Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

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Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at Maker Faire (San Mateo, 2008)
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at Maker Faire (San Mateo, 2008)
BornStephanie Anne Pearl-McPhee
(1968-06-14) June 14, 1968 (age 55)[citation needed]
Pen nameThe Yarn Harlot
OccupationWriter, knitting teacher, blogger, doula

Stephanie Anne Pearl-McPhee, also known as the Yarn Harlot (born June 14, 1968) is a writer, knitter, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and doula living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Pearl-McPhee's grandmother, a professional knitter, taught her to knit when she was four years old.[1][2] She has three daughters.[1][3] Her husband, Joe, is a record producer.[4]


Tricoteuses sans Frontières (Knitters without Borders) logo.

Pearl-McPhee has written eight books on knitting. She has contributed articles and patterns to knitting magazines such as Cast On, Interweave Knits, Knitty, Stranded, and Spin-Off. She contributed a chapter to the book Knitlit Too. Pearl-McPhee has said that she started writing about knitting when she lost her hospital job "support[ing] birth and breast-feeding" because of the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak among healthcare workers.[2] She has been described as a knitting humourist, and has called her own writing "knitting humor".[5][6] She has said of her writing "I believe knitting is a transformative and intriguing act that can change the life and brain of the person doing it, and that knitting is a perfect metaphor for life and insight into some better ways through it".[6]

Pearl-McPhee is known for her blog, "The Yarn Harlot".[2][7][8] In 2004, she founded Tricoteuses sans Frontières (Knitters without Borders), a group dedicated to raising money for the non-profit Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). As of the 6th anniversary of Pearl-McPhee's blog (January 2010), they have contributed over $1,000,000 CAD to MSF/DWB.[9]

Pearl-McPhee has protested against cuts to library services.[10]

In 2006, she started the Knitting Olympics, a competition for knitters to start and finish one challenging project during the timeframe of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Over 4,000 knitters worldwide participated.[1]

Pearl-McPhee originated the word kinnear on August 2, 2007, on her blog.[11] Now cited in the Urban Dictionary and in The New York Times' 2007 Word in Review,[12] it is defined as "kinnear v. To take a candid photograph surreptitiously, especially by holding the camera low and out of the line of sight." Kinnearing was originated when she attempted to take a picture of Greg Kinnear at an airport while on her way to Boston, MA.[4] When Kinnear learned of this, he started to try kinnearing others, including his Flash of Genius costar, Alan Alda.[13] He showed his attempts on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, where, in the same interview, he declared that Pearl-McPhee is "the Michael Jordan of knitting."


  • Knitlit Too (contributor), 2004, ISBN 1400051495
  • Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, 2005, ISBN 0740750372
  • At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, 2005, ISBN 1580175899
  • Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks, 2006, ISBN 1580178340
  • Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting, 2007, ISBN 9781580176583
  • Things I Learned from Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not), 2008, ISBN 9781603420624
  • Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again, 2008, ISBN 0740769472
  • All Wound Up, 2011, ISBN 0740797573
  • The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes: Stories of Tidiness, Self-Esteem and Other Things I Gave Up On, 2014, ISBN 1449437087


  1. ^ a b c Cunningham, Greta (May 13, 2008). "The 'yarn harlot' leads a knitting revolution". Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Chatting with Knitting's New Guard". Vogue Knitting. 2007 (Fall): 86–103. 2007.
  3. ^ "The Proust Questionnaire, with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee". Open Book. November 22, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Kelly, Cathal (March 10, 2009). "Let's hear it for Kinnearing". The Star. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  5. ^ Mercier, Stephanie (October 2, 2016). "What's so funny about wool?". CBC. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Pearl McPhee, Stephanie (July 26, 2010). "Why I Write: Stephanie Pearl McPhee". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  7. ^ Ruiz, Amy J (June 7, 2007). "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off". Portland Mercury. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  8. ^ "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the 'yarn harlot,' spins into A Real Bookstore on Monday". The Dallas Morning News. October 21, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  9. ^ Yarn Harlot: six
  10. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (March 28, 2012). "Celebrity knitter and best-selling author Stephanie Pearl-McPhee cheers on striking library workers". National Post. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Yarn Harlot: I was Kinnearing
  12. ^ Barrett, Grant (December 23, 2007). "All We Are Saying". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Flash of Genius (2008) - IMDb". IMDb.

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