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Share your love with a prayer shawl

Feb 8, 2012

Statistics say that there may be almost 300,000 new cases of breast cancer in 2012 (American Cancer Society). Shocking, isn't it? When I read this statistic my heart sank—it's 2012, how can this be?

    
Comfort Shawl by Sandi Wiseheart. This shaped shawl is an easy knit that stays on the shoulders. It's a free pattern, too!
My circle of friends is peppered with woman who have survived breast cancer, and I'm sure yours is too. I also have dear friends in the midst of their fights, and I feel so helpless. What can I do to support them? A meal here and there is certainly helpful and appreciated, and visits are wonderful, too, but since I'm a knitter, I want to knit something for these precious treasures to help them get through their fight. And the options are plentiful; I've knit hats and socks for my friends and for lots of cancer charities. It's such a win-win—I love knitting and the people suffering are so in need of these small items.

Since chemo patients seem to get so cold during treatment, prayer shawls are the perfect remedy. These shawls have many meanings for many people. Some people do use them while praying, some pray while knitting the shawls, and we all think positive thoughts and put love into each an every stitch.

There are free patterns for knitted prayer shawls, crocheted prayer shawls, woven prayer shawls, and sewn prayer shawls, so whatever your craft you can give the gift of support to your dear ones in need.

And, of course, there are many reasons other than cancer to share a prayer shawl! I knit one for my 91-year-old gramma and she wears it all the time. It's bright pink, her favorite color, so she feels cheery when she wears it and she spreads cheer to all who see her walking around her retirement home.

Knitting gifts is so rewarding, and as knitters we can give the gift of our time and support all wrapped up in a knitted garment. I've gotten so much pleasure out of giving these sorts of gifts, and I know you have too.

Share your prayer shawl story, pattern, favorite charity, and so on in the comments. I know there's a lot of inspiration out there that will lift us all up a little bit.

And if you've never knitted a prayer shawl, look up "prayer shawl" on Google and be bowled over by the resources that pop up!

Cheers,


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Comments

JaneR@14 wrote
on Feb 18, 2012 8:09 PM

I just want  to say my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and  he passed away less than 3 months later. But he was given a prayer shawl after his second round of chemo.He loved that prayer shawl, when he didn't feel good, when he was cold, when he was scared and when he died. He received the comfort and prayers when he needed them most Thank you to all the men and ladies making the prayer shawls.

lindywar wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 5:26 PM

Too many mistakes in these free prayer shawls.  The errata should be posted in the comments or is there an updated version of the patterns?  

Barbara@197 wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 2:50 PM

I started the "Creative Blessings" group in our church 3 years ago.  Shawls and lapghans are cozy , lasting hugs that say someone cares about you.  They are gifted to anyone and everyone, folks dealing with illness and grief, and to folks that simply need a "thank you for being a friend"  hug. The biggest group project was a block afghan that, when slip stitched together turned out to be queen size!  We were delighted to donate this one-or-a-kind to the 47th annual Christmas Bazaar.  Just as important to the recipients of our handiwork is the gathering of this sacred circle.  We range in age from 7 to 78, and look forward to sharing our joys and concerns once a month.

The more we give of ourselves, the more blessed we are.  Cheers! to all of you who give of yourselves through your handiwork :-)

Benedicere

on Feb 11, 2012 12:17 PM

There are knitters about  !!!!

At Valley Community Presbyterian Church, Portland Oregon as part of the Church Ministry there have been about 700 prayer shawls knitted and presented to those who are in need of comforting.  It is not unusual on any Sunday  to see women knitting these shawls during the service..  

Recently as  a recipient of one of the shawls I have felt truly comforted and appreciate the prayers and outreach of this Ministry.

