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A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way through Love, Loss, and Laughter

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In these 20 heartfelt essays, Rachael Herron celebrated romance novelist by day, 911 dispatcher by night, and founder of the hugely popular blog Yarnagogo.com shows how when life unravels there s always a way to knit it back together again, many times into something even better. Honest, funny, and full of warmth, Herron s tales, each inspired by something she knit or somet In these 20 heartfelt essays, Rachael Herron celebrated romance novelist by day, 911 dispatcher by night, and founder of the hugely popular blog Yarnagogo.com shows how when life unravels there s always a way to knit it back together again, many times into something even better. Honest, funny, and full of warmth, Herron s tales, each inspired by something she knit or something knit for her, will speak to anyone who has ever picked up a pair of needles. From her very first sweater (a hilarious disaster, to say the least) to the yellow afghan that caused a breakup (and, ultimately, a breakthrough), every piece has a moving story behind it. This beautifully crafted and candid collection is perfect for the knitter who loves to read and the reader who loves to knit.


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In these 20 heartfelt essays, Rachael Herron celebrated romance novelist by day, 911 dispatcher by night, and founder of the hugely popular blog Yarnagogo.com shows how when life unravels there s always a way to knit it back together again, many times into something even better. Honest, funny, and full of warmth, Herron s tales, each inspired by something she knit or somet In these 20 heartfelt essays, Rachael Herron celebrated romance novelist by day, 911 dispatcher by night, and founder of the hugely popular blog Yarnagogo.com shows how when life unravels there s always a way to knit it back together again, many times into something even better. Honest, funny, and full of warmth, Herron s tales, each inspired by something she knit or something knit for her, will speak to anyone who has ever picked up a pair of needles. From her very first sweater (a hilarious disaster, to say the least) to the yellow afghan that caused a breakup (and, ultimately, a breakthrough), every piece has a moving story behind it. This beautifully crafted and candid collection is perfect for the knitter who loves to read and the reader who loves to knit.

30 review for A Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way through Love, Loss, and Laughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    My goodness, what a sweet surprise this book was. What I expected was a book of musings on knitting, which I would've enjoyed, but probably not found memorable. What I got was a selection of poignant, funny, and well-written essays on Ms. Herron's life - with the role that her particular hobby has played in it. Make no mistake, this would be a brilliant book even without the uniting thread of stitchcraft. But through her knitting, Rachel Herron shows us how a hobby can bring incredibly disparate My goodness, what a sweet surprise this book was. What I expected was a book of musings on knitting, which I would've enjoyed, but probably not found memorable. What I got was a selection of poignant, funny, and well-written essays on Ms. Herron's life - with the role that her particular hobby has played in it. Make no mistake, this would be a brilliant book even without the uniting thread of stitchcraft. But through her knitting, Rachel Herron shows us how a hobby can bring incredibly disparate people together - to give friendship, comfort, and laughter. What truly impressed me were two things: One, these are the stories and memories of an openly bisexual woman. There's no judgement contained in these pages, just an acceptance that one might love a man and a woman at different points in one's life. Two, Herron made me tear up twice. It's a rare book that has that effect on me, and it's never because of blatant authorial attempts to tug at one's heart-strings. It's just that some of the stories have an emotional pull beyond the text itself - the universal experience that is heart-break and starting over. All in all, a wonderful read, and while it will resonate beautifully with knitters, I think it will do just as well in the hands of the non-crafty.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    I came across Rachael Herron's essays by chance. I was waiting for my husband at our local Wellness Center, and I picked up a copy of a "woman's magazine" sitting in the lounge. (I honestly don't remember which magazine it was.) An article on knitting caught my eye. I read it and wrote down the author's name and blog site. When I got home, I read her blog "Yarnagogo.com" and went to Amazon to buy the book from which her essay was extracted. I was not disappointed. Her collection of essays about I came across Rachael Herron's essays by chance. I was waiting for my husband at our local Wellness Center, and I picked up a copy of a "woman's magazine" sitting in the lounge. (I honestly don't remember which magazine it was.) An article on knitting caught my eye. I read it and wrote down the author's name and blog site. When I got home, I read her blog "Yarnagogo.com" and went to Amazon to buy the book from which her essay was extracted. I was not disappointed. Her collection of essays about how knitting has enriched and informed her life puts into words the experiences I've had as a knitter. Her compulsion to knit is the same compulsion I feel. She just explains it so well!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Mackey

