Review of Yarn Harlot's Latest
I bought my copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Casts Off hot off the press at the KNYTTERS UNITE book launch in NYC last month. I'm not a huge fan of the cover since the YH bears a strong resemblance to a weasel. Having seen Stephanie in person I know that with a little work she could definitely look more put together even if she's not looking to go all out glam. It seems like her deal is to be very humble and approachable but I don't think it does much for modern knitters to have a frizzy haired woman in an old school fair isle sweater on the front cover.
The book is a guidebook to the "land of Knitting" which is a pretty cool concept. She discusses its "inhabitants" (knitters) and "embassies" (LYS's), amongst other metaphors.
The illustrations are really cute as you can see from the Sports Chapter above. Like the YH's other books it's an easy read full of interesting tidbits and observations and her trademark self-deprecating humor.
It starts out strong at the beginning but I found the material in the middle and towards the end a bit weak. There's only so many times I can laugh at the idea of gauge swatches being little liars and women being overcome by wool fumes near the sale bin at their LYS's. This book might actually be better suited to new knitters who would see this material with fresh eyes. The funnier parts are broken up by fictional letters and emails between a new knitter and her mother that are obviously just filler.
I figure the target audience is likely hard core knitters and personal fans. In that case this book is pretty much guaranteed to fly off bookstore shelves and (Amazon.com shopping carts). Keep in mind I have read the Yarn Harlot's previous books and check her blog fairly regularly so I definitely get her sense of humor and writing style. While I found 1 or 2 things that made me LOL in each chapter I have to say that overall this book suffers from Sequalitis. If it were a movie I'd say wait for it to come out on DVD.