I’ve always enjoyed looking at the stars. I grew up trying to identify constellations and learning about all of their backstories. When I first started hanging out with Lexsarch we spent a lot of time stargazing together (or as best we could in our light polluted city). So when I came across Audry Nicklin’s Celestarium, a pi shawl with an accurate view of the night sky from the North Pole mapped out in silver lined seed beads, I immediately wanted to make one of my own.

But I wanted to personalize it, so instead of the starchart mapped out in Celestarium, I mapped out the way the constellations looked on our anniversary in October, from the city we met in.

Astroviewer is the nifty program I used to generate my reference starchart. It allowed me to choose a date, location and even the time!

Along with this starchart, I just used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s famous recipe for a pi shawl. There are plenty of resources for this on the internet so I won’t go into detail here but in summary, it is based on the mathematical principle of circles that as the diameter doubles in length, the circumference also doubles. This creates an easy template where there are regularly spaced ‘increase rows’ where all stitches are increased to 2 stitches, but in between the increase rows there are the same number of stitches each row. Using some photoshop magic, I overlaid this simple template onto a starchart I created using the above pic as a reference and started knitting!

North in this picture is slightly rotated from the starchart in the previous image.

I used Loops and Threads Woollike yarn, an acrylic/nylon blend that drapes and feels wonderful, especially for a budget yarn from Michael’s. I also used three sizes of silver lined beads for three different categories of star magnitudes (which took a bit of research to figure out), and the crochet-hook method of adding beads to knitting. The lovely lace border comes from a shawl called Biophilia, which I immediately fell in love with and definitely plan on knitting one day. The 17 stitch repeat took some finagling to adapt into the round (and I had to rip once back to my lifeline–nearly a month’s worth of work), but it worked out in the end.

This project was also my first time steam blocking anything. I was concerned when I bound off the shawl because of how crinkled the lace turned out, but once it was pinned and steamed it opened up beautifully. The lumpiness around the increase rows was slightly harder to steam out, but after a couple tries I got it to lie flat for the picture.

Pinned out for blocking. Also my feet.

This shawl got frogged several time during its construction and ended up taking a few more months than I intended, but I can’t argue with the results. I look forward to wearing it once the heatwave in my part of the town ends!