The gift of lace: how to knit comfort shawls

Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

Shawl from Wrapped in ComfortWhen learning a new craft or technique, it’s easy to think that we should wait to give handmade gifts until our skills improve. When Alison Jeppson Hyde was new to (and lacking confidence in) lace knitting, she decided to knit and give away a wedding ring shawl. And it taught her that a few ounces of good yarn, even in the hands of the most inexperienced knitter, could make a wonderful gift and help befriend those around us.

In Wrapped in Comfort, Alison shares 12 beautiful comfort shawl patterns for beginners and beyond, as well as heart-warming stories that will inspire you to grow relationships with the help of a handmade gift—no matter what level you’re at.

Read on for the story of Michelle’s Shawl (above), one of 12 rich stories and gorgeous shawls from Wrapped in Comfort. And if you’re new to lace knitting, don’t miss the super-easy lace shawl for beginners (and Alison’s warm advice to you) at the end of this post!


Michelle’s Story
From Wrapped in Comfort by Allison Jeppson Hyde

“Happy Mother’s Day, mom!” Michelle said happily as I opened the package and pulled out the most gorgeous, slinky-drapey-soft yarn. It cried out to be stroked and petted and gazed at adoringly—and knitted. My needles, this was a wonderful gift!

I knew the shawl was already a success when my daughter said that evening, as I started working on it, “ Mom, I know we gave that yarn to you for Mother’s Day, but just in case you need someone to give it to, I really, really like that.”

I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate the day. Of course it’s for her! The wish of every knitting mother: first, you get them to fall in love with the yarn. Next, maybe they’ll want to learn to cast on, too. A little purl stitch here, a yarn-over there, and soon there’s no stopping them.


Shawl from Wrapped in ComfortNew to lace knitting? You can learn—by working your way through the patterns in Wrapped in Comfort, starting with Julia’s Shawl. It’s the simplest pattern in the book, and the stitch repeat is only six stitches long, making it easy to memorize. A gift that comes from the heart need not be perfect. Take heart with this advice from Alison: “Start easy, work your way up. It’s not hard!”

Find Julia’s Shawl + 11 more gorgeous shawl patterns in Wrapped in Comfort by Alison Jeppson Hyde.


When has giving (or receiving) a handmade gift enriched a special relationship? Tell us in the comments!


7 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Until her death, my grandmother made my clothes, knitted my sweaters and afghans, made a fabulous collection of doll clothes for my Shirley Temple doll, crocheted a variety of keepsakes, tatted laces for handkerchiefs and pillowcases, smocked pillows, recovered furniture, embroidered on most everything,and made Italian hemstiched pillowcases and sheets. She taught a love for all needlework and sewing.The skills I have today began with her loving instruction. Not only do I still have, and cherish, most of the items she made for me, but I have the wonderful memories of our times spent together and a legacy of talent in these endeavours that I enjoy each and every day

    —Amy Cofer on September 5, 2014
  • Earlier this year I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Thankfully it was removed but I still have to go through chemo. So many friends and family have been praying for me. I just found out that the parents of friends of my son have given me a pray blanket. I do not know these wonderful people, but am so thankful for their thoughtfulness. How blessed I feel. I know that all will come out right.

    —Ruth on September 5, 2014
  • Many years ago, my young adult daughter gave me an embroidered pillow that she had made for me. It had the word MOM on it, entwined with daisies, my favorite flower. I loved it, but she said I needed to turn it upside down too. That was the first time I realized that MOM, upside down, was WOW. I treasure it.

    —Janet Pietzold on September 5, 2014
  • I gave my BFF a quilted mug rug (big coffee coaster). She promptly noted that I had sewn the heart button right in the middle, making it hard to use! But she has never let me move the button, so she must like it.

    I would love to knit some of those beautiful prayer shawls. I have not knit lace for years, but I could get back into it for these shawls.

    —Lynne on September 5, 2014
  • Beautiful shawls. Any hints on adapting the designs for crochet?

    —Lynne on September 5, 2014
  • Seven years ago a co-worker was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. I had just moved, but dug through my stash and put together a pink and purple "hug" quilt. Not having any co-workers with quilting experience, we placed crochet cotton in 100 different spots across the top, and held "tie a knot/think a thought" sessions for people to come by and participate. With a journal sitting nearby for good wishes or jokes to be written down, we were able to present her with a visible sign of our supports. We were so happy to be a team and show her we care! [JoAnn is doing great now!]

    —Ginger on September 5, 2014
  • Over 30 years ago, my husband wanted to give his mother something special for Christmas. But, having both just returned to college, we didn’t have much money. I happened across an inexpensive stamped tablecloth, large enough to fit her dining room table and taught him a few embroidery stitches and we were off! Working on it separately when we had the time and together (one at each end of the couch) when we had the chance, we finished it in time for Christmas. She was thrilled: she used it often and told everyone how her son had stitched it for her. She passed away last month, just a couple weeks shy of 94 years of age. After her service, the tablecloth was returned to us, worn enough to show that she used it and cared for it. We will continue using it and remember her each time we put it on our table.

    —Pearl on September 8, 2014

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