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The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  295 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Available for the first time in paperback, The Knitting Sutra reveals how women can learn to knit their way to nirvana.

When Susan Gordon Lydon was coping with a broken arm, her craft took on new significance. While knitting was essential to strengthening her hands, it also provided her with a newfound sense of peace and creativity. Immersed in brilliant colors, textures, a
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by Potter Craft (first published 1997)
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I was all set to rip this book apart in my review. I was going to put it on my bad-bad-bad shelf and laugh when it wept. But I cannot. Sadly I actually got a few little moments of joy out of this book.

This is a tiny book and really should be read in one chunk some lazy afternoon while you sip hot tea. I made the mistake of reading a little section and then running away screaming. I think the thing I struggled with was the feel-good-tree-hugging-schizophrenic-menopausal-self-absorption that I ke
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
To knit is to be freed from time and the constraints of everyday life. This book is perfect for the devoted knitter, if you don't knit, leave it on the shelf.
There were quite a few places in the book when I was ready for it to move on.......but I found myself highlighting so many areas of the book that in the end I had to give it the 4 stars. In a recent study commissioned by the American Home Sewing & Craft Association, New York Univ. researchers gave subjects simple sewing projects and fit
Jan 09, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it
This book approaches knitting as a spiritual exercise, sort of moving meditation. I have thought of spinning as meditation for a long time, but I can see how the other would translate as well.

Its always interesting, to me at least, to "listen" to someone's hunt for enlightenment and see what they come up with or where they hunt.

This is a quick read, also read in a day this weekend. Yay for Spring Break!
Beth F.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth F. by: Jennifer
I love the concept of knitting as a spiritual practice and absolutely truly believe that. Unfortunately, I don't think the final product of this book lived up to the promise. It wasn't advertised as a memoir but that's exactly what it was. And unfortunately, it was a memoir of the "I can't relate" variety.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A spiritual quest that starts with knitting but winds through many avenues of women, relationships, creativity, and craft. Since I have often though of knitting and embroidery as forms of meditation I was intrigued by the discoveries the author made in her own travels,
Catherine Theriault
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm giving myself permission to knit more and to not feel like I have to multitask. Knitting is enough!
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love reading books on knitting and how knitting heals...
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I'm not actually a knitter. I mean, I knit, but I am in no means an actual knitter. It doesn't stop me from enjoying stories related to knitting.

Initially, I thought this would be a more of a workbook that would help guide you through spiritual knitting. When I deciding whether or not to take this book out of the library, I read a snippet. Nope, it seemed to be largely a memoir. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed but like I said, I enjoy stories related to knitting.

Lydon seems to b
Tara Choate
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but I got tired of the endless attempts to turn knitting into something sacred. Knitting is fun. Knitting is meditative. I can see how it can be more, but this woman really labored trying to explain her point. I didn't enjoy it.
Rae Lewis-Thornton
This is a wonderful look memoir chronicling the authors spiritual journey through knitting. A lot of little take always for the knitter who loves the craft.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a gift to we the reader to go down the spiritual path of one that loves our craft in such a profound way. Bittersweet.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a very disappointing book. As other reviewers have noted, this is a memoir and ought to be promoted as such. Once I realized that it was easier for me digest, but I still had trouble following the rambling prose and the stories and topics are covered vaguely and quickly that it was hard for me to even get a clear picture of what the author was going through. I did enjoy some of the insights about the intention put into knitting and other crafts and connecting to history of those practic ...more
Deborah Britton
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book describes how I feel about knitting as a type of meditation and a calling.
Erik Mallinson
Being interested in mindfulness and on the verge of learning to knit I was pleased that there were actually books on the subject. Initially I thought this one was the bad one of the bunch I ended up picking it up first since I don’t own any knitting supplies and this is the only knitting book that doesn’t actually have any instruction.

What you get is a memoir of a period in Lydon’s life where she found the act of knitting bringing her to a mindful state. From my experience in making repetition a
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
Overall a book I'm glad I read, but wouldn't rush out to own... I think.

I find that this book affects me in complex ways. As it pertains to the meditative/healing aspects of knitting I felt that the woman had been inside my head and was writing my thoughts down in book form. In other matters I found myself alternately: nodding my head, wanting to tell her to "grow up and get out of yourself,for Pete's sake!" and stopping to carefully consider statements made that rankled at first but on further
Michelle Lin
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting memoir from a woman who is going on a spiritual journey. She uses knitting as her mode of transportation, and offers a variety of religious backgrounds to frame her reference. While I appreciated the gentleness in which the book was written, I was disappointed by the lack of depth. The author describes herself as a person who finds it difficult to commit (finishing knitting projects, studying with a teacher, etc.) and that is apparent throughout this book.

I apprecia
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
1997, meditation, life, and handicrafts; philosophy - very interesting.

