Knit, Purl, Pray. . . A Book Review

Advent wreath with 4 candles

Oh, I have been bad! Well, not bad in the bad sense of the word, but just remiss or missing in action, I guess. Weeks go by and I can’t get a blog post out there! But, it is the Season. (Actually, only one of those candles above should be rose-colored, and the other three, purple.)

This IS my favorite time of the year. Advent. The Prelude to Christmas and all it holds for us. My life has always spun around my Catholic faith, and no time is it ever felt more deeply than now . . . at Advent. Four short weeks which whiz by so quickly you may not catch them at all. There’s decorating to do, school parties and concerts to attend, cookies to bake, gifts to make, and extra giving that you may do to brighten what could be an otherwise dreary month.

If you’d like to read more about Advent, just click here! 🙂

That’s why I noticed this book, “Knit, Purl, Pray: 52 Devotions for the Creative Soul“, right away when I saw it on Amazon.

Knit Purl Pray book

So, I think that’s why being creative is so central to my life. Knitting is such a contemplative tool; so often you can be knitting and reflecting all at the same time.

So, when I saw Lisa Bogart’s new book entitled “Knit, Purl, Pray: 52 Devotions for the Creative Soul” it just struck a chord. Here you’ll find connections between knitting and many “ordinary” things that make up our lives every day. There are devotions for boredom or confusion, even; for mistakes and the selfish knitter.

Speaking of selfishness, (and two men who were anything but), it reminds me of when we lived in Pennsylvania. Pike County, to be almost exact. A pretty ride out of Milford up Rt. 6, past Twin Lakes Rd, and then on to Springbrook Rd. about 3-1/2 miles beyond that. We used to go to a parish in Milford, where there was one priest, Fr. Mullally aided by Deacon Cliff. The church was not so big that Father couldn’t handle two masses on Sunday mornings and a 5:00 p.m. one at night. He had been there for years, and was a year older than my husband and I.

Four years ago on Thanksgiving weekend, he told all of us at the conclusion of Mass, that he was going to visit Cliff in the hospital to say goodbye. Now, this wonderful deacon, had only been ordained as such for about eight years, I think. Not a long time. When he was studying to be a deacon he was driving his car one day to give Holy Eucharist to shut-ins, when out of the blue a rotted tree fell on his car, leaving him paralyzed and broken in so many ways, physically. He did go on to eventually finish his studies and was ordained. Deacon Cliff and Father Mullally were wonderful, close friends through it all.

In fact, Deacon Cliff would tell you if it hadn’t been for Father he would have just given up. I mean, a healthy, strong man in his mid-fifties felt he was good for nothing reduced to sitting in a wheelchair and barely able to use even one of his arms. But, with Father’s guidance, Cliff was able to see beyond the devastation of his own body, and know that God had given him another chance to do more.

You always saw him tooling around in the motorized wheelchair he had, and he would drive over in his specialized van, too. He always had a kind word whenever or wherever you saw him, and many times would read the sermons. His voice came haltingly as he would struggle for each breath, and you almost could feel yourself wanting to help him get the words out as he slowly spoke. He was a wonder. He was such a selfless example.

On that Thanksgiving weekend, he died. He was 64 years old, and had been hospitalized before with infections from his body being so compromised. Now it was time for him to go home.

Little did we know that a mere three weeks later, Father Mullally would follow him. Unbelievable as it sounds, one morning in mid-December Father had not shown up for the 8:00 a.m. mass. A few of the men parishioners went into his home which was next door to the church and found him in the rectory in his bedroom, passed away. Father was only 61 years old. He had recently been hospitalized himself, with chest pains, and had checked himself out because there was just too much to do.

This a week before Christmas. Suddenly, there was no one to say mass. No one at all. The diocese can bring someone in to fill the void, but no one could fill the void. Two selfless, wonderful men, both gone so suddenly, too soon.

I think about it still; how two lives that meant so much to so many were suddenly gone. Gone. Just gone.


Because life is like that. It’s not always happy, it’s not always what we want it to be. It’s not always smooth and comfortable. Suddenly, something changes, and nothing is the way it was.

Green colonial door opening into a room filled with Christmas

That’s one of the reasons I hold on to my knitting so tight! It’s a lifeline, my needles and yarn. A lifeline that starts with one little stitch and concludes with whatever I wish it be. For just this moment in time, I have control. Just this moment.

And no other. My knitting helps to ride the waves and get over the rough patches. Which is why a book such as “Knit, Purl, Pray” is so welcome.

I haven’t gotten to everything in this book yet, but I’m glad to call it my own and to see it on my knitting bookshelf. At 144 pages, it’s just right for using every day or every week; to center yourself and know what you are about when you knit. Too often, I think we don’t take ourselves seriously enough when it comes to knitting. Or we leave it go for too long and wonder why nothing gets accomplished.

Take a look at the reviews from Amazon; they tell you the whole story. Knit, Purl, Pray is just what we need; especially now when the world seems to be falling apart. There is inspiration here, beauty in creating pretty and useful things, and something for each of our creative souls to latch onto, not just at the moment we are knitting, but for far longer to contemplate.

Knit Purl Pray bookDid I mention that Knit, Purl, Pray . . .” makes the perfect GIFT for your knitting family members and friends? Don’t know what to get again for Christmas? Well, here is the perfect solution!

Here’s Amazon’s review page on “Knit, Purl, Pray”, for you to look over. I love when most everyone else loves what I love.

So, as we head into the week before Christmas, I’m hoping to write one more post before the 25th of December. There is something from today, the 13th of December, that fits just perfectly in to what I’ve been saying. It is from the Canticle of Sirach 39:13-16a. You can read if you choose, or not. To me it sums up that EVERYTHING we do in life is from God; that we hold the keys to creativeness right in our hands.

And it’s up to us whether we use them or not. Carve, bake, paint, design, or knit. YOU have a gift.

Use it.

“Listen my faithful children: open up your petals,
like roses planted near running waters;

Send up the sweet odor of incense,
break forth in blossoms like the lily.
Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise;
bless the Lord for all He has done!
Proclaim the greatness of his name,
loudly sing his praises,
With music on the harp and all stringed instruments;
sing out with joy as you proclaim:
The works of God are all of the good.”

Know, that no matter what happens, how strange, or sweet or heartbreaking, God sees all. And when He looks at me, I want to be knitting!

As always, take your knitting to heart!

Glitter heart

Author Signature


  1. Julia Dawn Mason says:

    Hi Alice,
    I have not seen that bookbut I will look for it. recently I have finished my daughter-in-laws hat and a neck warmer, a hat and gloves for one of the teachers at the school where I am a crossing guard and I am still knitting on a hat for my son, he picked the colors of black, purple and silver. I have the cuff done so far, turning ridge and I am on the last bit of ribbing and then start the stockinette. We are out for the holidays, so I can get it done before Christmas. Our weather is still not normal for this time of year, too hot and no cold . We want some relief from the heat.Earlier this week I went and got my hair cut and it feels so much better, I have always had short hair.

    • Hi Julia,

      This has been a BUSY week, and here it is Christmas Eve! Wow, sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of knitting; I’m working on a turquoise scarf and a candied afghan for my Etsy store. Today it’s 72 degrees in NJ! Craziness! Tomorrow will be in the 60s, and maybe by January it will start to feel like winter. They’re saying a mild winter here due to El Nino, which is fine by me!
      Funny, you mentioned your hair; I’ve always had long hair and just recently opted for the short look, which I really like a lot!
      Have a very Merry Christmas, and enjoy! Alice
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