I've always thought "knitting a prayer shawl" is a bit of an oxymoron. It's not that I don't love the idea--knitting as a way of thinking of someone--it's just that, really, all knitting done for others is a bit of a prayer.
Every stitch is a little good wish sent off into the universe; every completed project a tangible way to wrap that person up in all the wonderful things you hope for them. I mean, when was the last time you knitted (or sewed or baked or whatever nice things you do for your friends) something thinking, "I just hope this makes them so miserable!"
But, at the same time, I'll admit that some projects are more of a prayer than others. And even some that you mean to be full of love can give you fits while you're making them.
These two projects fall into both categories.
They're both stupid-easy patterns. The vest (for the babe) is a Pebble. The shawl (for a friend) is a Dummy Clap. (It even says "dummy" in the name, for goodness sake!) But for the life of me, things just kept going wrong with both of them.
I misread the pattern on the vest, and got almost finished with it before I had to rip the whole thing apart and start over. And that was after three false starts to get the sizing and gauge right.
The shawl went very well until it came time to unravel the stitches as the end. I know it looks complicated, but truly it's a matter of being able to count--knit three, drop two, knit three, drop two, and so on. Nonetheless, fifty inches of stockinette were almost completely destroyed because I couldn't focus enough to count to three!
But, despite the frustrations, now that they're finished I see...a tiny, fat tummy covered and ready for tickling...a soft, warm hug around the shoulders of one of the kindest people I know as Fall creeps in and she needs some comforting....they're prayers made of wool.