Beverly B wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 11:53 AM

We have a small group of ladies at our Episcopal Church in Marshall, TX.  that knit prayer shawls at home.  Every few months our Priest blesses them. Over the last 7 or 8 years we have given out over 370 shawls - not only for illness and loss of loved ones, but for thanksgiving for newborns, weddings and graduations. Often we have discussed just who is the most blessed by these - the recipients or those of us knitting and praying. We have decided we are all blessed with this ministry! Praise be to God!!!

jmstockton wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 11:52 AM

Good suggestion to check with the care facility about what is needed before bringing gifts; best to check with Pastoral Care department since they are often the ones who provide spiritual support.  

I also agree with the comments about prayer shawls for men.  For two male cousins with life-defining illnesses, I checked with other family members first.  Both times, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Another thing I do is share the symbolism of the color (available at several different websites).  For my cousin with leukemia, his was green, symbolizing life; for the cousin with liver failure, blue for hope and brown for endurance.

JaniceH@5 wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 10:37 AM

My husband has been batteling cancer for a year and a half now.  A friend of mine sent a pocket prayer cloth. I keep it in my purse.  Made one for my husband.  He keeps it in the pocket of his robe.  I wanted a praer shawl, so I am making one for myself.  It will catch all the prayers people are sending his way. <3

SMarlene wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 10:35 AM

I too am a Prayer Shawl knitter.  We have formed a group at our church and find great rewards in knitting and giving shawls to those in need of prayers and hugs. Any member of our community can knit with us - not exclusive to our church community.  Our church funds our yarn supplies so that anyone who knits can do so without concern for their financial situation.  Most of our shawls are knit using the Trinity Stitch and are of soft, comfortable yarn.  It takes some effort to find sources that are reasonably priced and soft to touch, as we live in rural Alberta, Canada.  Hurray! online shopping!

Just a note - the Prayer Shawl Ministry shawls cannot be sold or purchased.  In our community people donate funds towards the supplies for the ministry and it seems to be working well!

neilm123 wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 10:01 AM

Pancreatic cancer can be beaten.........! Strange comment to make a prayer shawl, in order to wear "after he goes home to the lord"  think positive for goodness sake!

on Feb 11, 2012 10:01 AM

I am a newly dx. breast cancer survivor. On the week before my surgery,a student in my yoga class(whom I just) told me she is a survivor and she had something for me.

The next day I was given a prayer shawl from her church.  Wow! What a blessing.

The warm loving hands of people I didn't know(could be men too) were wrapped

around me thru 2 surgeries and will be with me as I continue my journey.

The kindness of loving hearts make the challenges easier to bear. For this I am

Truly Grateful!!

Kathy

mitzikidd wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 9:54 AM

My husband has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  All the comments have inspired me to make him a prayer shawl. I will wear it after he goes home to the Lord.

greylady3 wrote
on Feb 11, 2012 9:18 AM

I make prayer shawls for a variety of reasons, some have to do with health, others with bereavement or just someone who needs a snuggly soft shawl to comfort themselves. Sometimes I make fun items to make people smile. Nothing like knitting or crocheting for someone to lighten both my burden and theirs.

dorisknitter wrote
on Feb 10, 2012 6:18 PM

I have been knitting/crocheting lap aphgans for many years.  I give them to my local American Legion .  the ladies take them to the veterans home when they play bingo with them.  Lately I have been making shawls (called wheelchair shawls) from all the odds and ends of yarn.  Some look very festive but I keep them manly.  I belong to Knitting Guild and as a group donate hand made articles to SPARC. I made a few dolls for their children.   For Christmas,l I am busy knitting hats/scarves for the northern relatives.   I find handwork very soothing.

k2p3k5 wrote
on Feb 10, 2012 2:09 PM

Our church also makes prayer shawls. I'm awed by the knitters and crocheters who make them and humbled by the messages of appreciation from persons who've received one. Please don't overlook men as recipients. Prayer shawls are just as meaningful to them (even though they are less likely to wear them in most public places.)

As we knit we pray for the person who will be given the shawl. As a group, when we know who the shawl will be given to we dedicate it by passing it around (covers several laps) and holding it in our hands as we silently pray for that person.

k2p3k5 wrote
on Feb 10, 2012 2:08 PM

Our church also makes prayer shawls. I'm awed by the knitters and crocheters who make them and humbled by the messages of appreciation from persons who've received one. Please don't overlook men as recipients. Prayer shawls are just as meaningful to them (even though they are less likely to wear them in most public places.)

