- Product # 077850
- Type PDF Download
- Published Date 2010
The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion features 37 beautifully designed prayer shawl patterns contributed by everyday crocheters and professional knitwear designers alike, including Nicky Epstein, Mary Beth Temple, and Doris Chan, among others. The instructions are easy to follow and the patterns represent a range of skill levels.About the Author
Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo are authors of the bestselling Prayer Shawl Companion and founders of the Prayer Shawl Ministry (www.shawlministry.com). They travel nationwide to conduct shawl ministry workshops. Both women are graduates of the Hartford Seminary's Women's Leadership Institute.
- Table of Contents
Where to begin
Original crocheted prayer shawl
Power of three shawl
Nicky Epstein's royal leaf shawl
Three granny squares shawl
Double hug shawl
Portuguese inspired Shawl
Donna Hulka's gossamer blossoms shawl
Granny square-edged Shawl
Easy as 1, 2, 3 shawl
Mary's hug Shawl
Amy Shelton's crowns of glory shawl
Milk fiber Shawl
Tranquil diamonds Shawl
Kristen TenDyke's mandree shawl
Special occasion shawl
Angel's stairway to heaven shawl
Mary Beth Temple's one step at a time shawl
Peaceful waves shawl
Cheer and victory shawl
Sunshine on my shoulders shawl
Doris Chan and Diane Moyer's three-ruffled all shawl
Trinity baptism shawl
Kathleen Taylor's Genevieve's journey shawl
Green pastures shawl
Easy q shawl
Simple scalloped shawl
Robyn Chachula's lucky four-leaf clover shawl
Carol Ventura's heart-to-heart tapestry shawl
April Mohr's two crossed double shawl
Cape Cod shawl
Peete's triangle shawl
Textured beaded shawl
How to Start a Prayer Shawl Ministry
Standard Yarn Weights
Color & symbology
For many stitchers in America, the term "prayer shawl" brings one image to mind: A shawl that is lovingly crocheted or hand-knit out of a soft, comforting yarn, blessed by the one who has made it, and wrapped around the shoulders of someone who needs the sort of comfort only the love and generosity of a caring friend can provide. And while you may picture this shawl as it was originally designed -- a long rectangle entirely worked in a knit 3, purl 3 variation of the seed stitch -- the shawls created through the Prayer Shawl Ministry are as diverse as the people who make them. We offer the crocheted prayer shawls in this book -- as well as the stories and blessings that accompany them -- for your inspiration.
No one seems to know for sure where and when crochet work first appeared. While some point to its origins before Christ, another theory includes origins in Arabia that spread to Mediterranean countries along trade routes. Crochet-like thread work has been found in Egyptian tombs. It is said that primitive South American tribes included crocheted items in rites of passage, while others speculate crochet first appeared in China in the form of handmade dolls.
Just Something We Made
The story of the Prayer Shawl Ministry has been a journey for us, and it began in May, 1997, when we graduated from the Women's Leadership Institute (WLI) at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. This nine-month certificate program explores women's spirituality, leadership, and feminist perspective in religion and society. Through it, we were able to define and expand our sense of spirituality. We connected with a broader, more inclusive, less gender-specific image of the Divine, and with ourselves as women who minister to everyone in our lives. It was a life-changing experience that left us open and eager to see what God had in store for us. Free to seek the Divine in a safe environment, we had profound and blessed experiences of prayer and God's presence. One occurred when a member of our class asked us to pray with her for her husband, who was ill. As she wrapped herself in the brightly colored shawl she was wearing, we laid our hands on her and joined our prayers to hers, knowing that every time she wore her mantle -- newly blessed by our prayers for the two of them -- she would feel our love and support. The next time we saw the shawl, it was the altar cloth at her husband's funeral service. Its presence was powerful to us, knowing what it symbolized and that it would continue to be her source of solace and prayer. Without her example, this ministry might not have happened.
Both of us were drawn to that shawl image, having seen firsthand the comfort a shawl can bring during times of difficulty and stress. It seemed to be the perfect metaphor for what we had experienced at the WLI and symbolic of the comforting, motherly, unconditionally loving God we had come to know. We realized that shawls were the answer to the challenge that had been posed to us at graduation: to find a way to reach out to the people in our lives with our own gifts and talents, go forward with what we had learned, and pass on the blessing. Vicky, who years before had experienced the comfort of a shawl in a time of distress, happened to be knitting. Through prayer and meditation, she created the original knit 3, purl 3 prayer shawl pattern. It was a variation of the seed stitch (symbolic of "planting" our prayers) expanded to include the number three, a number of importance in many cultures and religions. (See "Color & Symbology" on p. 167).
As we prayerfully began to knit, the ritual of shawl making became a grounding influence in our everyday lives. The steady knit 3, purl 3 rhythm became a soothing mantra, enabling us to focus beyond the process to the words spoken in our hearts to our God. Slowly, the Prayer Shawl Ministry began to knit itself within us. And, like the butterfly emerging from her cocoon, the shawls unfolded from countless skeins of yarn.
As things progressed, we realized that what we were doing was becoming our spiritual practice. It felt different from other handiwork we did because we entered into the process through intention, meditation, and prayer. How often we women dismiss the work of our hands as "just something we made," not recognizing that a gift of love from the heart blesses not only the recipient, but the maker as well.
Encouraged by our new awareness, we were eager to give gifts of shawls to family members and friends. The circle expanded as we heard of others in need of comfort. Sometimes, even when we thought we knew for whom the shawl was being made, it would find its way to someone else, as we were serendipitously led into other people's lives. That's when we realized that we were being guided by God's spirit. We had no idea that our little ministry would go any farther. What happened after that was pure grace.
