Monday, October 11, 2010

The Prayer Shawl...

I've been busy. This last MBA class is kicking my butt and I've got the holiday knitting well underway. And there were those 2 wedding cakes... Yeesh! I'm happily busy (except for the homework stuff) but it's been awhile.

So, one of the projects that's recently finished is a shawl for my MIL. We lost my FIL this year due to Parkinson's Disease. If you want to know more, or if you want to donate in someone's honor or memory, go to - the website for the Parkinson's Disease group.

Anyway, there's a story here (what's new?). About 3 years ago, I went into the hospital for a 24-hour observation that turned into 4 days of tests for pneumonia that I kept telling them I didn't have. Well, for the first 3 days, I wasn't telling them ANYTHING because I couldn't talk! This was after 4 days on a 5-day antibiotic; I actually got worse, and my doctor was concerned. I was pretty much scared because that's not normal for me. I don't get sick often, but when I do, it's usually a doozy. It ended up that it was bronchitis, which is what I'd been telling them!

See the puppy bottom left? Ham!

Back to my story: I have a group of friends who know I knit; the one who lives closest to me brought me a basket from the group, and it included 2 DVDs of mysteries, some wonderful HoneyCrisp apples (my favorite, and only available this time of year), a mum and 7 skeins of Homespun yarn. The yarn sat around a while till I figured out what I wanted to do with it. I don't use Homespun often, but once the inspiration hit me, it was clear.

 I made this shawl for my MIL. The color is Sierra, and as you can see, it's rather large! What's hard to see (sorry - the only place I had room to spread out for a shot was in the hallway!) is that the colors are very pretty: there's tan, brown, black, cream and a rosy pink in there, and the colors just wash down the body of the shawl in almost a sunset pattern.

The shawl is a pattern from Lion Brand yarn and can be found here:

Minus the fringe. I don't like fringe. I did like the fact that this was (a) an easy pattern to do - I needed mindless knitting; and (b) an easy-to-care-for yarn. There's nothing special needed - my mother-in-law can just toss it in the wash. It's certainly big enough for her, since she's shorter AND thinner than I am!

As you can see, it reaches past my rear end, and will drape around her nicely. Click on the picture to enlarge it and get a better view of the shawl. Notice our puppy in the lower left? She couldn't stand that she wasn't part of the action!

I did this on needles 2 sizes larger than the pattern recommends; I think it's nicer this way - the "bulk" of the shawl is there, but it's more drapey and more fluid. The gals at the LYS said they thought it'd be too dense if it was done on the needles called for - and frankly, I didn't need yet another pair of big needles I was only going to use once in a while.

I need to run this in the fluff cycle of the dryer; the dogs came around to check on me as I knitted, but they left the shawl alone; our middle dog kind of barely touched the shawl, but I don't think she liked the "bouncy" feel of it, which is fine! One problem I do have with Homespun is that it does snag! Since my MIL has no pets, that shouldn't be an issue for her.

The shawl used 2.5 skeins; I had 7!! So it'll be a few more shawls, and maybe a scarf or two. But not now. I have some more Xmas gifts to get to, and a few more baby items. Pictures of those will come shortly.

We'll be taking this to our parish priest for a blessing, too. She'll like that, and I think it's appropriate as she faces the first holidays without her spouse of 60 years.

If you knit or crochet, consider a prayer shawl. You don't have to pray over it! You just knit and think about the person for whom you're knitting. Couldn't be easier. When they're wrapped in the warmth of what you've made - whether shawl, lap robe or afghan - they'll know you've held them in your heart as you've worked this with your hands.

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