisperer isn’t the usual kind of knitting book we write about here on Craftsy. This book isn’t big on patterns or techniques. Rather, it’s a group of nonfiction essays that relate knitting and fiber to real life in a hilarious, thoughtful way.

One lucky reader will win a FREE copy of Clara Parkes’ The Yarn Whisperer, courtesy of our friends at STC Craft. To enter, just head here by Sunday, October 27, 2013. Then, comment on this blog post telling us whether you’ve ever read fiction or nonfiction books about knitting. We’ll select a winner at random on October 28, 2013.

Book Cover for "The Yarn Whisperer"

About the book:

Have you ever considered how knitting is similar to gardening? Or how many things knitting and city planning have in common? Author Clara Parkes covers topics like these as she moves through 22 essays that connect knitting and life in ways you probably never thought possible.

No doubt any knitter — or even non-knitter — will be able to relate to Parkes. One essay, titled “The Thing About Bobbles,” discusses the use of bobbles in knitting intertwined with a story about Parkes’ grandmother and bobbles as both adornment and protection. “And nothing beats the awkwardness of two ill-placed bobbles on a grown-up woman’s sweater,” she writes.

It’s especially easy to relate to Parkes when she writes about changes we all struggle to make. Speaking of a job she didn’t love, Parkes writes, “I’d made a snazzy fabric, but it wasn’t very well tailored to me. Either I would stay in that tube forever, my movement slowly shrinking and changing to fit the confines of the fabric, or I would do the scary thing and cut open those stitches to see what could grow.”

You might even learn something new about knitting, like when Parkes discusses steeking or when she gives a very detailed description about what a three needle bind-off is and then compares it to dance choreography. I even learned why we call ripping out stitches “frogging.” It’s because we’re mumbling, “Rip it, rip it, rip it” as we go along, basically imitating the sound of a frog.

After reading several essays, I started to feel like I was hanging out in my stitch group with Parkes leading the conversation. Knitting and life really do relate in more ways than I thought, and I was happy to have Parkes point some of them out to me in such an entertaining way.

About the author:

Clara Parkes is the founder and publisher behind Knitter’s Review, a helpful resource for knitters to read reviews about yarns, patterns, books and tools. Formerly employed in online publishing, Parkes has written several books about yarn and knitting, including The Knitter’s Book of Socks, The Knitter’s Book of Wool and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn. She formerly worked in the technology field, and stories about her former career and residence pop up throughout the book.

Don’t forget to click here to enter the giveaway, then let us know in the comments if you’ve ever read any other fiction or nonfiction books about knitting.


  1. Janice S. says:

    No I’ve never read any books ABOUT knitting but I have lots of knitting pattern books. This book sounds like a fun read!

  2. laura jones says:

    i love both fiction and non fiction books about knitting i love reading so much and its nice to have such a fab hobby incorporated

  3. Lila says:

    I’ve read nonfiction books about knitting — and love mystery fiction books that have knitting (like Miss Marple).

  4. Sarah M says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this book! I recently requested it from my library but the order hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve read a number of fiction and non-fiction that are knitting related and I’m really looking forward to this new one from Clara. I was lucky enough to receive one of the advance edit copies of a couple of her stories that was included in gift bags for the Squam Art Fair and loved the few excerpts there.

  5. Diana K says:

    I’ve ready fiction, non fiction, and history books about knitting. Love them all! I’d love to add this book to my collection :)

  6. Mary Syrenne says:

    I was given several fiction books by a friend that had knitting themes. They inspired me to learn how to knit!

  7. Martha Powers says:

    I read both fiction and non about knitting. I love books that are about being a knitter, and the kitting lifestyle. And mysteries “yarns” that involve knitters!

  8. kris pellmann says:

    I’ve read fiction books about knitting

  9. Alisha Granda says:

    never read any books about knitting but this sounds interesting

  10. Julie says:

    Some books I’ve read have characters that happen to knit, but I’ve never read a fiction book *about* knitting before. Everything I’ve read has been non-fiction.