    I am unable to be unbiased about this book because (a) Rachael is my friend, and (b) it's a book of knitting essays by a sarcastic Bay Area-residing writing nerd, how could I NOT love it. But it's so much more than a book of knitting essays - saying this book is about knitting is like saying Friday Night Lights is about football. Knitting is just the structure behind the story. This is super readable, extremely well-written, and just all around delightful. I am unable to be unbiased about this book because (a) Rachael is my friend, and (b) it's a book of knitting essays by a sarcastic Bay Area-residing writing nerd, how could I NOT love it. But it's so much more than a book of knitting essays - saying this book is about knitting is like saying Friday Night Lights is about football. Knitting is just the structure behind the story. This is super readable, extremely well-written, and just all around delightful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Judith E

    A sentimental explanation of why knitters gonna knit, makers gonna make. Also a skip worthy chapter on how the author wrote her novel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I first read Rachael Herron in 2004 when I was doing a search (pre-Ravelry) for "ChicKami" - a pattern for a knitted tank top (she's knit a LOT of them). Rachael's blog, Yarnagogo, became one of a handful of knitting blogs I was reading regularly while learning how to knit. Admittedly, I often skipped the posts with no knitting content, but when I did take the time to read them, I was always affected in some way. In the past few years, my blog reading has dropped, but I've been reading real book I first read Rachael Herron in 2004 when I was doing a search (pre-Ravelry) for "ChicKami" - a pattern for a knitted tank top (she's knit a LOT of them). Rachael's blog, Yarnagogo, became one of a handful of knitting blogs I was reading regularly while learning how to knit. Admittedly, I often skipped the posts with no knitting content, but when I did take the time to read them, I was always affected in some way. In the past few years, my blog reading has dropped, but I've been reading real books again -- both digital and physical -- and she was on my radar, albeit as a published author of a genre that I typically don't read. I was excited for her success, but didn't purchase any of her books until I had the opportunity to get this one via an Amazon-sponsored ad on my husband's Kindle. I loved it -- and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys writing, knitting, or both. A Life in Stitches is a collection of touching, humorous, and uplifting essays and each one affected me in some way. I now want to learn how to spin, own a hot water bottle (and use the free pattern in the book to knit a cover for it), and of course, continue to knit my way through life's challenges.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tevilla

    I loved this book of essays. I am not sure if you need to be a knitter to fully appreciate these writings but it helps. Each essay was wonderful, full of heart and soul. I have been reading Rachael's blog for years, and knew some but not all of many of the stories. I knew about Lala, and watched the relationship grow on the blog, little Mama and the love and sadness when she died, the blanket that was sent to heal, and Digit. I don't know how many times I have read the post about Digit's return o I loved this book of essays. I am not sure if you need to be a knitter to fully appreciate these writings but it helps. Each essay was wonderful, full of heart and soul. I have been reading Rachael's blog for years, and knew some but not all of many of the stories. I knew about Lala, and watched the relationship grow on the blog, little Mama and the love and sadness when she died, the blanket that was sent to heal, and Digit. I don't know how many times I have read the post about Digit's return on the blog. It is what every animal owner who has lost a pet wants to read. It gives me a lump in my throat every time. I was one of the people who contributed to his vet bill, and it was nice to read appreciation. The essay's in the book gave me more 'back story' and more of the impact on Rachael's life. I could have read many more and hope she continues to write this way. Rachael's voice is true in these stories. Lovely, and loving. Highly recommended

