I've just wrapped up a pretty major project: a book about Custom Fit socks. I've shipped off the box of samples for photography, and mailed the manuscript to the editor, and so now it's time to work on something else for a while. (The publication date is the middle of next year, so I'll thank you in advance for your patience...) Between my book and some other design projects, I've knitted nothing but socks since November, and I was desperate to cast on something that wasn't socks.
So, firmly not socks... a Pi shawl design.
I've designed a couple of circular Pi shawls over the years... one using Shetland stitch patterns, and the epic Snowflower project, published in the now-defunct Yarn Forward Magazine in 2010 or so. Both samples have been lost, sadly. (The Snowflower was cashmere, too, damn it.)
I learned some important lessons with those two designs. I learned that the piece needs to be pretty big. Although Shetland Skies is pretty, it's a bit too small to be easily worn.
And I learned that if you're going to knit a big piece, if you use a laceweight yarn, you'll be at it for a while... the Snowflower sample took about three weeks of very dedicated knitting, and about 1200 yds of yarn.
But I also learned that I love the concept.
It's all based on the mathematical relationship between the radius and the circumference of the circle... hence "Pi".
Now, as Ms. Zimmermann says, you barely need a pattern for this thing... you start at the centre with 9 stitches, and there are only six shaping rounds. Every so often, you simple double the stitch count, with a round of (yo, k1). You can make a plain one, or a very simply patterned one. Or you can go to town, as I have done, and apply your own patterns.
This new version is an update... rethinking... extension... expansion... of the Snowflower concept. Although in a heavier yarn this time - indigodragonfly's earth-shatteringly delicious UberMerGoat merino cashmere DK weight, in Cumberbacchanal -- so hopefully it won't take quite as long.
Very happy with it so far.
As soon as the pattern is ready, I'll let you know.
And if you're interested in designing your own, I'm teaching a class on this at KnitCity in Vancouver this October.