Walking in the park the other day, I took lots of photos. Here are some of them centering around the "wood" aspect of Project Spectrum.

Knitting as Ministry

My church has an active prayer shawl ministry. Each week five or ten or more shawls are placed on the altar rail during the offering. These shawls go to our local Hospice House, to members of the congregation and beyond to offer comfort and prayers. It's a beautiful, blessed ministry.

I am a knitter. I am not part of this ministry. I thought I would be when it started, a few years ago, but I never jumped in and did it. I've never felt a calling to that ministry, even though I am a knitter, and could certainly knit the shawls. I've posted the photo above in order to show you how prolific and wonderful the ministry it; none of the projects are my work.

I have knitted two prayer shawls in my life. Both of them were for good friends of ours who had lost parents. One of them I just finished, and one was knit in 2006. The friends are husband and wife; the four of us -- well, I don't have words, but this couple is very special to us.

What I have noticed about knitting prayer shawls is that it becomes a compulsion. I knit late into the night, I knit in the car, in the movies, at lunch, at church meetings. I just HAVE to work on it. Knitting for me is usually a relaxing, creative enterprise. Prayer shawl knitting is in no way relaxing. I must do it, and I must finish the shawl as soon as possible. As I work, I find myself setting daily row goals. As I get closer to the end, those goals become larger and larger, and my drive to complete them becomes even stronger. When I finish, there is a wonderful sense of completion and relief. It is as if there is a call to FINISH it, and get it where it needs to be.

I suppose if I were knitting shawls for people I didn't know, I would have that drive about it, but I can't imagine doing this all the time.

All of that said, knitting these two shawls was a worshipful experience. It's not one I would trade for anything. I can't imagine that knitting a generic shawl would have that same kind of spiritual attachment.

I think I'll stick to my regular socks and failed sweaters.

Jeff's Shawl

I'm still working on the sock, and I'm almost done with the first one, but last Monday, I sat them aside and picked up another project.

A friend of mine's father died early last Friday morning. He had a stroke a week ago Thursday. On Monday I started a prayer shawl for my friend. I wasn't going to do that, but on Saturday morning, as I woke up, an image for the shawl came to mind. I lay in bed and designed the shawl in my head, and how it would visually represent Psalm 23 (an important passage for my friend during this time). I finished the shawl this evening and left it for him at his house.

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool -- black, denim blue, green, light blue, burgandy, tan. One skien of each, except for the denim blue and green (2 each).

Needles: Knitpicks harmony circular needles, 24 inch cable, size US 11 needles.

Pattern: 81 stitches across, stitched in Trinity stitch.

The shawl ended up being much longer than I envisioned it -- 86 inches -- and 24 inches wide. The yarn was OK, although I've worked with softer wool than this.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name's sake,
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, you are with me
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies.
You annoint my head with oil
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, my whole life long.