  7. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    After reading Rachel Herron's essays I searched for her blog and read more. Tried to borrow her romances, especially HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG, but only found it on e-audio which I dislike. Haven't given up and I will read her fiction one day. I cried with this book as I read about her disbatch work and her co-worker and her mother's passing. I hugged Gracie, the tablet I was using as an ereader, as I read about her attempt to knit a wedding dress. I enjoyed Rachel Herron's views and writing so mu After reading Rachel Herron's essays I searched for her blog and read more. Tried to borrow her romances, especially HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG, but only found it on e-audio which I dislike. Haven't given up and I will read her fiction one day. I cried with this book as I read about her disbatch work and her co-worker and her mother's passing. I hugged Gracie, the tablet I was using as an ereader, as I read about her attempt to knit a wedding dress. I enjoyed Rachel Herron's views and writing so much I've read the book four times and will read it again. This book of non-fiction, a memoir in essay form, knitted together, is wonderful from the introduction, so well written by Clara Parkes, another knitting writer that I now enjoy reading, to the patterns at the end of the book. I still haven't followed a pattern faithfully, but this book gives me hope and was instrumental in helping me gain the ability to read and to better understand other knitting books.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    A nice read. Writer is funny and interesting. You don't have to be a knitter to enjoy it. A nice read. Writer is funny and interesting. You don't have to be a knitter to enjoy it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Bonus points to the author for citing one of my favorite works, The Yellow Wall-Paper. What I don't understand is the obsession with hot water bottles (I'd never seen one until recently, and don't get all the knitting patterns for them). I also don't understand why she tried to make knitting seem so incredibly difficult; she just didn't understand the Cat Bordhi moebius cast-on! She just can't get kitchener! Zomg this craft is HARD! Bah. I'm no knitting wizard, but I can recognize when someone i Bonus points to the author for citing one of my favorite works, The Yellow Wall-Paper. What I don't understand is the obsession with hot water bottles (I'd never seen one until recently, and don't get all the knitting patterns for them). I also don't understand why she tried to make knitting seem so incredibly difficult; she just didn't understand the Cat Bordhi moebius cast-on! She just can't get kitchener! Zomg this craft is HARD! Bah. I'm no knitting wizard, but I can recognize when someone is making something sound incredibly difficult even when it isn't. Overall this book is cute, funny and touching. Collection of short essays about how knitting (and other crafts, to a lesser degree) can help you cope, help you stay organized and motivated, and how looking at a piece of knitting can bring you back to all the thoughts/feelings you had while making it. It IS possible to stitch love into a garment. But I was incredibly tired of hearing how much love was stitched into everything by the time I was done with this book. Don't read this one in public - it's a real tear-jerker. Author apparently needed a way to cope with her mother's death, and this book was it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    I adore Rachael. I've been reading her blog for years, tweet with her, and when I have had the chance to meet her in person, I just want to rent a big house where all the knitters can crash and hang out with her. I enjoy her fiction. All that aside, I am grateful that she wrote A Life in Stitches. Rachael's blog is beloved for the authenticity of her voice. She shares the happy stuff (have you seen her playing the ukelele?) and the deeply sorrowful moments without making more or less of them than I adore Rachael. I've been reading her blog for years, tweet with her, and when I have had the chance to meet her in person, I just want to rent a big house where all the knitters can crash and hang out with her. I enjoy her fiction. All that aside, I am grateful that she wrote A Life in Stitches. Rachael's blog is beloved for the authenticity of her voice. She shares the happy stuff (have you seen her playing the ukelele?) and the deeply sorrowful moments without making more or less of them than they deserve. She brings this authenticity to her memoir, which is not surprising. There were chapters about her cat, her sisters, her Little Mama, her Lala, which made me cry, nod in commiseration, laugh, and sigh. The writing is a pleasure to read, with just enough imagery and setting to draw the reader into the stories of her life. This would be a great book to read if you like dipping in and out of shorter pieces; they don't need to be read in any particular order. It's also a great read when you've had a good week at work and are winding down with a soak in the tub. It's a delightful treat to share, too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    A very interesting read. I don't know how to knit, but I do know how to crochet - easily taught to me by my very efficient mom. She is also learning to knit.....teaching herself. Maybe I'll learn that too one of these days. I do love how fascinating Rachel Herron's life is. From the beginning, she experienced things I've never even thought. But I do love that, although it did focus on her life, it didn't stay on all the tough stuff. It really did focus on how knitting had come and go in her life A very interesting read. I don't know how to knit, but I do know how to crochet - easily taught to me by my very efficient mom. She is also learning to knit.....teaching herself. Maybe I'll learn that too one of these days. I do love how fascinating Rachel Herron's life is. From the beginning, she experienced things I've never even thought. But I do love that, although it did focus on her life, it didn't stay on all the tough stuff. It really did focus on how knitting had come and go in her life and how her love of it waned when she wasn't true to herself. I loved picturing her running to Goodwill and buying all their ugly sweaters with stains and unraveling and knitting them into something new. Her creativity and imagination shown through on every page. It was a fun read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Zaikov