As we knit we pray for the person who will be given the shawl. As a group, when we know who the shawl will be given to we dedicate it by passing it around (covers several laps) and holding it in our hands as we silently pray for that person.

duckle wrote
on Feb 10, 2012 12:03 AM

Until I received this thread in the email, I never knew what a "prayer shawl" was.  I thought it must be a shawl to cover one's head for privacy while praying in a public place, like a church. Now, I realize they are infused with prayer, not necessarily meant to be used in prayer.  I just want to say that these really work.  Many years ago, I made a "prayer necklace" for a friend who had psychotic depressions.  When she got it, I asked if she felt anything from it.  She said she felt a huge, powerful, protective presence associated with it.  That had been exactly what I'd been asking for for her.  Your posts have reminded me of this and inspired me to make some prayer hats or something useful to donate.  Thanks.

JudyS@3 wrote
on Feb 9, 2012 10:23 AM

Please do not forget the men.  A local knit shop has a request for men for hats but a warn afghan would also be appreciated.  Locally we knit for many of the cancer treatment units.  My sister-in-law appreciated the hats and shawls especially ones that were machine wash and dry.  As she said, she had neither the time nor the energy to deal with hand wash and block items.  

MaryC@2 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 7:50 PM

I appreciate the cautions voiced by TreeFinder. After receiving several hand crafted hats when I was in treatment for breast cancer, I was so moved by the love and concern included in each hat. I decided to start making chemo hats for children. From that I ended up cosponsoring a prayer shawl group at my church. Our group is called Crochet for Christ. We have been blessed to be able to serve about 250 people in the past few years. We've made hats, scarves, baby blankets and sweaters, afghans, and shawls. Our local Hospice periodically receives shawls, lap robes, hats and scarves for their patients. Our "products" have gone to members of our parish and community. We have sent hats and scarves to a children's hospital in New York and several lap robes to service members after they have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the rules we made was that wool would not be used because we didn't want to impact anyone's allergies. I have tried to impress the need for SOFT yarns on the members because I know that scratchy is not pleasant when you are bald or in some kind of treatment. BUT it is difficult finding yarn with no scratchy and no wool when you are depending upon donations to buy enough yarn for your projects.

We have never considered the possibilty that our "products" might become part of a surplus burden. I guess that we have not considered that because we have checked with the agency we would like to donate to before we send them our "products". I hate to keep saying "products" but I guess that word is better than stuff. We have even been solicitated to make something. We just want to be of service because that is what Christ expects of us.

LaurieV wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 7:33 PM

I wanted to knit a prayer shawl for a friend of the family who has ovarian cancer.  She's in remission.  I chose the "mara" shawl pattern and as I knit it I thought all of the  good thoughts, put in all of my prayers and meditations and was about 3 rows from the end and for some reason I stopped.  I don't know why.  Life got in the way a bit.

And then, my husband of 37 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Out of the blue our life changed.  So I finished the last 3 rows of that beautiful shawl and I needed the prayers and meditations and good thoughts that it represented.  And I wore it for the 5 1/2 months that my husband fought the disease.  He even wore it a couple of times when he was walking the hospital halls and was so cold and nothing could warm him up.  My husband died 16 months ago.  I wear that shawl almost every day.

