The Hug of a Prayer Shawl - Free Crochet Pattern

Our church has a Prayer Shawl Ministry which I joined about four or five years ago. I hadn't crocheted in years, and this inspired me to start again.

I loved doing all sorts of crafts and needlework years ago before I had my two now-grown children, but stopped for a number of years while they were growing up.

The first Prayer Shawl that I made was in a dark red, and not as perfect as I would have liked. I had to tear out about 1/4 of the shawl and redo it, and went through a few more learning experiences in the process.

The second Prayer Shawl, pictured here and later on this page, made me happy. The color was bright and cheerful. I finished it in the spring of 2011. 

I'd like to share my very easy pattern for this Prayer Shawl with you, and others as I discover them.

What Being Part of a Prayer Shawl Ministry Means to Me

A prayer shawl contains no “magic” of it’s own, it isn’t a mystical object, it is a comfort to the one that receives it. It is like a “hug” and a reminder that the person is loved and has been prayed for.

Many times while crocheting a prayer shawl, I take time to pray for whoever will receive the shawl I’m crocheting. I have no idea who will be the recipient, but God does. And when the Shawl is given to the person who needs comfort, it is a reminder to them that they have been prayed for, a reminder to them that they are loved, a reminder to them that God is there and loves them and is carrying them through whatever challenge that they may be facing.

Our ministry has given shawls to people who are going through health challenges like cancer or recovery from surgery; people who have lost a loved one; people who are experiencing a particularly difficult time because of a hurtful experience; new mothers and babies (a baby blanket instead); mothers with sons or daughters in the military; people with needs of various kinds.

When a person wraps themselves in a prayer shawl, they may be all alone, but feel “hugged”, surrounded by the love of a person who has prayed while crocheting their shawl, and the prayers of the group of people who are part of the prayer shawl ministry.

It is because of all of these things that I wanted to be part of the prayer shawl ministry. It’s a positive and loving way to use a God-given talent, gift, ability.

Easy Prayer Shawl Pattern for Beginners:

These instructions for howto make the prayer shawl pictured above and to the right are written with the crochet beginner in mind.  I’m not saying that the crochet pattern is original, the stitches are so simple I’m sure others must have done the same….but I didn’t look for this pattern, just started crocheting, and am sharing what I did.

You Need:

Yarn: 1+ pound 4 ply medium worsted weight year. (I am using One Pound of Caron Yarn for my latest prayer shawl.) A pound should be enough, but just in case, you may want to buy extra or get "no dye lot" yarn so you can buy more later if you need it

Hook: K

Tip: Don't be overwhelmed if you are new to crocheting. Take the instructions a step at a time. It is much easier that way than trying to understand the whole project at a glance. As you become more skilled, make a few mistakes which for me are great learning experiences, you will learn and be able to understand patterns more and more.

For video tutorials on the stitches mentioned in this pattern, look under the "Crochet" tab in the right margin.

(1) Make a slip knot, the first step in any crochet project.

(2) Using the Chain Stitch (ch), make a chain as long as the width you would like the shawl to be, remembering that the shawl will be a bit wider than your chain length will appear when you are holding it gently taut after you start building the shawl. When I followed instructions for my first prayer shawl I counted out 78 chain stitches.

(3) Turn, and in the second chain from the hook begin a Single Crochet (sc) row continuing to the end of the chain.

(4) Chain 3, turn, and in the **3rd chain, do a Double Crochet (dc), then make *1 chain (ch) skipping a stitch in the single crochet row you have just finished, then 2 double crochet (dc) in the next 2 stitches, then 1 ch skipping a stitch in the single crochet row, 2 dc* alternating in this way until you get to the end of the row, which you want to end with 2 double crochet stitches.

**Note: When you skipped the 3 chain stitches at the very beginning, that was "equal" to 1 of the 2 double crochets needed to start the row.

(5) Chain 1, turn, and do a row of single crochet (sc) as described in (3) above.

