Gifts You Can Make: Knitted Prayer Shawls

I realize that not everyone can knit so I have kept my knitted gifts for last in this series. Many of my gifts this year have been knitted ones which is why I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite knitted gifts that I made. I hope that the gifts you can make series has inspired you in your gift-giving this year! In case you have missed our tutorials, I shared some hot drink mixes you could make, bath salts and soaks that can be mixed up in your kitchen, deliciously quick breads for festive giving, hand painted mugs that you paint with your children, and even a holiday wreath for your door. My hope is that some of these handmade gifts can keep your holiday budget on track and even become gift traditions each year.

Many churches offer a prayer shawl ministry and making prayer shawls has been on my list of things I would like to do to volunteer my time and talent towards those in need. This month though, I knew that I really wanted to make two special ones for two ladies in my life that need prayers and comfort this holiday season.

As you know, my grandfather passed away recently and the holidays are going to be a particularly difficult time for both my mother and grandmother. I knew that I wanted to do something special for them both that would honor my grandfather’s memory and offer some comfort to them.

Prayer shawls can be simple or complicated, but the idea behind them is that they are woven together with yarn and with prayer. As you create them, you pray for the person and ask God that the shawl can offer them comfort through difficult times.

I found a fantastic book on prayer shawls called The Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo. The book offered thirty-eight different patterns that could be used to create a unique prayer shawl for someone in need. In the pattern book, I chose, “Alice’s Lace Shawl,” because the pattern had only one row of pattern and then a row of purling and a row of knitting. It was simple enough that I could concentrate on prayer and complex enough that it created a scalloped edge with just enough lace, while still being warm.

This prayer shawl is knit on size fifteen needles and knitted with bulky yarn. With such large needles and with the bulkiness of the yarn, it only took me two or three evenings on the couch and a little knitting here and there between household chores to get these done. It is a faster project than it looks, I promise you!

I really wanted the shawls to be special so I went to Michael’s and visited the jewelry department where I found two tiny picture charms (for only $2.99 total) that could be used to embellish the shawls. We shrunk and printed my favorite picture of my grandfather and then I tied it onto the shawl with a little ribbon. The picture can be worn on the outside or can be worn next to the heart on the inside since the shawl pattern looks the same on both sides.

Each of the shawls was tied with red ribbon, which was my grandfather’s favorite color, and each included a prayer of comfort for them. I printed these on some scrapbook paper from my craft supplies and loved the antique look of the paper.

The prayer I chose came from the book and said this…

No Farther Than a Prayer

I wrap the prayers of warmth and love around
Your weary frame, praising, thanking God for
the gift of you as I pray your name.
Every stitch sends forth a plea that joy will fill
your soul. On and on the needles fly, making a
pattern of prayer gold.
The shawl takes on a holiness for prayer is
wrapped inside. It is so soft and warm, a place
where you can hide.
It becomes a prayer itself, this pain that you
endure. And it rises with love’s incense, sacred,
warm, and sure.
So as you wrap the shawl around may you feel
my presence there. I may not sit beside you but
I am no farther than a prayer.

Author Credit- Jean Quigley

If you would like to create a prayer shawl of your own, be sure to visit the official Prayer Shawl Ministry for a free prayer shawl pattern and instructions on how to complete a prayer shawl for someone who may need comfort this holiday season!

Published December 15, 2009 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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