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How to Crochet Prayer Shawls

By Lindsay Obermeyer ; Updated August 31, 2017
The finished triangular prayer shawl

Prayer shawls offer tangible and spiritual love in their warmth and comfort, as the crafters pray for the recipients while making the wraps. This can bring solace to both the maker and the recipient, as they're often given to someone undergoing medical procedures, needing comfort after a loss or when committing to another person in marriage. They are worn by women, men and children.

In the Christian faith, the number three represents the trinity. This triangular shawl pattern represents the trinity and uses a variegated yarn with three colors. The colors may be adjusted to follow the liturgical calendar, a particular season or the favorite colors of the intended recipient.

Things You'll Need

Basic supplies needed to make a crocheted prayer shawl

1,020 yards of heavy worsted yarn, weight 4 (amount of yarn will vary based on size; add 400 more yards for a man's shawl) 6 mm / J hook Scissors Tapestry needle Tape measure Pompoms (optional) Shawl pin (optional)

Row 1

Starting the shawl

In this pattern, the base of the triangle is 51 inches. From where you start to the top is 39 inches. It's scaled for a woman.

Start with an adjustable ring, also known as the magic loop.

Row 1: Chain three, make two double crochets into the ring. Chain two (this forms the point) and then three double crochets into the ring. Tighten the ring. Chain three and turn.

Row 2

Beginning to create the triangle point

Row 2: Double crochet into each stitch until you come to the point of the shawl. Then make two double crochets into the chain-two space, chain two, and make two double crochets into the the chain-two space. Continue to double crochet into each stitch until the end, chain three and turn.

Don't forget to say prayers as your work. They may be psalms, other passages from the Bible or another holy text or simply positive thoughts.

Subsequent Rows

The growth of the shawl after many rows

Repeat Row 2 until the triangle is the size you desire. For a good fit, measure the recipient from elbow to elbow to have the shawl large enough to drape properly over the shoulders. A shawl pin may be necessary to fasten it closed, but it isn't required.

Finish the Shawl

Pompoms embellish the shawl

Sew in all ends. You may use a commercial pompom maker (following the instructions) to make pompoms or make them using a custom device made from cardboard. Make three pompoms. Attach the pompom tails with a square knot to the points of the triangle. Sew in the ends.

Helpful Hints

A tapestry needle will help sew in any lose ends
  • This pattern is a great stash buster as you may crochet rows of different colors from the ends of balls from previous projects.

  • Use acrylic yarn as some folks are allergic to wool and their skin may be more sensitive at the hospital. Or use silk or bamboo blends for a softer drape than 100 percent acrylic. Cotton is soft, but it can get heavy in large projects. Don't use any fuzzy yarns (such as eyelash or mohair yarns), as they may harm a patient with a lung ailment.

  • You may use a different weight of yarn than specified in this pattern, but adjust your hook size to match.

  • If you want a consistent color throughout (even variegated yarns can vary), have enough yarn of the same dye lot to complete the project. If in doubt, purchase an extra ball or about 200 yards.

About the Author

Lindsay Obermeyer has been sharing her passion for the textile arts since 1988. Her writing has appeared in “Reinventing Textiles,” “Fiberarts,” “Knit.1” and “Craft ‘n Things,” while her art has been featured in museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in textiles.