How To Wear A Shawl

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally finished my frickin’ Pi Shawl. This shawl was developed by knitting legend Elizabeth Zimmermann. The basic concept is that, as the number of rows doubles, so does the number of stitches. This formula makes it super easy to come up with a perfectly round shawl. I’m neither a math whiz nor a knitting genius, so I can’t explain why it works … but it does. If you’re curious about it, read Zimmermann’s explanation in Knitter’s Almanac, or, failing that, have a math nerd explain it to you. Alternatively, you can just do what I do: ignore the whys and wherefores and focus on the knitting part.

I love this pattern for several reasons. One, it’s incredibly simple to keep track of. The version I did is just plain knitting, around and around and around, with lacy false increase rows interspersed with the real increase rows. Two, it’s quite versatile and customizable. If you don’t do the false increase rows, you end up with large swathes of plain knitting that are perfect for inserting lace patterns into. Or you can just keep it simple and plain; it’s beautiful regardless.

It’s also very easy to wear. I think a lot of knitters shy away from shawls because they don’t know when, where, or how to wear them, which is a damn shame. Shawls somehow have a reputation for being fancy schmancy evening formal wear, but they don’t have to be. I wear them everywhere: to work, to the grocery store, around the house, you name it. I’m bringing shawls back, dammit. And as for how, well, there are ever so many possibilities!

You can wear it standard granny style, of course–cuter and more unique than a cardigan (not that I don’t love cardigans).

You can wear it like a poncho. I find that this is the warmest configuration. It’s like a mitten for your torso.

You can fold it in half and tie it around your shoulders in the front.

You can tie it under your arms in the back and wear it like a shrug.

You can fold it over just a little bit and wear it like a big dramatic cape.

And of course, when you’re done wearing it, you can pretend to be a bullfighter. At least that’s what appears to be going on here.

See? So many possibilities!

However you plan to wear it, if you’re looking for a simple circular shawl pattern, I highly recommend this one. The “official” pattern is in Knitter’s Almanac, but a Google search should point you in the direction of a basic Pi Shawl recipe. Knitting this was so much fun, and I’m so impressed with the results, that I’m seriously considering turning right around and starting another one. Oh, and the yarn is Dream in Color Baby in Gothic Rose.

In other yarn-related news, I’m currently working on a triangular scarf in Malabrigo sock yarn. Last night I came across a bit of vegetable matter lodged firmly in the yarn that had somehow made it through the spinning and dyeing processes. It came out with a little gentle tugging, and I was impressed to see how well it had taken the dye.

Pretty! And poke-y!

Published in: on December 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. 1. Very, very pretty, particularly as a poncho look!
    2. Color coordinating sockies, too, I see!
    3. It looks suspiciously like some sun was poking through the clouds…..rain done for a time?

    • 1. Thanks!
      2. Yep. Probably shouldn’t be wearing them out and about with no shoes, but oh well!
      3. Ha! It WAS done, then it started up again last night and is still raining at the moment.

  2. Very pretty! I love the color!

  3. Ugh, I NEED a Pi shawl. But in my defense, until yours, the only ones I’d seen finished were kind of, um, not that cute. Thanks for setting me straight on that.

    • You’re ever so welcome! I’d been fairly unimpressed with the ones I’d seen too, but I saw one with false increase rows every 12 rows on Ravelry and that did it!

  4. […] how to wear a pi shawl. So many options! […]

  5. […] – now that I think of it, maybe that’s where the name came from? Here’s another link about how to wear circular shawls by Principessa Grassa, who knitted up EZ’s Pi Shawl. The […]

  6. How do you fold the first two ways of wearing the shawl? Very pretty!

  7. […] biggest question of all, answered very thoroughly by La Principessa in her How to wear a shawl post. Thank […]

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