At church one day, a friend was talking about a hospital stay. She mentioned “picking up a prayer shawl in the hospital chapel.” Curious, I asked her for more details, because the only prayer shawls that I had ever seen were large. How could there be a supply in the hospital chapel?
She later sent a photo of it from her phone. It was a cute little plain crocheted piece, about 3” long and 2” wide. The artist had placed them in a basket for parishioners to pick up in the chapel so they could be taken to the sick and injured in their rooms or for those needing emotional comfort. In this case, my friend had laid the little piece on top of the blankets of her sick relative and prayed over it, just like you would a full-sized prayer shawl.
Shortly after that, I stumbled upon a blog post by that had a pattern for a lovely pocket cross by Jeanarie, which can be found here with a bunch of other patterns that are wonderful for ministry. These were perfect. I made this one to hang on a crib using a smaller needle than the pattern and fine baby yarn.
The solid colors show the pattern the best, but the patterned colors are nice too. The one in the picture below done in tan reminds me of beach sand.
All of mine are knitted, but Jeanarie has patterns for crochet too. I like to put them in plastic sleeves and package them as shown, with the little note inside the packaging. The “free” part I usually tape to the front. Favor bags work well for this. I package them just in case the patient is immunocompromised.
The pattern is very easy to remember, but the size is going to vary depending on the yarn, the needle, and how tight you knit. They usually turn out between palm-size to just smaller than a lady’s hand.
I like to print the message and “free” tag on cardstock. I added the “free” tag so that people realize that they aren’t for sale or belong to someone else.
There’s a lot of need for these little shawls. They are wonderful to put on the tables in the waiting room at cancer centers, hospital chapels, front desks, dialysis centers, and nurse’s stations in Children’s units and throughout a hospital. Sometimes hospital gift shops will make a spot on the counter for them. (Everyone needs a snack when visiting someone in the hospital. They are bound to be seen by someone who could use one.)
If you have any trouble getting the pattern on Jeanarie’s site, please let me know and I should be able to help you get it :).
If you are in need of a prayer shawl, please send me an email with “Prayer Shawl Request” in the title to firstname.lastname@example.org and put your address in the body of the email. No questions asked. One per person, please. I will send it free of charge.