A New York Times Bestseller Knitting aficionado and notable artisan Clara Parkes delves into her storied travels with this inspiring and witty memoir on a creative life enriched by her adventures around the world. Building on the success of The Yarn Whisperer, Parkes’s rich personal essays invite readers and devoted crafters on excursions to be savored, from a guide who quickly comes to feel like a trusted confidante. In Knitlandia, she takes readers along on 17 of her most memorable journeys across the globe over the last 15 years, with stories spanning from the fjords of Iceland to a cozy yarn shop in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. Also known for her PBS television appearances and hugely popular line of small-batch handcrafted yarns, Parkes weaves her personal blend of wisdom and humor into this eloquently down-to-earth guide that is part personal travel narrative and part cultural history, touching the heart of what it means to live creatively. Join Parkes as she ventures to locales both foreign and familiar in chapters like: Chasing a Legend in Taos Glass, Grass, and the Power of Place: Tacoma, Washington A Thing for Socks and a Very Big Plan: Portland, Oregon Autumn on the Hudson: The New York Sheep & Wool Festival Cashmere Dreams and British Breeds: A Last-Minute Visit to Edinburgh, Scotland Fans of travel writing, as well as knitters, crocheters, designers, and fiber artists alike, will enjoy the masterful narrative in these intimate tales from a life well crafted. Whether you’ve committed to exploring your own wanderlust or are an armchair traveler curled up in your coziest slippers, Knitlandia is sure to inspire laughter, tears, and maybe some travel plans of your own.
A fast-paced account of the year Clara Parkes spent transforming a 676-pound bale of fleece into saleable yarn, and the people and vanishing industry she discovered along the way Join Clara Parkes on a cross-country adventure and meet a cast of characters that includes the shepherds, dyers, and countless workers without whom our knitting needles would be empty, our mills idle, and our feet woefully cold. Travel the country with her as she meets a flock of Saxon Merino sheep in upstate New York, tours a scouring plant in Texas, visits a steamy Maine dyehouse, helps sort freshly shorn wool on a working farm, and learns how wool fleece is measured, baled, shipped, and turned into skeins. In pursuit of the perfect yarn, Parkes describes a brush with the dangers of opening a bale (they can explode), and her adventures from Maine to Wisconsin (“the most knitterly state”) and back again; along the way, she presents a behind-the-scenes look at the spinners, scourers, genius inventors, and crazy-complex mill machines that populate the yarn-making industry. By the end of the book, you’ll be ready to set aside the backyard chickens and add a flock of sheep instead. Simply put, no other book exists that explores American culture through the lens of wool.
From New York Times bestselling knitting writer Clara Parkes, comes a new collection of essays and stories drawn from the yarn-loving, stash-collecting, close-knit community of knitters. This addictive-to-read anthology celebrates yarn--specifically, the knitter's reputation for acquiring it in large quantities and storing it away in what's lovingly referred to as a "stash." Consider contributions from knitting and teaching luminaries, including: Stitch 'n Bitch co-founder Debbie Stoller Meg Swansen, daughter of master knitter Elizabeth Zimmermann Knitting blogger and author Susan B. Anderson alongside offerings from knitting greats Amy Herzog, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and Franklin Habit--plus, stories from a romance novelist, an illustrator, a PhD-wielding feminist publisher, a globetrotting textile artist, a licensed clinical social worker, and the people behind the world's largest collective online stash, Ravelry.com. The pieces range from comical to earnest, lighthearted to deeply philosophical as each seeks to answer the question of how the stash a knitter has accumulated over the years reflects his or her place in universe. The stories in A Stash of One's Own represent and provide validation for knitters' wildly varying perspectives on yarn, from holding zero stash, to stash-busting, to stockpiling masses of it--and even including it in estate plans. These tales are for all fiber artists, spinners, dyers, crafters, crocheters, sheep farmers, shop owners, beginning knitters to yarn experts, and everyone who has ever loved a skein too hard to let it go.
