Easy Pi Shawl Knitting

A half-pi (half-circle) shawl is one of the simplest shawl constructions to work. They are worked by doubling the number of stitches each time you’ve doubled the number of rows.

Increases are made all at once in one row, so it’s easy to maintain stitch patterns between increase rows.

Let’s Get Started:

As for all shawls, you’ll want to knit fairly loosely to give your fabric drape. Choose a needle 2-3 needle sizes bigger than your ball band suggests. You can get a very nicely sized half-pi shawl with two 400-yard skeins of fingering weight yarn, and needles somewhere between a US 3 (3.25 mm) and US 5 (3.75 mm). Choose a needle size that gives you a fabric you like.

Abbreviations:

  • k: Knit
  • kfb: knit into the front and back of the same stitch
  • p: Purl
  • pm: place marker
  • rep: repeat
  • RS: Right Side
  • st(s): stitch(es)
  • sm: slip marker
  • WS: wrong side
  • yo: yarn over

Step 1: Garter Tab Cast On

Cast on 3 sts. Knit 7 rows. (or 2 rows for every stitch you want to pick up, plus 1 more row)

Row 1 (RS): K3, turn work 90-degrees and pick up and knit 3 sts along edge (I pick up in the garter bumps), turn work 90-degrees, and pick up and knit 3 sts along cast on edge. 9 sts

Row 2 (WS): K3, P3, K3.

It doesn’t look like much, but this 9-stitch “garter tab” is the beginning of your shawl. The first and last 3 stitches of each row form a garter stitch edging; they will always be knit stitches. The body of the shawl grows from the 3 center stitches. Place markers between edging and body stitches to help you remember to knit the edge stitches. You can adjust the number of body stitches to work with your intended stitch pattern, and you can work in any stitch pattern you like. We’re going to work our sample in garter stitch (knit right and wrong side rows), to keep it simple.

Step 2: Begin Working Body of Shawl

Row 3 (RS): K3, pm, yo, kfb, yo, k1, yo, kfb, yo, pm, k3. 15 sts total; 9 stitches in center body, plus 3 sts at the beginning and end of each row for garter stitch edging

Note: Slip markers on all subsequent rows.

Rows 4 – 6: Knit all stitches. (3 rows worked)

Row 7: K3, sm, *k1, yo; rep from * to marker, sm, k3. 24 sts total; 18 stitches in center body, plus 3 sts at the beginning and end of each row for garter stitch edging

You can see that we’re beginning to get a curve after that last increase row.

Rows 8 – 14: Knit all stitches. (6 +1 rows worked, the extra row is so our increases can be on RS rows)

Row 15: K3, sm, *yo, k1; rep from * to marker, sm, k3. 42 sts total; 36 stitches in center body, plus 3 sts at the beginning and end of each row for garter stitch edging

Step 3: Add Even More Curve

Rows 16 – 28: Knit all stitches. (12 + 1 rows worked)

Row 29: K3, sm, *k1, yo; rep from * to marker, sm, k3. 78 sts total; 72 stitches in center body, plus 3 sts at the beginning and end of each row for garter stitch edging

Row 30 – 54: Knit all stitches. (24 + 1 rows worked)

Row 55: K3, sm, *yo, k1; rep from * to marker, sm, k3. 150 sts total; 144 stitches in center body, plus 3 sts at the beginning and end of each row for garter stitch edging

Rows 56 – 104: Knit all stitches. (48 + 1 rows worked)

Row 105: K3, sm, *k1, yo; rep from * to marker, sm, k3. 294 sts total; 288 stitches in center body, plus 3 sts at the beginning and end of each row for garter stitch edging 288 sts.

Step 4: Carry on!

You can end any time after this, or you can work 97 rows and increase again. It doesn’t have to be precise; you can fudge a few rows in either direction if you’re in the middle of a pattern repeat and need to finish your rows.

Finish your shawl with a pretty edging; your choices are limitless!

Related Videos: How to Work the Garter Tab Cast On, Half Pi Shawl Math Basics, Knit a Garter Stitch Half Pi Shawl

Discussion
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20 Responses to “Easy Pi Shawl Knitting”
  1. Christina Frauli
    Christina Frauli

    If you get a half Pi shawl, and once you increase it to the size you want, if you continue on and do decreases in the same way, will you end up with a circle or would it be wonky?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Christina,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      You would not end up with a circle, it would get wonky. It is possible to knit a full pi shawl, which makes a circle. The math is the same as the half pi shawl. You would start with a small number of stitches and then join in the round. You would work in the round, working the increases in the same increments as described for the half pi shawl. The pi shawl actually came before the half pi shawl!

      If you have any additional questions, please email or contact Customer Service at 1-833-622-6523.

      Sincerely,

      Lindsay
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  2. Natalie
    Natalie

    I will probably ask questions…knitting first time in a long while. You will probably get tired of hearings from me but Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Nancy Kuefler
    Nancy Kuefler

    And I don’t see the flower stitch in the directions. Is this the directions to make this exact shall, or just a general pattern for how to increase to create this shape?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Nancy!
      Here is what our experts had to say: The post is for the general pattern for how to increase for this shawl shape. The shawl shown in the first photo is available for purchase here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/half-the-knit-sky

      Let us know if other questions come up by emailing or calling at 1-833-622-6523.

      Sincerely,
      Codi
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  4. Marie denney
    Marie denney

    I too am going to attempt to make this pattern but am a little. Nervous because I haven’t knit with a circular needle in Yeats I am a little intimidated by them along with also using the do needlrs

    Reply
  5. Susan Anderson-Wilcox
    Susan Anderson-Wilcox

    Looks great! What length of circular needle do you recommend?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Susan,

      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:

      It’s really personal preference. I would use at least a 32” circular, but if the shawl gets really big, I might switch to a 40” circular. Happy knitting!

      Sincerely,
      Sarah
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Beverly,

      Thank you for contacting us. Are you referring to signing up for the membership? If so yes you will need a billing address.

      This is for members to our online community. We do have a $2.34 annual entrance offer if you are interested? This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Below is the link to join if you are interested: https://go.knittingcircle.com/C30158

      Sincerely,
      Sarah
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Maureen,

      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:
      Absolutely! I would maintain a garter stitch edge (knitting on both right and wrong sides) for the first and last 3-4 stitches to help prevent rolling. But working the rest of the shawl in Stockinette stitch will be beautiful!

      Jen
      The Knitting Circle Expert

      Reply
  6. Doris Dippel
    Doris Dippel

    This is a welcome pattern. Thank you! Elizabeth Zimmerman invented this shawl, but I never saw it explained this way. How nice!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Pat,

      The shawl is Half the Knit Sky by Michele Lee Bernstein, and you can find the pattern here: https://pdxknitterati.com/patterns/patterns-shawls-and-wraps/half-the-knit-sky/

      The yarn she used for the particular sample shown in the blog post is:

      Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Kettle Dye, color 26694 Delphinium

      Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Speckle, color Blueberry Speckle

      I believe the white is also a Knit Picks fingering weight yarn.

      Jen
      TKC Expert

      Reply