Book Review: Knit One, Purl a Prayer

Knit One, Purl a Prayer: A Spirituality of Knitting
by Peggy Rosenthal. Paraclete Press, 2011
Review by The Rev. Deacon Patricia Marks
Posted January 7, 2013



“Since we are created in the image of our Creator, it follows that we humans are created to create!” That is the thesis of this inspiring book, written by a self-professed skeptic of the prayer shawl ministry who herself became “blessed by the love knit into every stitch” of a shawl given to her at a difficult time. Rosenthal’s insights speak not only to knitters but to all creative people—woodworkers, cooks, painters, basketweavers —you name it. In fact, anyone who puts a hand out to wash the dishes, untangle the threads of a misunderstanding, or sweep away a pile of resentment will appreciate the central thesis of this book. Knitting is the author’s metaphor for dealing with the problems of the day, for prayer, for inward peace. It is an act that requires focus and care, a quiet attention to creating something of use and yes, of beauty, no matter how simple the pattern. Men and women, desert fathers and mothers, veterans and housekeepers of all walks share their wisdom in this book; we hear from Episcopal priests and Sufi masters, from a 4th century b.c. Taoist and those grieving for dear ones. Threaded throughout are poems, prayers, and contemplative guidelines, all creatively knit together.