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Summary

Purl and stitch: empowering, healing, and reconnecting us to each other and ourselves

In a fractured world plagued by anxiety and loneliness, knitting is coming to the rescue of people from all walks of life. Economist and lifelong knitter Loretta Napoleoni unveils the hidden power of the purl and stitch mantra: an essential tool for the survival of our species, a means for women to influence history, a soothing activity to calm us, and a powerful metaphor of life.

This book is a voyage through our history following the yarn of social, economic, and political changes - from ancient Egypt and Peru to modern Mongolia, from the spinning bees of the American Revolution to the knitting spies of World War II, and from the hippies' rejection of consumerism to yarnbombing protests against climate change. For the author it is also a personal journey of discovery and salvation, drawing on the wisdom her grandmother passed along as they knit together.

Revealing recent discoveries in neuroscience, The Power of Knitting offers proof of the healing powers of knitting on our bodies and minds. Breaking through societal barriers, even nursing broken hearts, and helping to advance cutting-edge science, knitting is still a valuable instrument for navigating our daily lives. 

As a bonus, the book includes patterns for 10 simple yet iconic projects that reflect the creative, empowering spirit of knitting, with complete instructions.

This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF containing knitting patterns from the book. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 Loretta Napoleoni (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Power of Knitting

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More of a writer than a knitter

Not a good as I had hoped. The writer is very self pitying which gets bit tiresome, and there are inaccuracies with the content, which you will note if you are an experienced knitter.

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A Personal Journey through the History of Knitting

A fascinating account of the story of knitting and where it sits in our society. It answered one of my long time questions ' why is this ancient craft is devalued in Western society?'.
I am British and I struggled with the intonation of the narrator but the content was so fascinating I persisted.
My final point is about the financial stuggle of the author which is threaded throughout the book. I too used knitting to help me through severe financial difficulties. However my worries were about finding enough money to pay my mortgage and electricity bill. If only I had had a lakeside house to sell and was able to buy a round the world ticket!!! However I it seems that Loretta has learned something about 'true value'.

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  • Chiara
  • 31-01-21

Disappointing… Presents a skewed view of the western feminist movement

From the “click bait “trailer offered by Audible, I believed this book was going to be a more scholarly look at the history of fiber arts. Instead, the author presents a long
account of her relationship to knitting — sprinkled with historical information.

The author presents a very binary view of the fiber arts for modern day women: either you buy into Women’s Lib and don’t knit versus you choose to knit, with the “permission”of the Women’s Movement. For the author to suggest that 21st century women can choose fiber arts for our own enjoyment, only because of some unspoken “permission” from people like Betty Friedan is absurd!

I will be 60 years old in two days. I grew up with my Italian grandmother teaching me to knit; she was illiterate and barely spoke English while living in the United States. She had raised three sons to become surgeons and worked more than full-time as a seamstress in a factory. She was the quintessential Maternal Feminist!

Just like she was a role model for my father and uncles to climb out of the Italian ghetto in New York State, my grandmother also spurred me forward to become a professional. Because of her maternal feminism, I became a physician, mother and homemaker.But this came at a huge price: I simply could not work 60 hours a week as a doctor and raise my children well at the same time. It is simply not possible.

I have been a knitter since before I could read. My 90 year old mother and my daughters continue to knit avidly. We knit,not to make a political statement or for personal vendetta. Rather, we knit for the love of the fiber arts!

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  • Emily Jelly
  • 10-04-21

Rich white lady complains about being less rich.

Gets a lot of knitting terms wrong, the author complains about being poor but goes on round the world trip while being "poor". I don't mind an author talking about how knitting helped them through a tough time but constantly complaining about how she has no money while she writes from her lake house and then goes on a round the world trip seems pretty tone deaf in 2020. It also perpetuates that knitting is for rich white women. Couldn't finish because I got so annoyed with the authors total lack of recognition of her privilege. The narrator isn't my favorite either, for some reason her "Italian" accent sounds Eastern European.

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  • Victoria Overstreet
  • 09-05-21

A must listen to for new Knitters

the story is told from an autobiographical standpoint telling the history of knitting, it's economical, psychological and environmental impacts amid stories from her own personal experiences with knitting and fellow Knitters and stories they told. it's very well written even if it is a bit choppy at points. I finished about 4 inches of the baby blanket I'm working on knitting listening to the narrators voice. I think it's perfect for the story. if you're a knitter (especially a self taught new knitter like me) listening to the wisdoms and story's from men and women across time will make you love it even more.

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  • Lisa Belle
  • 25-01-21

Lovely book - history and personal story both

I’m a perennial beginner knitter and really loved this book. The scope of the history and culture of knitting is tremendous and is beautifully paired with the intimacy of the author’s personal journey. It was a very presently perfect book for inspiration, both in knitting and living, Winter 2021 edition. I have ordered a hard copy so I can share this uplifting, cool book in my neighborhood exchange.