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 MacDonald). 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.
Unique One Newsletter July 2005
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.
"An enlightening, entertaining and affirming text on the spiritual depth of knitting. Finally, Skolnik and MacDaniels have put into words what I have been trying to express for so long about why knitting means so much to me."
"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 enrigh our journeys, and guide us gently into Mystery."
"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."
"A heartfelt journey that inspires us all to look both outward, into our culture and families, and inward, into our hearts, to seek the true meaning of our own knitting pathways."
This guide seeks to cultivate the inherent meditative quality knitting affords. Skolnik, founder of the popular Patternworks catalog, and a secular Jew, is the primary narrator, pondering the spiritual nature of science, math and the mind-body connection. MacDaniels, a churchgoing Christian, expounds on each topic with her "Spaces Between the Loops," personal anecdotes each followed by a pattern meant to broaden skills and awareness. The "continuous, symmetrical and reversible" Wonder Wrap is based on the Mobius band, which symbolizes infinity; hidden messages lurk in a Da Vinci Seaman's Scarf; a spiral skullcap travels a labyrinthine journey. Haikus, poetry, a fairy tale and illustrations add whimsy to the dense text, best read slowly and digested while needles click on.