Red Shawl Day is like a national holiday except it marks a dark side of our nation’s story. It’s an annual time to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and children. It will be held Sunday, Nov. 19, this year, but red clothing is worn during the entire week preceding Nov. 19.
According to the Department of Justice, American Indian and Alaskan Native women and children go missing and are murdered at a rate of 10 times more than the national average. This problem was brought to the attention of St. Barnabas by parishioner Judith Pflaumer, who leads the Prayer Shawl ministry.
“My son John works for the National Park Service (NPS) in Page, Arizona, and he called to ask if our knitting group would make red shawls for the park employees and volunteers to wear for Red Shawl Day as part of the observance,” Judith said. John works for Lake Powell NPS, part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area which covers parts of Utah and Arizona.
The NPS is part of an all-government effort to bring attention and action to missing murdered Indigenous people. Many of America’s national parks are surrounded by Indigenous communities. Red Shawl Day serves as a memorial for remembrance, healing and protection for those who have had a member of their family or community disappear or murdered.
On March 18, members of the St. Barnabas Prayer Shawl ministry traveled to Christ
Church Cathedral to meet with members of that church’s Prayer Shawl group, Hearts and Hands. Together they hope to share their work and make plans to expand their mission.
Judith and Ceilia Stanley-Mathew, Ministry Council Leader for In-Reach, hope that Alberta Lerch, head of Hearts and Hands, will help involve as many knitters in the diocese as possible to promote Red Shawl Day.
Ceilia Stanley-Mathew and Judith Pfaumer display red shawls knitted for Red Shawl Day Nov. 19.
You can join the observance by doing the following:
1) Wear a red shawl or red clothing during the week of Nov. 12 to Nov. 19 (Red Shawl Day).
Also, the ABC television show “Alaska Daily” starring Hilary Swank is focusing on this horrific problem.
If anyone is interested in knitting a red shawl, the pattern, developed by Lizann Hardy who has already knit two scarves, follows:
About this Pattern: The original seafarer scarf is worn the world over!
Note: The first and last 14 inches of the scarf are knit in garter stitch.
The 18 inches of k4, p4 ribbing in the middle make a narrow-looking neck. This makes the scarf denser and warmer around the neck without adding extra bulk.
Tip: Slip the first stitch of each row purlwise to keep the edges tidy.
Cast on 32 stitches.
Knit even for 14”.
*K4, p4, repeat from * across ror for 18”.
Knit even for 14”.
Finishing: Bind off loosely. Weave in ends.
Finished Measurements: Approximately 6.5” x 46”
Materials: Approximately 300 yards of worsted weight yarn
US size 6 or 7 needles, or size needed to get gauge.
Gauge: 20 stitches and 36 rows = 4 inches square in garter stitch
If you would rather use a crochet pattern, here’s the link:
http://enroll.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/pattern-5-crochet.pdf. Remember to make it in red!
The following are 34 are members of the St. Barnabas Prayer Shawl ministry: Judith Pflaumer. Alison Main, Andrea Anderson, Barbara Lawrence, Bethany VanCamp, Carolyn Lamping, Caroline Marks, Cindy Hansel, Diane Byrne, Earline Fechter, Elizabeth Fallon, Amy Hill, Elizabeth Torasson, Jean Miller, Jeanie Leo, Jill Cole, Kathy Kennedy, Kathy Kugler, Kathy Stockman, Kara Shay , Kay Gaffney , Laurie Vahlsing, Lizann Hardy, Mary Ellen Baode, Mary Ellen Grounds. Nancy Fienning, Nelda Eserin, Pat Sullivan, Sally Belknap, Saskia Van Leersum, Tara Petit, Sue Hillhouse and Wendy Gustafson.