Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pi Shawl Come True

Kim often calls me "girlie girl," and for a long time, despite my belief that Sephora = Mecca, my penchant for jewelry, my not having seen my actual hair color in 30 years, and yes, even my very profession, I have always brushed her off. But I no longer can: I have succumbed to ruffles.

I started this shawl in January 2009, as the first project of my Zimmermania class (a class that pays homage to Elizabeth Zimmermann, the knitter with the biggest cult following of all time).

I told the class that they were to use this simple project as their go-to project--something easy that they could just pick up anytime, anywhere, and it would last them a year in between other projects. And that's how I treated it.

Till this month. Suddenly, it seemed time to get it finished, even though my year wasn't quite up.

The shawl could not be easier to knit. It is just a big circle (with increases based on ... pi!) But it takes a long time and has a lot of stitches. (Warning: Do not read the next two sentences if you are in the middle of a pi shawl.) I've calculated that with the way I made it, the body of the shawl had about 44,000 stitches. The ruffle, just under 15,000. (To make the ruffle, I cast on 15, went up, caught a stitch on the edge, went back down 15, went back up 11, went down 11, went back up 15 and caught a stitch, down 15, etc.--576 times.)

I went through just under 5 skeins of Kureyon sock yarn--probably about 2100 yards of yarn--to make this baby (I used 3 different colorways, and mixed 'em up).

Let's estimate that it takes me about 3 seconds on average to make a stitch. (I'm no Miriam Tegels.) If you do the math, you'll realize that with only 50 hours of knitting, this shawl can be yours.

And you know what? If I had it to do over again, I would change .... absolutely nothing.

Thank you, Elizabeth Zimmermann, for giving so many knitters so many opportunities to have so much fun.