Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast

Knitting

Book Review: The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lydon

Feb 7, 2018 | Comments

The Knitting Sutra

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.

Disclaimer: I’m not actually a knitter. I mean, I knit, but I am in no means an actual knitter. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying stories related to knitting.

Initially, I thought this would be a more of a workbook that would help guide you through spiritual knitting. When I deciding whether or not to take this book out of the library, I read a snippet. Nope, it seemed to be largely a memoir. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed but like I said, I enjoy stories related to knitting.

Lydon seems to be a very spiritual person. I didn’t expect a knitter would be crossing the country seeking guidance from spiritual leaders. It was a bit out of the ordinary but I quickly grew to wish I had known Hayat and Jimmy and the likes. Lydon seems like a very well traveled and knowing person so I enjoyed following her around in her attempts to make peace with the spiritual.

Of course, the main lesson of the story is mindfulness. The main reason why I felt this book didn’t satisfy me was because I didn’t necessary learn anything new. While I do like how Lyndon approaches mindfulness, I was still left for wanting more.

What I appreciated the most however was her advice on knowing yourself. Several times throughout the book, Lyndon refers to making sweaters that never really appear like she thought they would. The sleeves would turn out too big or the garment would be slipping off her shoulders. It was best to make your own tweaks to patterns so that whatever you were making was fit for you. And mistakes were okay. Arabic weavers would often put in mistakes into their works because “Nothing but Allah is perfect.” I thought that was a good metaphor.

Overall

I give it a 25. This is not a book that I would come back to nor remember in a couple of years. It was well written and I enjoyed the content but it was ultimately lacking.

The difference between the knitting moments and the spiritual moments were too great at points. Some of the links between the two were too weak to justify. However, Lydon did make some good points throughout the book that kept me reading.

It’s a nice quick read and the fact that it’s so short justifies the time spent on it. Don’t pass it up if you have the chance but you aren’t missing much.

I’m a Little Behind

Aug 3, 2017 | Comments

A couple of days ago I was behind on my granny squares for my temperature blanket. If you don’t know, temperature blankets consist of one square a day and each square represents the temperature of that day. Thankfully, it’s easy to catch up with temperature blankets! Even though I’m caught up with the squares, I still haven’t woven the ends in yet nor have I joined them. Eek!

Last week I was babysitting my little cousin and he was playing with my yarn. He made a “bunny” and asked me to give it eyes and a nose. I tried my best with what I was given. I wasn’t satisfied but my cousin was so impressed. I love how innocent he is.

Lately I’ve been thinking how fast he’s growing up. He just recently turned 11 and he’s already almost as tall as me! Now that he’s older he’s less receptive to my affections which is a little disheartening to me since he is still so cute and sweet!

If I never have kids, I’d think I’d be content with it because I am surrounded by kids in my extended family and I’ve already watched many of them grow up. We celebrated my cousin’s birthday over the weekend. She just turned 19 and I still marvel over how it seemed like she was a small little girl just yesterday. The same goes for her brother. He’s going into grade twelve this year and I just can’t believe it. We went to a night market at our mall recently and my brother, cousin, and I just walked around by ourselves talking. It’s amazing to me how he has grown into his own person. Of course, while we were there, we got to chow down on some delicious food. I got a burger at Bandit Burger and it was absolutely delicious.

The next day we went to the park to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and we spent almost eight hours there. There was a lot of eating and we took a walk and just chatted together. We even took a nap under the tree from the food overload. It was pretty relaxing and I even sat by the water’s edge to knit for a little bit.

One of my older cousins saw me knitting and asked if I could make her daughter a hat. I said yes! I’m a little nervous because I’ve never had anyone ask me to make anything before but I would love to make my second cousin a hat. My cousin’s daughter requested that it be pink. I have no pink yarn! I guess I’ll be shopping around for pink yarn soon.

STASH Lounge Moving and Other Outings

Jul 24, 2017 | Comments

Yesterday Yesterday opened up at their new location across the street. I dragged my brother along with me to the opening.

