Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

What Shawl I Knit?

Dear Ann,

The results are in. In the last 48 hours, I’ve looked at a large, rich assortment of  beautiful shawls to knit for my young friend’s wedding. (Note: not necessarily to be worn at the wedding, but in honor of the occasion.)  It was an awesome group curation project.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to dig a link for me.  You are the wind beneath my wings, and the chains on my spinning tires.

The shawl I will be knitting is Leaves of Grass, by Jared Flood  It’s a pi shawl.  I’ve heard pi shawls are easy.  (I’ve also heard that pi shawls are EZ.) (Knitting joke!) EZ herself recommended pi shawls for mindless knitting during long journeys.  The charts for this one look straightforward, and I set great store by the Brooklyn Tweed brand, for clarity, comprehensiveness, and not messing with my head when I’m knitting on deadline.  The beginning will be touch-and-go, until I get off the DPNs and onto the blacktop.

I’m excited to learn what all the noise is about with the pi shawls.   (Here is the version that sold me on Leaves of Grass as bride-worthy, by SupaSteph of San Antonio.)

My chosen yarn is a 50/50 merino/silk laceweight, Juniper Moon Farm Findley.  I’m choosing between 3 ever-whiter shades of pale: Dove, Fresco and…White. (The Juniper Moon Farm color namer took a day off apparently–White? not Chalk? Alabaster? Oxyclean?)  All three are on the way, and the two shades that don’t make the Leaves of Grass cut (grass joke!) will go to the contest winners.  Bonus: these look like easy colors to overdye, if pales are not your thing. Indigo pot anyone?  I halfway think this bride, who has access to an indigo vat through her job, will end up dyeing her Leaves of Grass.  I would not disapprove of that one little bit.

Contest Winners:  Deb  left the first comment to suggest Leaves of Grass, and Mary Anne  won the random drawing. Deb and Mary Anne, check your email so I can get your details and pay my debt to society.

And now, while we wait for Webs to ring the doorbell (I sprang for the 1 day shipping, so it should be here any minute), let’s look at some lopapeysas in the great outdoors, shall we?

American Icelandic.


Lopi Gothic.


Sweaters:  Riddari (left), Verur (right). Photos:  Joseph Bergmann.  Styling, and being good sports: Kristin and Justin Stone.  (Next time I’m making them recreate the lopapeysa version of  Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe.  The fun never stops with Aunt Kay.)



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  1. Like the shawl you picked. Like the Icelandic sweaters more.

    Important question: What do you (or your loved ones) wear under a lopapeysa? (I made one that I love, but those pesky Icelandic fibers seem to be able to find their way through anything I put on under it.)

  2. Man oh man are those sweaters gorgeous. I think I have to make one now.

  3. Dear Kay,
    Once again you inspire all of us! Thank you!

  4. I’m the lucky Mary Anne, and I’m just beside myself with giddiness at my great fortune! Thanks so much, Kay…I have emailed you. What a generous thing for you to do. I’ll treasure those lovely skeins.

    • Congratulations, Mary Anne!


  5. Wow, that’s a lovely shawl. Knit on!

    Findley is beautiful yarn, and the fact that it comes already wound in a nice center-pull ball is the kicker. There is nothing as tedious as winding 1500 yards (almost a mile!) of lace-weight yarn.

  6. I knitted Leaves of Grass last year and I love it. It is so beautiful. I used a sock weight yarn in an effort to get a little larger version of the shawl. You are right that the dpns at the beginning are tricky but once you get past that it is a joy to knit! Good luck with yours!

    • Lovely choice! made all the better by learning that the yarn choice already lives in center pull balls.

      The name reminded me of something that played a role in the run up to my own wedding. From Walt Whitman’s, “Song of the Open Road”, published in “Leaves of Grass”:

      “Camerado, I give you my hand!
      I give you my love more precious than money,
      I give you myself before preaching or law;
      Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
      Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”

      There is great symbolism in Pi as well-since it just goes on into infinity, as we all hope to experience love.

      • Oh Gerri- Such beautiful poerltry! Thank you so very much for sharing it, and for your comment about Pi. It’s all so apropos for a wedding. Also, I think perhaps (am not 100% sure) that in “Leaves of Grass”, Whitman wrote, “we are the journeywork of the stars”. Well, anyway, your comments went straight to my poet’s heart, which is coming to life once more aftervover 5 years of writers block. Thanks again.


  7. This is beautiful, and I’m always happy to see people knitting with gorgeous Juniper Moon yarn. In my mind I imagine using this as a precious baby shawl in future & the idea just makes me melt.

