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The Knitting Way: A Guide to Spiritual Self Discovery Paperback – April 1, 2005


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The Knitting Way: A Guide to Spiritual Self Discovery + The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: SkyLight Paths (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594730792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594730795
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Knitting is all the rage again, as is discovering the spiritual side of just about everything. This book joins Tara Jon Manning's Mindful Knitting and Izard and Jorgensen's Knitting into the Mystery in exploring what knitting and spirituality have in common. Skolnik, founder of the well-known knitting company, Patternworks, and MacDaniels, a lifelong knitter and business associate of Skolnik, view the practice of knitting as a special source of connection, particularly among women. They liken knitting to a river that flows between people in such a way that anyone who knits, whether alone or in community, becomes connected to "all who have gone before." For Skolnik and MacDaniels, knitting "links us to the past, to those who knitted for their existence, who knitted for survival, who knitted for beauty and love." Knitting is an activity rich in spiritual possibility; it is not only a doorway to spiritual community, but also a means for knowing our souls. As a meditative practice, it can center and unburden the self, opening us to the divine. By interspersing spiritual wisdom-from what yarn colors say about a person's "true colors" to explaining how knitting can be used to tell stories-with practical project instructions, Skolnik and MacDaniels offer experienced knitters a fresh approach to a favorite hobby.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

Consider Your Knitting from a New and Spiritual Point of View

The click of needles, the touch of wool, the miraculous creation of beautiful fabric from a single strand of yarn—any knitter knows the satisfaction to be found in the simple act of knitting. But is there a way to develop this sense of the spiritual into a deeper, more mindful practice?

Let The Knitting Way take you on a path deeper into your knitting and your spiritual awareness. Follow the stories, musings and discoveries of the authors as they illuminate the spiritual lessons you can learn through knitting. Explore your own knitting practice through original patterns, fun explorations and personal stories from knitters past and present. You will find yourself reaching for your needles and yarn as you read, inspired to take up your projects in a whole new state of mind.

"A fascinating tale, knitting together the often disparate strands of science and religion, faith and reason, art and technology. Expert knitters and spiritual seekers, Skolnik and MacDaniels have filled their book with stories about design and wisdom to enrich our journeys, and guide us gently into Mystery." —Susan S. Jorgensen, spiritual director, retreat leader, and coauthor of Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry

"Can make some of our knitting time not be about product or even process, but about understanding, meaning and connection. Linda Skolnik brings to The Knitting Way an enthusiasm, curiosity and honesty that we trust." —Elaine Rowley, editor of XRX Books


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Customer Reviews

And it makes you think, too.
Elizabeth Collins
This book opened up the possibilities of exploring the spiritual side of my knitting.
Karen Olsen
The projects are knitting at it's most basic, so i won't be making any of them.
L. Moynihan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Collins on August 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a yarn shop owner who has been in the business for over 10 years, and I have seen a lot of knitting books come and go. Not all of them stand out, but I will enjoy and appreciate The Knitting Way for a long time. This book is utterly delightful; it is also serious, helpful, and soothing. Skolnik and MacDaniels use knitting as a way to learn about yourself, as a guide along a spiritual path of self discovery. In the introduction, Skolnik states that connection happens through knitting; the book offers a guide for readers to become aware through knitting. My favorite line from the introduction (p. 3): "...knitting has emerged as a powerful female symbol that can put us back in touch with the harmony of life." This book is insighful, spiritual but not preachy, entertaining, and highly readable. Not boring! Fun! And it makes you think, too.

The book has 9 chapters. Each chapter is a collection of poetry, essays, drawings, photos, and a feature called "Space Between the Loops" (these sections are written by Janice MacDaniels). Chapters also include segments called "Experience It for Yourself" in which project patterns or hands-on experimentation guides are offered, to reinforce the message of that section of the chapter. There are a total of 19 patterns in the book, indexed at the beginning for easy reference.

