Special Guest: The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Life-long knitter and writer Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (better know as “The Yarn Harlot”) has entertained knitters all over the world with her own brand of writing combining the obsession of knitting and humor. Only those in the fiber arts truly understand how knitting, crochet, spinning and the like can take over your life. Stephanie took time out of her busy schedule recently to answer a few questions for The Fiber Forum, including talking about her latest upcoming book, Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again, which is due out the end of September.

ALVB: Your books and blog on knitting are widely popular. Which do you consider yourself first: a writer or a knitter? 
SPMP: it’s really hard to say.  If we’re talking about passion, I think the two would come in about equal, I need to write as much as I need to knit (mostly for the safety of others.)  In my professional life, still after 6 books, I still feel a little bit like a fraud when I say that I’m a writer, so I think I’d rather say knitter, since that’s what drives the writing a lot of the time,  and it’s still what I’m usually doing.

ALVB: Tell us about your latest book, Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again
SPMP: It’s another book of essays, in the same vein as Yarn Harlot: The secret life of a knitter – and I love it.  The essay is one of my favourite forms of writing,  and I feel like what’s inside is really personal, more so than with shorter pieces.  I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

ALVB: Where did the idea for Tricoteuses Sans Frontières (Knitters Without Borders). How can people get involved? 
SPMP: The idea came when Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF) – or Doctors without Borders, needed contributions to the general fund after the Tsunami.  There was such an overwhelming response to that, and it was time to remind people that there were other things that humans were struggling with. Malaria, HIV, Darfur… more people were dying as a result of other human tragedy than the tsunami, but they had less press. I encouraged knitters to give to MSF and report their donation to me, and I keep a bit tally. We’re up to almost a half million dollars now.  If a knitter wanted to be a part of it, they just have to let me know and I’ll record their donation. (Editor’s Note: you can learn more by clicking here.)

ALVB: What advice do you have for the new knitter? 
SPMP: You’re going to make mistakes, and you always will.  The only difference between an experienced knitter and new knitter is that the experienced knitter makes bigger mistakes faster.  Be bold, there are no terrible consequences in knitting.

ALVB: What do you see for the future of knitting and fiber arts? 
SPMP: Wow.  Big question. Im not sure.  I think that it’s an interesting time in the fibre arts right now, as what I think of as “the baby boom” of knitters has moved past simple projects and is asking for really interesting patterns and fibres…I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I know it’s going to be interesting.  I do know that there isn’t ever going to be a time when there aren’t any knitters.  We’re as perennial as the grass.

Thank you Stephanie for sharing some of your thoughts! Her blog is just great and you all check it out by going to: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/. I also commend her for her dedication to supporting Doctors without Borders. I can’t wait for the book to come out and get reading!

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