Prayer Shawl Comfort

What can you do when you live clear across an entire continent when a friend calls and tells you that she has breast cancer? Thankfully I was able to walk down to our Knit Picks yarn stash and find 10 balls of Suri Dream in Gloxinia – the perfect color.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry was started by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo in 1998. Susan Izard and Susan Jorgensen published Knitting Into The Mystery which is an excellent introduction into the rituals of prayer shawl knitting. A very good introduction into the process and a good reference for starting prayer shawl ministries. But, there was really only one pattern so it was a bit limited in terms of yarns that would look good with that pattern.

Then Janet and Victoria used their years of Prayer Shawl experiences to write The Prayer Shawl Companion and I was thrilled to see so many different patterns and yarns! Particularly last week when I needed instant comfort from the sobering news of my friend’s illness.

I think there are two types of prayer shawls. The ones that are made as part of a ministry with a lucky recipient to be determined at a later date. Then, there are ones we knit for our immediate circle of friends and family. Those shawls have sense of urgency not only as solace for the knitter but because crisis are immediate in nature. As I flipped throught the pages of The Prayer Shawl Companion there were patterns that took longer to knit – suitable for ministries and patterns that were relatively quick to knit.

I love Suri Dream because of the softness and the lightness of the fabric. But, it certainly isn’t designed for fancy lace patterns that would work up quickly on big needles. Instead it needs a bold, yarn-over pattern that gives the fabric large holes for airiness and to allow the Suri alpaca fibers to “bloom”. I chose the Lattice Shawl because it would be very quick to knit, would be lightweight and warm and the one-row, purse stitch repeat was exactly what I needed to be able to carry the shawl around with me to take advantage of every free moment. I am thrilled with how nice the open purse stitch is looking – and I haven’t blocked it yet!

I’m making good progress and I’m hoping to send the shawl off next Monday. My friend will receive it just two weeks after her diagnosis! Of course, there is a Prayer Shawl group on Ravelry, if you want to see more shawls and get more information. <