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Monday, September 12, 2011
The Crochet Prayer Shawl Companion
The Prayer Shawl Ministry is an extraordinary group that has touched lives in extraordinary ways across the world for more than a decade. With their latest book, Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo continue to reach out to people of all faiths in sadness and celebration, this time with crocheted wraps, or prayer shawls. In their follow-up to the 2008 bestseller The Prayer Shawl Companion, the authors have once again brought together crafters, their inspiring tales, and comforting, thoughtful blessings. The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion features 37 beautifully designed prayer shawl patterns contributed by everyday crocheters and professional knitwear designers alike, including Nicky Epstein, Mary Beth Temple, and Doris Chan, among others. The instructions are easy to follow and the patterns represent a range of skill levels.
If you are involved in a prayer shawl ministry, this is a book you should have in your library. If you are simply a lover of shawls, this book will inspire you to join a ministry!
This book is so much more than just patterns, although 37 of those are included for some beautiful shawls that range from beginner to advanced and simple to complex. It includes the story behind the creation of the prayer shawl ministry, as well as a wonderful "where to begin" section. This includes helpful topics such as choice of colors and their symbolism, how to chose which yarn for your pattern, the spiritual component of each shawl, packaging ideas and so much more. If you are new to making prayer shawls this section was written just for you. There are even some pointers that experienced shawl makers may have forgotten or never considered.
I enjoyed the full color photographs of each shawl as well as the detailed information for each pattern such as skill level, finished measurements, and yarn suggestions. I found the pattern instructions to be easy to follow as well. I do wish that the crochet abbreviations chart had been included at the beginning of the book rather than the end to assist novice crocheters. (The book uses standard abbreviations determined by the Craft Yarn Council of America). A chart is even included for the Standard yarn weights to assist you in finding the perfect yarn.
What I enjoyed most though is that each pattern includes a little something written by the pattern designer whether it be the story behind its creation or some tidbit to help you with the pattern. In addition there are letters interspersed throughout the book from those who make these shawls with stories about their gifts.
The book closes with ideas on how to start your own local prayer shawl ministry. The patterns are worth it, the instructions are worth it, the letters are worth it. Don't pass this one by!