June Pi Shawl

June is a travel month.

Well, that’s not quite right. July is the travel month according to Elizabeth Zimmerman, and June is an exam month according to me.

Even after 4 years of university, I am still not used to the summer holidays starting at the end of May. And I’m sure just as I start getting used to it, I’ll start work and summer holidays will be a thing of the past. In the past few years I’ve stayed firmly in the UK and haven’t travelled. But now, armed with my passport and the fruits of working the past few summers, I am off!

Today is the dreaded day before we leave. It has been full of the last minute preparations. As per usual, I have already packed. When I was a child, I had to be convinced not to pack months in advance. My mum told me that I once got out the suitcases in February for a holiday in July. Mum, meanwhile, will pack anywhere up to 10 minutes before leaving. The horror!

But in packing, I realised something. I do not need to bring more yarn than there are waking minutes in the time that I am away for. That may have been obvious to you, but I originally had planned to bring nearly 4000m of yarn.

I am not the Flash, I knit at roughly the same speed as everyone else.

It was pure crazypants.

It’s like I worry about running out of yarn and having to do something horrible like read a book or play cards. Sheepishly today I’ve realised that even on holiday I only need two projects, and if I miraculously finish both then reading a book is not the worst idea.

The project I am most excited is a pi shawl. I first discovered these in a book I love, the Knitters Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Each chapter corresponds to a month of the year, as you would expect from an almanac. The chapters are filled with stories which flow seamlessly into knitting patterns. July has a ‘recipe’ for a pi shawl.

I cannot dream to be as friendly and witty as she, but a modified pattern for a pi shawl will be given below. It is slightly different from the one she gives but the core of the idea is hers.
The basic idea is this:

when we have doubled the number of rows, we need to double the number of stitches.

It is as simple as that.


It is a perfect project for travelling. It is large enough to give you plenty to work on and simple enough to pick up at any moment. You can add more lace or cable details than I have included below but if you just need plain stockinette that works too.

I am going for a plain stockinette version as I am using hand dyed by kate’s Watermelon Shawl gradient. I have two skeins of the yarn so I shall start working helical stripes to blend the two yarns together.

I could not spot a free pattern which shows a simple pi shawl in practice so I wrote one up (mostly for my own benefit)!

You can find the pattern as a free pdf here.

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