What is a “Prayer Shawl Ministry”?
Whether they are called Prayer Shawls, Comforts, Peace Shawls, or Mantles, shawls have been made for centuries: they are universal and embracing, they comfort and enfold, wrap, shelter and hug. Those who knit and crochet shawls, and those who receive shawls, are loved and blessed.
This ministry originated in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo in Hartford, Connecticut and has become a spiritual practice in many areas of the country. The prayer shawl ministry combines the love of needlework and the love to reach out to those in need of comfort and solace. Blessings are knitted into every shawl as the shawl is started with prayer for the recipient and continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Each shawl is given a final blessing before it is given to someone for whom it will become a meaningful blessing of love.
A shawl may be given to a person undergoing medical procedures, during an illness and recovery, as a comfort after a personal loss and as way to minister to them.
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love…” Colossians 2:2 KJV
How are the shawls made?
Most of the shawls are hand knitted or crocheted but could also be woven, sewn, quilted, or machine knitted.
Finished size: shawls are approximately 24-26 inches wide and 60-84 inches long before the fringe is attached (the fringe is optional).
Pattern: A shawl can be made using one of the following patterns or a pattern of YOUR choosing.
Yarn, needles, crochet hooks: Yarn should be 4-ply with a total of 400-500 yards needed to complete a shawl. The size of the knitting needles should be suitable for the yarn.
Are all the shawls the same?
There is no right or wrong way to create these gifts of love. They do not have to look alike or be the same color. The patterns are simple and each shawl is one of a kind.
Shawls may be made with one of two thoughts in mind:
- As a gift for someone in need that will be given at a future time.
- As a special shawl for a particular person you know who needs this blessing in their life.
When beginning a shawl, set aside the yarn needed for making the fringe (or use different yarns or ribbons for fringe). Continue knitting or crocheting until the shawl is the recommended length. Attach the fringe to narrow ends.
Fringe: cut at least 108 pieces of yarn, each about 810 inches long. Hold two ends together and fold in half. This creates four ends. Pull yarn pieces through narrow end stitches and knot.
Sample knitted pattern
Use size 11 – 13 knitting needles.
Using 4oz yarn, cast 57 stitches (size 13 needles) or 63 stitches (size 11 needles).
First row – Cast on stitches in multiples of three (54, 57, 60): k 3, p 3, to the end of the row. Turn and repeat the pattern. Each row will begin with k3.
Second row – Always start the next row with the opposite stitch of what you end with.
Sample crocheted pattern
Use a 10mm (N) hook and 4-ply yarn. Chain 54 stitches or desired width of shawl. Chain 1, turn, single crochet in each of the stitches until the end is reached; chain 3 and turn. Work 3 rows of double crochet. Repeat this pattern until shawl is desired length – about 6 feet. End with one row of single crochet. Complete with fringe.