I'm not understanding something...it must be mathematical or scientific in its application!
I'm thinking about making another Pi shawl as a gift. I finished mine recently, and used some 100% wool worsted weight yarn. I love it, but it's VERY heavy...over 2 pounds! I wanted it to be extra warm (and it is!), but it's a bit bulky because you wear the circular Pi shawl doubled.
Elizabeth Zimmermann recommends using a laceweight yarn to make this shawl, and recommends the needle size anywhere from a US size 7-10½ (recommended gauge is about 3 sts per 1"; says gauge should be loose), and says you need about 12 oz. of laceweight yarn. She doesn't give any yardages, but based off of KnitPicks' laceweight yarn line (their laceweight yarns are 50g hanks yielding 440 yards each), this would mean I'd need to buy 7 skeins to give me 12 ounces of yarn (well, actually, 12-1/3 ounces, which is about 3,080 yards).
I've knitted up gauge swatches before of laceweight yarn on the larger needles, and it always looks like a loopy mess to me, even after I block it. I just can't believe that this is how knitted lace is intended to look...I'm not happy with the result. The thought of buying a bunch of laceweight yarn, working up this large shawl, and having it be all loopy and sloppy looking makes me want to cry. But I have to admit that the thought of making another 2½ pound shawl in worsted weight yarn as a gift, with it being so bulky, doesn't appeal to me. I really wanted the end result to be more delicate. My worsted weight shawl used about 2,119 yards of yarn and I used a US size 10½ needle to make mine, but there are people on Ravelry that used half that amount of yarn in laceweight to make theirs, and with a smaller needle, no less. How is it possible for you to use less yarn with smaller needles and get the same size shawl? Again, I know this must be scientific or mathematic, because I'm stumped as to the way this can be possible. I was browsing quickly through the book "Knit So Fine
" at my local bookstore last night and they touched on this very topic; I wish I would've read a bit closer at how this is possible but I was in a rush.