As we went deeper into lockdown, I became aware that my sister, Pauline, was missing her grandkids desperately.  She had always loved children, qualifying as a sick children’s nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the 70s. After that she married and produced three boys of her own, but it seemed to take forever before […]


Some ten years ago I knitted this ‘coat of many colours’ for my mother. It was a huge hit! She loved it, wore it whenever the weather was cold enough and took many complements. I can guarantee there is not another the same anywhere!  Now that she has left us, it has returned to my […]

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One of the first to get a prayer shawl was my friend Hannah. Made in hand-dyed botany lace weight yarn, she received it with a sense of wonder. It went everywhere with her and marked a new freedom in her prayer life alongside a greater sense of worth. But after a few years I got a call […]


There was encouraging feedback from the hospice again last week. A patient had a clear vision of an angel who came and interacted with her. ‘Do you think it was real?’ she asked the chaplain. ‘It felt so close and comforted me beyond words.’ Her reaction on being given an angel prayer shape ‘in just the right […]

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I’ve made several Jewish Tallits using Annie Modesitt’s pattern from the New Prayer Shawl Companion. But I wanted to take the design further to include Christian symbolism – motivated by the urge to create something with ancient orthodox significance. Numbers and planning are not a strength, but I had just acquired Hitomi Shida’s Japanese knitting Stitch Bible translated […]


I started this work-intensive, family-heirloom-style crochet project as a self indulgence to inspire and help me through COVID19 lockdown.  Mum had just died and although the family came together beautifully and all loose ends were dealt with in the best possible way, she was a great loss and I missed her acutely.  With time on […]


Some of my greatest challenges and traumas have been triggered by visiting the knitting and stitching show in Harrogate. I love to see new ideas, designs, yarns and accessories. But my worst knitting disaster came out of such a trip.  I was captivated by Belinda Harris’s ‘Festival of Threads’ – a large, lace weight, circular shawl knitted […]


Time for me to top up the Hospice supply of prayer shapes.  They are placed in a basket in the chapel and tend to go like hot cakes. Although several of us make them, we don’t always manage to keep up with demand by staff, patients and relatives.  The chaplain often finds the texts sellotaped […]

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I had a battle with myself when I saw ‘Sophie’s Dream,’ by Debri Uys, at the Knitting and Stitching show last November.  It would take my crochet skills to a whole new level but should I indulge?  Temptation won. The first square gave me massive grief.  I can usually memorise patterns quickly but this was […]


There is nothing more annoying than tangled thread. I like to pull it from the centre so that the ball of yarn stays put without tumbling head over heels to an inaccessible place under a chair, or worse – wound around the back leg of the dog. Sometimes the thread comes at first try, but […]

Blessing a Bloke

Whilst I was making my first few shawls in the early days, my sister Pauline raced ahead with designing and crafting her own prayer shapes for church. Meanwhile, her husband, Phil was caught floundering in the wake of all this scaled up single minded activity and was feeling a tad sidelined. So Pauline decided to […]

Unexpected Feedback

Since the start, I have fallen over backwards to insist there is nothing ‘magic’ about prayer shawls or shapes. And I still say that, but I want to tell you about some strange feedback from a few years ago. There was a casual conversation at a pastoral care conference with a spiritual director who led […]