Mom’s Pi Shawl

Well, here I am, back in the USA! I’ve been here in Maine, my home state, since June 23rd. I have the entire month of July to be surrounded by my native language, to visit family and friends, and to enjoy the hot summer weather. I’ve had plenty of time for barbecues, get togethers with friends, nieces and nephews, excursions, and even some knitting! Now that the 4th of July holiday is over I’ve had a lot of time for knitting, actually. I’ve been working on my friend’s leg warmers quite incessantly.

My mother’s birthday happens to be on July 4th. When I found out months ago that I would be able to return to the United States after two years of living my expat life I decided that I wanted to knit something special for her. I then remembered Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Pi Shawl” pattern from her Knitter’s Almanac. I’ve probably spent my entire life trying to find an excuse and the time to make it. Usually I’ve managed to find lots of excuses not to make it: the intended wearers don’t do shawls. Somehow I figured Mom would wear a shawl in the winter. When she saw it she actually said it was exactly what she wanted.

The Pi shawl is the circular surprise I mentioned in my blog post in which I exalted the marvelousness of summer and the time for knitting productivity it provides me. I started the shawl in May and knit it like mad. Round and round I went for two months in any spare moment I had. I didn’t finish it before arriving to the USA. I knit on the plane, I knit it on the bus from the airport, and I knit it at Mom’s house. I even blocked it at Mom’s house, right on the living room floor, on plenty of towels, of course:

What a horribly gray, humid day it was when I washed and blocked this 70″ mega shawl! 
The true gloriousness of Zimmerman’s Pi shawl is, as with all her patterns, the room for creativity she inspires the knitter with. This pattern comes with many suggestions and options. I went for the instructions for the “plain shawl” and added a K3-yarn-over fagoting on the outer rounds to make the shawl look like a big sun with its numerous rays of light. The edging is Zimmerman’s clever “sideways garter stitch” edging which is not only simple but extremely beautiful. I altered her pattern a bit to fit my four-stitches-per-inch gauge (her pattern calls for 3). 

My choice of color, a deep pinkish rose, was no accident. It’s Mom’s favorite color. This shawl has eleven balls of Mondiale extra fine merino knitted into it.

The center begins with just nine stitches cast on in the round invisibly. Mine ended with over a thousand stitches.

Here’s the center:

And now I shall go to bed, thinking about other people in my life who might like a shawl. It was so much fun to make this one that I wish to get started on another as soon as I possibly can! There are just so many possible design variations to try!


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