  11. Donna says:

    Yes, and who wouldn’t want another book by Clara!

  12. Pat R says:

    I have read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s “The Secret Life of a Knitter”. I’ve also read the Maggie Sefton mystery books centered in the Lambspun shop. I felt right at home when I walked into Lambspun since her descriptions were so clear. I’ve read lots of other knitting mysteries fiction, too.

  13. I’ve read both nonficition and fiction books related to knitting–probably more nonfiction as I am always looking up knitting terms and stitches, but I do enjoy reading fiction books in my spare time when I am not knitting!

  14. Kathy says:

    Absolutely! Both fiction (singles & series) and non-fiction. Thanks for a fret opportunity!

  15. Bronwyn says:

    The only books about knitting I’ve read are a couple pattern books. I’ve read novels where characters knit – most notably Miss Marple :) – but that’s about it… :/

  16. Sandee says:

    I have not read any fiction books about knitting but look forward to doing so.

  17. Patricia says:

    I’ve read some fiction about knitting, though I’m more partial to humorous musings (like those of the Yarn Harlot). I’ve also read some knitting history.

  18. Holly Z says:

    I have enjoyed fiction that includes knitting..sometimes with patterns. Usually mysteries.

  19. MaryB says:

    I have read books that allude to knitting, like the “Crewel World” series. It always tickles me to read about people learning to do the things I do and their struggles with that, along with their other issues. I also enjoy reading non-fiction about knitting, especially Shetland history. And how to do the marvelous things that come out of our past.

  20. Lena Selway says:

    No I´ve never read a book about knitting , apart from patterns, but there´s a first time for everything and I would be prepared to put down my needles and wallow in a good read :)
    Thank you for the chance of winning a copy .

  21. jill says:

    I’ve never read fiction involving knitting but I’d love to try it

  22. Lindsay says:

    I’ve read both fiction and non-fiction knitting books. I do like the knitting murder mystery books the most.

  23. Janet says:

    This book sounds a hoot! I’ve not read books ABOUT knitting, just getting back into it after several years, and loved the description of frogging above, which I had not known before! And it seems I do a lot of frogging!

  24. Lisa says:

    I have only read knitting fiction books and pattern books. Looks like a great book. Thank you.

  25. Evelyn says:

    I’ve read non-fiction books about knitting. Looking forward to reading this title.

  26. Leah Golland says:

    I have read quite a few fiction books about knitting actually– there are some really good ones out there. The Friday Night Knitting Club is fantastic, with well-rounded, believable and relatable characters and a heart warming, heart wrenching, and beautiful story line! love it!

  27. Clare P-W says:

    No I’ve never read any fiction or non fiction books about knitting. This book sounds like fun to read!

  28. Kristi says:

    I’ve read Knitting Rules! and a few other of the yarn harlot books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I suppose they would be considered non-fiction. Loved them, and laughed until I cried!

  29. Susan B says:

    Yes, I’ve read some books about knitting. Both fiction and non-fiction.

  30. Cody Taylor says:

    I have not read a book about knitting that wasn’t instructional. But I love fiction (fantasy and scifi mostly), I love to read. If I could read my books and knit at the same I would! I just have to work out holding a book and needles at the same time!
    I would love a good book about knitting <3

  31. Brenda says:

    I’ve never read a nonfiction book about knitting but two of my favorite authors are knitters and knitting features prominently in many of their books – one writes a series that revolves around a yarn shop!

  32. Naomi says:

    I’ve read a couple of books by the Yarn Harlot! Both funny and informative!

  33. Crystal says:

    I read a lot, but I’ve never read any books about knitting. I’ve got several pattern books in my collection and I think this book would really liven up the knitting section of my bookshelf!

  34. Mary Stetter says:

    Yes, there is an English author who writes about a young widow who opens a yarn store in a seaside town and teaches many different kinds of people to knit. Her stories are great and the knitting is intriguing. Sorry, I can’t find the author right now.

