I knit my first pi shawl in 2006, and had grand plans of doing the beautiful patterned one in the Knitter's Almanac. However, after many many problems with deciphering the pattern and getting the stitches to work, I cast it aside and instead opted for the simpler concentric circles one.
It's amazing what a fresh eye (and a better understanding of EZ) can do. I sat down yesterday and attempted to figure out what I was doing wrong the last time, pulled out a calculator, and figured it out. You see, when EZ says, "K5, *YO, K2tog, K57*, ending with K5, she really means "K5, *YO, K2tog, Kx to last 59 stitches, ending row with YO, K2tog, K5." That was my hangup. I was trying to do the full repeat at the end and squeeze the "ending with k5" into stitches that just weren't there, no matter what the math. Dumb, dumb, dumb mistake.
The yarn is Helen's Laces in the Black Purl colorway, and so far I love the way it's knitting up. This shawl is not destined for my shoulders, but rather for a silent auction at my husband's school in two months. They have a huge fundraiser for the school, and he's pitched my lace work for an item to be auctioned. I opted for this colorway simply because of its dark purples -- the winner can immediately drape it over her little black dress (the school is CHILLY!)
To repeat: Heaven help me.