Among other things, The Knitting Way will help knitters find time to knit; you'll learn how to make a graphic Project Selection Mind Map; learn to explore non-yarn materials for knitting (there is a photo of knitted spaghetti) including how to cut and knit with fabric strips; and there is a section to see if you are a Knitting Dependent -- and a Knitter's 12-Step Program to use if you do indeed have a problem.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Maura D. Shaw Tantillo on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been a knitter since I was eight years old, and I buy just about any new book on knitting that comes out (along with too much yarn!), but I never thought about WHY I knit. I thought I simply wanted to have scarves and sweaters that were unique. But as I read "The Knitting Way," I realized it wasn't that simple. The process of knitting really can be an inward journey into my own spirit, or an outward journey to my community.

Authors Skolnik and MacDaniels are so open about their own experiences in knitting and in life (both exhilarating and frustrating) that I am encouraged to knit in a more thoughtful, present way. I'm looking forward to the challenge of knitting a Moebius scarf, which might be a gift for a teacher friend. She can use it to demonstrate the scientific principle in her classes!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karen Olsen on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book opened up the possibilities of exploring the spiritual side of my knitting. I've been a knitter for many years, but have always just "made things." It was a utilitarian hobby, not something I even had to focus on doing. I was feeling burned out on the idea of making another sweater or hat or pair of socks. With the help of this book's thoughtful reflections and interesting projects (which, by the way, are much deeper than simple skill-builders...I think they are meant to be used as meditations), I was able to connect with the larger experience of knitting. Now I'm excited again to take up my needles and yarn!

P.S. My favorite projects were the different shawls/wraps.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By L. Moynihan on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book and I made myself read the whole thing just in case it got better. The problem is that the main author, Linda Skolnik, was approached by an editor to write a book on "knitting as a spiritual practice." As she (Skolnik) freely admits whe was "a hardly observant Jew with no insights into spiritual issues." And it shows. She approached the book as though writing a college paper, so that much of it is merely the regurgitation of someone else's words, starting out with a couple of chapters on physics and math.

I believe she had every good intention. She was diligent in her research. she has a gret bibliography. She just should have let things gel before writing the book. The problem is, she wasn't ready to write it yet.

The sections by MacDaniels held together better and were more readable. The projects are knitting at it's most basic, so i won't be making any of them.

I have hopes for Skolnik, when she writes from the heart and from experience, she's great. there just isn't enough of that in this book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Always Thinking on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm not a knitter, but a friend recommended this book to me. You can buy lots of books with patterns in them (this has some great ones), but this book makes you THINK. Why do you knit? What do you get out of it? Does it make you feel good, bad, guilty, proud?

One of the best things I learned is that when you make a mistake, it's okay. Either fix it or go with it--maybe you'll end up somewhere else fabulous.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Anderson on June 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a knitter, I look for projects that expand my skills. I like to spend my time creating something that's either useful or beautiful. I've worked hard to learn increases, decreases, and fancy stitches, to construct bags, sweaters and toys, to knit lace on big, honkin' needles and to knit socks on little, dinky size 1 needles. I like a challenge and I like to learn.

Unfortunately, the exercises in this book are ONLY about process: "knit a cube that turns into a ball," "knit a spiral," "knit a mobius." You spend time, effort, and yarn, but end up with a fairly useless object. If you enjoy projects more than process, this book is not for you.

As for the essays, I think that saying this book is a "guide to spiritual self-discovery" is a bit much. The essays are way too long-winded for me. This book would be twice as good if it were half the size.

I much preferred the essays and exercises in "Zen and the Art of Knitting" which taught me how to be comfortable in knitting without a pattern and designing my own scarves and sweaters.

I have found knitting to be a spiritual thing--the beauty of the yarns, knitting together with others, knitting for charity, knitting alone. As I've knitted with others, I've found that ALOT of folks knit just so they can breathe--as they face the death of a parent, spouse, or beloved pet, as they celebrate weddings and births, as they cope with cancer or depression. But "The Knitting Way" really fails to tap into the kind of deep spirituality that comes from knitting together with others over time.
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