    Reading the above comments made me wish I could click the love(1) button.

    Thanks for making me laugh – love the humorous American Gothic set-up!

    Have tons of fun with the shawl!

  8. Pi shawl is a classic – great choice. Absolutely love your lopapeysas and the photos. Your previous lopapeysa posts were motivating, but this one pushed it to the head of queue. . . let the color choices begin.

  9. Props to Joseph for the photos! They tell the story–Kristin has a murderous streak, and she wields a shovel in style.
    Admiring your shawl choice, in a million years I wouldn’t nominate that for a deadline knitting project…but..I am not in your league for knitgrit.

  10. Instead of a Lopapysa Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, you should restage it as a Leaves of Grass one, with Kristin bathing under the shawl instead wearing a chemise – and after the shoot it will be ready to block! Or perhaps a more interesting restaging: *Justin* in frothy silk/merino lace in the stream, Kristin sprawled on the grass …

  11. That is similar to a favorite wedding shawl I’ve seen, but I’m with Gale, I avoided the pi variety as it would never be deadline knitting for me!!!! Love the sweaters and cannot wait to see the shawl!

  12. Well the Lopi Gothic just made my day a little more awesome 🙂

    I also want to high five you for actually planning for over-dyeing at some point. That just makes it all the more special I think.

  13. Great choice for a pi shawl. It will be lovely. I have made 2 pi shawls although not this particular one. The directions on Ravelry say a 32 in circ. I recommend also a longer one as when you get out towards the ending, that 32 in needle may leave you with your entire shawl so bunched up in the middle that it is difficult. Plus there will be many many stitches on it at that time. A 40 or even a 60 in needle becomes good at some point. I love lifelines made with #12 purl cotton. they make me feel safe.

  14. Love love love it all!!! May I suggest starting on two circulars? Or magic loop? I prefer any and all methods of knitting in the round to dpns. But, then, maybe that’s just me. 🙂

  15. Lovely choice, Kay! Definitely bride-worthy. Also, really nice to see Joseph’s creative photography (as well as the subjects). Cool. Very cool.

    I can hardly wait to see the shawl….which brings me to a thought: I wonder if we will we see the shawl before the wedding. Isn’t that bad luck, or something?

    Knit on!


  16. (This post is) Another reason I read MDK while having my morning coffee. I’m introduced to a wide world of knitting and knitters with a side of humor, too. Love you ladies 🙂

  17. I drop by for the knitting news, I stay for the love. (And I come back for shawl&saree progress!!) xoxo de la belle province

  18. Kind of excited that even though you didn’t choose my shawl you chose the yarn I recommended! Yay!!

  19. The sweaters are gorgeous—as are the photos themselves. In my natural habitat, you would see the sweaters at WalMart and the grocery store—alas, my life is not Rowan-level rustic or glamorous.

  20. I love that you share the projects, patterns, yarn choices and photos!

  21. Thanks for the pics of the finished lopis. I love those colors–and the fun photo shoot! You may be single-handedly starting an American lopi fad — certainly playing a contributing role.
    Oh the romanticism, the poetry, the complexity of that beautiful pi shawl. The comments, so sweet, you’ll have to share those with the bride and groom! Good luck with the knitting–I have faith that you can get it done.

  22. LOVE the photo styling and the colors in the sweaters! What a beautiful shawl. I like those because you can throw it over a table, wrap a baby up, arrange it on a chair, or wear it as a shawl! It’s HUGE!!!!

  23. Go you! It would take me a decade to make that intricate shawl…

  24. Oh the Icelandic sweaters! I have been dreaming of making one since this post was posted. Been drooling over it on ravelry and all for a week now. What colorways make up that there handsome Riddari, Kay? I was sweating over picking the colors when I figured I could just copy you and be much happier than if I tried to dream up some color combination myself using the computer monitor.

  25. Unrelated to the Lopis or the shawl issue, I want to thank you for your link at the top of the blog to that charming article about Laurie Colwin. I read and copied her Gourmet articles when she was publishing them and I cook from the two collections all the time. Her Gingerbread (goosed in my kitchen with even more spices) is the dessert that I am required to bring to almost all dessert-y functions. Her slow-roasted chicken is a staple at the Casa Chez DiGiovanni House. Yes, her food articles and recipes are exactly like having your friend in the kitchen with you. Why haven’t more of the Gourmet articles been republished in book form? That’s what we need.

    The novels and short stories are pretty darn good, too.


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