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.


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.



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,Β 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.



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 withΒ my 2nd one.]



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)




  1. […] at: So it turns out that after just ten months of entirely undedicated and sporadic (mostly in movie […]

  2. Just lovely! And you’re so right about perseverance. It’s marathon knitting, for sure. πŸ™‚

  3. That colourway is so good! I would like to see photos of you wearing the pi shawl. I like them, but how do you wear them? I don’t get how they work.

  4. Caitlyn M. · ·

    I think I’d go mad knitting a Pi Shawl, which means I’ll probably knit two. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the reminder about knitting perseverance. I’m working on a top-down sweater that I had to rip out twice (from the underarms back to the cast on and from the waist back to the underarms). Now that I’ve made it to the bottom hem, the bands and sleeves don’t feel so bad, like I’m Almost There. But I know once I get part way through a sleeve with another to go and sewing buttons to boot, I’ll be back to despairing that It Will Never End. I will cling to your wisdom and the promise of new knits to come. Happy weekend!

  5. Suzanne · ·

    I’m with Bossyfemme. I don’t see how one wears what is basically a round tablecloth. It’s gorgeous, but I don’t see the advantage of a circle over a semi-circular or triangular shape.

  6. That is huge! Pretty mindless I suppose. Always wanted to make one. Might actually do one later this year. You’ve inspired me.

  7. Maringouin · ·

    One of the nice challenges is to use the knitted-on garter-stitch edging to practice knitting back and forth without turning your work. It’s a useful skill for those long shawl edgings. Thanks for this: I’ve put a Pi shawl on my list of Things To Knit, but I might work out a semi-circle version. Can’t be all that hard.

  8. Beautiful colour and pattern!

  9. Wow, I really like that! I’m not sure if I would actually wear it though is the problem. Is it ok to just knit shawls to hold when you get home after a long hard day?

  10. I think this is absolutely beautiful……classic and elegant.

  11. Jennifer · ·

    Amazing! I’ve been looking for something to make from Handmaiden’s Sea Silk and this might be it ——- depending on the size given the HUGE price of the yarn! But I have to have that Sea Silk and I will ………..

  12. stunning!!!! and to think, you will do it again!??!!!

  13. This is just beautiful! You and your lovely pi shawls have inspired in me pi shawl lust. I believe I am infected. πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to knit one of my own!

  14. Lovely! This would work beautifully in white for a baby blanket πŸ™‚ beautiful work!

  15. Wow! Such gorgeous work and I love the color you chose!

  16. I just cast on for a half-circle version. Love it!

  17. Nice!!! I just BO on one of those never-ending projects, although seeing how much bigger your shawl is, I’m thinking I shouldn’t have fussed so much!

  18. Gorgeous! I’ve never done a pi shawl, might have to add it to the to-do list.

  19. Amber Marie · ·

    Just ran across you’re blog, well written from the one I’ve read as of yet. Question of sorts though. I live in Phoenix, and it appears that one would wear it doubled over. Is it comfortable, or is there some design feature that I’m unaware of?

  20. Amber Marie · ·

    Hope to receive a response from you, unlike many of your colleagues. We shall see, my e-mail for this type of thing is Happy Knitting to all. Amber

  21. This project looks so huge! I think if I ever make one, I’d have to do it in lace-weight to suit my height-challenged figure. No humidity here in Kingston, ON to speak of; we seem to benefit from breezes off the lake. Strangely, my daughter, who is working in the San Francisco area (at Google) for the summer tells me that the temperature there is about the same as here. I always imagined that the farther south, the hotter the weather, but I was wrong (not the first time!)

  22. It’s lovely!!! Elizabeth would enjoy any knitter saying “eh” and throwing care to the wind!!!

  23. oh wow, how stunning! Beautiful!

  24. You’ve got me looking through my stash! We are leaving for a three-week trip to Europe. I was planning on taking sock knitting but now you’ve got me thinking, “Pi Shawl”. πŸ™‚

    Congratulations! Your shawl is stunning!

  25. Loving it, such a fab idea.

  26. How you wear a Pi Shawl depends on how big it is, and what part of you gets cold, doesn’t it? When I’m cold I need something that covers my upper arms from below the shoulders to the elbows. I know many people who fold a full Pi over ‘not quite half way’ and wear it that way. I’m thinking a half or three-quarter pi would probably be the way for me to go (thus making the same yardage of yarn go ‘deeper’). But then I don’t mind purling at all. Some people do.

  27. I wanted one. Then I saw this and now I REALLY want one. Thank you.

  28. I’m in that “will it ever end” stage of knitting my patchwork blanket…in hindsight perhaps aiming for queen size was a bit ambitious! I love this colour and I think it would also be great in a huge size so that it draped over your arms too!

  29. I had never heard of the Pi shawl until I discovered your blog a few weeks ago. Now, I am in the midst of the interminable knitted edging on one of my own. (having found the book at the library and dyed enough sock yarn) As mostly an accessory knitter, this represents a long tern commitment for me, but i am going to love it! Thank you! Thank you! (I’m already thinking about yarn for #2.)

  30. Thank you for the link to how to wear it! Your shawl is gorgeous!! I got down to the end of the post wondering, “ok, so how do you wear one?” and then you answered the question for me! πŸ˜€ Beautiful!!

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