Whether you call them comfort shawls or prayer shawls, there’s no doubt that receiving a hand knit shawl brings love into the life of someone in need. These resources include patterns as well as information on joining or starting your own shawl knitting group. To find a group in your area, try a local Google or Yahoo! search, or check out the search engine on the Lion Brand link below.
This Comfort Shawl Pattern is for an easy triangular shawl. It’s a very interesting pattern and the contrasting color trim outlines the shape, making it visually appealing.
The Prayer Shawl Ministry was started in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo. According to their website, the two women are “graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, [which] gave birth to a ministry as a result of their experience in this program of applied Feminist Spirituality.” Through this program “Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy.” The site includes suggestions for shawl giving, patterns, and tips on starting your own shawl program.
Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry by Susan S. Izard, Susan S. Jorgensen is a beautiful book written by a United Church of Christ minister and a Roman Catholic laywoman. The book is chock full of stories that will inspire and energize you to get involved. It is not a pattern book. On page 8, the authors say, “This book will be part instruction, a passing on of all that we have learned in the years that we have been involved in knitting shawls for others. It will be part reflection, as we attempt to put into words what actually happens when we knit, when we pray, when we gather, when we give away, when we receive. It will be part story, as we tell you what has happened to us and to many others who have been involved in this ministry. And it will be part prayer, as we pass on to you the prayers that we have written when we have given shawls away and that we have invited others to write specifically for this book.”
Lion Brand Yarn has stories about knitters who have given and received prayer shawls, as well as a free pattern for a shawl. They also have a search engine you can use to search for prayer shawl groups in your area. A great resource. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the links.
On the website Fiberarts for a Cause, is a photo and story about a beautiful prayer shawl made by fiber artist, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman. About the shawl, she says, “Click of needles, rhythm of hands, quiet contemplation. / Stories of hope, young and old. Stories of love, rich and poor. / Knit within the stitches thoughts for well-being, for healing, for comfort. / A Prayer Shawl to wrap warm thoughts around someone special.” It’s a beautiful sentiment and definitely worth taking a look at the lovely design. The stitch detail doesn’t show on a thumbnail, so I haven’t included one here.
Heartmade Blessings is “a not-for-profit, world-wide group of volunteers dedicated to providing hand-crafted items to those people suffering a loss, tragedy, or going through a rough time that need to be reminded of the simple fact that people care.” Their website includes a page of guidelines for contributing a comfort shawl or comfort afghan along with information on where you can send donations.