Say a little prayer, or not

Sissie in her blankie in the garden at High Bank

Sissie’s blankie was described in the pattern as a ‘prayer blanket’

Recently, I have come across numerous patterns for prayer shawls and prayer blankets and I was beginning  to wonder whether the knitting and crochet community was undergoing some great religious revival. However, the other day I discovered that these are not shawls to pray in (like a Jewish Tallith) nor blankets to kneel on whilst doing so (like hassocks), but creations that include simple repetitive patterns. The idea is that the shawl can be made whilst praying because there is no need to concentrate too much on the pattern, so one’s mind can be occupied by something else.

inner-peace-awardIt was quite a coincidence, therefore, when a few days back Megan (my chronic life journey) nominated me for the ‘Inner Peace Award’ and got me thinking about the whole idea. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a great fan of the chain letter type blogging award, but this one doesn’t really involve that aspect and did start me considering the importance of things like prayer shawls. Even if we do lead a stressful life, finding time to create something simple and beautiful (like Sissie’s blankie in the photo) can really help us to achieve a little inner peace. I have written before about crafting and mental well-being – the fact that repetitive activities, like knitting, crochet and wet felting, can increase alpha waves in our brains and encourage creative thought and relaxation. As a person who has the propensity to get very uptight I can highly recommend this approach to achieving a happier life and as a way to develop a calmer and more positive state.

Other people, of course, seek peace in different ways. Recent research has demonstrated the value to our health of visiting natural places or simply being outdoors. There is also clear evidence that walking can be a useful tool in treating depression. Whatever we choose to do, it seems that our mental state can be improved by participating in the right activities.

As I explore the blogosphere, I come across all sorts of approaches to peace and happiness and I want to share one in particular with you. I found Candy Blackman’s blog London Life with Bradshaw’s Handbook quite recently. You may be wondering what this has to do with inner peace, but if you read this post, you will find out. Candy is exploring London using Bradshaw’s 1862 Hand Book to London as a way to deal with her grief following the loss of her mother. One day a week she visits London, following Bradshaw’s guide and she blogs about it. It’s lovely – great pictures, fascinating links, a whole new (old?) perspective on London. She says that she hasn’t found a direction yet or arrived anywhere, but clearly the pure act of doing something is helping her… and providing those of us who follow her blog with fascinating information.

So, if you are feeling blue or stressed – put on your walking shoes or pick up your knitting needles and see if you can’t achieve a little inner peace.

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  1. This post is great!!!
    Often i had the very same thoughts & questions 🙂 thank you for the enlightening and the link to Candy’s blog

    So many points you’ve touched upon that are totally relevant to my own experience, it was like reading my own mind…

    Well, not sure my wording makes sense – this morning is one of those days, i see it coming already 😉


  2. I’ve also known ‘prayer shawls’ or blankets be given when that simple pattern has been used to pray repeatedly for the recipient.
    I’m sure Sissie’s blankie probably has its share of loving thoughts entwined in the stitches!


    • It does indeed… from the selection of the yarn, to the knitting, to the act of giving, the whole process was a celebration of love (for Sissie and her parents).
      I really do love these shawls and blankets as a way of demonstrating care and compassion as well as providing the opportunity to mediate, think or pray.


  3. gentlestitches

     /  November 28, 2013

    What a lovely thought provoking post. I think the very act of making something is so uplifting.


  4. Likewise hand sewing, which is very meditative, or gardening, which clears the mind wonderfully. I make a habit of ‘offering’ my work when it’s finished, a sort of dedication of the labour. Nothing formal, just a question in the mind about whether it’s an acceptable increase of the beauty of the world….


    • Weeding is particularly good for a spot of meditation, of whatever we choose to call it.
      It’s always great to produce or do something that makes the world a little better or more beautiful.


  5. Sandra

     /  November 28, 2013

    I love this post. In other place I read that knitting is known as the new yoga.
    One thing is true, I feel the peace and the creativity in my head each time I take the yarn and my needles. I think for this reason is very popular now make crochet or knitting.
    p.s Thanks for visiting my blog.


  6. Great post! love the idea of a prayer shawl 🙂



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