Feb 7, 2018
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, and images of beautiful sweaters, Lydon found healing and enlightenment in a way she had never imagined. Capturing this journey of discovery, The Knitting Sutra recounts her remarkable membership in a community of craftswomen around the world, from sweater makers in Scotland to Navajo weavers, and the adventures that her craft led her on.
As she masters new techniques and conquers old obstacles, Lydon’s story conveys how the lessons she learned from knitting, such as stillness and interdependence, later sustained her through a cancer diagnosis and even the incapacitation of her hands. The Knitting Sutra is both a meditation on craft and an affirmation for anyone seeking heartfelt comfort.
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 be a very spiritual person. I didn’t expect a knitter would be crossing the country seeking guidance from spiritual leaders. It was a bit out of the ordinary but I quickly grew to wish I had known Hayat and Jimmy and the likes. Lydon seems like a very well traveled and knowing person so I enjoyed following her around in her attempts to make peace with the spiritual.
Of course, the main lesson of the story is mindfulness. The main reason why I felt this book didn’t satisfy me was because I didn’t necessary learn anything new. While I do like how Lyndon approaches mindfulness, I was still left for wanting more.
What I appreciated the most however was her advice on knowing yourself. Several times throughout the book, Lyndon refers to making sweaters that never really appear like she thought they would. The sleeves would turn out too big or the garment would be slipping off her shoulders. It was best to make your own tweaks to patterns so that whatever you were making was fit for you. And mistakes were okay. Arabic weavers would often put in mistakes into their works because “Nothing but Allah is perfect.” I thought that was a good metaphor.
I give it a 2⁄5. This is not a book that I would come back to nor remember in a couple of years. It was well written and I enjoyed the content but it was ultimately lacking.
The difference between the knitting moments and the spiritual moments were too great at points. Some of the links between the two were too weak to justify. However, Lydon did make some good points throughout the book that kept me reading.
It’s a nice quick read and the fact that it’s so short justifies the time spent on it. Don’t pass it up if you have the chance but you aren’t missing much.