Whether we acknowledge it or not the number three figures prominently in all of our lives.
Think about it, Christians (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), Buddhists (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha), Pagans (Mother, Maiden Crone), Taoists (Heaven, Human, Earth), Hindu (creation, destruction, preservation), Kabbalah (male, female, uniting intelligence), physiologists (mind, body, spirit), scientists (animal, vegetable, mineral) philosophers (past, present, future) all find significance in the number three.
At Disney we pay based on child/adult/senior. With the "Serenity Prayer" we hope for serenity/courage/wisdom. There are three phases of the moon. The Chinese see three as a perfect number. To the Mayans it is the sacred number of women. The Japanese believe in three treasures truth/courage/compassion. The Egyptians see the cosmos in it. Three primary colors are at the basis of all colors.
Rambling, I may be but bare with me for a minute, I really am going somewhere knitting related with this.
Prayer, comfort, friendship, these are just some of the names we give the shawls we make for friends who have lost (a loved one, their health, their belief in someone or something) and are grieving, recovering, hurting. We want to give them a hug infused with our sympathy, encouragement, and/or empathy.
Perhaps for reasons already given, many of us prefer to work these "giving" projects on a multiple of three stitches. For me, at least, it lends itself to the prayer and meditation that I like to practice while knitting these special projects. My hope is that the recipient will somehow find comfort not just in receiving a handmade item but in the sincerity of the good wishes that are woven into each stitch.
So, here is my question for you: What do you call your Prayer Shawls and what (besides your time & talent) do you put into them as you work?