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The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting

reading the book on the porch

Order now from
 Barnes & Noble
 Powell's Books


What it's all about?
The book was born from a simple notion: We are what we knit. I'm not suggesting you're a pullover or a pair of socks. But over the years I've realized just how deeply knitting itself—our stitches, materials, techniques—is a metaphor for who we are and the lives we live.

It began while I was sitting at a table for two, waiting for a friend to show up and suspecting that I'd been stood up yet again. I wondered: Is this how a dropped stitch feels? Or consider the traveling stitch, that blundering Winnebago swerving from lane to lane without so much as a how-do-you-do. Or garter stitch, the robust and wholesome friend who's always overlooked in favor of the slender homecoming queen, stockinette?

The stories became more personal as my mind turned to my grandma, terribly self-conscious of the skintags that peppered her neck yet obsessed with adding bobbles to everything she knit. Or my parents' divorce, a poorly worked steek that caused my young self to unravel.

The Yarn Whisperer is about my own life in knitting, both literally and figuratively. But it also explores our collective lives in knitting. I've left many blanks for you to fill in. My hope is that it may help you see your own story, and your knitting, in a new, more meaningful light.


Can I sample a chapter?
 Better yet, here's an audio excerpt from the book that I recorded for you


Is there a tour?
 Yes there was! Here's where I went.



Where can I find the errata?
 Trick question! There are no patterns in the book. But there is a stray quotation mark in one of the essays. Can you find it?


What are other people saying about it?

"Clara Parkes explores the fabric of her life, quite literally, in the stitches she creates on her needles, and proves she is as skilled in the craft of writing as she is in the craft of knitting."
-Debbie Stoller

"I think that if I had to choose only one thing to take with me to a desert island, I would be very hard pressed to choose between a book or some yarn. Here then, the perfect solution. A book filled with charming stories of a life that has been punctuated by meaningful encounters with yarn, and what might happen when you love it. Clara Parkes, predictably, has wound us another winner."
-Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

"Clara Parkes is the M.F.K. Fisher of knitting: unflinching, all-seeing, mysterious—and also kind. In this collection of beautifully wrought essays, Clara explores the territory where knitting overlaps with a life well lived. There is no knitting writer like Clara, who can make you laugh with recognition and blink back a tear at the truth, all while imparting her deep, wide knowledge of fiber and craft."
-Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne

"There are no patterns here. No technique tips, no recommendations for tools or designers. But no matter what you do with yarn or how well you do it, you'll absolutely love this book. You'll want to underline passages in it, read them aloud to other knitters, jab total strangers in the ribs on TriMet to share Parkesian wisdom ("Gauge is to knitting what scale is to the map, an utterly necessary device if you plan on traveling any particular distance.") and read these beautifully written pages over and over again."
-Mary Mooney, Mary The Oregonian

"I was utterly captivated by the book. It's not about how knitting is funny or how it can change the world, but how it has been essential and ever present in one woman's life. It's a book filled with personal journeys, family reminiscences and, yes, knitting."
-Jillian Moreno, Knitty.com


How do I contact you?
 For review copies, press materials, or to ask about scheduling an event, please contact my Abrams Books publicist, .
 For rights inquiries, please contact my agent
 Want to talk with me? I love hearing from you. While I try to answer every email, sometimes what comes in is greater than what can possibly go out—which is my way of saying I'm really, truly sorry if I fail to reply to an email from you. Please know I'm grateful for your readership and your support.

Can't find it at your LYS or local independent bookstore? Buy online at
 Barnes & Noble

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