  35. Caitlin F says:

    No, I’ve never read a fiction or non-fiction knitting book, but this one sounds really interesting. I just have pattern and instructional books. :D

  36. Linda says:

    I love fiction and non-fiction books about knitting—I have read the Yarn Harlot’s books and Maggie Sefton and others—-Pick me please!!!

  37. Debbie says:

    I’ve never heard of this book and am I intrigued!!

  38. Susan Zwerling says:

    Yes I enjoy reading both fiction and non fictions books that relate to knitting. I feel the same way about art and cooking – I like books that integrate passions!

  39. susan says:

    I have read Clara books on knitting and love all three. I was very informative learning about yarn

  40. Deb says:

    I would love this book! I have read numerous books both fiction and non with knitting themes

  41. Tatjana Njivar says:

    I have never ever read a novel or fiction about knitting because there are simply none in my language of only two million inhabitants and a handful of knitters, but I would love to own one. Anyway thanks for letting me know the author and the title, I’ll get round to it somehow.

  42. KELLEY says:

    I haven’t read any books about knitting yet! I love to read and knit, but it is hard to do at the same time! I do love listening to an audiobook while I knit! Best of both worlds!

  43. Jenny Kirkwood says:

    Am always attracted to novels with knitting or similar in them, nice to read stories about people with similar interests to mine! Also plenty of pattern books!

  44. Jackie Brown says:

    I’ve been a bookworm since I was a child, and learned to knit at the ageof 11. I’ve read two of Debbie Macomber’s books about the yarn shop, and oodles of pattern books and magazines. This sounds like an excellent book.

  45. deidre says:

    I’ve read two Stephanie Pearl-McPhee books (very funny) and a YA fiction by Cat Bordhi (a good, quick read)

  46. Kim says:

    I love reading about knitting, the history of, the essays and stories, even pattern books. This book is on my ‘want to read’ list.

  47. Missy says:

    The book The Yarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is one of my favorites! She is going to be in our town in 2014, I can’t wait! :)

  48. Debbie H says:

    Yes, I’ve read many fiction and nonfiction books. I love them all!!

  49. Trish says:

    I have read Friday Night Knitting Club and Blossom Street books.

  50. Debora says:

    All of the Yarn Harlot’s books to “Zen and the Art of Knitting,” “Mindful Knitting” and of course Debbie Macomber’s A Good Yarn series and Kate Jacob’s Friday Night Knitting Club series. Add in many different technique books there is always something new to learn or discover and share! This new book looks to be another favorite!

  51. Esther Mote says:

    Love reading Debbie Macomber books.

  52. Belén says:

    I’ve read a couple of books about knitting and crocheting techniques (actually, I learned the basis of crocheting from a book). About fictional books, I was an awkward beginner in knitting few years ago when my sister gifted me “The Friday Night Knitting Club”. I said, ‘Oh, so you’ve heard I’m learning to knit!!’, and she said, ‘Really? I didn’t know! What a conincidence!’
    Of course it encouraged me to give knitting a try, till I absolutely fell in love with it.

  53. b barr says:

    I usually read non fiction books about yarn and knitting.

  54. jules says:

    I’ve never read a fiction book about knitting, but you’ve sparked my interest now.

  55. Sandra says:

    The only knitting books that come to mind are Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street Novels. I have read those. I also have a few pattern books that include histories of knitting and yarn, very interesting and informative.

  56. Ruth says:

    I have read both fiction and non-fiction books about knitting…and thoroughly enjoyed both! I would love to win this. Thanks for the opportunity.

  57. Deborah Kelley-Fancy says:

    Love it. It looks like a great read!

  58. ashley w. says:

    I’ve never read fiction about knitting, but I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth zimmerman’s practical, witty non-fiction. ;)

  59. Jenna says:

    I’ve read several fiction books that involve knitting, Harry Potter (Mrs Weasley and Dumbledore) and The Friday Night Knitting Club are a couple of my favorites.

