A couple of years ago, I was at Hobby Lobby in Batavia and I learned of this movement called the Prayer Shawl Ministry. It's pretty awesome, really. It's very cathartic for the crafter and very comforting to the recipient. The shawls themselves represent comfort -- it's like the recipient is being hugged by the giver. The idea is that the stitcher prays for the recipient before beginning the shawl, then prays upon completion of the shawl, thus praying blessings INTO the shawl. Those blessings will be passed on to the recipient of the shawl. I made one for my Aunt Linda when my Uncle Ed passed away. There's really no need to get all organized about it. You don't need to join a club or sign anything. You can just do it yourself for people you know.
Prayer shawls don't only have to be used in cases of bereavement, though that's a really good time to receive one, believe me!! They can also be given to someone who's having health issues or someone who's just stressed out. They're also nice to give on happy occasions -- they can be used for birthdays, baby or wedding gifts, baptisms, confirmations, graduations, a remembrance of home for a kid going to college, seeing a long-lost friend -- any reason you might give someone a hug is a great reason to give that person a prayer shawl. The important thing is the prayers, blessings, and positive energy for the recipient that you stitch into that shawl.
For more information about the Prayer Shawl Ministry, you can click here.
Following is the pattern I used for the prayer shawl I gave to my aunt. It's easy, and the final product is really lovely.
3 Balls Homespun
Size K Crochet Hook
Row 1: Work 2 hdc in 3rd ch from hook.
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1, here and throughout), turn, 2 hdc in 1st hdc, hdc in next hdc, ch 1, hdc in top of t-ch – 5 hdc and 2 ch-1 sps.
Row 3: Ch 3, turn, hdc in 1st ch-1 sp, 2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in each of next 2 hdc, ch 1, hdc in last ch-1 sp – 7 hdc and 2 ch-1 sps.
Row 4: Ch 3, turn, hdc in 1st ch-1 sp, 2 hdc in next hdc, hdc in each hdc across to last ch-1 sp, ch-1, hdc in last ch-1 sp – 9 hdc and 2 ch-1 sps.
Repeat Row 4, increasing 2 hdc every row as established, until piece measures 35 in. (89 cm) from beginning.
Weave in ends.