I still owe our friend a shawl.

krskidmore wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 6:15 PM

The son of a friend has lymphoma cancer.  I'm going to knit him a "guy" type shawl for his chemo treatments.   Maybe with pockets at each end, in a tweed yarn, or darker color.  Think it'll give him a lift

'll

karker wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 4:42 PM

I lost my mom 8-28-02 to breast cancer. She did all the treatments and i was with her at every one.  I wasn't a big knitter then but she was.  She loved picking out the pattern, then the special fiber she'd use.  She taught me so much. So during treatment we shaved her head, she couldn't bare the thought of waking up with a pillow full of hair.  So i got busy sewing her hats, she loved them but wanted warmer ones.  So off to her dear friends yarn shop, spen hours picking out the pattern and just the right yarn (had to be extra soft) and i was off knitting my first hat.  The week after mom died I went to the place she had her chemo and donated all her hats, even that first one i knitted her.  They where so grateful, even though they had a box of hats they liked offering a large selection,  Since mom died i've knitted many hats, being careful of the yarns i use (i still buy it at the same yarn store) and the chemo clinic has grown by 10x it's original size.  the only differnece is that for every 2 ladies hats i make 1 for the men.  I've got bits and pieces of all the expensive yarns i've used for hats and after reading all these stories I'm looking forward to making my first prayer shawls.  I was blessed to have mom for 40 yrs and every stitch i knit is with loving memories of her.  

If you end up with to many hats or shawls for your local clinic or church please remember that most towns have a 'Cancer Care Alliance'  and they will take donations to give to the patient or sell in the gift shop to help raise money.

karker wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 4:42 PM

I lost my mom 8-28-02 to breast cancer. She did all the treatments and i was with her at every one.  I wasn't a big knitter then but she was.  She loved picking out the pattern, then the special fiber she'd use.  She taught me so much. So during treatment we shaved her head, she couldn't bare the thought of waking up with a pillow full of hair.  So i got busy sewing her hats, she loved them but wanted warmer ones.  So off to her dear friends yarn shop, spen hours picking out the pattern and just the right yarn (had to be extra soft) and i was off knitting my first hat.  The week after mom died I went to the place she had her chemo and donated all her hats, even that first one i knitted her.  They where so grateful, even though they had a box of hats they liked offering a large selection,  Since mom died i've knitted many hats, being careful of the yarns i use (i still buy it at the same yarn store) and the chemo clinic has grown by 10x it's original size.  the only differnece is that for every 2 ladies hats i make 1 for the men.  I've got bits and pieces of all the expensive yarns i've used for hats and after reading all these stories I'm looking forward to making my first prayer shawls.  I was blessed to have mom for 40 yrs and every stitch i knit is with loving memories of her.  

If you end up with to many hats or shawls for your local clinic or church please remember that most towns have a 'Cancer Care Alliance'  and they will take donations to give to the patient or sell in the gift shop to help raise money.

DorisK wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 3:05 PM

A friend of mine died very quickly (in less than a month from diagnosis) of ovarian cancer last February. She had long knit prayer shawls for people in her church. A mutual friend and I decided that she needed a prayer shawl of her own. Janet had a shawl that she had been making for herself that was about 3/4 done when we found out that our friend was already in hospice. On Wednesday Janet asked me to finish it for her as I am a much faster knitter and then was gracious enough to put my name on the note with hers. Our note said that we hoped she knew that the hands and arms that had knitted that shawl were also hugging her when she wore it. The shawl was finished and wrapped around her on Thursday morning and she passed away on Friday. I am so grateful that we were able to get that to her.

Jen Pen wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 2:45 PM

I don't know any women who are or have gone through breast cancer treatments, but a few years ago after my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer I made a lapghan for her in a rainbow of colors. Each color had a different meaning: red for love, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white for purity, gray, brown I think for strength, and a touch of pink for femininity. I can't remember what all the colors meant and I can't find the book explains all of them, but I remember I knit with as much hopes and prayers as I did yarn.  I couldn't believe anything could beat this woman that was stronger and more stubborn than anyone else I knew. About a year after I finished the lapghan I made a matching capelette to be a prayer shawl for her. She used both of them throughout her treatments until she lost her battle in May of 2010. Just after my grandma died, her mother, my great-grandma, started having a tough time, and started showing signs of dementia. (but what should you expect from a 97 year old woman who'd lost everyone in her immediate family?) From there it was all downhill, but during the next 9 months she used both of these items that I made for her daughter. Since their deaths, my mom didn't know what to do with the shawl and afghan, so she sent them back to me. They sit, very carefully folded, in my linen closet. I'm afraid to wash them because they still smell like the women I loved. I never got along with my grandma very well, but my great-grandma was precious to me, and I to her. I miss them both.

