How-To: Knitting or Crocheting a Simple Prayer Shawl
By Michelle Schonken
What is a prayer shawl? A prayer shawl is simply a rectangle shape blanket about 30 inches by 60 inches (or any variation on that) that someone has knitted or crocheted for someone as a physical symbol of the time and care they have taken to pray for that person’s needs. It is called a shawl (probably for lack of a better word), but men and women can wrap it around their shoulders or put them over their laps to keep cozy. How great would it be to receive a comfy and warm shawl, knowing that the person who has taken the time to make it has been praying for you and wants you to feel comforted? There are no requirements for the amount of time spent praying or what the prayer shawl looks like – it is simply something that comes from the heart and shows you care enough to pray on their behalf.
There are many beautiful patterns online for crocheting or knitting a prayer shawl, but I’ll share with you the simple way that I’m doing it – just in case you feel like joining me in this endeavor! (Check out this article I wrote on praying for each other at: https://markedministry.com/2015/08/28/some-thoughts-on-praying-for-each-other/). If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, it is never to late to learn! Do a knitting or crocheting tutorial search on YouTube.com to get started!
The picture shows my prayer shawl so far. You can use whatever yarn you would like, but I found that chunky yarn (mine is considered “super bulky,” weight 6, according to the yarn label) goes faster. My yarn brand and name is: Lion Brand – Hometown USA. My knitting needles are a size 11 and I cast on 66 stitches to start my shawl (making the shawl the width of 31 inches). I just keep using one row plain knit stitches and one row pearl stitches (stockinette) to knit my rows back and forth and I’ll stop when my shawl reaches 60 inches. Then I’ll complete the shawl by “casting off” the last row (watch a tutorial on YouTube.com to see how) to create a finished off edge.
With crocheting, you have even more freedom to choose whatever crochet hook size and yarn you would like. The only difference and impact it will have is the amount of time it will take to crochet a 30” x 60” rectangle. To crochet a simple prayer shawl, simply crochet a chain until you reach 30 inches, and then do three more chain stitches. Those three stitches will be your first “leg” and then you double crochet in the fourth stitch from your crochet hook. This then becomes your second “leg.” Crochet one chain stitch and double crochet in the second chain stitch from where your last double crochet “leg” is. Keep repeating this series of one chain stitch and then double crocheting in the second chain from the last “leg” until you have completed the row on top of your original 30 inches starting chain. Now turn the project around so that your hook is on the right side of the row that needs to be crocheted on top of what you have already done. Do three chain stitches and double crochet in the hole/space between the “legs” of the row below the one that you are crocheting. Then do one chain and double crochet in the hole/space between the next “legs” of the row below. Keep repeating this process until the row is complete. Then start the next row over again with the three chain stitches and keep going as before. You can change up the pattern to make it denser by double crocheting two legs in one hole/space (of the row below it), before doing one chain stitch, and then again double crocheting two legs in the next hole/space.
So now you can try! Experiment with yarn and needle or hook sizes and see what you like best. Use this creative outlet to take the time to pray for the people that you know are in need and could use a touch or love and support in their lives.