  60. Sue Ess says:

    I’ll read most anything about knitting I get my hands on! I read several of Monica Ferris’ mysteries and have a copy of the Friday Night Knitting Club, but I prefer books like Knit Lit, Sweater Quest, Two Sweaters for My Father, and anything by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Of course I like it when an instructional book is fun to read too, like 10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters. Thank goodness for the great materials selectors of my local public library system!

  61. I’ve read several of The Yarn Harlot’s books

  62. Jennie says:

    I’ve read one other, I’ve been looking for more.

  63. Jane Plant says:

    I read both non-fiction and fiction books about knitting… The History of Knitting and the Friday Night Knitting Club… plus many of the fun mysteries that include knitting.

  64. AutumnsMom says:

    I have read both knitting-related fiction and non-fiction books. One of my favorites is A Knitter’s Home Companion by Michelle Edwards

  65. Lynne Hazell says:

    I have lots of fiction which relates to knitting and have a series by Kate Jacobs, Debbie Macomber, Gil McNeill, and Maggie Sefton.

  66. Allison says:

    I too have read the Friday Night Knitting Club and loved it. Total guilty pleasure. I have lots of non-fiction knitting books on my shelf but not enough time to read them!

  67. Librada says:

    I have read a few of the Yarn Harlot books and recently I purchased the book “The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit” by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney It was sweet and as a bonus it came with the pattern for the truly terribly horrible sweater.

  68. Linda Stowe says:

    I love all knitting books. Especially beautiful pattern books, but all knitting books are welcome in my library.

  69. Marion Tinney says:

    I have enjoyed reading books about mystery and knitting clubs in the past. I am sure I will enjoy this book as well.

  70. Cat says:

    I’ve read Friday Night Knitting Club and loved it! I’d like to knit more fiction about knitting.

  71. Kristy says:

    I’m reading my first fiction knitting book at the moment, it’s The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Group by Gil McNeil. Enjoyable read.

  72. Greg says:

    The only books I’ve read about knitting are pattern books. They should count as non-fiction, but when I compare the patterns to my FOs, it’s often obvious that the books are purely works of fiction!

  73. Debbie Horner says:

    No, I haven’t read fiction/non-fiction book yet about knitting. I do love reading, and enjoy e-reading as well on my Kindle. Hope I’m the lucky winner. I lead a group of employees that created 1427 free chemo caps for chemo patients in 2012. Hoping to break that record this year. This woukd be a great book to share with them.

  74. Barb says:

    I have read several of the Debbie Macomber books about knitting. Some of them even included knitting patterns. I would love to be able to own and read this book also

  75. Ashley says:

    I’ve only read a few fiction books about knitting, mostly non-fiction.

  76. Meaghan Hahn says:

    I’ve read both! I read a murder mystery series about knitters, and I’ve read how-to knitting and pattern books as well!!

  77. Chris J says:

    I haven’t read any books about knitting, only pattern books. This looks like it would be a fun intro!

  78. Sue says:

    I have read both. Fiction and nonfiction. I love reading about knitting.

  79. Cindy says:

    Have ready history of knitting books but need to read my first knitting fiction.

  80. Vickie says:

    I love reading all kinds of books on knitting and I have quite a few in my collection. I would love to add this one too. I’ve just requested it at my library.

  81. Vera DeWeese says:

    I learned knitting in school as a seven-year-old in the Netherlands. We knit panties in cotton yarn, and the boys all laughed at us. I was mortified. I came to the US when I was ten. Even with that earlier inauspicious start I became a happily self-taught knitter. I will look forward to reading this novel and catching up on knitting habits/language USA style, now that I’m in my late sixties. It’s never too late to adapt to a new culture!

  82. Debbie says:

    Never read any fiction or non-fiction books about knitters, but I’ve read many that include quilters, so I know I’d love to read some about knitters. It’s fun to identify with the characters and funny is even better!