AnitaM@13 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 2:30 PM

I knit comfort shawls during church service usually.  I get about 3-5 done a year.  I wash them, and seal in plastic ziplocs with a note about love in each stitch to surround the person with hugs.  Then I turn them over to someone like a chaplain or social worker at a hospital or hospice to distribute to those who need them.  I never know to whom they go.  

Mary G G wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 1:59 PM

We have a Prayer Shawl Ministry at our church.  In the last 12 months we have sent out 156 prayer shawls to family and friends all over the country.  This is a wonderful way to share a tangible gift of a loving hug and God's comfort and peace with others who are going through a difficult time. We have taught many people to knit and crochet so that they could be part of the ministry. Men and women and youth have enjoyed mastering a new skill to benefit others. It is a rewarding ministry and I encourage other churches to consider starting a group.  www.shawlministry.com  will give you the information you need and the website has shawl patterns.

Mary Goering , Austin, TX  

wobble wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 1:36 PM

I am amazed at all the beautiful stories that have been shared here.  I too have a story.  My youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 years ago and the doctors only gave her a one percent in making it.  I knitted her a prayer shawl and prayed so many prayers - she still wraps the shawl around her every day of the world - goes outside no matter the temperature and prays.  She is now a three year survivor and I am so proud of her.  The same time she was taking chemo she met a beautiful young mother who had the same type cancer with the same chances - my sister asked me to make her friend a prayer shawl and I had to crochet this one since it goes a little faster and used the Trinity stitch and said many prayers.  Her young friend passed away very soon after receiving my shawl. I still pray for her and her family.  May God bless each and everyone of you that have touched someone with a prayer shawl or something else homemade.

BettyD@9 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 1:05 PM

There is a small Prayer Shawl group at my Church.  We started in 2006 and have blessed 120 some odd shawls and blankets.  We give them for any reason; babies, graduation, sickness, you name it.  The most rewarding part is the reactions of the recipients of these shawls.  It is so inspiring and makes me keep knitting them.  I also like to experiment with yarns and patterns.  It seemed to catch on slow but now people genuinelly appreciate the shawl and what it stands for.  We have received beautiful notes expressing thanks and gratitude for these shawls.  It just fills my heart to know that something I love to do can create something that means so much to the people they are given to.  I enjoy reading other knitter's stories for additional inspiation and ideas.  God Bless You All.

pegrosenthal wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 12:15 PM

Unexpectedly receiving a prayer shawl was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I went to a church service where I knew prayer shawls would be distributed to those suffering, thinking I was going in order to report about the service in my book "Knit One, Purl a Prayer: A Spirituality of Knitting."  But I was so moved during the service that I found myself going to the microphone to share my own suffering. The whole story is told in the final chapter of my book.

rphenne wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 11:44 AM

Clearly your comments resonated with a lot of people.  The comment about making sure the intended recipient can use one has some validity; I would suggest to that overstocked facility that other organizations might benefit from their overstock. Domestic violence shelters, NICUs, psychiatric facilities, to mention a few. I too have made a lot of them, for people who were ill, or had lost family members, or were going through difficult times. My favorite story is about the shawl I made for a friend who was going through a tough time. Things resolved for her, and she passed it along to a coworker experiencing a difficult pregnancy. When the baby was born healthy, that person passed it along to someone who had just had a death in the family.  I lost track of it then, but it seemed like that was exactly the right kind of path for a prayer shawl.

Robin, Shelburne NH

columbia87 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 11:09 AM

  The idea of a prayer shawl is tremendous.  I expanded on this idea last year, though, when our then 39-year-old son was in the hospital after a stroke, which led to brain surgery to repair and replace the blood supply to his brain.  As we traveled back and forth and spent many hours in the hospital, I crocheted him a "prayer afghan" from a mile-a-minute pattern I had on hand.  You can believe there were many prayers crocheted into that afghan, too, and he now has it on his bed here at our home, where he is now living and recuperating.  We hope and pray that eventually he'll be able to go back to his house, but still has a long way to go.  

