Despite the title, there are no knitting patterns in this wonderful book. Rather, it deals with “Healing the Heart with Craft,” which is the book’s subtitle. The author writes about the breakup of her boyfriend, the pain of the loss of her father, and her own breast cancer. The book is a powerful piece of writing, with author Susan Gordon Lydon using knitting as her refuge.
This quote early in the book carries throughout Susan’s journey into acceptance:
“Impermanence is a permanent condition of our humanity. Â We can choose to embrace it and live with groundlessness, or we can frantically grasp for solid ground every time the bottom falls out.” (p. 72)
While there are no patterns in the book, the author uses knitting as a metaphor for dealing with life’s ups and downs, of which the author has many. For example, Lydon notes that when she knits she can withstand restlessness, boredom, inactivity, and conversations that would normally make her squirm. “It is though I have a little portable world of my own wherever I go, a haven of refuge and sanity.” (p. 94)
When someone is going through a difficult time in her life, and Susan discusses many of these difficult times, having a hobby or craft that grounds you is very handy. And unless you are knitting an afghan, the knitting project is portable, as the author emphasizes above. Lydon also discusses the love connection she feels when she creates an item as a gift.
When discussing her breast cancer, she says something that I wrote once in a poem, that is, living moment to moment. Or as she aptly writes: “Forget one day at a time. One day at a time is too large an increment in which to measure the changes.” (p. 175)
I can’t say enough about Knitting Heaven and Earth— part journal/part memoir/part meditation. When Susan Gordon Lydon shares her innermost feelings, both good and bad, and links them to her knitting, we can feel how what she makes with her two hands, a ball of yarn, and “two sticks” can do to heal the heart.
The book ends with a powerful message, but actually it’s more like a meditation:
“Do whatever it is you’re doing. Let your mind roam free.
Now slowly, gently, bring yourself back to the present moment.
Sink down deeply into where you are right now, into the eternal present.
The moment is all there is. And it’s enough.”
This book was a birthday gift from my step-daughter and I plan to share it with others, because of its profound simplicity and the way Susan Gordon Lydon writes from her heart.
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