  83. Mariaan van der Walt says:

    I love reading but I love knitting even more. What a fresh combination.

  84. Melissa Vink says:

    I’ve read fiction and non fiction of knitters/knitting. Love it! This book is on my wish list :-)

  85. Suzi Smith says:

    I enjoy reading knitting pattern books but I love to envelope myself in a good knitting mystery or a knitting series with intriguing characters!

  86. Ritz Sagritalo says:

    I love to read about the things I love. I used to just occasionally knit and now it’s become one of my main hobbies. I am sure that I would enjoy this book as it’s been on my wish lists since I’ve heard about it.

  87. Linda says:

    I read all the knitting mags and books my hands run into. Wish I could knit faster.

  88. Teje says:

    Hi! I have read a book with quilting but never with knitting. This sounds exiting book and would love to read it. Thank you for sharing! x Teje

  89. Jana Seydel says:

    I have already read one or two booky about knitting – Friday night knitting club

  90. Judith says:

    This is the first fiction book I’ve seen about knitting so I would be fascinated to read it. I have several non-fiction books – inc. some by Elizabeth Zimmermann but a fiction would be great.

  91. asteride says:

    Yes, I’ve read knitting fiction and non fiction knitting books.Everything about knitting is very interesting for me.
    asteride on Ravelry

  92. Anne Bean says:

    I’ve read only one fiction book about knitting (Friday Night Knitting Club), but I own and have read over 40 nonfiction knitting books, including patterns, stitch patterns, books about fitting, and several of Clara Parkes’ books. I’d love to win her newest book!

  93. Laa la says:

    I love reading and fiction books about knitting make me happy little bunny.

  94. Janet R says:

    I love fiction that includes handwork like Jennifer Chiaverini’s quilting series books, and Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street (yarn shop) series… so I can’t wait to read “The Yarn Whisperer”!!

  95. Robin D says:

    I love reading knitting fiction and non fiction books.

  96. Lesa says:

    I’ve never read any books about fiction, but I think I would love this one

  97. i have read non fiction knitting books,i love to read anyway.
    i wish i had the opportunity to read this book as well :-)

  98. Ginger says:

    I haven’t read about knitting, but might really enjoy it.

  99. Sue W says:

    Yes, the non fiction books I’ve read are very good.

  100. Morgan says:

    I don’t remember the name, but I’ve read a few fiction books about a knit shop in a small English town. I’m not the best knitter, but it made me want to own a knit shop!

  101. Monique says:

    I can’t say I’ve eve read anything either fiction or not about knitting, but I love reading and yarn, soo I don’t see why I wouldn’t love it! Thanks!

  102. Creativekc says:

    No, I haven’t read knitting fiction. But I have consumed her other books and loved them.

  103. Christine says:

    I read The Friday Night Knitting Club. It is a wonderful book about a group of people who get together to knit and become friends.

  104. Jean Guenther says:

    I love to read books about knitting both fiction and non fiction. When I go to the library I just type in knitting and anything knitting related pops up. Its fun to see where a knitting related story can take you. I think anything Clara Parks writes will be over the top good. I have been on her blog for many years and always enjoy it.

  105. joan acquistapace says:

    I’ve enjoyed books about knitting, both fiction and non-fiction, and can’t get enough! Send me this one!

  106. Mary says:

    I’ve read both non-fiction and fiction books related to knitting. I enjoy reading, crafting and learning new things.

  107. Laura G. says:

    I’ve read all of the Yarn Harlot’s books but that’s it. Saw this book at New York Sheep and Wool – it’s now on my to be read list!

  108. Pat Cagle says:

    I’ve read quite a few knitting-themed books, especially Maggie Sexton’s little mysteries that center around a yarn shop in Colorado. I love reading about my favorite hobby!

  109. Debbie Winn says:

    Recently, I checked out an audio edition of Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, and listened to it, leaving my hands free to knit. It was a great way to combine two of my favorite pastimes: reading and knitting.

