Comfort Shawls

The Comfort Shawl by Sandi Wiseheart. It's a free pattern!

My gramma passed away last week at 92 years old. She lived a wonderful, full life and she left me with so many nuggets of wisdom and words to live by, not the least of which is a recipe for the best margarita ever!

Whenever I asked her if she wanted me to knit something for her, she always asked for a scarf or a shawl. She and my mom once went to a yarn shop in Palm Springs, where Gramma lived, and my mom came home with yarn and a pattern for a shawl Gramma wanted, "whenever you get to it." I started right away!

My gramma wore shawls throughout her life, both knitted and woven. She often bought them as souvenirs on her travels. She moved up here to Spokane several years ago after my grampa died, and she was cold in the fall, winter, and spring! She always liked something to throw over her shoulders, and I loved to see her wearing my knitting up to the end of her life.

There's a type of knitted shawl called a prayer shawl (or comfort shawl) which is really neat.

A shawl can be an item of comfort, warmth, and a simple way to show you care. Prayer shawls can be knitted for anyone in need, no matter the season. The purpose of prayer shawls is for the knitter to pour compassion and well-wishes into every stitch, literally knitting goodwill into the shawl. Since the focus is to weave your thoughts into each stitch, rather than into complicated lace or cables, shawl knitting patterns are often simple, but beautiful

One of my favorite patterns is the Comfort Shawl by Sandi Wiseheart. I love how it sits so nicely on the shoulders. I should have knitted one of these for my gramma out of her favorite alpaca! But she really preferred stole-type shawls-just a wide, long rectangle, really.I actually think my mom would love the Comfort Shawl, so I'll dig out some alpaca and earmark it for her.

Prayer shawls are not just knitting-centric, either. You can crochet, weave, or felt a shawl with the same concepts in mind. But if I take up a new yarn-related hobby it will be weaving. My friend and colleague Annie Hartman Bakken was wearing a beautiful scarf one day and I asked her where she got it. Turns out she wove it in about two hours. She said she was thinking about adding weaving to her hobbies. This sounded like a great idea, especially for knitters that already have a stash of yarns. In many cases, the same knitting yarns your have can be used for weaving. Knitting will always be my first love, but adding weaving isn't a bad idea!

I'm a tableware nut and there are always wonderful napkin, table runner, and placemat ideas in our sister publication Handwoven. There are also so many beautiful shawls that would make fabulous comfort shawls, too. My local yarn store is a weaving specialty store, too, and I want to take a class. The question is, do I have room in my house for a loom? The answer is no, but I haven't let that stop me so far!

Handwoven is a wonderful magazine for fiber enthusiasts, so give it a try and subscribe today. And if you have someone in your life who's going through a difficult time, knit or weave them a comfort shawl so they can feel your love all the time!


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