 I just wanted people to think about the idea that the idea of a prayer shawl can be expanded and cover men as well as women, for cancer or any other illness that may interrupt their lives

Diana, The Dalles, OR

on Feb 8, 2012 11:04 AM

I began knitting prayer shawls in 2010, finding great comfort for myself in an attempt to comfort another friend in need of extra hugs, prayers, and of course a soft knitted shawl!  The first one I made was for a friend whose mom passed away.  The second one was for a total stranger who came into my life through my work, and she had lost her son.  The bond that occurs when a hand-knitted gift, involving prayers and love, is given...well, it's beyond words.  It feels very much like hugs that never stop and are always warm, and more.  I like to keep a prayer shawl on needles and ready to take with me when I travel, especially for the good feelings I get and am able to share.

helen@nll wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 9:57 AM

I live in a co-housing community and I didn't know my neighbor Ilene well, but I knew that this was her third round in her battle with a brain tumor.  

I didn't know what color she loved, but on a trip to Minnesota I bought some soft lavender lace weight alpaca/silk and a mohair/silk lace weight yarn and knit the original pattern from Knitting into the Mysteries.  I gave her the shawl with a poem when i got home.

A few months later when she was going through a really rough patch, she told me that she kept the shawl folded like a cloud on the back of her living room armchair, and on most nights when she couldn't sleep, she would go and sit in that chair, wrap the shawl around her and fall into a deep and restful sleep.

She passed away about 2 years ago, but that story remains with me about the power of love.

PS.  Lavender was her favorite color!

Helen, Portland, OR

CarolynB wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 9:41 AM

I co-sponsor a prayer shawl knitting group at our church.  We have produced over 400 prayer shawls since February of 2009.  The notes we receive from people who have received these shawls is heartwarming and inspiring.  We meet for 1 1/2 hours on Monday night and have recently added another 1 1/2 hour session on Wednesday mornings.  This is probably the most rewarding ministry I have been a part of in my many many years of knitting, weaving and crocheting.  These shawls provide a comfort and physical sign of caring and hope beyond comprehension.

minh_han wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 9:34 AM

I first started knitting through the church's prayer shawl ministry.  Since then, it has become a hobby that has brought me much pleasure as well as the ones I gift with items.

My first prayer shawl was given to my minister.  He was going for a knee replacement and happened to receive my shawl.  It was quite appropriate, since mine was a very "holey" prayer shawl.  It had dropped stitches everywhere!

debijean wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 8:53 AM

I'm the facilitator for our Prayer Shawl Ministry at church. It's been such a blessing to share in the challenges of our members lives. Our shawls are given to members who have suffered a loss, entered nursing care, undergoing chemo or dialysis, facing a long term illness or have a child in the hospital for long term medical treatment. Our pastors or Director of Caring Ministries distribute the shawls. Our scripture verse is Roman's 12:15 that encourages us to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice (my paraphrase). We make little cards to attach to the shawls that tell who made them and telling them that we love them and so does God. We add the scripture Romans 8:35-39. This reminds them that God tells us that nothing will separate us from His love. I tell our ladies that this is a great way to reach out and minister to people without a face-to-face interaction. A face-to-face interaction is uncomfortable for many people so this is a great way to reach out. I love creating crocheted shawls for church using my own design. I use a lot of broomstick lace in my shawls and have been blessed by the cards and notes I've received from the recipients. I share a very simple knit pattern with my new knitters for shawls. You cast-on 60 stitches and just garter stitch for 60 inches. Then you add fringe. This is a very easy pattern and not too intimidating for inexperienced knitters. We also make lap covers too. These can be given to men. They need to be reminded that God loves them too!

