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Knit Together with Prayer


At 42, the Reverend Susan S. Izard discovered that her childhood practice of knitting was a form of praying. The shawls now made by knitting circles like hers are gifts of pure love.

This article appeared in our December 2004 issue.My grandmother taught me to knit when I was eight and I’ve found that, like learning to write or ride a bicycle, it’s a skill you never forget. As a child and teenager, vacations often included side trips to yarn shops where my mother, four sisters, and I picked out new projects or sweater patterns. Today, we still compare notes about the knitting projects we are working on. One sister is currently knitting a sweater made of wool from her own lambs. It wasn’t until I reached the age of 42, when I was a minister and leader of a knitting circle dedicated to making prayer shawls, that I discovered knitting as a form of prayer. In January 2000, a group of women at my church began knitting prayer shawls for people who were sick, mourning, depressed, or lonely. We had no idea of the impact our little knitting circle would have on our lives or the lives of those who received the shawls. We had heard of the shawl ministry through Vicky Galo and Janet Bristow ( From the beginning, we welcomed anyone who was interested. Galo’s knitting patt …

The Reverend Susan S. Izard is pastor of spiritual life at First Church of Christ, Congregational in West Hartford, Connecticut. She is a co-author of Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shdivl-Knitting Ministry by Susan S. Jorgensen and Susan S. Izard, Morehouse Publishing, Inc., 2003.

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