Ms. Lydon is a seeker-after-truth, at .least of personal truth, looking for a “fit way” to live her life, as are many of us. She is also what I like to call “A Happy Knitter” - one of those who worship periodically at a craftstore.... spending far too much money and time and effort on yarns and patterns and suchlike. This nicely wrought little book combines her experiences in both fields, in a gently mocking, but ultimately
Alexandra Chauran
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you don't read them already, you're probably aware of those sports memoires in which the sport of the book (running, extreme whatever) is used throughout the book as a pivot point for the author's spiritual development. This is THAT book with knitting instead of sports analogies. I am a fan of spiritual memoires and Lydon is a beautiful writer, leaving this a quotable joy and a perfect gift for the knitter in your life.

Theologically, Lydon is an eclectic, drawing from mysticism, Judaism and
"Concentration practice strengthens and softens the mind."
"Handcrafts belong to an earlier world, the slower pace of preindustrial life where one had the leisure to sink deeply and profoundly into the rhythms of nature within and without and to feel a connection with the earth as a living spiritual entity. We make things by hand to express who we are, our identity as individuals as well as our affiliation to our tribe or our clan. Handcrafts throughout history have often been fashioned with the
Feb 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
Honestly I probably have no business reviewing this book since I did not finish it, but then I almost never fail to finish a book, and in this case I stopped reading it even though I was stuck on a long train with nothing else to read because the thought of continuing was just that bad. When I picked this up at the library I was expecting something like Mindful Knitting which discusses knitting as a form of meditation in an intelligent and useful way but this was far more of a memoir than the ex ...more
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As I turned the last page of this book I had the impulse to immediately go to Amazon and purchase multiple copies for my peeps, and they don't even knit! Sorry, Susan Gordon Lydon, I didn't do that; not because the book wasn't worthy, only because I'm poor and I can't afford multiple copies of books that I've already read. I really enjoy well written memoirs and that's an apt description of this title. The fact that knitting was Lydon's form of meditative craft wasn't crucial to the book and if ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I definitely enjoyed this quick little read. Though most of the author's discussion of how knitting relates to mindfulness is not new, and her viewing all craftswomen around the world are part of a sisterhood is a little overly rosey-hued, there are lots of interesting quotes from philosophers and general food for thought. Most inspiring is Lydon’s story of how the lessons she learned from knitting as she mastered new techniques and conquered obstacles later sustained her through a cancer diagno ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: partially-read
I had a mixed reaction to this book. There were moments where I felt it was spot on -- really describing how I feel about knitting. In many of those moments, I wanted more and was frustrated that the author moved to a different idea rather than saying more. About 1/2 way through it got a little bit too woo-woo spiritual for me and the author seemed to flighty for me to continue to identify with. I just had no desire to read it after that point, so I gave up.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I liked the parts about knitting but found the spiritual 'threads' didn't gel. I think she talked around the topic more than devealed into it. She talks about her involvement with several very different spiritual practices and admits that she's not much of a practitioner in any of them. Which I feel weakened her discussion of any of them; she would have been better served focusing on the 'practice' of handcrafts and knitting.
Jul 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: knitting
I was expecting this to be a little more like Mindful Knitting- which I intend to pick up again because I think I'm actually ready to read it now. Mindful Knitting is more of a "how to" for meditating while knitting and this book is the story of a woman in her journey of learning to let knitting help her through her life.

I normally love personal narratives and this one was nice, but I wasn't enamored with it like I normally am with such essays. I felt sort of bogged down in the story.
Jodi Henderson
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Susan Gordon Lydon knits together her passion for this particular craft, her spiritual searching and her life as an author to create a gorgeous garment for her readers to try on. Whether it fits or not, this book is as warm and rare as qivuit (musk ox yarn), as lush and comforting as cashmere, and well worth the time.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knitting, non-fiction
This book reinforced my belief that you knit for love. And that knitting can be a relaxing pursuit because it is a repetitive action and because you put love into every stitch. The author had an interesting journey, but her spiritual quest was definitely tied to working with her hands and creating something out of nothing.
Michelle Cristiani
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft
I loved the description of spiritual effect that knitting - or any craft, really - can have on the body and mind. The beginning and end were more enjoyable than the middle - I expected more talk about knitting per se, and Lydon's personal journey, while poignant, didn't resonate as much as I'd have liked.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
As the title suggests, this book REALLY is about using crafting as a spiritual practice.

She describes how an injury caused her to take another look at the spiritual and meditative connections of knitting and other needlecraft.

And Wow, this is a really pretty deep look into how knitting can connect you to a deeper, more meaningful life.
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Susan Lydon was an American writer, journalist and feminist. She is the author of a memoir about her drug abuse and recovery, two books on knitting and the 1970 essay "The Politics of Orgasm," as well as numerous articles from her work as journalist.

Born in the Bronx, New York, and raised on Long Island, she graduated in history from Vassar College in 1964. She met and married Michael Lydon in 196
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“Letting go is the lesson. Letting go is always the lesson. Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?” 258 likes
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