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Shawl Shaping 101: Top-Down Half Pi

This Top-Down Half Pi is a variation of the pi shawl, is started at the top and worked down. The increase rows follow the same principle as the full pi shawl: the increase rows double the number of stitches on the needles worked at intervals based on the circle’s mysterious relationship to its radius. The most significant difference with this shawl is that it’s worked flat, not in the round. Because of this, you’ll need to add edge stitches to your shawl.

An applied lace bind-off looks fantastic with this shawl shape and adds additional elegance to a beautifully shaped shawl!


Shaping rule:

 As the diameter of the circle doubles, the circumference does too.


Formula:

 1. Determine the desired radius of your shawl.

 2. Measure the row gauge of a blocked gauge swatch.

 3. Determine how many rows to work: Multiply the desired radius by row gauge.

 4. Determine the final number of stitches: Keep track of your increase rows—every time you work one, you will be doubling the stitch count, not including your edge stitches. Remember to add those edge stitches back in for your final count.

 

Example:

 1. I want to knit a pi-shawl that is 72″ / 183 cm across (36″ / 91.5 cm radius).

 2. Blocked gauge: 6 stitches and 8 rows in 1″ (2.5 cm).

 3. Rows to work: 36″ (radius) x 8 (row gauge) = 288 rows.


Pattern:

Note: My sample uses a YO for the increase, but you may choose to use whichever one stitch increase you prefer for this shawl.

 

Work a garter tab. (9 stitches on needle)

Increase row: *K1, increase; repeat from * to last stitch, k1. (8 stitches increased; 17 total stitches)

Work 3 rows, no increases.

Increase row: K3, *increase, k1; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2. (12 stitches increased; 29 total stitches)

Work 7 rows, no increases.

Increase row: K3, *increase, k1; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2. (24 stitches increased; 53 total stitches)

Work 15 rows, no increases.

Increase row: K3, *increase, k1; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2. (48 stitches increased; 101 total stitches)

Work 31 rows, no increases.

Increase row: K3, *increase, k1; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2. (96 stitches increased; 197 total stitches)

Work 63 rows, no increases.

Increase row: K3, *increase, k1; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2. (192 stitches increased; 389 total stitches)

 

Work until the desired radius has been obtained. Work a stretchy bind-off so you can block any lace into shape.

TIP: If you’re a tight knitter, going up a needle size or two can help a lot with binding off.

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