Monday 17 January 2022

Prayer Shawls


When I first heard about prayer shawls, I assumed they were to wrap up in while praying. Having wrapped myself up in a blanket on chilly mornings during my prayer time, that made sense to me. Although, my blanket covered more of me than a shawl would. However, while it is certainly appropriate to pray while wearing a prayer shawl, that is not the intent. No, prayer shawls were meant for people who are facing a challenge, a hardship - whatever that may be - and the maker is to pray for the recipient while they are making the shawl. It's intended to be a reminder that someone is praying for you, and God loves you. 
Several years ago, one of my co-workers told me about a group making prayer shawls at her church. While I never did get the opportunity to join the group, I have kept the idea on "the back burner." I even bought a prayer shawl book. 
So, recently, I decided it was time to make a prayer shawl. I rummaged in my yarn stash to find a large skein of rose-coloured worsted weight (4) yarn. I weighed it on my kitchen scale and found it weighed 14 oz. This would give me an idea of what patterns I could use. Next, I had to find a pattern. I pulled out my prayer shawl book and was disappointed. Out of 11 patterns, one was for a shrug (prayer shrug?) and 5 were for infant (0-24 months) ponchos. I don't know about you, but I think that a poncho is a rather ridiculous garment for a tiny infant. And, while they may work for toddlers, this age is still too young to understand the concept behind a prayer shawl, or prayer poncho, as the case may be. I assume they're meant to be a reminder to the parents of the maker's prayers, and the love of God behind the gift. But I think that an afghan or quilt would be a more practical gift for an infant or toddler and still accomplish the same purpose. Maybe that's just me, but don't expect me to start producing prayer ponchos in the near future. But back to the book: that left only 5 actual shawl patterns, only 2 of which called for worsted weight yarn. The remaining three used 5-weight yarn. And none of them were what I really wanted. 
I decided that I wanted a triangular shawl, and searched the internet. Unfortunately, a lot of them seemed to be the same stitch, row after row. Boring. As I was going to be making it in a solid colour, I wanted something with some stitch/textural interest. 
And then I found Lost in Time. Wow, yes! 
Definitely stitch and textural interest!
The unfortunate thing is that the designer did the original in a lighter weight yarn than what I had to use. But, as she points out, you can use whatever yarn you want, just adjusting the hook size.
As I crocheted, I was not only praying for the recipient, but I was also praying that I would have enough yarn to make it the size I wanted. Since the pattern wasn't made for knitting worsted, I had no idea how much yarn I would need. Another thing about this pattern is that it is a 12-row repeat. You crochet rows 1 through 26, and then repeat rows 15 through 26 to get to the size you want. That's a pretty big repeat - what if I get to row 20, for example, and the shawl is as big as I want it? I could either frog back to the previous row 26, and end up with a shawl that's smaller than I want, or continue on to the next row 26 and end up with one bigger than I want. My final complaint, if indeed it is a complaint, is that printing out the pattern is a horrible waste of paper. There is a lot of unnecessary white space resulting in 15 pages of printout! I think that if the pages had been set up differently, the number of pages could have been reduced by a third or more. Nevertheless, I am still thrilled with this beautiful pattern.
I was weighing my yarn and project during the time I was making it, and determined that I might not have quite enough of the rose yarn to complete. So, I decided to add some cream-coloured yarn, if needed. How much and where I would add it was yet to be determined. I figured that I would do the border in cream, but wanted to finish the main body of the shawl with the last row in rose. When I got to the last 3 rows, I weighed my yarn before and after row 24. As the last three rows are very similar, I wanted to know how much yarn to complete one of these rows. At the end of round 24, I knew that I did not have enough of the rose to complete both rows 25 and 26, and switched to the cream for round 25. I switched back to the rose for row 26, but after completing one side, I weighed the yarn again and knew that I could not complete the row in that yarn. Frogging back, I carried the cream through the rose stitches to complete the popcorns in this row in cream, with the main part of the row in rose (that wasn't easy, by the way). Once I completed row 26, the shawl measured 62" across the long side and I decided not to add the border, as it was plenty wide enough. 
I'm going to share my data for anyone that might like to do this pattern in knitting worsted:
  • Hook used - 5.00 mm/G
  • Type of yarn - knitting worsted/4 (sorry, no brand as label was removed)
  • Amount of yarn - 431 g/15.2 oz. (remember this amount includes the cream that was carried through row 26, but no border)
  • Finished size - 62" across and 30" deep
I seldom use the same pattern twice, but don't be surprised if I use this one again as it is just so pretty. Especially since I now know how much yarn I can expect to use. Meanwhile, in my searching for patterns, I realized that I have a book of shawl patterns on my Kindle. Most (if not all) of them can also be found online. From this book, my next project is the Summer Morning Shawl
It reminds me of the virus shawl, which I completed in 2016. (You can see a picture of my virus shawl in the post here). I wasn't planning on starting another shawl, but I tried this yarn to see if it could work as the accent colour in the Lost in Time shawl instead of the cream and ended up with a pile of yarn vomit. I didn't want to put it back in the stash like that, so decided to just start a new project with it. Only 10 oz of this yarn, but the pattern is pretty lacy, so hopefully will have enough to make it as big as I want it. Again, this pattern is not done in knitting worsted, so I will just have to try it and see. 
Now, I need to get back to work on some of my quilting WIPs. 
I finally started Forever in My Heart, a quilt that I designed and is long overdue. 

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