1/2 Pi Shawl


Firstly, I should say that although I have given this post a ‘Pattern’ label, it is really just a ‘how-to’ showing how to make a semi circular shawl using lace patterns of your choice. It is not a step by step pattern. I like knitting shawls this way because it gets quicker and quicker as you go on but if the instructions below look like gobbledygook this is probably not for you! Likewise, if you are a beginner knitter or unfamiliar with knitting lace patterns it may not the best project for you to start with and I would suggest trying out some swatches of lace patterns first.

Secondly, (in case anyone isn’t put off already!) I should say I have made all of these shawls with 100% wool yarn. When they are finished they can be a bit scrumpled so I wash them then lay them flat and reshape and leave them to dry. A proper blocking would be even better. I can’t guarantee how this would work with other fibres such as cotton/acrylic/bamboo.

Use the needle size recommended on your yarn band and this will allow you to calculate the finished shawl size. The number of rows you knit will be equal to half the length of the garter stitch border. If you need more rows than outlined below, it is important to work the extra rows at the beginning.

These shawls are based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pi shawl. My shawls are semi-circular and I begin at the bottom edge (circumference) so I am working towards the centre and the number of stitches + the number of rows decrease as I go.


Please read ALL the instructions below fully before you begin.

Cast on 398st.

Knit 7 stitches, place maker, work 384st from your chosen lace pattern, place maker, K7.

[For help with choosing lace pattern repeats: 384 = 128×3 or 96×4 or 64×6 or 48×8 or 32×12 or 24×16 If you need to add or lose a stitch or two to get your lace pattern symmetrical just increase or decrease to the number you need and adjust to bring your work back to the right number of stitches in the ‘knit 2tog rows’ at the beginning of each section]

From now on work the outer band – the 7 stitches before the first marker and the 7 stitches after the last marker – in garter stitch.

At the same time, work the sections indicated below in lace patterns of your choice.

On the first row of each section: K7 stitches (before the first marker), K2tog until last marker, K7 stitches.

In the shawls shown, I have put in a band of garter stitch rows at the beginning of each section (where you knit 2tog across the row).

* * * * *
section          rows          stitches
 1                     40+            384
 2                     64              192
 3                     32              96
 4                     16              48
 5                     8                24
 6                     4                12
 7                     2                6
 8                     1                3

Final row: K7, work 3 stitches tog, K7.

Cast off knitwise knitting the three centre stitches together as you go.

Join garter stitch band in centre.

Janine @ Rainbow Hare
Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 12.38.07Wool on Sundays will be back tomorrow :)

9 thoughts on “1/2 Pi Shawl

  1. Sharmayne

    Oh my gosh Janine, this is awesome!!! I absolutely love the idea of beginning at the widest part since that’s when you are usually more excited to begin and getting smaller as it goes along – perfect!!, I’ll definately be giving this a try! I’ll have to have a look at some lace patterns to see what ones I might use. I love all 3 shawls you have here!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Wool on Sundays – 148 (After Christmas) – Rainbow Hare

  3. sunrisewalker

    Wow! Just wow! I love your shawls and thank you for the tutorial. A friend recently told me to look up 1/2 Pi shawls, and that you can fit ANY lace pattern in that you want. First I looked in my all time favorite book from EZ, the Knitter’s Almanac, and got excited, then googled, 1/2 Pi and found you. I’m wondering, are the shawls pictured done in fingering weight? And how big are they?
    Thanks for the inspiration!


    1. Janine @ Rainbow Hare

      Thank you. The dark blue shawl is 4ply (I think fingering weight) and the others are in dk (I think worsted). I have gifted the shawls and don’t have measurements but if you look on the band of your yarn it will suggest a needle size and give a tension gauge – usually how many stitches and rows over 4″ or 10cm. If you use the needle size recommended on your yarn band this will allow you to calculate the finished shawl size. The number of rows you knit will be equal to half the length of the garter stitch border (the straight border). If you need more rows than outlined above, it is important to work the extra rows at the beginning, Best Wishes, Janine :)


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