How does pi shawl shaping work?

The geometry of pi shawls is only possible because of the stretchiness of knitting. That is, the ratio between the diameter and the circumference is constrained by math, but the ability to work large sections without increasing is only allowed because the knitting is malleable.

Basic Pi Shawl: For a basic pi shawl, each section is twice as deep as the previous section, and each section has twice as many stitches as the previous section, which means the inner sections go quickly but as you move toward the outer edge, the final sections take a long time. In fact, when you are on the last section, you have up to 3/4 of the knitting left!

Here’s the basic increase sequence, which would continue to 576 sts, which can be worked for up to 96 rounds before the border.

Pi Shawl Shaping 1



In my Diamond Rings shawl design, the classic pi shawl shaping is used with a different lace pattern in each section. The only increases that are used to shape the shawl occur between patterns where the number of stitches is doubled at the intervals specified above.

Pi Shawl Shaping 2


In my For the Love of Vincent shawl design, when you get to the outer portion, there are no more increases! The total number of 576 has been reached and now you just enjoy knitting the two fun lace patterns that form the outer rays, or the leaves, of the sunflower. This whole section is straight knitting and looks like it has increases just because the outer portion stretches out wider than the inner portion.

Pi Shawl Shaping 3


For my Frost on my Window and Emily’s Winter Wonderland designs, increases are worked into the patterns throughout in a way that depends less on the stretch of the knitting to block flat. There is no perpendicular border added on, but the shaping on the edging are a natural result of the arrangements of increases and decreases in the outer pattern.

Pi Shawl Shaping 4



All of these patterns, and more, are in my ebook 3.14159 shawls, available on Ravelry.

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