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There was a time when knitting was deemed grandma-ish. But take a look at any park bench these days and you’re likely to find one (or seven) hip gals stitching away. We concede: It’s a thing.

For those who still shun homemade socks, writer Ann Hood begs you to reconsider. Her new book, Knitting Yarns, is a collection of essays by 27 literary powerhouses--all of whom attest to the transformative power of needles and wool.

The compositions range from charming (John Dufresne laments over being “all thumbs”) to downright chilling (Martha Frankel turned to knitting when her best friend joined a cult). Most interesting, though, is how several lady authors we love are secretly knitting wonks. Ann Patchett (Bel Canto) explains how knitting helped her quit smoking, Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible) recalls shearing a sheep for yarn, and Anita Shreve (The Weight of Water) writes on completing years’ worth of unfinished projects in a single weekend with her daughter.

Hood also called on her personal knitting guru, Helen Bingham, to devise five one-of-a-kind patterns for beginners, which she intersperses throughout the book. We can’t wait to get started on the coffee cozies outlined on page 114.

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