Directions for Crocheting Prayer Shawls

A prayer shawl or healing shawl is a heartfelt handmade gift. The process of creating shawls for those in need of peace, solace, comfort or support can become a spiritual activity, according to Janet Bristow and Victoria Cole-Galo, two women who have started a prayer shawl ministry at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. They also note that prayer shawls may be for sharing joy and celebration. People who make prayer shawls believe the prayers that go into making a shawl are equally as important as the crochet techniques.

  1. Designing the Prayer Shawl

    • A traditional prayer shawl is essentially a long, narrow fringed rectangle. The finished shawl may be between 57 and 70 inches long, or long enough to measure from wrist to wrist on the recipient. The width may also vary, but in most cases, would be at least 20 inches. Choose some sort of lacy or open stitch for crocheting the shawl, such as the V-stitch, shell stitch, long single crochet, or seed stitch, which all end up draping nicely. A larger hook also contributes to a draping quality.

    Yarn Selection

    • Choose a soft comfortable yarn. Chenille, baby yarn or soft mohair would work well, but don't limit yourself to these options. As long as the yarn does not feel scratchy against the skin, it is suitable for a prayer shawl.

      Think about color as well. You may choose the recipient's favorite color or select a color that conveys a special meaning. See the shawlministry.com and other links listed below to consider the associations that go with specific colors in order to make this a truly special handmade gift.

    Crocheting the Shawl

    • Begin making a prayer shawl with a spiritual act: Say a prayer or blessing for the recipient and dedicate the crochet project you're about to begin. Do this whether you know the person you're making the shawl for or whether you are donating it to a spiritual care group which will distribute it.

      Just as you work to keep stitch size consistent throughout, pray consistently as you are crocheting.

    Finishing Touches

    • Add fringe to the narrow ends of the shawl using slip knots. Test the yarn you are using. If it unravels easily and you do not like the effect, knot the ends to keep it from unraveling. For a more masculine-looking shawl, use about half as much fringe.

      Consider adding beads or charms to the fringe. Even used beads or charms can convey a special meaning. Conclude your crochet project by offering another prayer or blessing for the prayer shawl recipient.

    Prayer Shawl Presentation

    • Wrap a scented sachet in the prayer shawl---as long as the recipient does not have allergies or any other medical condition that would prevent her from enjoying it. Present your crocheted prayer shawl with either a verbal or written blessing. Know that the recipient will treasure your handmade gift.

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