BettyB@3 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 8:43 AM

We have a group of 5-10 ladies who meet once a week at the Northlawn United Methodist Church to knit and crochet.  Our group is called "Yarn with a Purpose" and we knit and crochet prayer shawls, scarves, hat, mittens, baby articles and hats for cancer patients too.  We are supportive of each other as well as those we serve.

Betty B

on Feb 8, 2012 8:35 AM

Last year I iknitted my first prayer shawl for a very dear friend who was just found out she had breast cancer.  I prayed over it as I knitted it and put lots of love  into it.  I made up the pattern and it was a joy to work on.  I mailed it to her and she was thrilled to get it and wore it to all of her chemo treatments.  On her last treatement she saw a young wormen who was receiving treatment and seemed to be in very bad condition.  On her way out she gave her prayer shawl to the lead nurse and told her that a friend made this for her and prayed over it and tht she had prayed over it for the young lady and to please give her this shawl.  A sort of pay it forward type of gift.  I have since prayed for that young lady too.  Prayer shawls are a labor of love and I will make more.

Carrie wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 8:13 AM

I knit several shawls in this pattern last year, and they were all a huge hit!  The pattern is super easy, although the explanation is a bit confusing at first.  Check out my pattern on Ravelry (tamraclove) for my rewritten explanation.

Janet Taber wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 8:12 AM

I loved seeing your post today. I am, in fact, getting ready for today's Prayer Shawl Ministry meeting at my church. We've been doing this for a couple of years, and what a blessing it has been! I am sure our recipients have been blessed, but the real blessings come to those of us who create -- whether it is actual prayer shawls, baby blankets, hats, scarves, lap robes or whatever someone needs. We do knit prayers and blessings and love into each item as it is created. I love making things for my family and close friends, but there is a special feeling about making something for someone I might not even know. What I do know is that there is a need, and I love being able to help fill that need. I've used the first pattern already from your download....keep new patterns coming! Thank you!

Janet T.

SarahS@80 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 8:03 AM

I have not knit a prayer shawl yet but it has been a project I have wanted to do for myself, personal gifts, and for someone in need through our church.  I love these patterns.  I also love the idea of making them into shrugs for people with walkers, wheel chairs, etc.  Curios to ask, would you just simply use a knitting pattern for a shrug instead or wondering if the person who posted that idea could tell us if they used a particular pattern for this idea?  Thanks!

aweinh25 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 7:51 AM

I have three friends who lost people close to them last fall.  I knit each of them a scarf, using variations on Sally Melville's "Shape It! Scarf" and soft hand dyed yarn.  With the wide middle, it keeps the neck warm and the long ends are like  hug.  I think of them as wrapping my friends in love.

on Feb 8, 2012 7:49 AM

What I have to say will not be popular.  I have been through BC surgeries, chemo, and radiation.  PLEASE find out if there is a need for what you want to make.  My clinic had boxes stacked to the ceiling of prayer shawls, afghans, and chemo hats.

They were a burden.  All though well meaning women wasted their money and time making those items.  

Also, I have stopped women in stores who had a basket FULL of yarn and asked them if they were, making chemo hats.  Yes.  Nobody in chemo could stand to have that yarn against their skin.  Too scratchy.  Again, a waste of time and money.

Indeed, it is nice to feel good about what you are doing, but wouldn't you rather know someone was going to actually need and use what you are making.

Please check with the recipient.  That's all I ask.  And, I ask that about any charity knitting.

My charity knitting - I sell items and give MONEY to the charity.  There is always a need for that.

on Feb 8, 2012 7:49 AM

I started a prayer shawl ministry at my church, LivingWaterChristian.org  I love using scraps and seeing the love in people's eyes when we give them away.  I feel this was a calling from God after my grandmother passed away of heart disease. She taught me how to crochet and her love of the art lives on through my work.  

