By Ashley FILIPEK
On a warm Saturday morning in a little shop in Montrose called Needle in a Haystack, first-time author Sylvia Scott held a signing for her new book, “Wrapped in Love: Soft and Snuggly Prayer Shawls for Children.”
“Wrapped in Love” contains 16 prayer shawl patterns that Scott designed so others could create the perfect prayer shawls for children who are in need of the love and comfort the shawls provide.
As Scott describes them, prayer shawls are “usually made for adults, typically older people who are sick and in the hospital. They are made to give comfort.” She emphasized that the shawls aren’t items that can perform miracles and make someone better, but are designed to soothe.
Scott said that her church in Colorado has a very active prayer shawl ministry, which is how she got involved in making them. A mother in her church, Heather Jansen, was sick with stage-four breast cancer and was given a shawl. She had four daughters between the ages of 2 and 8, and it was decided that each of them should also receive a shawl so they could wrap themselves in the soft yarn and pray.
Scott started finding ways to make patterns that included happy faces, skateboards and bicycles that would be appealing to a broader audience.
“I spent 38 years in an elementary school classroom and, of course, I couldn’t do Christian things there, but that never stopped me from praying for the children,” Scott recalled. “Doing these prayer shawls has brought me such joy in my retirement years because I still have a way to stay in touch with children.”
The back of Scott’s book tells the story of a little girl named Annie, who was bitten by a snake and in intensive care. The prayer shawl ministry brought her one of the shawls, and when Annie wrapped herself in it she loved the comfort it brought her. Scott described the moment when the little girl received the shawl as a very special one because “despite the pain, her eyes lit up with such joy.”
“[The shawls] are definitely the type of thing that I think prayer shawl ministries need to have on their shelves ahead of time,” said Scott, who has been knitting shawls for four years. “I told one of the leaders of the ministry at my church that I was going to put several of them in there, and if we never have need for them, then praise the Lord for the miracles.”
She added that her favorite addition to this project has been the mini-shawls. “I had someone come to me about these shawls, and I wanted to show them what they were like and how soft they could be, so I made a little sample, she said. And it dawned on me that these mini-shawls could be used for a doll, teddy bear, dinosaur, Superman toy; anything the children love already. So if a child takes their own toy and wraps them up to comfort them, then they’re projecting the trauma from themselves onto the toy, and I think that’s going to be a really great thing.”
“Wrapped in Love: Soft and Snuggly Prayer Shawls for Children” is available at Needle in a Haystack on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose. For more information, visit www.prayershawlsforchildren.tateauthor.com.