Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Feelin' the Fringe

Woke up at 3 am and Could Not Go Back To Sleep! I even tried the surgery trick of counting backwards from 100. Unfortunately, it doesn't work without the anesthesia. Note to self: Pick up anesthesiologist for home use!

So let's count blessings instead. Whether you call them prayer shawls or friendship shawls, one of my favorite knitting projects for friends and family equates to being wrapped in a hug. I've made quite a few over the last five years. Some are rectangular in shape ...

Some in variegated yarn ...

Some without fringe ...

Lately I'm into making tricolor shawls with fringe. This one was donated to a charitable organization for their silent auction ...

This one is going out to a dear friend who could use a good hug this week ...

The special trick is counting your blessings as you knit, putting a little love (and prayer, if you're so inclined) into each of the thousands of stitches that make up one of these yarn-y hugs. Super simple to make, comprised of garter stitch and an increase on each row, I nearly always have one in the works. They're so easy to pick up and work a few rows whenever you have a moment and great during TV watching.

Here's the basic pattern ...

Triangular Shawl

Size 15 cable needle (mine is 31" long from tip to tip which handles all the stitches well)
Worsted weight yarn, total of about 700 yards (the one pound skeins are great)
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

Cast on 3 stitches
Knit the first row
Then on all subsequent rows ...
Slip the first stitch as if to knit, increase in second stitch by knitting in front and back of the stitch, knit to end of row

That's it. Your shawl grows by one stitch each row and you can make it as large as you'd like. I usually stop when I have about 155-160 stitches on the needle or when it measures at least 36" to the center point. The brown shawl above is made with Red Heart acrylic yarn in coffee brown, buff and soft white and measures 62" wide by 38-1/2" long without the fringe. The fringe is single strands, wrapped and cut on a piece of cardboard 10" long.

One final touch that I like is to crochet along the top edge in either a double crochet or half double crochet stitch. Although not necessary, this gives the edge a little more stability.

I also like to include a note with each shawl pertinent to the occasion, whether it be a birthday, holiday, sympathy on the loss of a loved one, illness, etc. I have some pretty gold-edged Crane note cards that I write a little poem on. Here's one given to a friend who, sadly, lost her battle with cancer (miss you so much, Debbie).

In case you can't read my handwriting ...

Dear Debbie,

This is a prayer shawl
but it's also a hug
Thousands of stitches
Each made with love

So wrap it around you
and let yourself feel
Good health and good spirits
to help you heal!

With Love and Prayers,
March 2011

So many projects, never enough time ...

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