    I wanted to like this book. I really did. I love memoirs! I love knitting! How could I not love the two things combined? Because the one thought that ran through my mind as I was reading this was this: I could do this better. The title of each chapter was a knit stitch. Cute. Except in most usages, it was not related to the chapter at all. "Basket Weave Stitch" was about her cat. A successful use of this chapter title would have been similar to how knits and purls create the motley pattern, the a I wanted to like this book. I really did. I love memoirs! I love knitting! How could I not love the two things combined? Because the one thought that ran through my mind as I was reading this was this: I could do this better. The title of each chapter was a knit stitch. Cute. Except in most usages, it was not related to the chapter at all. "Basket Weave Stitch" was about her cat. A successful use of this chapter title would have been similar to how knits and purls create the motley pattern, the addition of her partner's dog to her life as a cat lady created a varied but enriching texture to her life. SEE? I felt like she wrote her memoirs first and then incorporated knitting second. The two were incongruous. "What if I lost my memory. What if I forget how to knit?" Eye roll. Great idea. Total failure in execution.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This was a great book. I enjoy reading essays by and about crafty people and the things they make. Especially when it's yarn-related crafts. But I have to say that I think it's time knitty people let hooky people come to the party. For all the books and all the blogs out there, you'd think the only people doing anything with yarn are knitters. I'm tired of crochet being treated like the red-headed step child of the yarn world. And I'm really tired of knitty people making fun of those of us who b This was a great book. I enjoy reading essays by and about crafty people and the things they make. Especially when it's yarn-related crafts. But I have to say that I think it's time knitty people let hooky people come to the party. For all the books and all the blogs out there, you'd think the only people doing anything with yarn are knitters. I'm tired of crochet being treated like the red-headed step child of the yarn world. And I'm really tired of knitty people making fun of those of us who buy our (gasp!) acrylic yarn at (double gasp!) JoAnn Fabrics. At the end of the day, my very colorful, very machine-washable afghans make me just as happy as your very expensive, very hand washable sweaters. I'm just sayin'....

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amina

    I love this book, Rachael's simple way of marrying knitting and writing to tell us about some of her happy or sad experiences is great, sometimes you get lost in one of the essays and it looks like she's talking to you directly.. There have been good times, like when Digit (her cat)came home after four months, scary times when I wondered if he would make it, God know he reminds me of my own cat and bad times too, especially when her little mama passed away, I don't know how but I got to like thi I love this book, Rachael's simple way of marrying knitting and writing to tell us about some of her happy or sad experiences is great, sometimes you get lost in one of the essays and it looks like she's talking to you directly.. There have been good times, like when Digit (her cat)came home after four months, scary times when I wondered if he would make it, God know he reminds me of my own cat and bad times too, especially when her little mama passed away, I don't know how but I got to like this woman. I chose this book because of its title and luckyly I'm not disappointed, she gave a new meaning to knitting and I'm gonna start learning it, thanks Rachael..

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Rachael Herron and I go WAY back! She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I know her as I read her knit blog back in the day, before Ravelry and before Instagram. I had a blog too (close to my heart if anyone happens to remember me there). Blogs were THE way for knitters to connect with each other back then. Anyhow, Yarnagogo was one of the best blogs, and over the years, it’s been so wonderful to see Rachael’s writing career spring from that. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book ( Rachael Herron and I go WAY back! She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I know her as I read her knit blog back in the day, before Ravelry and before Instagram. I had a blog too (close to my heart if anyone happens to remember me there). Blogs were THE way for knitters to connect with each other back then. Anyhow, Yarnagogo was one of the best blogs, and over the years, it’s been so wonderful to see Rachael’s writing career spring from that. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book (I’ve read most of her books I think), but I’m so glad I did! Very enjoyable, it brought back many memories from the knit blog days.

  16. 5 out of 5

    The Book Garden

    I was already enjoying this memoir, the author's writing style, the insights she shared about her life experiences, smiling and laughing with her one moment, then feeling her pain the next. I lost myself in all the intricate story-telling, but the surprise came at the end when she reveals her locality at a lighthouse - one which I have been to. Put a check mark next to my name that says "fan". She included the lighthouse in her next book. Another nice touch is that she includes a pattern for kni I was already enjoying this memoir, the author's writing style, the insights she shared about her life experiences, smiling and laughing with her one moment, then feeling her pain the next. I lost myself in all the intricate story-telling, but the surprise came at the end when she reveals her locality at a lighthouse - one which I have been to. Put a check mark next to my name that says "fan". She included the lighthouse in her next book. Another nice touch is that she includes a pattern for knitting something that she talks about in her book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zoom

