*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Contemplative Knitting by Julie Cicora

by
30 July 2021

Cally Hammond on the click of the needles

THE cover blurb makes the author (a motorcyclist and windsurfer) sound cooler than the title. The only cool thing about knitting is the end result, which evokes envy in those who have to buy their knitwear from a shop. I recognised myself in her descriptions of garments tied to life-events; the excitement of new projects; the reworking of favourite patterns: knitting is awash with metaphors for life.

It is a sensuous occupation (the spring of merino, the slide of silk), its rhythms and patterns fitting well with prayer. By occupying the knitter’s physical attention, needles and yarn channel energy into something repetitive, rhythmic, creative, and gloriously devoid of verbal meaning. Then the mind floats freely, as stitch upon stitch soothes the frets and furies of the day.

Julie Cicora keeps several items on the go: you need plain knitting during the twists and turns of Line of Duty; intricate work to while away long journeys. For her, the best knitting for prayer is simple and plain, but with a tactile pleasure in the fibre, or a visual joy in the colour. She works prayer into her knitting time, to the advantage of both skills (for prayer is, indeed, a skill). I prefer prayer in church, and knitting on a sofa while watching television; I can’t mix and match.

But, even if you can’t either, this book is a good read, if only for its affirmation to every knitter frustrated by the stigma attached to one of life’s great pleasures: that when we knit, and enjoy it deeply, we are unlikely ever to be alone.


The Revd Dr Cally Hammond is the Dean of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

Contemplative Knitting
Julie Cicora
Morehouse Publishing £13
(978-1-64065-262-0)

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)