Trish's Prayer Shawls Page

I love knitting wraps. From triangular shawls to rectangles, from fancy to fanciful, wraps are great medium-sized projects.

Jump directly to the shawl of your choice, or scroll down for the entire page.

Rib and Garter Prayer Shawl
Rib and Garter Variation Prayer Shawl

Old Shale Prayer Shawl

Soft Stripes Prayer Shawl
Soft Stars Prayer Shawl
Triangular Shawl (Meg Swanson pattern)

Soft Aran Prayer Shawl


Rib and Garter Prayer Shawl Pattern

The Rib and Garter Prayer Shawl. My church knits prayer shawls, which we call "comfort shawls," for people in need, with a special focus on our own congregation and on needs in our local area. The book on this ministry is Knitting into the Mystery, by Susan Izard and Susan Jorgensen. A standard pattern is given in this book. It's a fine pattern, and I urge anyone interested in knitting prayer shawls to take a look at it.

My pattern is a little more complicated, but nothing an advanced beginner can't handle. I like working with color and pattern. The 3x3 rib of this pattern has a soft drape, and the contrast rows give a bit of textural interest.

This is worked in Lion Brand Homespun and Lion Brand Jiffy, both inexpensive, readily available, and machine washable.

Click on the pattern name or the photo to reach the pattern for this shawl.

A variation to the Rib and Garter Prayer Shawl. The prayer shawl shown at right is very similar to the original, both the rose and the blue (put your cursor over the image for that.) There are only two differences. First, I used a novelty yarn instead of the Jiffy for the garter stitch accent. Then, I made 10 fringe bundles instead of fringing one strand for every cast-on or cast-off stitch.

The novelty yarn used here, Bernat Bling Bling, is machine washable. That's unusual for a fuzzy sparkly yarn, but it makes it perfect for a prayer shawl. You can certainly make one out of wool or other handwashable-only fibers, but if you're donating it to the church's ministry you won't know who's getting it or if they'll understand how to handle it. Machine washable shawls are more versatile.

Rib and Garter Variation
Old Shale Prayer Shawl

The Old Shale Prayer Shawl. You can make a prayer shawl with so many knitting and crochet stitch patterns. Here's another design finished in February 2007 for the Shawl Ministry at my church. It uses a simple but beautiful old Scottish lace called Old Shale (also known as Feather and Fan.) The main yarn is Lion Brand Homespun, and the fuzzy accent yarn is Red Heart Symphony. Both are machine washable.

This pattern features a knitted picot border instead of fringe, which goes very well with this lace pattern. A neutral color like this, charcoal gray, is restful to the eye and goes with many other colors. In fact, it's quite fashionable! Gray was called "the new black" for Fall 2007 fashions, but then, gray always is. It's a perennially popular color that looks dashing when tossed around shoulders wearing the old black.

Soft Stripes Prayer Shawl. Take a look at the tan shawl to the right. This is a guy-friendly design, simple and not at all frilly. It looks tricky, but it's actually a very easy pattern to knit.

The slip stitch design is the "Blended Stripes" pattern from Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. (If you don't own all four of the Treasuries, start making your list for Santa, because these are the best collections of stitches ever.) You knit only one color of yarn at a time, for 2 rows at a time. Slipped stitches from the other yarn give the stripes. It looks fabulous, and you don't even have to mention to anyone singing your praises that it's not as hard as it might look.

This manly shawl has no fringe, though it could easily be added. Instead, it has a simple border of one row of single crochet followed by one row of backwards single crochet. This gives the shawl a clean, tailored finish.

Soft Stripes Prayer Shawl
Soft Stars View 1

Soft Stars Prayer Shawl. Here's more fun with Barbara Walker and her Second Treasury. The open star stitch creates a beautiful mesh. Nonknitters often assume it's crocheted. That's very nice, because crocheted meshes are lovely. However, crocheted fabrics use more yarn per unit area than knitted fabrics do, making them denser. This gives something of the look without all that bulk.

Two Lion Brand yarns were used in this shawl, Homespun and Jiffy. It's one of those stitches that looks complicated but really isn't. You work with only one strand for two rows at a time. The color striping results from the way the Homespun is dyed. This colorway, Tudor, has soft purples and greens with a cream background. The Jiffy is in a cream color and complements the Homespun very well.

The shawl is finished with a simple crocheted border at the ends. There was no need to have a border along the sides, since the fabric doesn't roll inward to any great degree. I didn't add fringe to this one.

A prayer shawl of a different shape. The triangular shawl at the right is one of Meg Swanson's designs. The pattern first appeared in Knitter's magazine, but it's also in one of their books called The Best of Knitter's Magazine: Shawls and Scarves (pg 62.) I've knitted this twice, and it's a fun one to knit. The first one I did was done in a wool boucle that Brown Sheep, for some absurd reason, no longer manufactures. (Any chance, Brown Sheep, that you'll bring it back?) The second, the one pictured here, is knitted of Lion Brand Jiffy. It was my first prayer shawl and was given to someone dear to me going through a rough patch in life.

Oh, and there's a little section of the EZ's Pi Shawl in the upper left hand corner. That's done in another synthetic called Fluffy, by Unger. It's another nice yarn that has apparently lived out its life span and is no longer being made.

Prayer shawls can be any type of shawl. The rectangular ones are more common, but folks in my group have made some lovely triangular ones as well.

Triangular Prayer Shawl

Soft Aran Prayer Shawl. Homespun is my favorite yarn for prayer shawls because of its texture and softness. The characteristics that make this yarn perfect for comforting shawls can make it challenging when you want to design using cabled stitch patterns. Those strengths make for an indistinct stitch definition.

Arans are all about stitch definition . That's why they're traditionally done in a light-colored yarn plied yarn so the patterns really stand out. To use both Homespun's softness and Aran design, I had to use large-scale, easy-to-see cable patterns.

Where else to go but Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns? Three cable patterns were used here, along with moss stitch at the edges.

Soft Aran Prayer Shawl

 

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