Daily Archives: July 5, 2014

And then you get a shawl

So it turns out that after just ten months of entirely undedicated and sporadic (mostly in movie theatres) knitting, and then a final push for about a week, ta da! You can get a finished Pi Shawl.

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This is my 3rd one of these, and definitely not my last. It’s an extremely versatile pattern, this thing that Elizabeth Zimmerman dreamed up. You can do it in almost any weight of yarn you want, and just follow the instructions until it’s as big as you want it to be. This is my 2nd one in sock yarn (aka fingering weight yarn) and I sort of want one in every colour (It’s nice to have long-term knitted wardrobe ambitions). I enjoyed wearing my last one as a spring accessory for chilly mornings, and this muted purple will be a nice versatile neutral colour for all kinds of situations.

The Pi Shawl, for real, is an extremely accessible pattern. Like many of EZ’s patterns it exists mostly as a set of guidelines that can be modified in different ways – her pattern instructions come with a lace panel version and this eyelet one that I’ve done (every 6th round is [k2tog, yo], producing a basic lace effect). If that’s too complicated, then all you really have to do is keep knitting around and around in a circle and doing increase rounds (which all go [k1, yo], repeat) in the order the pattern tells you. If you can knit in a circle, you can make a Pi Shawl.

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I enjoy that this shawl is fairly simple to execute on a technical level, because what it is really asking of you is not so much skill as emotional commitment. Everyone I know who’s done one of these eventually gets to a point where it has become All Too Much and it feels like it’s never going to end. In my experience this also happens about right before the point when it feels like It Might Actually End After All, and then you reach down into the depths of your soul and pull out the momentum you need to get it done. And then you get a finished shawl.

Possibly the only part with any complexity is the knitted edging to finish it all, but even then it can be just garter stitch (I didn’t even do a selvedge slipped stitch at the edge, eh, I said and threw caution to the wind). Even if it’s a new skill for you there, it goes on for long enough that you’ve got plenty of time to get past the ‘hey this is a new thing’ phase to move into the ‘this has been going on forever when will it end’ phase, and then once again you’re basically back to the Perseverance > Technical Skill level. I enjoy that about Pi Shawls, I tells ya.

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Super great. Probably by fall I’ll be starting a new one. Maybe in chocolate brown. Or bright red. Or both. Or maybe I’ll start on square shawls instead of circles, just for variety. (I may need help).

I hope it’s pleasant summer weather where you are. I’ve been enjoying the environs of San Francisco this week (these Pi Shawl photos courtesy of a friend’s cabin in the mountains south of Tahoe, where it is gorgeous), and it has been sunny and mild and not nearly the stifling humidity of Southern Ontario – it’ll be a bit whimpery to head back on Monday. But a bit more vacation time shall be mine, first. Cue up the sock knitting in the mean time!

Happy shawl (or other projects) adventuring! Keep knitting and eventually they’ll get finished, as it turns out.

[P.S. - for those of you wondering how I wear a circular shawl, here's me with my 2nd one.]

 

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Pattern: Pi Shawl (July shawl), directions in Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, in ‘eggplant’ (3.5 skeins and 5.0mm needles yielded a 5’9″-ish wingspan circle)

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