Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tilted Pi Shawl

It's not like I've been keeping this project a secret (there have been pictures on Instagram), but sometimes I finish a project before I get a chance to write about it!

So what we have here is a story with the beginning, middle, and end all in one post. :)

When I finished spinning the three colours of Malabrigo Nube fiber I had, I started to look around for a project to use it in. I mentioned that I was looking at the Briochealicious Shawl but I was worried about having enough yarn and it didn't show off the coloured yarn enough for what I wanted with these yarns.

After looking around at a bunch of shawl patterns and evaluating what I was looking for, I decided to do my own Pi Shawl. The Pi Shawl was so named by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It actually has nothing to do with the value of Pi--the key was realizing that the diameter (or radius) of a circle is directly related to the circumference. Which means if the radius doubles, the circumference doubles.

So Elizabeth explained that if you double your stitches every time the radius doubled, you will end up with a circle with no more complicated calculations needed. This basic idea has released an explosion of designs. By doubling the stitches (easily done with a K1, YO repeat) on rows 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc, you were guaranteed a circular shape. For most shawls you don't get very far past row 64, so the whole shawl requires no more than six shaping rows. This is revolutionary stuff, folks!

Of course this only works because knitting is stretchy and malleable. You certainly couldn't use this shaping for something made in fabric. The most basic shawl would be stocking stitch with eyelet rows at the increase rows only. But you could do any stitch pattern in each section, as long as the gauge was the same.

For the stitch pattern, I decided to do more than the basic, but to still keep it simple--I added eyelets every six rows. This is a very simple lace design and the increase rows blend into the entire pattern.

I got started with the Archangel colourway. After one false try, I ended up doing eight eyelet sections in the first colour. That meant the first row of the neutral colour was an increase row. Since the neutral was a little thinner than the Archangel, the increase flowed very nicely.
When I was looking at patterns, I was very intrigued by the ones that used asymmetrical shaping to play with stripes. I liked the asymmetry but I wanted to end up with a regular half circle shape, so I played around with short rows:
You can see above that the first colour is symmetrical but after that the neutral and Azules (blue) stripes are wider on the right than on the left.

After that pictures was taken, I ended up ripping back a ways to adjust the width of the last two stripes. I was considering the look that I wanted, controlling the final size, and having enough yarn because the width of these stripes would determine how wide the following stripes would be. After the Azules would come the Lavanda colour and the final stripe would be over a lot more stitches. I didn't want to run out after just a few rows and have a skinny bit of colour at the end!

The second try looked better so I continued on.
You got a glance of the shawl in progress in my Squam post. It was the project I worked on the most at Squam. It was too big for the plane (where I worked on my long socks) but it was perfect for sitting around with other people--fairly simple and a pleasure to knit.

Not long after getting back, I finished the knitting. I had enough of the Lavanda to do the length of the shawl, but ran out while doing the hem that would be folded under. No problem, I thought.
I know the last stripe looks blue in this pic (and some following),
but it is the Lavanda.
I'll use some of the Archangel from the top of the shawl and it will just be a little pop of colour if the shawl edge flips up.
At the beginning, I wasn't sure how I was going to finish the shawl edge. I knew the  main concern would be to keep it from curling up. I had thought about an Icord edging all around the shawl, but when I thought about a folded picot hem, I decided it was the perfect finish to go with the eyelets in the rest of the shawl.

There weren't any clear areas in the house where I could lay out  a project for blocking, but I realized there was a corner of the office I could clear out and it worked great.
You can clearly see the asymmetry in this shot. The last stripe actually got wider than the middle stripe, but at some point I decided to just knit out the last colour because I didn't want the shawl to be too short.

Blocking was made a lot easier with my blocking wires.
The straight edges were easy with the rigid wires, but the real key was inserting the flexible wires. Since it was a folded hem, I could run the wires between the layers and easily pull out all of the picot points. Perfect!

Once it was blocked, I hung it up for some beauty shots. But the wind started blowing so it seemed a video might be better.
I love how the eyelet rows make even concentric circles but the colour seems to shift on top of them. To me, the colours look almost blended, like the colours were dyed after the shawl was knit. I like how knitters who notice are going to think, "What? How did she do that?"