Stockinette, ribbing, cables, even the humble yarn over can instantly evoke places, times, people, conversations, all those poignant moments that we’ve tucked away in our memory banks. Over time, those stitches form a map of our lives. —From the preface In The Yarn Whisperer: Reflections on a Life in Knitting, renowned knitter and author Clara Parkes ponders the roles knitting plays in her life via 22 captivating, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny essays. Recounting tales of childhood and adulthood, family, friends, adventure, privacy, disappointment, love, and celebration, she hits upon the universal truths that drive knitters to create and explores the ways in which knitting can be looked at as a metaphor for so many other things. Put simply, “No matter how perfect any one sweater may be, it’s only human to crave another. And another, and another.” Praise for The Yarn Whisperer: “Clara Parkes: The Yarn Seer.” —Interweave Knits magazine “If you are a knitter, or even if you are not, read this book for the sheer joy of her writing, for the way she strings ideas together and brings you into her world . . . I would compare her to Mark Twain because of her dry humor. Honestly, she’s that good.” —New Jersey Courier News’ In Sticthes blog “Read this book to be reminded of how special it is to be a part of this warm and fuzzy community.” —About.com “I see a lot of yarn books in this gig, and Whisperer is not only the best I’ve seen this year, it’s one of my all-time faves. Seriously, it’s that good.” —The Oregonian “I don’t want to stop reading. Each chapter is a little jewel.” —KnitCircus.com “Parkes has a poet’s appreciation for the interconnectivity of seemingly disparate aspects of life . . . I have a sense of affinity with the metaphors she chooses, which are drawn from music, gardening, baking, and of course, knitting. Her language dances and gallops, chuckles and sings.” —Kangath Knits blog “The Yarn Whisperer weaves together knitting anecdotes and life experiences of the author in a way that I think we can all relate to.” —Kelbourne Woolens blog “It’s a fun book for curling up on a cool day with a cup of tea, knitting nearby, of course.” —CraftGossip.com “It is seriously the best book about knitting experiences ever. I absolutely LOVED it!” —Sweetly Made “If you haven’t read The Yarn Whisperer yet, you should. It’s sweet, funny and full of moments you’ll recognize or aspire to. I recommend you get a copy.” —Moth Heaven “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 “The creator of Knitter’s Review has created a collection of stories of her life of knitting, yarn, baking and overall appreciation for all things beautiful, and has woven them together like afghan squares with charm, grace and hilarity.” —Petite Purls “Her writing is incredibly clever . . . this book will be dear to your heart.” —Knit the Hell Out “It’s my favorite new knitting book of the year.” —DallasNews.com
Not all yarns are alike. Some make our hearts and hands sing, some get the job done without much fanfare, and some cause nothing but frustration and disappointment. The gorgeous pair of socks that emerged from their first bath twice as long as when they went in. The delicate baby sweater that started pilling before it even came off the needles. The stunning colorwork scarf that you can’t wear because the yarn feels like sandpaper against your neck. If only there were a way to read a skein and know how it would behave and what it wanted to become before you invested your time, energy, and money in it. Now there is! With The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, you’ll learn how to unleash your inner yarn whisperer. In these pages, Clara Parkes provides in-depth insight into a vast selection of yarns, giving you the inside stories behind the most common fiber types, preparations, spins, and ply combinations used by large-scale manufacturers and importers, medium-sized companies, boutique dye shops, community spinneries, and old-fashioned sheep farms. And, because we learn best by doing, Parkes went to some of the most creative and inquisitive design minds of the knitting world to provide a wide assortment of patterns created to highlight the qualities (and minimize the drawbacks) of specific types of yarns. The Knitter’s Book of Yarn will teach you everything you need to know about yarn: How it’s made, who makes it, how it gets to you, and what it longs to become. The next time you pick up a skein, you won’t have to wonder what to do with it. You’ll just know–the way any yarn whisperer would.
A full-color array of 20 original yarn-appropriate sock patterns includes ideas from today's top sock designers. By the author of The Knitter's Book of Yarn.
In this complete guide to wool - the most popular yarn around - passionate wool expert Clara Parkes translates the vast world of sheep and their wool into the language and context of knitting. What is wool? Clara starts with the fundamentals: what wool is made of, how it gets off the sheep, and how it is transformed from a jumbled mass of dirty fluff into a gorgeous yarn that so tempts us at our local yarn stores. Who makes it? Parkes conducts an inspiring tour of sheep breeds from around the world - introducing us to the animals who give us their wool - and explains how to best knit with yarns made from their fibers. Which yarn do I use? If only there were a way to read a skein to know how it would behave and what it wanted to become. Now there is! Parkes demystifies the generic (non-breed-specific) wool yarn you'll find at your local yarn shop, showing you how to best determine what every yarn longs to be. What do I knit? Parkes went to some of the most creative and inquisitive design minds of the kniting world to provide more than 20 patterns that highlight the qualities of specific types of wool. The Knitter's Book of Wool teaches you everything you need to know about wool - and its journey from pasture to pullover. The next time you pick up a skein, you won't have to wonder what to create with it. You'll just know. From the Hardcover edition.
The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater is a memoir about life truths learned through crafting. People who craft know things. They know how to transform piles of yarn into sweaters and scarves. They know that some items, like woolen bikini tops, are better left unknit. They know that making a hat for a newborn baby isn’t just about crafting something small but appreciating the beginnings of life, which sometimes helps make peace with the endings. They know that if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, your relationship will most likely be over before the last stitch. Alanna Okun knows that crafting keeps her anxiety at bay. She knows that no one will ever be as good a knitting teacher as her beloved grandmother. And she knows that even when we can’t control anything else, we can at least control the sticks, string, and fabric right in front of us. Okun lays herself bare and takes readers into the parts of themselves they often keep hidden. Yet at the same time she finds humor in the daily indignities all crafters must face (like when you catch the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome and can’t possibly finish the second in a pair). Okun has written a book that will speak to anyone who has said to themselves, or to everyone within earshot, “I made that.”
Anyone can pick up a pair of needles and a ball of yarn. And everyone can be mindful. The Mindfulness in Knitting casts fresh light on this renowned calming craft, and reveals how the act of “knit and purl” can be the epitome of conscious living. Ethical textile artist Rachael Matthews unpicks the threads of this popular pastime to explore how knitting connects us to each other and to the world around us. Through personal anecdote and expert insight, she unravels the true value of what it means to craft, its therapeutic benefits, and the joys of mindful making.