It was absolutely lovely! They had a DJ play some music in the background, a coffee bar, and a table of yummy sweets in the back. They even had door prizes, which I suspect I didn’t win anything from but that’s totally okay.

In terms of the space, it’s great! It’s absolutely spacious while also filled to the brim with yarn. I enjoyed the rustic decorations like the vintage crates and items like typewriters. There are shelves upon shelves of yarn. Near the register there is a wall dedicated to various knitting and crochet accessories. There’s another wall where yarn is hung on, absolutely covering the entire space. It was incredibly cozy and it still retained it’s intimate feel as their previous location.

At first I was going in there thinking I wouldn’t buy anything but then I decided that it would be rude not to! After much contemplation and running through the patterns I want to try in my mind, I decided on two skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Barn Owl. This was after eating a couple of macaroons and cookies while walking through the crowded store. These two skeins will make my very first knitted hat!

With my purchase, I even got a free reusable bag! It’s so sturdy and pretty. I think it will be a project bag or a maybe a library bag. We’ll see.

That day I also went to the park with some relatives. I finally gave the blanket I made for my cousin’s newborn son and my cousin was head over heels over it! She said it was like store quality which made me blush a little. I am very pleased that she was happy with it.

I also biked around Fish Creek park for two hours with my dad. We decided to take a different route than we usually do. It was a really nice bike ride although maybe a little bit too hot! We even stopped for ice cream at Annie’s. I’ve never been before but it’s a sweet little cafe just off the bike path. The ice cream scoops are huge! I definitely got my money’s worth from it.

Annie's does not skimp on the ice cream! Eating back all the calories I burnt from biking lmao

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All in all, yesterday was a very good day!

Knitting Haul #1: LIHAO and Takumi Bamboo Needles

Jul 5, 2017 | Comments

I am just starting to get into knitting as well and I decided to buy a relatively cheap set of bamboo knitting needles. I found this LIHAO Bamboo set on Amazon for around $16.99 CAD. Included are 18 pairs of needles ranging from 2.0mm to 10.0mm. It also came with a knitting gauge which is super helpful!

From a quick look over, there are no obvious defects. The reviews say that they are perfect for beginners so we’ll see! I’m a bit worried in that most of the patterns I’m seeing that are interesting call for circular needles but maybe I’ll slowly work myself up to that first.

I also bought these Takumi Bamboo Needles. They’re 5.0mm and around 10″ long. They are very light and I did try doing a basic knit and purl stitch with them. Let me tell you, going from 12.0mm to 5.0mm needles is a big difference as a beginner!

Kits and Knits

Jul 3, 2017 | Comments

Last week was the end of final exams and on my last exam, I decided to take a well deserved day out. In celebration of Canada Day, Tim Hortons was bringing back Roll Up the Rim for a time. I’m trying to cut down on my coffee but I decided to get at least one cup, just to try my luck. Turns out that my luck isn’t that so great.

First Roll Up the Rim for Canada's 150! No dice. Oh well, it has a nice message at least.

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Michaels was also celebrating Canada Day a little bit early. They were giving out generous coupons for a couple of days and the end of the season meant tons of clearances on yarn.

I managed to grab some discontinued Loops & Threads Zigzag yarn to practice my knitting with. I ended up knitting a ball. It turned out to be not that great but I see it as a learning experience.

After my little shopping trip I met up with Y and we went to the cat cafe that recently opened up in town. The place itself is gorgeous. The cat room was separated from the cafe. Kind of a small place but rather good when you consider what the space is used for. There were only a couple of cats there and they were all pretty lazy and hungry the whole time. Some of the cats were feeling a little playful and pounced on the feather toys. It was disappointing a bit but it was also nice being around a lot of cats.

Look at these kitties just sleeping and eating!

Overall, it was a nice day. I got to spend time with people I value, got to indulge in my hobby for a bit, and was surrounded by cats! Honestly, that’s the dream.

About

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My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.

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