By Jodie Gordon Lucas - Athens, OH
This very simple prayer shawl pattern was designed for Julie. Shortly after picking up a crochet hook for the first time, Julie found herself wanting to console a friend after the sudden loss of her husband. Julie wanted to make a shawl very quickly (to take to the funeral) while simultaneously learning to crochet and dealing with her own grief. Understandably, the project overwhelmed her.
Julie’s Tears was created to allow her to meet her goal. It is quick to make, beautiful and as simple as possible. The design also allowed her to continue to crochet even as her vision became clouded by tears she would shed while praying for her friend’s family.
Julie’s Tears was designed as a teaching pattern. Team prayed and crocheted, if you will. It requires knowledge of only 2 stitches, uses bulky yarn, has very few stitches which require “aiming for a small hole” and uses the largest crochet hook I could find. Below you will find “standard” crochet instructions for the experienced member of the prayer shawl team as well as teaching tips for the beginner.
(click on photo for a larger view)
By Jodie Gordon Lucas - Athens, OH
-2 to 3 skeins of yarn (3 if making fringe or if you want a longer shawl).
-Q crochet hook
[HDC = Half Double Crochet]
Row 1: Hdc in the 3rd stitch from the end. Hdc *ch1, skip next chain, hdc.* Repeat from * until 1 chain remains. Hdc in that chain. 16 ch1 GAPS, with 2 hdc on each end
Row 2: Chain 2 and turn, counts as 1st Hdc. Hdc in top of next Hdc. Hdc in ch1 gap. *Ch1. Hdc in next chain 1 gap* Repeat until hdc completed in last ch1 gap. 2 hdc. Chain 2 and turn. 15 Gaps, with 3 hdc on each end.
Row 3: Chain 2 and turn, counts as 1st Hdc. Hdc. *ch1, hdc in chain 1 gap* Repeat from * until hdc completed in last ch1 gap. Ch1, skip 1 hdc, hdc twice. 16 ch1 GAPS, with 2 hdc on each end.
Alternate row 2 and 3 until shawl measures “HUG” length. Stretch out your arms and when the shawl reaches from one hand to the other without stretching it is HUG length and finished.
Teaching tips for experienced member of the Julie’s Tears prayer team.
1. The experienced member of the team should begin the shawl and complete several repetitions of the pattern. Ideally, the experienced member of the team would begin two shawls to this point in order to model the individual steps of the HDC and chain stitch for the beginner. In our situation, I made a shawl for Julie while she was making a shawl for her friend.
2. Point out the “net” like nature of the pattern. Except for the ends, every hdc goes into a chain 1 gap.
3. Each row is “anchored” by 2 hdc on the end and a CH2 turning stitch & Hdc on the beginning. These are the only stitches in each row that have a hdc worked into them. Everywhere else, hdcs are worked into gaps.
4. Begin and end each row until the beginner is comfortable with HDC in the gap, chain 1. Work several rows like this.
5. At this point, there should be enough repetitions so that the beginner can see the differences at the beginning and ends of the rows 2 and 3. However since it’s quite easy to get mixed up as to which row you’re on, it’s a good idea to put a marker of some kind on the side which begins row 2. Remember that there should be 3 HDC on each end before a gap as you crochet away from the marker and 2 HDC on each end as you crochet towards the marker. This removes guess work and decreases the likelihood of an error. Good markers are twist ties, ribbons, or butterfly style hair barrette.
6. Remember to check occasionally that you still have the correct number of chain 1 gaps. Mistakes at the end of a row can quickly cause the shawl to become wider or narrower by accidentally increasing or decreasing the number of gaps. . Use of a marker and occasional checking keep things from becoming too frustrating. Pulling out rows is not a happy experience for a beginner so try to prevent this as much as possible.
7. Remember that the shawl is beautiful because of what it represents and NOT because it’s a perfect work. Be gentle with yourself and accept mistakes humbly.
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