My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Time to Swatch

Here’s a pattern for a lace swatch that you can knit to try out your yarn for the Shetland Pi Shawl:

Using the needle size you plan to use for your shawl, loosely cast on 24 stitches. Knit 3 rows. Start the pattern:

Row 1: K 3, [yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1] 3 times, k3

Row 2: K3, p 18, k3

Row 3: K3, [k1, yo, sl 1 k2tog, psso, yo, k2] 3 times, k3

Row 4: K3, p 18, k3

Work these 4 rows 5 times, for a total of 20 rows worked. Knit 3 rows, then bind off knitwise.

And for those who like charts, here is a chart of the swatch pattern (remember to work the knit rows as described above before and after working the chart rows):

And here is a list of what the abbreviations mean:

K – knit
K2tog – knit 2 together
P – purl
PSSO – pass slipped stitch over
Sl – slip
SSK – Slip one stitch as if to knit, then slip the next stitch as if to purl. Insert left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together from this position (through the back loops)
YO – yarnover

Okay, so I knit up my swatch for my Shetland Pi Shawl in my yarn of choice. Here it is, pre-blocking:

There is a garter stitch edging all around the swatch. The lace portion of the swatch (not including the garter stitch) is 18 stitches wide by 20 rows high, and it measures 3.75″ across and 2.75″ high.

Now, let’s block it.

I’ve put it in the sink in warm water with a squirt of woolwash added to the water and let it soak for a few minutes.

I then rinsed with clear warm water and gently squeezed the swatch to remove excess water. Then I pinned it out on one of my foam squares.

I’ve stretched it out enough to open the pattern up nicely, as you can see.

I could have stretched it out more, but I like the way it looks now.

Pinned out, my blocked lace now measures almost 5″ wide by 4″ tall (excluding the garter stitch borders).


My row gauge after blocking is 5 rows per inch. There are around 165 rounds in the shawl, give or take a round. Divide that by the number of rows per inch and you get 33″ — and that is approximately half the diameter of the completed shawl. The actual finished size of the shawl will be bigger, because the swatch grew quite a bit in width as well. I’m not sure how much that will affect the final size, but I’ll find out when I finish.

Meanwhile, Lucy is having a stand-off with her fuzzy rat.


  1. My money is on Lucy! The swatch is beautiful can’t wait to see your finished shawl!

  2. Wendy, I can’t begin to thank you enough. You have given such detailed instructions and even on how to block. Thank You so very much.

  3. Shirley. in PA says:

    How beautiful. I wasn’t sure I want to knit such an ambitious project but now, seeing your pretty swatch, I’m in.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I have a ridiculous lace knitting fear but pattern does not look too scary too me. I’m going to give it a try!! I’m very excited. Thanks again,

  5. Oooh, I must go stash diving and see what I can find for this. 🙂

  6. Go, Lucy, go!

    I will have to wait to swatch until after this weekend. It’s going to be too insane to do anything else before then (deadlines).
    .-= Seanna Lea´s last blog ..10 Tuesday – from the vegetarians =-.

  7. I am excited to join you in the Shetland Pi Shawl KAL. Several years ago, I knit a Pi shawl using EZ’s suggestions. I have knit several of your sock patterns, and am currently working on the Finer Peace sock.

  8. Aussie Rosemary says:

    Hope other things don’t get in the way and time permits me to keep up. I am so looking forward to this and have already done a swatch.

  9. Beth Wilson says:

    Is that EVER gorgeous yarn !!!!

    I ordered Kauni after you did your blue/ browns shawl and wondering that will work….
    I’m not a ferocious knitter and have the habit of having many projects going at once …. but I’m gonna do it !!

  10. Get it Lucy!!

  11. My money’s on Lucy. LOL. I’m going to do the swatch tomorrow. Thank you for so much detail. I went Stash Picking and came up with some silk/rayon mix from Heritage Yarns (no longer in business, I believe) in the Tallahatchee Bridge colorway

    There’s about 1,000 yds and the suggested needle is #5. I hope I have enough.

  12. My swatch is too big! Should I go down a size or two in needles? Do we want to match your gauge? In other words, if I use a fingering weight yarn and the gauge is off, will the end result look terrible? I know this sounds awfully inexperienced (which is exactly what I am!).

  13. I’m going to give it a try. I knitting through my first sock, not pair, but sock. with all its holes and droped stitches. this is a practice sock. Am getting better as I go. Using your book for this. I’m going to jump in and do the shawl too.. How else to learn except with a great teacher and others working on the same project. Will have to order my yarn on line (love road trips – – drive to Dallas) No yarn shops in my town. Sounds lilke fun just hope I can keep up. Sounds great

  14. Thanks for the instructions – but a dive in my stash made me order my yarn yesterday – hope it will arrive at the weekend at the latest! Hope I can keep up – thank for the kal!

  15. Gorgeous swatch! Looking forward to seeing the progressing shawl. 😀
    .-= Daniele´s last blog ..I Started!! =-.

  16. You’re a great teacher, Wendy!

  17. Can’t wait to make my swatch. I am going to try a double strand of a multicolored fuzzy yarn.

  18. I’m a little late (not bad) but I will be doing the KAL.

  19. Christine says:

    OMG! I’ve been knitting socks (in supreme learning mode) night and day, thought I’d take a break and look on your blog….A SHAWL!!!!!! with surprises and unknown knitting with you and others.

    I’m in heaven and might never clean again… least for a few weeks.

    hope someone feeds me.

  20. Swatch? SWATCH? Oh OK, I’m sure it will be worth it. Now all I need is some yarn to swatch with. =)
    .-= April´s last blog ..Famous At Last =-.

  21. I’m working on a simple Pi shawl at the moment I’m half way through the rows of increase 2??. Can’t remember the number of stitches oh well. I’ve got to find something to knit with so I can jump into yours too. Thank you for doing this. It’s a great way to agknowledge EZ’s birthday and it’s going to be so much fun.

  22. I’ll follow everyone’s progress, but I think I want to the do 100th anniversary PI first, and I have some lovely yarn in the mail right now, on it’s way to me. But then who knows, I could change my mind at any given moment and join in with you. cause I”m like that when it comes to knitting. Lovely pattern by the way, if I don’t do it now, it will definately go into my queue.

  23. Well, count me in! I love your Talisman Shawl pattern, so I know I’ll love this as well. Thanks for planning and executing this challenge – I know it’s a lot of work for you. It will keep all of us entertained for quite some time! Thanks! Sandy

  24. Theresa in Italy says:

    Lucy can take on a rat any time. Thanks for the details on the swatching—you are such a good teacher!

  25. Ok, swatched and blocked. But not blocked as severly as yours. I may er-block and stretch a bit more. I’m not sure which fabric I’ll like best, but I won’t know until I try, right? Posting pics on the Rav thread for the Pi shawl.

  26. …I can not r-e-s-i-s-t. Off to find the perfect yarn!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Baby things go so fast =-.

  27. Cindy Upholzer says:

    I am amazed as the amount of knitting Wendy can accomplish in such a short time. Not to mention taking care of a home, job and adorable kitty. I am joining this KAL and I hope to have this be the first one I will finish. I have
    swatched, washed and blocked. My swatch is 3 1/2 by 4 1/2, will this be a problem?


  1. […] joining in on Wendy D. Johnson’s (aka Wendy Knits) Shetland Pi Shawl KAL. I’m currently swatching using some very pretty purple laceweight yarn. I don’t like the needles I’m using, so […]