Happy Pi Day, Everyone!
Today is 3/14, which happens to be the first three digits of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, roughly rounded off to 3.14159. (It’s actually a never-ending number that doesn’t repeat!) Pi Day is celebrated with round desserts, math geekery, and knitting. Why knitting? Behold the pi shawl!
Knitting legend Elizabeth Zimmerman was one of the first designers to discover the magic of pi shawls. Pi shawls have a unique pattern of increases: Instead of increasing on every row or every other row like you do with triangular or square shawls, you work a set number of rows even, then double the number of stitches in a single round.
When you work a shawl this way, it’s much easier to choose lace patterns; just select a stitch pattern with a repeat that works with your number of stitches, and plug it in! Because all your increases are worked in a single row, there’s no need to constantly count stitches or try to work increases into your lace pattern.
If you’re joining us for Interweave Yarn Fest, check out the Pi Shawl class from designer (and mathematician!) Kate Atherley. She will describe the formula for creating a pi shawl and will help you get started on one of your own.
(If you can’t make it to Yarn Fest, you’re in luck—you can watch her video from the comfort of your own home!) I’m actually working on one of her pi shawl designs at the moment, Rosetta Tharpe. It’s so easy to follow the charts when you don’t have to keep track of a changing stitch count!
Want to get started on a pi shawl today? Check out the Cherry Blossom Shawl for a lacy, ethereal shawl. A full circular shawl, it’s a great way to show off your knitting skills.
If you prefer something more solid and colorful, try the semi-circular Orangery Shawl. It’s designed to work with several colors of yarn, so you can make a shawl with a set of gradient yarns or use leftover sock yarn in a riot of colors.
Enjoy your pi shawl project, and while you’re at it, be sure to eat some pie.
Knit on, knifty knitters,