I'm always looking for more recipient's (we have an overactive group!!). So if you are or know someone who would like one, PLEASE contact me via my website at www.justlikemomcrafts.wordpress.com

I post a lot on there about my shawls.  I hope they make the receivers feel just a little of the love of God as I feel making them. LOOKING TO GIVE AWAY PRAYER SHAWLS!!  My church is small and we are going to start working with a local nursing home, but we love to take requests!!!  ;-) Blessings, Cheryl

maggiehw wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 7:26 AM

When I was undergoing chemo for breast cancer I was always cold even in mid summer.  To pass the time I knit & crocheted shawls for other women with breast cancer and donated them to the local breast cancer support organization.  It not only comforted me but also comforted other women.

LoraB@7 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 7:00 AM

I am also in a church knit/crochet group.  Thank you for giving these free shawl patterns -- we will put them to good use!  And thanks, Beffie2, for your great idea to make some shawls into shrugs.  Being part of a group is wonderful.  We pray over our knitting, tell and listen to each others' stories, learn more about our craft, and share new ideas.  I will check back on this comment thread for more inspiration and ideas!

Jamie@19 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 6:45 AM

I am making a light pink shawl in a very thin mohair for a  younger friend to wear in her wedding - and this article is inspiring me to pray for her and her fiance as I knit.  I will be sure to write in her card about the prayers for future that are knit into the shawl as a blessing on their marriage... or something to that effect.

As someone else mentioned, making a prayer shawl blesses the giver and receiver.  Praying while knitting is soul-soothing!

Beffie2 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 6:22 AM

I sew my prayer shawls into shrugs.  These are much easier for people with walkers, canes, or wheel chairs.  I love mixing yarns for unique blends of colors & textures.  www.beffiesboutique.com/.../Lt%20Blue%20Shrug  

LyndaJ@5 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 6:09 AM

Our church knitting circle has been making prayer shawls for two years now--it all began when our pastor's wife got a kidney transplant, and we decided to knit a prayer shawl for her and her donor, a man who is a member of our church.  We have continued to knit the shawls and we give them on behalf of anyone who requests it.  Ours are unique in that we pass the shawls around during the knitting process so they really are unique and everyone in the group, regardless of their skill, are able to knit on them, using whatever yarn they want to from their personal stashes.  We've had so many positive comments about our shawls, but the greatest part is how it makes us feel that we've done something to help in some small way--a real blessing for us!

G. Bower wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 5:55 AM

I belong to a knit/crochet group at my church.  We make prayer shawls and give them away to individuals facing illnesses, loss of a loved one, or facing a tough problem.  We also knit/crochet helmet beanies for our service members in Afghanastan and Iraq.  We get the name of one service person and send a box with 30 beanies in it for their unit - so far, we have sent over 3500 beanies.  Along with the prayer shawls, beanies, we also make hats and scarves for underpriviledged children.  As you probably have guessed, this is a large group of ladies.

scottess wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 5:47 AM

I simply LOVE to knit.  But prayer shawls are by far my favorite.  The benefits of a prayer shawl are not just felt by the recipient of the shawl....but  by the creator as well.  Whenever a day seems like it is not going well....I pick up the prayer shawl I am working on (or start a new one) and all seems right in the world. I think everyone should own a prayer shawl!!!  

briganna wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 5:37 AM

Groups all over the UK have made hundreds of shawls to give to people who need them, and last year, we collected over 200 shawls, scarves (for men and boys) and other handmade gifts and by courtesy of Scandinavian Airways two of us flew to Oslo where the families of those shot on Utoya Island on July 22nd 2011 were meeting. We spent the weekend with them at their hotel gathering, and on Saturday evening wrapped shawls and scarves round them all and exchanged hugs and stories. There is an e-newsletter about this on www.shawlministry.com. It was a wonderful thing to do and I was so impressed by the generosity and creativity of shawl makers all over the UK.

anna briggs - Knitting People Together UK

LindaD@64 wrote
on Feb 8, 2012 5:12 AM

My church's women's organization makes prayer shawls for women in need in our community.  The first box of about 30 of them was gone in no time (not a good thing).  I make prayer shawls whenever I want a simple project to work on.  I've even made them out of scrap yarn.   I love trying new patterns or stitches while making the shawls.