I want to post free prayer shawl patterns here and provide links to other knitting, prayer related, and social justice sites. When I first heard of prayer shawls, I thought there would be lovely patterns available with crosses or religious symbols on them. I was disappointed to find out that not only there weren't many easy to find but also that the ones people are giving out are sometimes a little on the ugly side, and made from man-made fibers that are polluting the environment.
I have a vision for something different - that when people make a prayer shawl, it will be made of materials that reflect their good will and Godliness - sustainable fibers that are worth something - a shawl that will be as beautiful 20 years from now as when it is given. A shawl that gives warmth and isn't just a token to show that someone is thinking of you.
I also want the patterns to be easy enough for those who have just learned to knit, those who are beginners at lace knitting, and those who have a lot of distractions in their lives! I've read that knitting creates the same chemical and biological changes in the body as meditation but is easier to learn and the changes can happen faster. I'm hoping that creating prayer shawls, with prayers knitted in and loving thoughts on the part of the knitter, will create a peace in the knitter, as well as do good for the lucky recipient of the shawl. I hope when people follow these patterns they take at least some time to read the Bible first (or whatever holy book they prefer) and spend some time knitting in silence to receive from God, as I did when I got the idea to do this blog.
It is amazing to me the wonderful human creativity that goes into some shawl designs, and although it might be easy to get pride from taking a ball of wool and a circular needle and creating a work of art, I hope people give the glory to God, who made wool and gave the gift of creativity to the wonderful artists who come up with the designs. Tho of course I will strive to give credit to the humans whose ideas I borrow as well!
I've just finished a prayer shawl, it's being blocked upstairs on my bed. I hope to get the photo and patterns up soon. I intend to dedicate this shawl to Vandana Shiva and her organization Navdanya. Vandana Shiva is one of my personal heroes, an Indian woman who tirelessly fights to protect Indias poor farmers from greedy corporations. The pattern I used is a modification of the hemlock ring, this time to make a half-circular shawl. I used a blue wool so the effect seems to me like water flowing. One of Vandana Shiva's battles is to keep corporatons from moving in and using up all the water, leaving none for the farmers downstream or in the same aquifer for their crops and personal needs.