  110. Anna-Maria Markus says:

    I love reading, and while I enjoy non-fiction pattern books with lots of information and patterns, I also have read knitting themed fiction and enjoyed that as much. The featured book seems like a must have!

  111. Bernadette says:


    I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the Friday Night Knitting Club.


  112. Mary Ann M says:

    I have read Debbie Macomber’s books about A Good Yarn, shop in Seattle. I enjoy books that incorporate my love of knitting. Also have read the Friday Night Knit Group books. I know I will enjoy these stories just as much!

  113. Diana S. says:

    I haven’t read any fiction or non-fiction books about knitting:( I seem to knit or collect patterns all the time! Or am taking a Craftsy class.

  114. OHSue says:

    I loved reading the Knit Lit series, Yarn Harlot books. I loved reading abut why we love knitting, but I also enjoyed reading the Debbie Macomber series A Good Yarn.

  115. Sue says:

    I’ve read both fiction and non-fiction books about knitting.

  116. hc1951 says:

    I read a series of murder mysteries around quilting patterns; don’t recall the auther but they were AWESOME!

  117. Carolyn says:

    I find myself drawn to any type of literature involving knitting or fiber. There are many children’s books that are just charming.

  118. knittingdancer says:

    I read all the knitting novels I can find, Friday Night Knitting Club series, all of Maggie Sefton’s knitting mysteries books, all of Debbie Macomber’s book, and a few more authors.

  119. says:

    I have read the Friday Night Knitting Club series by Kate Jacobs. They are a fun and easy read.

  120. Marie hilson says:

    Have read a few books that center around a knitting store and the clientele that go there for a knitting club

  121. Donna W says:

    I have read books about quilting, but not about knitting. This book looks like I should start reading about knitting

  122. Ellisen says:

    Yes, I remember reading a novel/mystery that had little knitting patterns in various chapters. It was long ago, so I don’t recall the name.

  123. Kym says:

    I started with the accounts of knitting adventures on the Lion Brand newsletter. Then moved on to fiction. I love the words of others who have found satisfaction, and frustration, in fiber rts.

  124. Eve Martino says:

    Sounds like a fun read!! Hope I win!!

  125. Jennifer R. says:

    I typically only read instructional knitting books, but I’ve really wanted to read this book. Thanks for the fabulous giveaway!

  126. Vicki says:

    I have read the books by Debbie Macomber, Kate Jacobs, Maggie Sefton, Stephanie Pearl-McPhie, Melanie Falick, a history of knitting book, and children’s books that center on knitting. Anything to add to my knowledge and enjoyment of knitting!

  127. Julie says:

    I have started reading books about fiber and yarn, but no fiction books about knitting. I’m always looking for ways to connect knitting with everyday life and my job as a speech therapist. I know there’s a way to connect it somehow!

  128. sallyflymi says:

    Debbie Macomber has written several books about knitters. There are 2 other that I don’t remember who they are. They were all well written.

  129. Betsy says:

    Looks like a good read. Anything about fabrics and fibers is a good read to me

  130. Denise says:

    I’ve read Debbie Macomber’s “Blossom Street” Series, which is a series of books about a knitting shop and all the friends that stop by for classes or visits.

  131. katieemma says:

    I have a lot of knitting resource books, but no fiction or non-fiction stories about knitting. Looking forward to reading Clara’s book!

  132. Deb H. says:

    No, I have never read any books about knitting.

  133. Wendy B. says:

    I’ve mostly read non-fiction knitting books, however this book sounds like a good read.

  134. Molly says:

    While I’ve read and used several how-to-knit books, I’ve not read fiction that focused on knitting, just characters who did knit. I really enjoy fictional series about quilting, so this book is one that I know I’ll enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  135. Marianna says:

    I’ve read a few non fiction and fiction knitting books. I prefer the non fiction collection of stories.

  136. In my free sitting time, I read when I am not knitting. Did I ever read a book in which the main character(s) is knitting. Not yet. But I can’t wait to try that!