The shawl sits nicely on my shoulders and doesn't want to fall off.
I think the length is nice, covering my entire back. The asymmetry can be seen but it's not really obvious.

It hangs naturally straight down the front, like an open cardigan.
The asymmetry is much more obvious from the front as the stripes don't match up.

I can throw one edge over my shoulder if I want to be covered up front as well.
But it will take a shawl pin to keep it there.

You can't photograph a shawl without a twirling picture. :)
And you have to have a full view over outstretched arms.
Look at some shawl patterns. You'll see it's required.

I also tried it with the ends tied behind my back.
This would keep the shawl secure.

From the back, you don't see the knot (but I would feel it behind me if I were sitting).
If I pull the shawl up just a bit and fold under the centre, it makes a nice warm "collar" at the back of my neck.
Project Stats
: 26 May '17
Finished: 17 Jun '17
Pattern: Adaptation of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl
Materials: Handspun Malabrigo Nube (Archangel 64g, Azules 63g, Lavanda 113g); Garnstudio DROPS lace (88g leftover from another project)

The Knitty Gritty:
I started with 5 stitches so the shawl would be a little more than half a circle. (4 sts would give a half circle.)
Increase to 10 stitches on row 2
Increase to 20 stitches on row 4
Rows 1-4 were considered the first eyelet section. Continue to make eyelets every 6th row.
I measured shaping increases by eyelet sections instead of rows:
Increase after 2nd eyelet section (row 10) (40 sts)
Increase after 4th eyelet section (row 22) (80 sts)
Increase after 8th eyelet section (row 46) (160 sts)
Increase after 16th eyelet section (row 94) (320 sts)

Work the first eight eyelet sections in colour A (Archangel).
Switch to colour D (neutral) and work 1 row (increase row).
Work short rows as follows:
Purl 6, slip 6, turn.
Wrap the first stitch on the right needle with the working yarn and return wrapped stitch to right needle (it is not worked), making sure not to pull the working yarn too tight. K12, securing yarn float you work first 6 sts. (*See description below if needed.)
Purl 18, slip 6, turn.
Wrap the first stitch on the right needle with the working yarn, K24, securing yarn float over first 6 sts.
Continue in this manner working 6 additional sts on every row, making sure to do eyelet rows as each section reaches 6 rows high.
Once you have worked across all stitches, work straight for one eyelet section. You will work across all stitches each row but you will still have to do the eyelet pattern by section. You will not be able to do an eyelet row across all sts.

Switch to colour B (Azules) and work short rows the same as neutral section.
Once you are working all stitches with B, continue working all stitches for 4 eyelet sections.
At some point in this colour, you will have to start working the last increase row, section by section.
For each section of 6 sts, when you work the eyelet row, work (K1, YO) 3 times to increase to 12 sts in that section.
For short rows, you will now have to work an additional 12 sts on each row. Note that in the same row, you will be working 6-st sections and 12-st sections. I suggest judicial use of markers!

Switch to colour D.
Work short rows as above but make sure to start on the skinny side of the previous stripes so that you begin to balance the shawl's shape.
Continue increase sections as before.
Once you are working all stitches with D, continue working all stitches for one eyelet section.

Switch to colour C (Lavanda) and work short rows as above, starting at the same edge as previous section.
Since the increase row is complete, each section is 12 sts.
Once you are working all stitches with C, you should be "caught up" with the short rows so that each eyelet row can now be made across one row.
Work even for 4 eyelet sections or to desired length.
After final eyelet row, work three rows.
Bind off.

For hem, fold on final eyelet row and stitch bind off edge to back of shawl.

Weave in ends.
*Securing yarn float:
Work 1 st as normal; insert needle for next st, put yarn float over tip of right needle, work next st, passing working yarn under yarn float as you make stitch. Repeat.
Depending on yarn and project, you can secure yarn float every 2nd, 3rd, or 4th st as needed. I chose every 2nd stitch for this project so the float would be picked up above eyelets and not be visible.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have an idea of how many yards I would need to do this shawl? Thanks!


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