Prayer shawl

My lovely neighbor, Donna, very recently had to have surgery to remove a breast lump and a lymph node. The diagnosis was a slow-growing malignancy, and she and the doctors feel everything is fine, which is very good news. I wanted to do something for Donna prior to her surgery, but she has a great neighborhood and family support group and didn’t need the traditional casserole or help cleaning house. So I made her a prayer shawl.

Donna is a devout Roman Catholic (and a democrat, like my mom, a fading breed of Catholic, I fear) and she loved the idea of a shawl made while I was thinking healing/holy thoughts for her. I didn’t mention that parts of the shawl were made while I was watching vampire movies, but I did point out that one or two rows were less than piety-drenched as I had to rip back and re-crochet. I crocheted the shawl because I knit so slowly.

Here’s a picture of the finished shawl, folded in half and draped over my glider. It’s a long rectangle.

And for those interested, here’s a basic recipe for the stitch, which also makes a nice scarf. While much crochet is stiff, this stitch is very flexible and has lovely drape. It also works up quickly. I used Lionbrand Homespun for this shawl, but I’ve done a scarf in plain worsted and it looks great also. I’m going to make myself one of leftover homespun, sans prayers and heavy on the horror movies, as soon as I finish knitting a few Christmas presents.

Crocheted scarf or shawl (prayer or otherwise)

Using a hook one size larger than recommended on the yarn wrapper (2 sizes larger if you typically crochet tightly), chain an even number of stitches. I use around 12 for a scarf and used 40 for the shawl. For a larger person (Donna is short/small), I’d add 10 to 20 more stitches. Just be sure you use an even number.

NOTE: “Make one” means “chain one,” but I changed terms as it makes the pattern easier to understand.

Row One: Single crochet in the second chain, *make one, skip a chain, single crochet in next chain.* Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row, ending with a single crochet in the last chain. Chain one, turn.

Row Two and All Other Rows: Single crochet in the base of the turning chain/top of the last single crochet of previous row, *make one, skip chain one space, single crochet in next stitch (top of a single crochet).* Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row, ending with a single crochet in the last single crochet of the previous row. Chain one, turn.

Basically, with this stitch you are creating stacks of single crochets and stacks of chain one spaces. After the first row, each single crochet is made in the top of a single crochet and each chain one space is made over a chain one space.

Continue in pattern stitch until you reach desired length — 3.5 to 4 feet for a scarf and 4 to 6 feet for a shawl, depending on the recipient’s height.

Change yarn to an accent color. Single crochet in the base of the turning chain/top of the last single crochet of previous row, *make one, skip chain one space, single crochet in next stitch (top of a single crochet).* Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row, ending with a single crochet in the single crochet. Chain three, turn.

Double crochet in the top of the last single crochet, *make one, skip chain one space, double crochet in next stitch (top of a single crochet).* Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row, ending with a double crochet in the last single crochet of the previous row. Change back to main color. Chain one, turn.

Following pattern stitch and using single crochets, work two more rows in main color.

Final row, this end: Work three single crochets in the last single crochet of the previous row. *DO NOT MAKE ONE. Work three single crochets in the next single crochet.* Repeat from * to end. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Turn shawl to work on the underside of the original chain.

With accent color, single crochet in the bottom of the first chain, *make one, skip chain one space, single crochet in next stitch (top of a single crochet).* Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row, ending with a single crochet in the single crochet. Chain three, turn.

Double crochet in the top of the last single crochet, *make one, skip chain one space, double crochet in next stitch (top of a single crochet).* Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row, ending with a double crochet in the last single crochet of the previous row. Change back to main color. Chain one, turn.

Following pattern stitch and using single crochets, work two more rows in main color.

Final row, this end: Work three single crochets in the last single crochet of the previous row. *DO NOT MAKE ONE. Work three single crochets in the next single crochet.* Repeat from * to end. Cut yarn and weave in ends.

You’re done!

The double crochet accent and the three single crochets of the final row on each end provide a little flair that is not quite so full as a ruffle. The scarf or shawl will be very warm and very, very soft and drapey. Give it away or keep it and cuddle up. Maybe you can find a vampire movie on.

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