Hand to Hand and Heart to Heart
As we gave the shawls away, others found out and wanted to do the same. Everyone, it seemed, knew someone who could benefit from receiving a shawl, so we gave the pattern to people wanting to make them, adding a crocheted version designed by Rita Glod (see p. 14) who was a member of Janet's Prayer Shawl Ministry circle. Women, children, and men passed them on, person to person, hand to hand, and heart to heart. We began to see the potential that giving and receiving a shawl has in opening the doors of communication, reinforcing relationships, and inviting understanding and healing. For example, the gift of a shawl enabled a man to finally grieve the demise of his marriage. It helped a grandmother teach her grandchild the prayers of her childhood, each wrapped in their own prayer shawl. It greeted a widow as she entered her home each evening, and it supported the arm of a woman after her mastectomy.
People were making shawls and mailing them around the country. Articles were written by others and published in journals and newspapers, from our own Hartford Courant to a paper in Johannesburg, South Africa. The response was overwhelming, and we realized that something big was happening -- something beyond ourselves.
That led us to create a website, www.shawlministry.com, which we like to think of as our e-book: a wonderful example of how spirituality, craft, and technology can work together to connect many people. Because we feel this ministry was a gift to us, we take the care and keeping of it very seriously and are as protective of it as any mothers would be. We decided to offer the information on our site free of charge, asking only that people wanting to use the materials contact us to obtain permission.
Soon, people wanted to establish their own shawl ministry groups. To meet their needs, we started traveling to them to present Prayer Shawl Ministry workshops and retreats. Because inclusivity is important to us, we encourage the host group to invite all the faith communities and others from their area to attend the workshop. It's a great way to reach across religious, ethnic, and gender boundaries, and we haven't seen many other occasions where that happens. As we meet people from different faith traditions, we discover that we have more commonalities than differences. People are more interested in needle sizes, yarns, and patterns than religious differences, and despite their different beliefs, they bow their heads and pray together. One woman told us that she joined a shawl ministry group at a Catholic church, even though she wasn't Catholic. When she told the other participants so, their response to her was, "Oh, so you knit differently?"
Not only do people bond over the love of crocheting and knitting, but this kind of event opens the door to other ways of connecting. When a church in Maine suffered a tragic event in which parishioners died, they received a shawl from a church of a different denomination in California as a gesture of comfort and concern. They were profoundly touched to know that others from so far away felt their pain. Since then, shawl makers have reached out to other places suffering from other tragedies: the Beslan, Russia, school massacre; the Sago and Pennsylvania mine disasters; hurricanes Rita and Katrina, shootings at Louisiana State and Northern Illinois State universities; families of victims of a Buffalo, New York, plane crash; and even Iraq, through the Sending Soldiers Prayers outreach, as well as to families who have lost loved ones in the war.
Our site has received well over a million visits since it was launched in January, 2003. To date, approximately 3,000 Prayer Shawl Ministry groups exist in the United States, 100 in Canada, and 20 in other parts of the world -- and those are only the ones we know of! We answer questions about yarn and difficulties with patterns. We hear from folks who are delighted to stumble upon our website, as well as from those who take us to task for our inclusive language. We are moved and honored when someone tells us they've been searching for some way to minister to others and were brought to tears after reading through all the material we offer. One woman told us that she typed a prayer from her heart in the search engine of her computer, and our Prayer Shawl Ministry site came up.
Upon reflection, we think the reason this ministry has been embraced by so many people around the world is that its guiding force is Spirit led.
Warm Hugs and Sacred Spaces
Since the Prayer Shawl Ministry began, these gifts of love have been given in times of great sorrow and loss, comforting recipients stricken with illness, soothing recipients undergoing surgery and medical treatments, and wrapping them all in a warm hug, giving them a sacred space in their turbulent lives. The shawls have been given in times of celebration, as well: for births, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, ordinations, graduations, and other important life passages. The beauty of this ministry is that it embraces everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, or religion. Placing a beautiful, warm wrap around someone's shoulders in a hug of empathy and support is transcendent. For the giver and receiver, God's presence is felt. The recipient realizes that she or he is not alone, but enfolded in the prayers and good intentions of the giver, who, in turn, is blessed by each shawl given away.
The concept of the ministry is simple, with no strings attached. With its roots based in love, prayer shawl making combines the ancient method of needlework and prayer into a tangible, unconditional symbol of care, concern, and celebration. We have seen God's joy weave its way through people's lives, touching, healing, comforting, and soothing both shawl givers and receivers. Medical personnel have told us many times how invaluable these shawls have become to their patients. One nurse said that a woman came into the emergency room on a stretcher, wrapped in her shawl. Her husband arrived right after, concerned as to whether she had her shawl or not; because, if she didn't, he'd have to go home and get it!
A Unique Art
In our travels, we have noticed that crocheters have an enthusiasm about them. They're social and curious, wanting to know about, as well as pass on, stitch techniques, interesting patterns, motifs, and tips on creating unusual effects. Because crocheting is different from knitting in that one can obtain shapes and swirls not possible with knitting needles, we have seen some exquisite crocheted shawls. So we are very happy to present this book to those of you who are either ardent crocheters or would like to be. Nothing more is required of you than the desire to express your love to another person through prayer, some yarn, and a crochet hook. Use this book as your guide. You can choose to look at it as a collection of patterns and photos of shawls, or you can embrace it as the beginning of your spiritual journey into the world of prayer shawl making.
We are honored that you would consider becoming part of our ever-expanding circle. Please visit us at www.shawlministry.com to find out more about our mission and to share your ideas, stories, and inspirations with us. We enjoy interacting with the shawl makers out there, sisters and brothers whom we will never meet, but to whom we feel a deep connection.
May your hook glide smoothly through your work as you bless others with the skill of your craft and prayers from your heart. Welcome! May you be blessed threefold.-- Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo
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