    I enjoyed this collection of essays very much. I love reading stuff written by people I know, and I know Rachael from her blog. I especially liked Blanket Stitch, because I'm in it (!!!), and the piece about Digit, Rachael's beloved cat, coming back home after he'd been gone for months. That story, which I followed on her blog several years ago, was monumentally touching and I cry like a baby whenever I go back and read it. (In fact, whenever I need a good cry but can't quite get started, I go d I enjoyed this collection of essays very much. I love reading stuff written by people I know, and I know Rachael from her blog. I especially liked Blanket Stitch, because I'm in it (!!!), and the piece about Digit, Rachael's beloved cat, coming back home after he'd been gone for months. That story, which I followed on her blog several years ago, was monumentally touching and I cry like a baby whenever I go back and read it. (In fact, whenever I need a good cry but can't quite get started, I go dig up Digit's story and re-read it. Works every time.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Words can not express how much I loved this book. There are very few books that I have read that have actually made me feel so much emotion as to actually laugh and cry (at the appropriate times). The author has such a way of making you feel everything she is going through right along with her. I felt like I was progressing through all of her knitting projects right beside her, even though I am nowhere near an experienced enough knitter. She made me want to knit more even though I didn't want to Words can not express how much I loved this book. There are very few books that I have read that have actually made me feel so much emotion as to actually laugh and cry (at the appropriate times). The author has such a way of making you feel everything she is going through right along with her. I felt like I was progressing through all of her knitting projects right beside her, even though I am nowhere near an experienced enough knitter. She made me want to knit more even though I didn't want to put the book down to pick up my needles! Definitely a good read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    A memoir and series of essays on knitting and life. I was looking for something light after a couple of emotionally demanding novels. While this book wasn't exactly light, its positive messages, hopefulness,and knitting tales was just what I needed. I've also enjoyed finding.the author'a knitting blog which has pictures of many of the projects referred to in the book. Great read, especially if you are a knitter. A memoir and series of essays on knitting and life. I was looking for something light after a couple of emotionally demanding novels. While this book wasn't exactly light, its positive messages, hopefulness,and knitting tales was just what I needed. I've also enjoyed finding.the author'a knitting blog which has pictures of many of the projects referred to in the book. Great read, especially if you are a knitter.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I borrowed this from the library when I saw the digital copy available. I wasn't previous familiar with the author, but it involved knitting so how bad could it be? ;-) I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of essays and ended the book the book with an urge to seek out more of her work. Also? I kind of want a hot water bottle now. I borrowed this from the library when I saw the digital copy available. I wasn't previous familiar with the author, but it involved knitting so how bad could it be? ;-) I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of essays and ended the book the book with an urge to seek out more of her work. Also? I kind of want a hot water bottle now.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I loved this book. I love knitting, talking about knitting and reading about knitting and this book has it all: inspiration, laughs, tears and that feeling you get when you realize there are others who are a lot like yourself.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Rachael is a dear friend of mine and I cannot be in anyway objective when it comes to her writing--I just LOVE to read it. That said, I just BAWLED my way through this book. So moving.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Came across this book of essays by accident and am I ever glad that I did. This book is not so much about knitting as much as its about life. She teaches life lessons in a funny entertaining manner

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katrine Judd

    I am a knitter but I believe people who are not knitters would enjoy this book. The author writes warm, honest, and entertaining essays about her life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Ihsan

    Sweet essays on knitting and love. I read this book while vacationing and had to immediately go out and buy new needles and yarn.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I've been following Rachael Herron on her blog and podcast for several years and enjoyed getting a closer look at her life through this memoir. I've been following Rachael Herron on her blog and podcast for several years and enjoyed getting a closer look at her life through this memoir.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eve Schaub

    I love this knitting memoir which tracks the author from her very first sweater at age 11 through all the trials and tribulations of adulthood- every event, stage and relationship has a knitting project to accompany it along the way. Herron is adept at using her knitting as metaphor and tool for insight. My favorite realization came towards the end of the book when she compares writing and knitting: "A broken glass remains a broken glass— you're unlikely to put it back together. But in both knit I love this knitting memoir which tracks the author from her very first sweater at age 11 through all the trials and tribulations of adulthood- every event, stage and relationship has a knitting project to accompany it along the way. Herron is adept at using her knitting as metaphor and tool for insight. My favorite realization came towards the end of the book when she compares writing and knitting: "A broken glass remains a broken glass— you're unlikely to put it back together. But in both knitting and writing, mistakes can be made, learned from, and unmade, in order to make something new, something better." Second favorite line? "Ugh. The suckitude."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathy D

    I happened across Rachel during an introductory free webinar. I connected with her immediately, bought her online memoir class and ordered this book. Then like all dedicated writers I went on to anything BUT sitting down and writing. The book is a quick read; I love her metaphorical connection to The Yellow Wallpaper. While the knitting terms confused me, I thought it was brilliant how she wove her story together (see what I did there?). Now I’m off to write - and not learn how to knit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    C B

    Cute, if not groundbreaking. A nice relating of how different moment in life can correspond to activities.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ML Blair

    I smiled, I cried, and I nodded in agreement. I really liked this book!

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