Community Knitting

Knitting Prayer Shawls

Some prayer shawl books I’ve read contain patterns that use certain numbers of stitches to allude to Christian beliefs; for example, there’ll be a pattern of 3 types of stitches to symbolize the trinity. I wasn’t really interested in following a pattern based on Christian symbols, so I never knit a prayer shawl. 

A group my mom attends considers a prayer shawl any shawl in any pattern that is meant to be given to someone who could use a reminder of God’s love, typically someone who is going through a hard time. It’s a bit like a hug or a comfort in knowing that someone has been thinking of you–even if they don’t know you. This definition of a prayer shawl is much more attractive to me. 

I’ve been attending a prayer shawl group with my mom for a few years now. I started attending sporatically, when the group’s monthly meeting date fell on a weekend I was visiting my parents. (I live about 2 hours from them). When I started getting the feeling that my parents were struggling–especially during Covid–I started making a point of visiting once a month on the weekend that prayer shawl group met. 

My mom made it clear to me that I could work on my own projects during meetings–I didn’t need to knit prayer shawls. I have plenty of stash yarn, though, and it’s fun to knit things I wouldn’t necessarily want for myself, so I searched for a pattern on Ravelry. I had some teal yarns left over from some hats I knit years ago. I added a white yarn to brighten the project up and created my first striped boomerang shawl. 

Boomerang shawls increase twice on one side of the row and decrease once on the other. The pattern makes the curve you see in the picture on the left. In terms of the colors, I like to make stripes randomly thicker and thinner so that I can use my yarn up. (I’d hate to have similarly sized stripes and have to contiue to guess whehter I’ll have enough yarn left to finish the next section.)   

The next shawl I made was out of some bright berry and tangerine yarn left over from a cowl I made. For this one, I used a V-shaped shawl pattern. 

Apparently I didn’t keep many photos of the shawl beyond a few I put on my Ravelry Project page. The colors were super-bright and kind of obnoxious, but a woman who worked at the church snached up the shawl right away for her mom who was sick. I was really excited about that. It’s fun to know someone knew the shawl was perfect for a family member.

Next, I was back to the boomerang pattern. I had some purple, lavender and grey yarn I wanted to use. The stripes are a tad more uniform in size than the teal shawl, which I don’t love, but I still think it came out nicely. The photo on the far right shows the colors most accurately.

While I was finishing the purple shawl, I came across some Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball yarn on sale in colors I really like but don’t typically wear myself. I searched for a pattern for that particular yarn and found a feather and fan pattern created by Lion Brand. 

I’m really enjoying how the shawl is knitting up. Here’s a shot that features all the colors in the yarn. The bottom of the photo is where the shawl starts–at the deep pink and then it goes to a deep purple, red, pink, orange and peach. From here the colors will transition from peach back to orange, pink, red, deep purple, and deep pink. Depending on how long I want the shawl, it’ll likely repeat the colors at least one more time. 

I’m almost done with this one. I’ll post some pics when it’s complete. 

I am glad to be involved in this prayer shawl group for a variety of reasons. It’s a way to connect with my mom and her friends. As I said before, I like knitting things that I won’t necessarily wear; I’m pretty particular in what I like to wear myself, so I can knit a lot more variety when I knit for others–both in terms of pattern and color. Also, as I’m working towards optional early retirement, I don’t give as much money as I hope to one day, so donating projects is a good fit for now. 

Peace Out (and In),






  • Deb S

    I love the shawl that you knitted for me. It does feel like a hug when you wrap it around you.

    • Julie

      Awww! Thanks Deb!


  • Lisa

    What an awesome apostolic success!!!

    • Julie

      Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of it like that!


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