Prayer Shawl Companion (eBook)

The Prayer Shawl Companion (eBook)

SKU# 077783

38 knitted designs to embrace, inspire & celebrate life

Janet E. Bristow
Victoria A. Cole-Galo

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Other Formats
  • Product # 077783
  • Type PDF eBook
  • ISBN 978-1-60085-735-5
  • Published Date 2008
  • Pages 176
  • Photos 64
  • Drawings 12

What are prayer shawls? And why has knitting them become so popular?

Often people think that making prayer shawls comes from a specific religious tradition. Not so -- these lovingly knitted wraps are made for anyone and for nearly any occasion, from baptism to remembrance.

This collection features 38 beautiful and very different prayer shawl patterns that will inspire knitters of all skill levels with special designs for celebrations as well as times of solace. Projects range from simple to complex and include patterns donated by professional knitwear designers, including Kaffe Fassett and Nicky Epstein.

Authors Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo are at the heart of this popular movement – their shawl ministry ( is an all-inclusive online charity knitting group. It has become the place where many knitters join the movement that has always been a practical way to comfort those in need.

Like their website, this book includes many touching stories from knitters as well as inspirational words to knit by. It includes helpful information on choosing yarn, adding embellishments, blessing the shawl, and suggestions for wrapping and presenting a prayer shawl by yourself or with a group.

Here's a wonderful way to begin knitting a prayer shawl or to explore exciting new ideas when planning your next one.

About the Authors
Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo are at the heart of this movement – their shawl ministry ( is an all-inclusive online charity knitting group that is the place most people go to join in.

Table of Contents

Beginning Prayerfully
Friendship Patchwork shawl
Sierra Breeze
Kristin Spurkland's ad lib shawl
Sabbath Shawl
Seven Sacraments
Beautiful Shawl
Jodi Lewanda's Calming Shawl
Reversible Cable Shawl
Mexican Rainbow Shawl
Trudy Van Stralen's Lacy Linen Stole
Cornerstone Shawl
Beginner's Shawl
Mystery of the Trinity
Kaffe Fassett's Tumbling Block Stole
Butterflies in Threes
Marilyn Webster's Patchwork Shawl
Lattice Shawl
Wren Ross's Two Heart Warmers
Forest Path
Kathleen Taylor's Dakota Wheat Shawl and Pin
Baptism Shawls
Nursing Shawl
Hugs from My Angel
Melissa Matthay's Tallis
Nicky Epstein's Wedding Capelet
Threefold Blessing Shawl
Carri Hammett's Lap Robe
Brandon Mably's Striped Stole
Wrapped in Love
Traveling Shawl
Fay's Way Shawl
Ribbon-Trimmed Shawl
Basketweave Shawl
Lacy Shawl
Pocket Prayer
Alice's Lace Shawl
Jean Moss's Prayer Shawl for Lily
Cape Cod Shawl
How to Start a Prayer Shawl Ministry
Knitting Abbreviations
Standard Yarn Weights
Color & Symbology
Stitch Definitions and Special Techniques

Prayer shawls become tangible symbols of love when words can't be found to adequately express one's feelings. They can be warm hugs of happiness, empathy, and support; a private place of escape in which to rest, relax, and renew; something to hold on to when all else seems to be slipping away. Wrapping another in a shawl knit of your own prayers and loving thoughts is a gift not only for the one receiving the shawl but for yourself as well. Here we'll show you how to turn your shawl making into an experience that blesses everyone involved.

Prayer begins in the heart. Because the creation of a prayer shawl is, first, a spiritual practice for the shawl maker, it's important to set an environment of intention, or purpose, as you begin.

Thinking About Who Will Wear the Shawl
The first step in establishing intention occurs when you hear of a need or are inspired to reach out to another person in his or her time of difficulty or celebration -- a family member, friend, neighbor, acquaintance, or even someone you've never met but heard about from others. We encourage you to "trust the shawl." It will go to just the right person and arrive at just the right time. Often enough, it happens that when we start out knitting a shawl with a particular person in mind, a more urgent need arises and someone else needs it even more. Or there are times when we begin a shawl with no recipient in mind, believing that the person who needs it will eventually come into our lives. Once you get started, we have no doubt that you will find this to be true for you, too.

Choosing Yarn
When we begin knitting any project for another person, we plan it with that person in mind. What are the recipient's favorite colors? What fiber will feel best against his or her skin? When we choose yarn for a prayer shawl, the process is no different. Whether you know the recipient of your shawl or not, consider first the color or colors you will use, as they will have an effect on the recipient. Bright colors such as red or gold generally uplift and energize, as seen in the Mexican Rainbow Shawl and Alice's Lace Shawl); dark colors often give a sense of escape and enfolding, as they do in Carri Hammett's Lap Robe. And as illustrated by Jodi Lewanda's Calming Shawl, neutrals and pastels tend to be comforting. See "Color & Symbology," to learn about the symbolic meanings associated with colors or let your intuition be your guide. Once you've chosen the colors, trust your selection -- it will be right for the person who receives it.

Next, consider the type of yarn you will use. If you're making a shawl with an intricate pattern or are knitting for someone with simple taste, you might prefer a smooth, worsted-weight yarn to emphasize the design. When the pattern is plain and texture is the focus, you may wish to use a knobby bouclé or other type of novelty yarn. Higher-end yarns, such as hand-painted yarns and those made with luxury fibers, may be desired for very special shawls, perhaps one intended for a dear friend. Some shawl makers use remnants of yarn -- mixing colors, types, and textures -- to create dramatic, one-of-a-kind shawls known as Joseph's coat shawls, oddball shawls, gypsy shawls, patchwork shawls, or anawim shawls (a Hebrew word meaning "God's faithful remnant"). Brandon Mably's Striped Stole and the Traveling Shawl are beautiful examples. Once you're comfortable with the shawl-making process, we encourage you to experiment with color, pattern, and yarn. Allow yourself to be inspired, express your creativity, and enjoy the experience.

Creating the Environment
You may not realize it, but everything we've talked about up to now is part of the spiritual experience of making a shawl. Of course, the actual knitting is much more intensely spiritual, so it's important to take the time to set the mood. In doing so, consider creating a small ritual that is meaningful to you. Here are a few suggestions that have worked nicely for us.

Before you sit down to begin, gather together:

  • Yarn
  • Tools
  • Candle and matches
  • Journal and pen
  • Favorite prayer, poem, or reading
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