Prayer Shawl Designs
These may be plain or intricate according to inclination and skill. Simple is often beautiful. My problem is that I get a buzz from tackling a challenge, which doesn’t always produce the best results for me or those with whom I share my life!
As others joined me, some were put off by my aspirations. It made them doubt their own ability to produce worthy articles. So I scaled down for a while. Anyway, the gentle voice seemed to suggest a route back to basics, which was when the idea of prayer ‘shapes’ came.
Today, we are spoilt for fabulous ideas, yarns, patterns and designers. I started with cupboards full of yarn collected over decades. Word spread and donations arrived, sometimes in the form of incomplete projects! One friend was delighted to pass on a boring, beige half finished cardigan that had been in progress since she was expecting her (now) teenager! I unravelled it to create a shawl of Scottish crofters ‘hap’ design and added some of my oddments to the border. She loved it, especially as she was able to wrap herself and her first grandchild in at as she prayed for him.
Other good sources: charity shops, Ebay and the web. I use different lengths of cable needles with range of interchangeable ends rather than the straight ones inherited from grandma. Crochet hooks come in a variety of ergonomic shapes and lightweight materials now, although the old ones are fine.
Commissions and payment
I have accepted a couple of commissions for prayer shawls but never take payment. People sometimes offer money, but for me this changes what is a ministry of the heart. If anyone wants to give yarn or make a contribution then that’s different.
There never seems to be a shortage of recipients. Several times I have decided to take a break for a bit or ‘make this one for me’ – but have always ended up giving them away!
Prayers, verses, quotes
I tend to offer something in writing with the gift: a hand designed greeting card, notelet or a computer generated sheet.
This prayer rug was made for Colin when he was struggling with care for his wife, Mary. His initial response was mixed: grateful for the gesture and prayers but unsure whether this was ‘really a bloke kind of thing.’
Then he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and deteriorated quickly. The rug went into the hospice with him and was always within reach. Now his daughter treasures it for the memories.
This is what I wrote:
This lap rug has been crafted for you with love and prayers.
The pattern uses blocks of seven rows and seven stitches separated by three rows and three stitches, symbolic of the Trinity. Seven denotes completion and perfection – God rested on the seventh day of Creation. The number seven is used throughout the Bible, especially in John and Revelation.
You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
You hold all authority in earth and heaven.
I seek to give you all the respect you deserve
as I recognise the areas of responsibility you have put in my life.
You have ordained that I be a leader in my home.
I ask you to help me be the best leader I can.
I bow my head and my will to you today.
I believe that you are giving me the wisdom I need
as you bring my mind, will and emotions
into agreement with your plans and purposes.
In Jesus’ Name
Prayer Shawl Care instructions
I try to include a sample of the ball band of the yarn – plus written guidelines on care.
There has been a revival of the practice of ‘blocking’ for knitting and crochet. Simply immerse the item is lukewarm water, squeeze excess moisture out gently, then roll tightly in a towel. Pin out to shape on a suitable flat surface – I often use long pins straight onto the carpet. Interlocking boards with extra long pins have made life easier for some items. This is a photo of the same shawl before and after blocking. Well worth the effort!