Flicstar Studios

Textile artist

Lace Knit Pi Shawl

My challenge project for 2018: a circular shawl.

This is called Alistair’s Rose Pi Shawl, a free pattern on Ravelry. I used some beautiful 55% Merino/45% Silk yarn from Swish Yarns.

Thank the universe for craft bloggers! In the process of completing this project I relied on a number of blog posts to overcome specific crafting challenges.

On this page:

#1 How do you cast on a circular shawl?

Thanks to Anna Dalvi of Knit and Knag Designs for her Circular Shawl Cast-on post.

The pictures in her article told 1,000 words. I am pretty familiar with the magic loop start of a crochet circle, so this was pretty easy for me. To begin with, I used my ChiaGoo 9″ circulars (great for socks and sleeves!) and did the magic loop knitting method until it was big enough to work in the round, then I moved on to a longer cable. Over the course of this project I moved up cable lengths several times.

#2 How do you fix errors in lace knitting?

Oh my god, I dropped so many stitches in this thing without even knowing! I can only think that perhaps some of my k2togs didn’t pick up the second stitch. Not sure what happened, but I didn’t notice them at the time, I only came across them some rows after the fact. Luckily they hadn’t unraveled too far.

Thanks to Susanne Visch of La Visch Designs for her Fixing a mistake in lace knitting post. I used this helpful article to calm down and fix everything up.

#3 How do you block a circular lace shawl?

Thanks to By the Fibreside for the Finished: Event Horizon Pi Shawl. This was very helpful. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to approach blocking this shawl, so I felt fairly prepared when it was go-time.

I’d already decided to use our large, square outdoor table, and lay down a sandwich of picnic blanket, foam tiles and old sheet.

  1. I pinned the sheet down then marked the centre point.
  2. I measured the unblocked shawl and factored in an increase in size of 30%.
  3. Next I got a string and a pen, and drew a big circle on the sheet around the middle point.
  4. Then the usual soak and gently squeeze of the yarn and gradual pinning.
  5. I did 4 quarters to start then worked my way around – pinning the edge to my guideline. It worked really well.

It took me about an hour. The yarn dried in the afternoon sun very quickly and I was very pleased with the result.

#4 How do you wear a circular shawl?

The biggest question of all, answered very thoroughly by La Principessa in her How to wear a shawl post. Thank you!!

Turns out there are so many ways to wear this shawl. I am just scared of catching it on nails and sticky-outy things as I go past because that is the kind of thing I do.

This shawl feels lovely to wear, no matter how you do it. Very soft and warm! And it looks nice no matter how you fold it.

#5 How do you photograph lace knitting?

Thanks to Rebecca from the needle and spindle blog for her How to take a great shawl photograph post.

Okay, I didn’t really employ many of these techniques correctly but it was great to see how it should be done right.
This is a new challenge goal for me: to improve my knitting photography!

The story of the knit

The first part of this knit was really enjoyable. The charts were easy to read and going round and around with no purling is always a pleasure to me.

Unfortunately, the final two sections were less fun. The last pattern chart was supposed to be repeated seven times. Seven times!! After knitting for so many weeks and being (seemingly) so close to the finish line, there was no way I was going to do seven times. I think I managed twice. I did look at Ravelry projects and saw that the seven times really did finish off the design nicely, but still, I couldn’t bring myself to do it that many times because I was IMPATIENT for the end. Little did I know.

The final step on this shawl was to knit the edging. So you cast on 30 extra stitches and go back and forth, picking up a stitch every other row. The pattern repeat was sixteen rows, which means you’re only binding off 8 stitches for every instance. With over 500 stitches on the shawl to bind off, that was a lot of EXCRUCIATING knitting. I put the project down for several weeks because I was totally overwhelmed and the progress was so slow. But one long weekend on holiday was enough to help me break the back of it and then it was all downhill.

One skein was not quite enough to finished the project. I joined the next ball of yarn with a spit splice. I was not confident enough with the lace pattern to know how to weave in ends.

Would I knit another Pi shawl? Yeeeessss, I suppose so. But I would be careful to choose a pattern with a straight forward bind-off so that I could get to wearing it that much quicker!

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This entry was posted on 03/06/2019 by in Wearables and tagged , , , .

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