Books on Meditation through Knitting

Mindful Knitting looks at the art of knitting from a Buddhist perspective. Exploring the parallels between knitting and meditation, this book instructs the reader in how knitting can be a tool for contemplation. It explores the benefits of engaging in knitting in a mindful way, presents simple meditation exercises, and provides clear, easy-to-follow project instructions that complement and expand upon each meditation theme.
In Zen and the Art of Knitting, Bernadette Murphy explores how knitting fits into the large scheme of life itself as:
  • Meditation
  • Creative expression
  • A way to cure writer's block
  • A gift to express love
  • A way for children to develop fine motor skills
  • A way to connect generations, past and present
Throughout this magnificent work, readers find practical advice, including a knitted stitch per chapter and a basic pattern in the appendix. For serious knitters, casual hobbyists, creative thinkers, and those seeking to discover an unexplored spiritual channel, Zen and the Art of Knittingg is a unique work that will be treasured for years to come.

Bernadette Murphy is an essayist, fiction writer, book critic, and a knitter of seventeen years. She is regularly published in the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, and Book Magazine. Ms. Murphy, who teaches creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers Program, lives in Los Angeles.
Susan Gordon Lydon's groundbreaking book The Knitting Sutra offered a new way for knitters to look at their craft—as a healing and meditative endeavor instead of a granny hobby or an indulgent pastime. The first book without knitting patterns to capture the knitting audience, it has been widely imitated, but no other book has endured so well. And the idea of knitting as meditation has caught on—it is often cited as the new yoga. With Knitting Heaven and Earth Lydon again breaks new ground, this time following the emotional ties that become bound up in her handicrafts.

The new book was inspired by Lydon's advancement as a knitter. As her stitches grew finer, she found that her life came into focus and her emotional wounds began to heal. When faced with a series of wrenching events-a heartbreaking romance, the death of her father, a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer—Lydon found new reserves of strength in knitting. Through it all, the skeins of sumptuous yarn and colorful thread helped her make sense of the trials of the heart.

Bringing elements of spiritual and historical lore into play, Lydon explores the connections that handicrafts forge, both in knitting circles and across generations, through her own experience and her encounters in the knitting community. Woven into the story are vivid accounts of projects she has undertaken, from a luxurious and fantastically expensive scarf that comforted her friends in their own dark hours, to the texture of the cashmere sweater knitted at her father's deathbed. More than the gifts of scarves and sweaters to the ones she loves, it is the knowledge that she is passing her knitting knowledge to anew generation—like her daughter, Shuna—that buoys her spirits and gives her hope. As the author writes, "Let a thousand knitters bloom."
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, 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.
Knitting is the miracle of creating new dimensions from a strand of yarn. Let it bring that miraculous transformation to your spiritual life too.

This book is about seeing and listening. It's about becoming aware that through knitting you can hear and give attention to what's in your heart and soul-that knitting can be a place of rest and thought and a place for the Divine. It's about connection-to yourself, to the world, to others and to the Holy. -from the Preface

What can you learn about yourself through your knitting? What deeper symbolism lies behind the loops and patterns that you create? How can this simple activity help you make your way down a spiritual path? Delve into these questions and more in this imaginative book that will become your spiritual friend, your teacher and your sanctuary. Follow the knitting journeys of the authors and other knitters to discover how they have used their knitting to explore and strengthen their spiritual selves, and how you can do the same. In this joyful and engaging look at a time-honored craft you are invited to:

Find time and space that was previously hidden in plain sight

Try creative, thought-provoking original knitting patterns

Recognize and deepen spiritual connections through knitting

Meet other knitters on the journey to spiritual and self-discovery

Explore new ways to expand and savor your knitting community

Recognize your own power to pass along the knitting wisdom
Many contemplative, prayerful acts involve repetition of action: walking a labyrinth, reciting the Divine Office or saying the rosary. So why not knitting? As their needles flash and click, veteran knitters Jorgensen and Izard practice "contemplative knitting," which they say is just as real and fruitful a spiritual practice as any longstanding tradition of the church. Jorgensen, a Roman Catholic laywoman and spiritual director whose grandmother taught her to knit as a child, rediscovered knitting a few years ago and began to knit as part of her ministry. Her first project was a shawl for a woman in her congregation who had lost her husband in a car accident: "While I knitted, I prayed to enter her grief; I prayed light into every stitch," says Jorgensen. She chose an "Adirondack" pattern to honor the love that this woman and her husband had shared for the outdoors. Izard, a United Church of Christ pastor, shares stories from the shawl-knitting circle she organized at her church. The shawls change the lives of the knitters themselves, inviting them to engage in quiet meditation, and they also make an impact on the people who receive them, many of whom are recovering from illness or bereavement. Fans of knitting will be, shall we say, hooked: the book offers practical steps on selecting yarn and knitting simple prayer shawls, but its most enduring feature is the heartwarming stories of shawls knitted and given as artifacts of prayer. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Join the thousands of knitters and crocheters of all faiths who are creating handmade shawls for people in need. Whatever your faith and wherever you live, your handiwork will be a gift of comfort, hope, and peace. Over the centuries, shawls have come to symbolize shelter, peace, and spiritual sustenance. What started as a grass-roots movement has quickly grown into an international cause, with countless numbers of shawls being given to grateful recipients around the globe.
A former dancer, a devoted Buddhist, a recreational knitter — OM Yoga Founder Cyndi Lee leads a rich and colorful life.

Knitting as Meditation

A friend recently taught me to knit. So I took my needles on retreat with me last week to practice knitting mindfully. As I completed a row of stitches, a Persian woman sat down next to me and told me her story.

Her daughter is a yoga teacher who was preparing to embark on a yatra to India. She wanted to take a gift as an offering to the swami, so the mother knitted her daughter a shawl. When the daughter's group arrived at the ashram, they began to unpack their offerings. The swami immediately moved toward the shawl and declared, "This is for me."

What was so special about the shawl that it drew the swami's attention? As the mother was knitting, she mentally chanted "Om" with every stitch, infusing the garment with a vibration of the divine. Her story inspired me to incorporate chanting into my own knitting. The physical manifestation of my meditations, when completed, will go to loved ones for a bit of warmth and divine grace this winter.

Click on link to read the interview.