Monday, August 18, 2014

My fascination with Shawls.

This is one article that is going to earn a weird look from some folks.  I dearly love shawls.  There are few other articles of clothing that can be functional, elegant and unique like the shawl.  And yes, I realize that one of those things pictured is actually in fact a shemaugh.  Well, on me it's big enough to be a shawl.  In fact I've used it as such on chilly mornings.

Shawls have intrigued me in that they are used for so many damn things.  I'm sure everyone at this point has encountered a Prayer shawl ministry or a recipient of such a ministry (which by the way, this Witch thinks are awesome ideas!)

History of Shawls:

Now this part is a bit muddled.  Some of the first citations of a shawl, are within Jewish history as prayer shawls, while as many dances done today by the First Nation remnants are "Fancy shawl" or "Shawl praying."  (Dancing is praying in many of the Tribes.)

One of the more interesting references in the Bible, to me at least, is the story of Ruth and Boaz.  Her shawl plays a small role in this story in revealing to Boaz that she was indeed true to her word, a daughter of Naomi and would be a daughter of Israel.

One of the earliest modern references to the shawls appears out of India and seems to link to a wide scarf that was (and I think still is) popular with Hindi women.

This is an example of the Pineapple Shawls I personally make.
If you'd like one click the picture, it'll take you
to my Etsy store listing.
Do shawls appear among other cultures?  Yes, it does seem that shawls were a simple enough concept of clothing that they do seem to appear in records and stories with the advent of fiber weaving.

Types of Shawls:

They can be squares, triangles and long rectangles. Circular or Half circle.

Shawls can be made from just about anything.

They can be simple triangles of fabric for covering your head from a dusty day or your face on a cold one.

They can be something elegant covering your shoulders and accenting a luxurious evening dress.

They can be a heartfelt gift to a grieving loved one.

For my christian friends, if you'd like to check this out further there is the Shawl Ministry.

For my pagan friends (was that small squee I just heard?), I have the Stitch `n' Witch  .  Those lovely folks work with Christopher Penczak (Macha forever bless and shield brother!) and I've had the privilege of donating shawls to them in the past, though I haven't been able to yet this year. (That will be changing.)

"Evelyn, that's pretty cool and all but why are you fascinated with them again?"

They are most likely one of the oldest pieces of clothing that is still in use to day all over the world.  Yet, it's one of the simplest things.  They intrigue me, because the bold variety of forms they've taken over the years.  From Irish lace shawls of yesteryear to today's simple Granny Stitch shawls, they are an example of the tenacity a good concept can wield.

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