(6) Chain 3, turn, do a double crochet in the stitch that lines up with the double crochet below it, and continue in this way as in #4 above between the asterisks *------*

(7) Repeat what was done in (5)

(8) Repeat what was done in (6)

Continue in this way until the prayer shawl is as long as you would like it to be. As it gets larger, I wrap it around my shoulders to test the should come over the shoulders and down to the seat you are sitting on or longer. 65" should be long enough.

The most common errors when making this shawl:

(a) Forgetting to do a single crochet row between each double crochet row

(b) Forgetting to do 2 double crochets or doing too many double crochets together when doing the double crochet row which causes you to gain or lose stitches. Check each double crochet row when you are done as it's easier to tear out just one row than several when you discover things aren't lining up.

Edging: You can even out the edges lengthwise on each side of the shawl if you like by doing a single crochet edge along each side, but if the edges look fine, this isn't necessary.

Fringe: If you add a fringe to the shawl, this is a matter of cutting pieces of yarn to a length that you like, and putting them clusters of them equal distance from one another along the edge of the shawl. I use 2-3 strands for each cluster in the fringe. Follow this link for instructions on how to make a fringe. This sweet grandmother shows you how to do a fringe on an afghan, but the instructions are the same. When you pull the strands through as instructed in the video, you will want to take a look at how it appears where the strands join the shawl after adding the fringe cluster to the shawl…it looks different on each side…and decide what you would like to “show” on the right side of the shawl.

I Used a K Hook for the Pattern Above

If you do not have any crochet hooks and think you will be crocheting in the future, I found it more economical to buy a complete set of hooks with almost every size available than to buy one or a few hooks at a time.

I purchased the set pictured on the left.


A Very Quick and Easy Prayer Shawl Pattern Made with a Large Q Hook

 A Q Hook is the largest hook you can purchase (I think).

The prayer shawls I make with this hook can be done in an evening or 2, and are done with a single crochet (sc) stitch from beginning to end. The fringe is optional.

This shawl has a lot of “give” or stretch.

Here is all you have to do:

- Make a chain or foundation row as wide as you would like the shawl to be, remembering it will not appear as wide as it will be until you add the next row.
- Single Crochet (sc) the first row in the chain carefully, this is the hardest part of the shawl, a little more challenging because of the larger loops.
- Single crochet ALL rows from here on until your shawl is as long as you would like it to be...the woman who leads our Prayer Shawl ministry suggests 65" long.

Pictured is a shawl I finished and the Q hook...I'm going to double the yarn for the next one for a fuller shawl and because the yarn goes such a long way there will be plenty to do this with. 

This is a nice, quick shawl, but not as refined when finished as the earlier one I shared a pattern for.

You can make the prayer shawl pictured with about 1 8-10 oz. or 2 4-6 oz. skeins of Red Heart worsted weight Super Saver yarn. You might want to have some extra on hand just in case.

What the Large L, P and Q 
Crochet Hooks Look Like 

My son purchased these hooks for me with some yarn for my birthday a few years ago, and I've enjoyed the ability to make Prayer Shawls more quickly when we are in short supply of them.

I have made several shawls with the large hook, often doubling the economical worsted weight yarn that I use.

We Received a Prayer Shawl in May of 2013

In May of 2013, my father-in-law passed away. He went home to Heaven on Mother's Day morning. He was a wonderful man, and since his passing there have been 2 memorial services for him. He is buried near Denver, Colorado, in the military section of the cemetery as he is a veteran of World War II. In fact, he went into Normandy within days of D-Day and I have a picture of him receiving a medal for that, along with one surrounded by all of his medals. 

I could go on about him, but want to share how special it was to receive a prayer shawl for the first time. The colors are beautiful, and the card was made by an artist in our church who creates a card to accompany each prayer shawl. It contained a beautiful verse from the Bible.

Thank you for your visit! Please ask any questions or share your thoughts about Prayer Shawls below in the comment section. 

Updated 11/30/18


  1. What a fabulous gift these lovely prayer shawls are and for sure anyone who wraps themselves in one will feel its warmth working its magic for healing a spirit.

