Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she explores how prayer shawls help both the maker and the recipient of the handmade item. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
A knit or crochet prayer shawl is intended as a gesture of warmth and comfort for the person who receives the item. The maker prays (or sets their intention) for that person with every stitch. When the item is done, a special prayer or ritual may be done to add emotional value to the item before it is sent to charity or given to the person in need. However, it’s not just the person receiving the shawl who benefits from the act; the crafter also heals.
Benefits of Receiving a Prayer Shawl
People who receive prayer shawls often consider them to be special items that they will keep forever. A prayer shawl can be given to help someone who is going through a difficult illness, grieving the loss of a loved one or reeling from a disaster. The item provides physical comfort, actual warmth and a tangible reminder that there are others in the world that care for them.
Wrapped in the snug hug of a prayer shawl, the person can feel the love that went into those stitches. Barbara, who commented on a previous post we did about prayer shawls shared, “When I had surgery the pastor brought one to the hospital and prayed for me and wrapped it around me. It was very comforting. When I feel anxious I wrap myself in it and I feel the love that was knit into each stitch.”
Benefits of Making a Prayer Shawl
Making a prayer shawl has as many benefits as receiving one. Oftentimes when someone we care about is hurting, we desperately want to help but don’t know how. Making a prayer shawl is a way to channel that stressful energy into something positive. Other benefits people cite of making a knit or crochet prayer shawl include:
Making a prayer shawl is a great way to connect you to your own community. Linda Kennedy finds this is true as she makes baby blankets for the women at her church. (Although we call them prayer shawls, intentional crafting items can be anything at all!) She shares, “I know them and think about them often as I am working on theirs. I have heard some of the women talking about how they can’t wait to get their blanket for their baby. It makes me so happy!” Linda put special attention into a white crochet baby blanket that she made for a mother whose baby had heart problems and they weren’t sure whether or not she would make it and found that this was a way to connect to her during a difficult time. Each experience of prayerful crafting is unique and special. Speaking of another item she made for someone from church, Linda says, “When they gave it to her, she cried because she didn’t think anyone would do something like that for her. Seeing how I can touch someone’s heart is so comfort to me!”
Anja’s Squares: A Story of Making and Receiving
Katinka Steyn shared a story about the healing power of both making and receiving intentionally crafted items. It all began in December 2013 when her eldest daughter Anja had to undergo open-heart surgery after a stent lodged in her heart. She posted in her South African Facebook Group Ons Hekel (which means “we crochet”) about what was happening and “countless messages of prayers and encouragement started pouring in”. Anja made it through surgery and was discharged but continued to have chest pain. On January 22, 2014, Anja passed away in her home.
We have another great stitch video from Staci of Very Pink Knits. Staci previously demonstrated how to knit the Lace Stitch, a stitch that can be found in the stitch finder section of our website (under the “Learning Center” bar at the top of lionbrand.com). It was a popular video, so we’re excited to share her tutorial for the Granite Relief stitch, which is also available on the stitch finder.
The Granite Relief stitch produces a lovely texture which is great for washcloths and just as great for afghans with a garter stitch border, as Staci shows in the video below. Check out Staci’s tutorial for the Granite Relief stitch, which has been worked in LB Collection Superwash Merino, Cotton Bamboo, and Silk to demonstrate the varying looks in each yarn.
Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she shares five charity groups who heal themselves and others through Prayer Shawl Crafting, along with tips and information for crafting prayer shawls whether you consider yourself spiritual or not. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook http://blog.lionbrand.com/author/kathrynvercillo/.
When you knit or crochet a prayer shawl, you set an intention for the person receiving it to heal. You weave a positive thought into each stitch. As you do this, you not only bring healing to the recipient of the gift, you also bring healing to yourself. Learn more about how prayer shawls heal self and others here.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you are religious; it is the act of intentional crafting that soothes the soul. Don’t pray? Get inspiration for secular prayer shawl crafting here.
