Sometimes events happen when you don’t feel like you can really do anything. Being helpless is a hard feeling. I’d like to tell you about one of those times and the tiny way I felt I was able to contribute.
The “C” word is never greeted with joy, unless someone is then saying they have found a cure. God, I wish that would happen at some point soon. Instead, cancer normally brings forth sadness, anger, frustration, and uncertainty.
When I learned of one of the recent cancer diagnosis of a friend's dog (damn Mast Cell Tumors), I hated feeling helpless, so I did what little I could to help make Joba, an adorable Boxer, a bit more comfortable. I’m writing this post so you can do something similar if the need ever arises.
This post contains some amazon affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission which will be used to help run this site.
What’s a Prayer Blanket?
I’m not a religious person, but I believe there’s something bigger than us out there. A prayer blanket, simply put, is something you make and, as you’re crafting it, you pray to whatever larger holy being you may believe in. I prayed for a lot of things as I was making Joba’s blanket. For his human’s strength. For Joba’s health. For the easing of stress. You name it, I probably prayed about it.
How do you Make a Prayer Blanket?
The method, honestly, doesn’t matter. If you can sew, you can make a prayer blanket by finding some fabric, batting, and the sewing machine hiding in the basement. If you can knit or crochet, you can find big, soft, chunky yarn and craft a prayer blanket that way.
I can’t sew (well) and, while I can knit, I decided to create a prayer blanket in a different way, so I could make it a little faster than knitting would have taken me (to be read as, I started knitting a blanket for my nephew before he was born and haven’t finished it yet. He just turned 8.)
I went a classic route, by making a no-sew blanket using two pieces of snuggly fleece, cutting strips along the edges, and tying the strips into knots. I said a prayer with each knot that I tied.
How do you Make a No-Sew Fleece Blanket?
There are some pre-cut kits you can buy at craft supply stores like Jo-Anne’s Fabric. You can also get them through Amazon (because you can get anything from Amazon). I’ve included a link below if you would like to go that route.
I wound up getting two coordinating pieces of fleece cut for me at the local craft store (you can do this on Amazon too, link for yards of fabric below). If you’re curious about how much to get, here’s a good rule of thumb:
1 yard will make a blanket that a small/medium dog can snuggle under but isn’t large enough for much dog and human snuggles.
2 yards will make a blanket large enough for a medium to large dog that can also include some human snuggle time.
3 yards will make a very large blanket.
Once your fabric is cut, the steps for making your prayer blanket are pretty simple.
Lay the two pieces of fleece on top of each other with the “right” sides facing out. “Right,” meaning the side where the pattern is most clear. If it’s a solid piece of fabric, there’s no right or wrong side.
If there are any sides of the fleece that overlap or if there are marks on the edges (sometimes there’s a part that has no color printed or even bar codes), trim the edges so they line up and are free from blemishes.
Next, cut a square from each corner. I cut a four inch by four inch square. The smaller your blanket, the smaller the square. You can always make it larger later on if you need to.
After the squares are cut, it’s time to cut strips around the edges. I used a clear yardstick and measured 4 inches deep, using the yardstick to mark how far in I should be cutting. Each strip is about a half inch wide. It doesn’t have to be super precise, as long as it’s consistent.
Once you’ve cut strips around the edges, it’s time to tie your knots. Make your way around tying both strips into knots. With each knot, say a prayer, or send healing messages, or joyful thoughts, or positive energy, whatever you feel comfortable doing.
Soon, you’ll have a completed prayer blanket to give to the pup and their human.
Our Story about a Prayer Blanket
We have shared in prior posts that Bean has had a Mast Cell Tumor what was surgically removed when she was four. If you'd like to read a little about some of our advice for folks who have to deal with this diagnosis, please check out our 2 Years Post Surgery post.
One day, I was sharing my anxiety about Bean's tumor and scheduled surgery, when I got a note from someone at FABB (Fur Angel Blessing Blanketeers) asking if I'd like to receive a prayer blanket. I said yes, and received a package shortly afterwards with a kind note from the volunteers who helped create the blanket. I sobbed uncontrollably as I clutched the blanket, thinking about the kindness of strangers and how much I appreciated the gesture. Bean immediately began to snuggle with her blanket, and she has slept with it every day since then. She is two years cancer free at this point, and I honestly feel like the prayers helped.
If you want to learn more about FABB, there's a great article about them on Today. You can also ask to join their Facebook group to donate your time making blankets, sending prayers, or helping to pay for shipping. If you know of a pet in need who would benefit from receiving a blanket, you can submit a request through the facebook group as well.
Below is Joba (cone of shame and all) with his new prayer blanket. I ask that you try to spread the world with kindness one way or another, and if you have the means to help this way, by making prayer blankets, I'm sure the recipients will appreciate all you've given.