I first saw this book at the library – yay LIBRARIES! – and then requested a review copy from Net Galley. Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo, founders of Shawlministry.com have done a superb job of creating a useable and very desirable book for crocheters.
I have been a dedicated crafter for charity for many years; at one time I began and ran a chapter of Project Linus in Tennessee (www. Projectlinus.org) donating crocheted, knitted and quilted blankets for children. Our blankets and afghans were carried in police cars and donated to local women and children’s safe houses, and over the years our group worked together, we created many beautiful originals for needy children in our community.
Now, this book has inspired me to create crocheted shawls for several groups that I support, as well as for special friends. The concept of a “Prayer Shawl” is both simple and complex. It transcends religious boundaries, for the prayers come in the making, not particularly for the use. Now mind you, some use the prayer shawls they have for meditative, prayerful times, which is beautiful and tender. But the prayer is in each stitch of the crocheter’s hands, and many patterns are created with intent specifically directed at trios of stitches (for the Trinity, for example) and quite often the shawl is accompanied by heartfelt poetry or dedications.
These “Warm Hugs and Sacred Spaces” are designed both for men and women, and the book includes some smaller shawls for girls as well. There are 37 patterns in the book, and so far, I have finished one and started two more. (I am a bit ADD, so I like to alternate between two projects at a time!) [see photos] The one I have finished is called the Power of Three Shawl, designed by Elizabeth Barnet of Franklin Laies, NJ. I envisioned the ‘three’ as faith, hope and love, instead of the Trinity – and since three is a powerful number in many of the world’s religions, it is especially meaningful for me. I added a different colored border, and two little crocheted pockets.
I am also working on the Textured Beaded Shawl, from a pattern by Jan Bass, from Hayward CA. I am doing it in a similar color to the pattern, but will add the beading differently. This pattern has the visual and textural beauty of popcorn stitches.
Last night I started the Peaceful Waves Shawl designed by Lizzy Crocker, Orange, CT. All three have been easy to create, and easily adapted to different yarns and your own ideas in borders, decorating and size. Most of the shawl patterns have a Prayer of Blessing or a Poem or a loving thought, often from the designer, that could inspire you to write one of your own to present with your gift of the shawl. Whether you are giving to a friend, a stranger, or an organization, the love and prayerful intent in the making is what makes these shawls so unique and special.
You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to use and enjoy the patterns, of course. And you don’t need to be particularly skilled or dedicated to the craft of crocheting – for it is a forgiving art, and the enjoyment in the process is joyous.
The Resource Pages in the back are helpful; here you will find a list of yarn-maker websites, ideas on starting your own Prayer Shawl Ministry, crochet definitions for stitches and techniques, a chart for understanding yarn weights, and a great page on color & symbology.
Whether you are simply an avid crocheter looking for original patterns to work up, an individual wanting to make a gift for a friend in need, or a group wanting to create your own charitable ministry this book deserves shelf space!
The authors also have a book of patterns for knitters. Publishers, The Taunton Press, have done a great job (in my experience) in creating a work without errors, with beautiful photos. See the links bar for more links!
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Taunton Press (September 7, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 978-1600852930