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Sheila's Shawls *

Sheila Shawl Extravaganza May 23-June 16
Photos of Shawls still available
Paul's Scarves
Quilts for Kids

The Silent Witness National Initiative invites you to honor Sheila Wellstone and her tremendous work in reducing domestic violence in our country. She was tragically killed in a plane crash with Senator Paul Wellstone on October 25, 2002.

From Susan Bourne:

What an honor it is for me to join with other folks around the nation, to offer my energies and ideas to Silent Witness as new National Coordinator for the Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves Projects. I look forward to working and sharing with the wonderful people already involved in so many different ways with Silent Witness -- and with those who will come in the future.

As Janet mentioned in the last newsletter, I have lots of ideas percolating; and I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, as they may come to you over the next few months, as to how we can best move forward creating and gifting Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves to those who need them and can benefit from their comfort.

One of our main goals, as I understand it, is to encourage and support local representatives from every state (province, country) who are ready, willing, and able to help – in what ever ways work for you -- with the ongoing creation, collection, and/or distribution of these healing shawls and scarves.

If you are one of these willing people, please let me know so we can connect and chat about how you'd like to be involved -- and what you'd like to offer.

I've created two new online discussion groups (see links below) to give us all a safe place where we can share together about all the aspects involved in these two vital and important projects. These are email discussion groups, and not chat rooms. I hope others will find this kind of forum helpful and meaningful.

The links to the two new groups are as follows:

Please note: there are no apostrophes in the group names, as yahoo does not allow them, though Sheila's Shawls and Paul's Scarves are the 'real' names of the groups and the projects ;-)

If you have any kind of problem accessing either group, please email me directly at -- and I'll see what I can do to help. If you would prefer a direct-link invitation to the group, just let me know and I'll happily send you one.

And, of course, if you know of any others who are interested in this work, please email me and let me know so I can contact them and invite them to join the new groups too. Thank you for helping build a strong network.

Read the thank you messages from those who have received shawls.

As of July 2005 we have distributed over 475 shawls. This is an amazing project. It touches the hearts of so many people.

Read a warm note from Sheila Wellstone's chief aide, Molly Willson, when she found out about the shawl project:

Remember Sheila by knitting a healing shawl for a mother or sister of a woman who was murdered in domestic violence.

We welcome hand sewn shawls, woven shawls or embroidered shawls, whatever your tradition suggests. The idea is to send healing and good will into the cloth, yarn or threads so that the person feels it when they wear it. If you have patterns for other kinds of shawls we welcome them.


  • Four skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn and size 11 or 13 needles OR
  • 50 gm. Heather Mohair yarn, 5 skeins size 13 needles. (more yarn for larger shawls).
  • Cotton yarn is fine too, for warmer climates.
  • Gauge: 3-3 1/2 stitches to an inch.
  • Minimum size 60" long by 24" wide without fringe.

    Another ShawlShawl

If you need supplies you might want to visit one of the supporters of this program: Creative Fibers, a knitting/weaving shop in Minneapolis.

Pattern: We are grateful for any shawl that you choose to knit but we offer this simple pattern.

  • Cast on 54, 57, or 60 stitches or some multiple of three. Knit three, purl three to the end of the row.
  • Turn and knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches. A weave pattern will develop.
  • Leave about one third skein for fringe. The fringe can be from three to nine inches, as you desire.
  • Blocking is optional.

The purpose of knitting a healing shawl is to weave good thoughts, healing, hope and love into the piece so it will comfort and warm the recipient. Be reflective or offer a prayer for the recipient as you knit; make this a peaceful experience.

Triangle Shawl Variation

Simple Shawl

Here are instructions in Word format for a simplified version of this shawl.

*The prayer shawl ministry and the first pattern on this page was started by Janet Bristow and Victoria Cole-Galo in 1998 in Hartford, CT. Rev.

Susan Izard (First Church of Christ, Congregational in West Hartford, CT) furthered the shawl ministry by writing an article about it in Presence Magazine. For the article go to

We are grateful to them for their wonderful idea and hope to keep it moving forward by incorporating this pattern as one of our Sheila Shawl patterns.

When you have completed the shawl please send it to
a Silent Witness Coordinator in your state. These coordinators are listed on our web site - Please make sure to Include your name and city.

If you are able to send $10 for packaging and shipping of your shawl, we would appreciate it so much. Write the check to Silent Witness. Thanks again for your generosity in this healing project.

We would like you to contact your local Silent Witness coordinators to distribute the shawls but if you do not receive a response from them or they are not prepared yet to do that since this is a new project, please contact the closest of these other four distribution sites:

Local Silent Witness Coordinators: State by state listed on this web site under About Us/Coordinators

Renee Youngberg
9820 Pierce St. NE Blaine, MN 55434 or
H 763-780-6390 wk 763-571-9116 x 753

New York: Rochester/Ithica area: Loretta Scheg, Legal Services Advocate and founder of knitter's guild. 585-755-6611.

Pennsylvania: NCJW of Pittsburgh Contact: Sheri Minkoff 412-421-6118

Rhode Island: Nancy Rafi, SW National Coordinator, 401-847-2798 Melanie Martin RI Silent Witness coordinator

New Jersey. Lesley Frost, NCJW

Be sure to send your name, address, and telephone number along with the shawl. We like to keep track and we love to send out our special thank you notes.

Here are examples of notes that can be sent with the shawl and to thank those who made the shawl.

Thank you card as a word document
Thank you variation that is longer
Thank you variation that is spiritual
Thank you note for the person knitting the shawl

Silent Witness is a non-profit organization so your contribution is tax deductible. If you would like to include an additional donation we would be most grateful.

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