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Group Shawl: Is This a Plausible Project?

I would like to begin a healing shawl for my Quaker Meeting, a piece which many Friends will knit on and which will circulate among community members in need of comfort. I thought I would begin with a garter tab, establish increases, and then other knitters will choose yarn from their stashes or mine and knit sections in turn. I’m hoping that even non-knitters might try a part of a row or two, and I may begin with our children (we do have at least 2 who knit already, Waldorf schoolers).

I’m planning to begin with aran weight yarn on size 10 1/2 needles, the smallest I can currently use without setting off carpal tunnel symptoms. I figure this will work with worsted to chunky weight yarns. I imagine stripes ranging from garter stitch to textured stitches to lace, depending on each knitter’s interests and experience.

I’d like a shape closer to a half circle than one with long ends and could use help to figure out how to do this. I usually increase at edges and spine on right-side rows, then edges only on the way back. Maybe edge increases right-side only, too?

I would appreciate hearing from others who have done group projects. Does this seem like a doable plan? Many thanks!

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Sounds like you want a half-pi shawl. Elizabeth Zimmermann did a pi shawl originally for her Knitters Almanac. Check with your local library or Schoolhouse Press (now in the hands of EZ’s daughter Meg and grandson Cully).

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Thank you, I wondered if I was thinking of a half-pi. At one time I had many EZ books but I let some go in a major move. I remember reading about half-pis. I’ll check my bookshelf and our library catalog.

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Unless all the knitters are quite advanced, perhaps a rectangular shape would be easier for a group project?

If you cast on 48 stitches, that would allow a variety of pattern repeats : 2 sts, 3sts, 4 sts, 6 sts, 8 sts, or 12 sts. So you might end up with quite a nice variety of individual patterns in the shawl.

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Hmm, I’ll consult with other knitters in Meeting. My thought was that new knitters would be working with me and those who would take the shawl home would understand about the increases.

But a rectangle might be good because then someone newly inspired could keep going. Thank you for this suggestion.

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I wondered about the half-pi because of the number of plain rows/rounds between increase rows. I.E. double your stitches and then work twice as many rows/rounds as between the previous 2 increase rows/rounds. Results- lots of just plain work back and forth or around as appropriate.

This is such a lovely idea. Group projects are really fun and very meaningful.

I would suggest that you pick a specific yarn and set a gauge. Pick something that is readily available and reasonably priced. Perhaps something that you have a good chunk of already in your stash that you could share out with people who either don’t have any or don’t have the means to buy some new yarn.

There’s a lovely download available somewhere on this site about the “Old Shale” pattern. Of course I can’t find it right now but I do have a copy that I am happy to forward to you if you DM me your email (that goes for anyone who wants it–it’s a free download so no copyright issues). It would be very easy to do a rectangle (just make sure you have a garter border so it doesn’t curl) and people can choose their color and they’re pattern to maintain their identity in the project.

Have fun and keep us all posted!

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If this shawl turns out too wild, or inspires us in a big way, we might try something more uniform in yarn and pattern. I’m offering some Imperial Columbia in teal and some Noro Cashiroha in bright eggplant. I have some brighter purple boucle, too, and some multi boucle that might appeal to someone in small quantities. I haven’t seen the assortment another f/Friend has dropped off.