Knitting A Prayer Shawl- Part 3.

Now that the shawl was complete all that was left was to give it over to the recipient.

I have to say I was nervous about giving it over. Partly because I had put so much love into this one thing, and also I was concerned that the recipient wouldn’t quite understand the gesture.
Thankfully this was not the case!

I decided the best idea would to be to package it in some way and then write a card to go with it explaining what I had done. It worked out that the person opened the blanket whilst I wasn’t there, so I’m glad I wrote the card.

Soon after I had a gushing message about how wonderful it was and how thankful she was. Phew!

The fab news is that she has even decided to start her own blanket too! Which is brilliant because it really gives me the feeling that its coming full circle, and all with the original intentions that I set out with.
My Tips!
– If you are planning to make your own prayer blanket/shawl try to have some kind of ‘centering prayer’. I spoke in an earlier post about going back to ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ as a way of maintaining concentration you get lost.
-Take it all with you. I am so glad that I took my knitting with me to most places. Not only so I could knit a row when I had a few minutes to spare. But also because it feels like taking that person with you as you go about your life.
-Try think about what colours suit the person and then explain your reasoning in a card that you give with the blanket. I also included the washing instructions for the yarn in the card.

I really hope this encourages someone to take up the beautiful art of knitting a prayer blanket/shawl. I am already on number 2!

Peace and Joy. x


Knitting A Prayer Shawl- Part 2.

Although these posts are published well after the recipient has received the shawl, they have been written at each stage so that details are not lost.

And so the knitting began!
The pattern is available on the Prayer Shawl Ministry website. Its super simple and easy to follow. And gives the correct details so that you can make it as long or as wide as you like! You can find the pattern for it here.

After winding the skiens into balls it was easy to see that one was slightly darker with blue flecks in it. I decided I would put it in the middle so that it would go light to dark to light again. I’ve had some knitting experience before and so casting on and getting started was easy.

The pattern ends up looking similar to ribbing but not. But it does give the shawl some good warmth even with an acrylic yarn.

Everytime I sat down to knit I would just keep the reciptiant in my mind as I thought about and prayed for her and her family.
The rhythm of knitting makes it easy for your mind to be able to focus as you are working. Of course if you are a new knitter it might not be as easy, but because I’ve been doing this a while it was easy to get into a rhythm, and begin to pray. I always tried to make the last row of my knitting session a focused prayer enwrapping everything I had thought about and prayed about for this person.

Occasionally though my mind did wander. One of the tips on the website is to recite ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ as you are knitting, and because the pattern is in threes it really did seem to help me focus if I lost my way. Even if I came to knitting not really knowing what my prayer intentions were for this person that day, it would help me to just try and bring the Spirit into my knitting.

For the most part I tried to take my knitting everywhere. It helped me to remember that my intentions were to this person I was praying for. (Although knitting wasn’t my only form of prayer.)
It made for some interesting conversations at work, and even a few compliments! It felt important to me to be able to bring this with me and put my full intentions into this. I feel like it makes it more important that way, and also that the recipient would be able to appreciate it more?

I have to admit however, that whilst knitting this I was still doubting that the recipient would even appreciate it. Or perhaps they would find it a bit weird. But knowing the person I was knitting for I was hoping that they would be able to appreciate it.

I carried on knitting through all 3 balls making sure that I left a little on each ball for the fringe at the end. As it got bigger it was nice to sit down with it on my lap and feel the warmth as I knitted. It gave me comfort that hopefully it will be as warm as my intentions when I finish

Eventually I got to the end and managed to successfully weave in the ends. (Which I had never actually done before, usually my mum does it for me!) So it was also a good learning experience for me. I was unsure of if I wanted to add fringe on the ends or not. But when I finished it I decided that I wanted to add that fringe to make it a little more comforting and ‘finished’.

At the point of writing this I have finished the shawl and am awaiting giving it over to the recipient. Currently I am just focusing some prayer on it each day depending on how the spirit moves me.

I am really pleased with how it turned out as a whole. It was such a joy to knit, and I am glad that it offers some warmth. I’ll expand more on what I would look at changing in the end of the next post, which I will write when I have handed it over!

Peace and Joy.

Knitting A Prayer Shawl- Part 1.

Although these posts are published well after the recipient has received the shawl, they have been written at each stage so that details are not lost.

When I went on retreat (my first retreat I might add) in the Summer of 2014 I encountered lots of different people. Some of whom were on the same retreat programme as me, and some other retreatants who were on their own personal journey. I was on a Fabric Art Retreat which was facilitated by the Creative Arts Retreat Movement (CARM). My whole retreat experience is probably a post for another time, but there was a lone retreating who came and sat with our group during the afternoon tea one day. We were a group of sewers by the nature of our retreat, but this lady brought along a big knitting bag with some large form of knitting in it. When we enquired as to what she was knitting she said she was knitting a Prayer Blanket for a friend. She explained that the idea is that when you are knitting this Blanket/Shawl that you are praying for a person, and that the blanket provides both a physical and spiritual covering for the person in times of need.  This idea stuck in the back of my mind until I started reading ‘Knit One, Purl a Prayer’ by Peggy Rosenthal.

Shortly after that, someone who I had been keeping in my prayers specifically asked for me to pray for them following a difficult birth. Knowing that this person was a creative type as well, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to get to making a prayer blanket. I wanted to make the blanket as personal as possible so I decided that I would purchase some yarn and that I would dye it myself using an American product called Kool-Aid. The recipient is a Vegan and Cruelty Free, so I decided that an acrylic yarn would be the best.

After much googling and research there was some doubt to if my way of dying would work on the yarn that I chose.

The night before I wound the yarn into ‘skeins’ so that they would be easier to dye. Basically they end up like a big loop of yarn, which is secured in different sections so that it doesn’t knot.

Without going into too much detail, basically I made up each ‘dye’ and tried to colour different sections to give a variegated effect. The more you mess with the yarn the more the colours run and start to muddy. I mostly had green, purple and red colours. I microwaved the yarn so that the colours could set. I then washed out the excess, which is when my fear about the dye not holding on occurred.

On the left is when I had unraveled it (before washing it out) and I saw how the dye had made a majoritly pink slightly rainbow effect. Just what I wanted! After washing it out however I lost a lot of the colour, and the strongest colour (the pink/red) what was stuck.

Part of me knew that this might happen though, and the goal was to create something unique for my knitting.

After washing them out I hung them on coat hangers and left them to dry for the day, it was quite a wet day so I ended up putting them in our garage. As the colours started to hang and dry the colours faded I hoped that some of the blue in the right picture might stick a little bit.
I continued to let them dry for another day or so before winding each skien into a ball.

Thats where the real fun will begin- in part 2!

Peace and Joy.