Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater (Hardcover)

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Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater By Peggy Orenstein Cover Image
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"When the pandemic hit, a lot of us had unprecedented amounts of time to explore new interests. For many it was an opportunity to slow down and use our hands in the face of a halting global supply chain that ruled our lives. Orenstein took her pandemic hobby to the extreme and (rather than just knitting like a lot of us did) she set out to make a sweater from sheep to finished product. While this book is about her taking on this enormous project of learning how to shear a sheep to processing it for dyeing and spinning to knitting it into a functional garment, it is also about a woman in transition as a mother, daughter and general human. During a time when the future was up in the air and the world was (literally) on fire, Orenstein uses this labor and time intensive process to examine the disconnect that has formed between the way we consume and interact with the world and the increasingly visible consequences they are causing.This book put into words the feelings that I think a lot of us felt and continue to feel in these uncertain times in such a funny, relatable way that doesn’t feel too apocalyptic."--Reviewed by Vanessa


“Orenstein is such a breezy, funny writer, it’s easy to forget she’s an important thinker too.”—People

In this lively, funny memoir, Peggy Orenstein sets out to make a sweater from scratch—shearing, spinning, dyeing wool—and in the process discovers how we find our deepest selves through craft. Orenstein spins a yarn that will appeal to everyone.  

The COVID pandemic propelled many people to change their lives in ways large and small. Some adopted puppies. Others stress-baked. Peggy Orenstein, a lifelong knitter, went just a little further. To keep herself engaged and cope with a series of seismic shifts in family life, she set out to make a garment from the ground up: learning to shear sheep, spin and dye yarn, then knitting herself a sweater.

Orenstein hoped the project would help her process not just wool but her grief over the recent death of her mother and the decline of her dad, the impending departure of her college-bound daughter, and other thorny issues of aging as a woman in a culture that by turns ignores and disdains them. What she didn’t expect was a journey into some of the major issues of our time: climate anxiety, racial justice, women’s rights, the impact of technology, sustainability, and, ultimately, the meaning of home.

With her wry voice, sharp intelligence, and exuberant honesty, Orenstein shares her year-long journey as daughter, wife, mother, writer, and maker—and teaches us all something about creativity and connection. 

About the Author

PEGGY ORENSTEIN is the New York Times bestselling author of Boys & SexDon’t Call Me PrincessGirls & SexCinderella Ate My DaughterWaiting for DaisyFlux, and Schoolgirls. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, she has written for The Washington PostThe AtlanticAFAR, the New Yorker, and other publications, and has contributed commentary to NPR’s All Things Considered and The PBS NewsHour. She lives in Northern California.

Praise For…

"The last few years have unspooled us all. Peggy Orenstein gathers us close, then weaves something hopeful and new in this surprisingly moving yarn about yarn." — Bonnie Tsui, bestselling author of Why We Swim and American Chinatown

Unraveling is a delight. A meditation on life, and how, if we miss a step (or a stitch), our lives (our sweaters) can unravel at record speed. Funny, moving, and brilliantly written and researched. I will never look at sheep again without a sense of wonder and awe." — Julianna Margulies

"A charming memoir of a quietly transformative year." — Kirkus Reviews

"This snapshot of creative self-discovery will enlighten readers." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063081727
ISBN-10: 0063081725
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English