Over the years I’ve come into contact with a LOT of books about knitting. Often the plots are pretty similar (and I’m sure you can find this plot within many other “hobby” subgenres – quilting, weaving, heck I’ve even seen titles related to crossword puzzles…)
It starts with a woman, usually middle-aged or better, who’s had a major life change. (Husband dying suddenly seems to be the most common…) Usually the husband has left the woman financially insolvent in some way and she has to open a yarn shop somewhere to stay afloat, and of course, in doing so, finds a part of herself she never knew (and usually a new, handsome man, to boot).
Now, just because there are cliches, doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy curling up and having a little entertainment in my reading. And titles several stray from the path of this basic plot. Plus, there are many nonfiction options that go in a completely different direction. Here are a few options – starting with those nonfiction choices.
Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Of course, let’s start with possibly the most well-known writer of the knitting universe. You can easily pick up any of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s books and find an enjoyable read. You will definitely laugh out loud. You might cry a little. For sure, you won’t regret it. Her blog is equally hilarious, but if you’re not yet familiar with her story, start here.
Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World by Clara Parkes
Clara has another very popular book as well, “The Yarn Whisperer” but I recently picked up Knitlandia for a trip and I just had to share it. This book is the perfect choice for a road trip read or any kind of travelling. Each chapter is about a different place in the world that Clara has had to go as part of her writing work, and while I was reading it I truly felt transported to each new place. I may not be flying to Scotland and wandering with fields of sheep anytime soon, but Clara Parkes took me there in my mind. I got to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, search for Art Yarn in New Mexico, and even behind the scenes at a Craftsy shoot. A quick read and a transporting experience.
It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons by Franklin Habit
This little book would make a fantastic gift for a knitter. It’s a little collection of cartoons, each one with a joke that a knitter would really appreciate. Do a google image search for Franklin Habit’s cartoons and you’ll get some examples. If you need a chuckle, this little book is for you!
A few more nonfiction titles that I haven’t read (yet!):
Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting edited by Ann Hood
Adventures in Yarn Farming: Four Seasons on a New England Fiber Farm by Barbara Parry
Rachael Herron is becoming more and more well known and that’s a good thing. When I pick up a novel that’s tangentially about knitting, I’m looking for a light read with a good story and a decent romance. Herron’s Cypress Hollow series overdelivers on these in spades. I like her characters and want to see how they end up. I like that each book follows a different main character but occasionally mains from one book pop up as side characters in other stories. Recommend.
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil
These are my absolute favorites of the genre. They don’t necessarily stray too far from the basic general expected plot, but boy do they take that plot and do an amazing job with it. If you’ve ever wanted to be transported to a coastal yarn shop in England, and spend time with characters you actually LIKE (ahem, I’m looking at you, Cedar Key series – just see my review below) then the Beach Street series are your jam. I’ve actually reread these books because I liked them so much.
Spinning Forward (Cedar Key) by Terri DuLong
I’ve only read the first in this series, and to be fair, that’s the author’s first novel. But I probably won’t pick up the next in the series anytime soon. The first one was frustrating. The main character was kind of an awful person, and showed no growth over the course of the book, making her pretty tough to root for. The storyline was particularly convoluted as well. Skip this one.
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
This book became so popular it transcended the “knitting” genre and went mainstream. It’s a great example of its kind. I like its representation of the friendships that emerge from a great knitting group. This one’s great as an audiobook option, as well.
A few more fiction titles that I haven’t read (yet!):
The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society: A Novel by Beth Pattillo
The Shop on Blossom Street (A Blossom Street Novel) by Debbie Macomber
The Knitting Circle: A Novel by Ann Hood
The Sweethearts’ Knitting Club by Lori Wilde
Hey, I used some affiliate links in this post. This means I’d get a tiny bit of $$ if you click these links and buy some books. That would help pay for my hosting fees. But actually, I recommend you go to your library or local bookstore if you’re really interested in these books. That would be a great choice too. Happy reading!