There are many different ways to donate prayer shawls, but one of the most common options is to join a group that is engaged in prayer shawl crafting. These groups are often, but not always, based in hospitals or churches. To get the most out of prayer shawl crafting, you should choose a group with a mission that touches your heart. These five groups, a combination of secular and spiritual groups, are examples of people who are doing this work today.
Did you know that there are more than two dozen free knit and crochet prayer shawl patterns on the Lion Brand Yarn website? You can search for them in Pattern Finder by selecting “prayer shawls” under “what do you want to make?” in the Category section.
This is a Minnesota-based health care system comprised of several hospitals and clinics. They have a prayer shawl ministry through which volunteers can knit, crochet, sew or quilt both shawls and blankets that are given to patients as “a gift of support and healing”. They say, “when the shawls or blankets are left with a patient, it leaves a tangible example of our care and blessings”.
HealthEast Care System has a monthly prayer shawl craft meeting for volunteers who want to knit alongside others. This community spirit can be healing and supportive for all who are involved. However, they also accept knit and crochet donations from people who work on their own at home and send in what they make. They have specific requirements regarding materials (such as only using acrylic yarn) that are based on the needs of their community. Additionally, this group accepts monetary donations to the group, which are used for the purchase of supplies.
The Lion Brand Yarn Company is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of Cast Off Chemo!
Comprised of yarn industry professionals, the organization operates on the belief that a cure for cancer is one of the most important goals in medicine. With the understanding that it’s a disease that affects all of us – our family, our friends, our customers, our sisters in knit and crochet – Cast Off Chemo is asking that yarn lovers of the world unite to beat chemo – and cancer!
How? Well, by supporting the research of Dr. David Krag and his team at the Breast Cancer Center at the University of Vermont Medical Center. By developing new treatments for patients with breast cancer by using their own immune system, Dr. Krag’s team believes this treatment could end the need for chemotherapy.
There are several ways to support this research:
Whatever option you choose, your support will benefit over a million women and men world-wide by bringing Dr. Krag’s research to clinical trials.
For more information, visit Cast Off Chemo at http://castoffchemo.org.
Cast Off Chemo! is a program of the SD Ireland Cancer Research Fund, a 501c3 organization.
Happy Pi Day! It’s a special one too because today is 3/14/15, which happens to be the first five digits of Pi (3.1415) and if you’re super-into Pi, you know that this post went up at 9:26am, the next three digits (3.1415926)!
Don’t know what the heck I’m on about? Pi is an irrational number relating to the circumference and diameter of a circle. It’s approximately equal to 3.14, though the decimal places are believed to go on forever. You can learn a little more about Pi here, or you can just have fun with the collection of math and Pi-themed knitting and crochet patterns below!
|Pi Family by Alicia Kachmar||Butterfly Pi Shawl by lafarrelly|
|Knit Pie Top for Pi Day by Lorna and Jill Watt, aka Knits for Life||Pi Guy by Ms. Premise-Conclusion|
|Knit Irrational Scarf by Anne Bruvold||Knit Pi Digits Scarf by Christina J|
|Knit Pi Dish Towel by Shannon Servesko||Crochet Amigurumi Pi by Alicia Kachmar|
*Note: Some of these patterns require a Ravelry account. Make sure you are signed up or create a free account to access.
Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite Homespun® projects designed by bloggers and Ravelry users. These projects are so inspiring and they highlight the unique and beautiful color palettes of the yarn.
From accessories to home decor, Homespun® is a versatile yarn that can be used to create a wide range of projects – as you can see below!
(Knit) DIY Pompm Beanie
Homespun: Painted Desert
|All About Ami
Cozy Crochet Mittens
Arm Knit Blanket
Granny Square Blanket
Homespun: Pearls, Shaker, Barley
Purple Zig Zag Cowl
Homespun: Purple Haze, Mixed Berries
Share with us, what patterns do you like to knit or crochet with Homespun?
Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she shares how the Waldorf schools incorporate knitting and crochet into their curriculum, benefiting children in a variety of ways. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
I have to confess that I was a little intimidated when I first walked into the 3rd Grade Handwork Class at Sebastopol Charter School in California. The children seemed so magical and creative as they prepared to work on their crochet projects. Before they began, they sang a song, led by teacher Kristen McLaughlin, about the cotton plant that grows to become the yarn they work with.
Today, in fact, the kids were working with wool. Kristen, who’s been teaching at the school since 1997, used to have the kids work with double-worsted cotton yarn but has recently switched to wool. The kids don’t seem to mind as their hands wield the hooks to create the shapes that will become water bottle cozies, hats and granny squares. With half of the school year behind them, these kids are well-versed in the basics of crochet.
By third grade, the students have a couple of years of handwork under their belts — a critical component of the Waldorf curriculum. They begin with knitting in first and second grades, starting with finger knitting, and then knitting with two needles. In third grade, the handwork is crochet. In fourth grade they return to knitting, learning to knit on four needles. In later grades, they add cross-stitch and sewing to their handwork skills set.
This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Big Apple Knitters Guild to unveil some of our newest offerings, live and in person. As the new Brand Ambassador, and a fifth generation member of the family business at Lion Brand, I was bursting with excitement to meet about eighty knitters and to talk about the yarn world that I love so much.
I was SO energized by their enthusiasm that I want to share with you their top 5 “oohs and aahs” of the evening:
|1. The Penelope Poncho – made with Country®, who doesn’t love this snugly, cozy great easy knit project?|
|2. Artisan Gift Wrap – I need it and I need it now! I just want to wrap my cats in it.|
|3. LB Collection® yarns – These yarns are really well-priced, stunning, and they are not going to make me broke. Can I have some more please?|
|4. 2-in-1 Tote – This invention is genius! Always searching for your sunglasses and hoping they don’t get tangled with your yarn? Perfect, this one’s for you.|
|5. Hudson Riverfront Hat – There is nothing bad about some glitz and faux-fur – Pelt and Gold Leaf® create the magic here. I love this hat and I need to make it myself.|
I look forward to speaking to more groups in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area so if you would like me to visit, please contact me at Shira@lionbrand.com. In the meantime, I share the inside scoop about what it’s like living the yarny life at Lion Brand on Intagram and Twitter, where you can follow me @Shiraroars
Over the past few months, we’ve shared #scarfie projects from many of our favorite bloggers who all used Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® to design beautiful cowls, most of which require only one or two balls.
I put together a collection of their wonderful #scarfie projects in case you missed any. They’re all simple crochet patterns that even a beginner crocheter will be able to understand and work through. So take a gander and see which one fits your style!
P.S: We encourage you to share photos of your handmade scarf or cowl projects by tagging @LionBrandYarn and using the hashtag, #scarfie. You’ll have the chance to be featured in our #scarfie gallery on Facebook!
|Repeat Crafter Me
Crochet Hooded Cowl in Fig and Fisherman
Chunky Scalloped Cowl in Grass
All About Ami
Twist Cowl in Sandstone
|Petals to Picots
Quick & Comfy Crochet Scarf in Oatmeal
Stormy Weather Cowl in Fig and Charcoal
Uptown Circle Scarfie in Eggplant
Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she shares how crafts can heal when used as a social activity. She also introduces us to Yarndevu, a new resource connecting knitters and crocheters. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
Knitting and crochet are often used therapeutically in group settings for substance abuse, pregnant women on bed rest and for those coping with social anxiety. There are several reasons why group crafting is so effective in addressing these challenges.
A primary reason why knitting and crochet are useful in group therapy is that the focus is taken off of the patient and put on the needlework itself. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California offered a crochet group to pregnant mothers on bed rest to help them take their minds off of their stress and fears, while still allowing them to connect with other women going through the same experience.
People in therapy groups who are coping with grief, abuse and other difficult situations may find it easier to begin talking with others about a project they are working on before getting comfortable enough to talk about more personal issues. Even in less intense situations, it can be helpful to focus on knitting and crochet in a group. These activities are great ice breakers and relaxing at the same time.