  2. Yes I think they do just that, the person knows they are prayed for and are reminded that God and we love them.

  3. These are beautiful shawls. I think I may make one for mys.elf

    1. Thank you, that is a great idea as we move toward the cold months of fall and least in this part of the country.

  4. What a wonderful way to share you talents! I am sure each times someone wraps themselves in one of the shawls, it is like received a hug from the giver. Thank you for the pattern and instruction too.

  5. Your welcome, I do think people feel just that.

  6. this is a different pattern than we were given to make them at our church. I'm going to have to save this an give it a try....they put out the plea that we need more prayer shawls.
    We made sure my daughter got one before her surgery.....once out of the hospital she shared a picture on her facebook of herself wrapped in the shawl.

    1. If there is a need for one or several quickly, you may want to try the one with the larger hook, perhaps double the yarn to make it fuller, though the one featured does go fairly quickly if you are an experienced crocheter.

  7. I can't believe, though I shouldn't doubt, that God is working through you! It was like reading my own feelings: I haven't crocheted in years, my kids are grown, I wanted to start a prayer shawl ministry, wanted to pray for others who would eventually receive a hug and prayer. Anyway, thank you for the details and instructions. I've looked at many ideas and now I know I've found the right one. To God be the glory - may each of you be blessed by this blog, by the opportunities to help others, and by - a prayer shawl.

  8. Susan, I am sorry for my delay in responding to you, but I'm so happy you found your way here. That would be a wonderful ministry to start, and it means so much to the people that receive the shawls.

  9. I want to make a prayer shawl for a dear friend of mine, however to make it I have to use thread on hand. I cannot afford to buy more right now. To have enough I must use two different colors. Do you have any striped patterns?

    1. Kathryn, I have made this pattern with stripes...changing the color at the end of the row so that I can finish off easier by crocheting a single or double crochet border around the edge after it is finished. I don't have another pattern, but am sure there are many to be found online if this will not work for you. Thank you for your interest! I wish you the best in crocheting a prayer shawl for a friend.

      OH another suggestion would be doing a more open stitch with a large Q hook, an example shown hanging on the arm of the chair. It is not as refined as the first one pictured, however. I use at least 2 strands when using the larger hook, but the yarn goes a much longer way.

  10. I recently broke my wrist and ankle and I'm unable to crochet at the moment.Would you know someone willing to crochet a prayer shawl for me

    1. Hello, Beth, I am sorry for my delay in replying, you will see the reason why if you look at my most recent post to this blog. My husband passed away on August 6th, and I have been preoccupied to say the least :-( I hope you were able to find someone to help you. God bless, Claudia

    2. My heart knows how you feel mine passed away July 20, 2009,

      After chaining with the Q hook use the P hook to do the first row of single crochet, it should be easier to do then go back to the Q hook, I'm in a crochet ministry at my church & we do prayer shawls also & lapghan's for men , also prayer shawls & fleece baby blankets w/crochet edging & take to Africa .

  11. Our church has a crochet ministry also, We make shawls for the women & lapghan's for the men, I feel blessed to be able to crochet & be part of it, I make lapghan about 34-36 ×42-44,

  12. It has been over a year since you wrote this, and I just found it in my comments awaiting moderation, I'm so sorry. It is wonderful that you are doing this!

  13. Love this prayer shawl! Making it for a friend then will make one for me!

  14. This will be my first time trying to crochet a pray shawl and the 2nd time trying ant shawl. My mother and brother died 5yrs. ago and it would have been wonderful to fell closer to them in a very difficult time Today I want to make this shawl for my pray partner's mother who had a mini-stroke less than a week ago!! So please pray for me as I try to crochet Mother Louise this beautiful pray shawl. God bless all of you doing this very trying times of the coronal virus! God bless us all.

    1. I hope and pray that she loved the prayer shawl and was blessed by your expression of love to her.

  15. I’m new to this. How many chains did you do to start with for a prayer shawl?

    1. Hi Joni, see #2 in the instructions...78 are suggested.