Friday, December 13, 2013

A Journey through Spirals: Part One

A while ago I decided I wanted to try doing spirals.  I of course went to ravelry to find out how to do it.

 The first pattern I found was for a hexagonal blanket.  I grabbed some I Love this Yarn from my stash and got busy.  The initial few rounds are a little awkward, as usual with spirals, but once the work is established it is very quick and particularly mindless.
I had decided that I wanted another round blanket for my bed, so I planned on making it fairly large.  I was a little worried about having enough yarn to finish the project when I started.  I only had 3 skeins of pink and 2 skeins of coffee.  However, this pattern does not eat yarn.  The finished blanket only took 1.5 skeins of each color, much less than I had expected.

One problem however, is that a hexagon is not really round.  It is in fact angular with 6 well-defined sides.  Also, I wanted to make the spirals wider.  So, I wasn't really satisfied with this pattern as a round spiral pattern.  I again went looking on ravelry.  This time I found a pattern for a 12-sided blanket using 4 skeins at a time.  This pattern delivered by smoothing out the edges and doubling the width of the spirals.  I used Bernat Baby Coordinates in White and Funny Print, where each color started 2 of the spirals.

However, this pattern is not mindless.  The beginning 9 rounds are all different, and care must be paid to ensure a good result.  Also, throughout the piece, there are 4 skeins of yarn attached at once.  Managing these skeins so that they don't end up a colossal mess of tangled yarn is a difficult, frustrating task.  The finished baby blanket is beautiful, but, at least to me, not worth the headache.

There had to be a way to make this simpler.  I went back to ravelry and found another pattern. This one also was for a 12 sided blanket, but it is much more consistent throughout and only uses 2 skeins at once.  The spirals are not as wide as the previous pattern, but it's not a headache either.  I studied this pattern, but did not decide to actually make it.  Instead, using the knowledge of spirals I had gained from my previous attempts, I came up with my own pattern.  The problem with spirals is the beginning.  Once you get started it is simple and mindless.  So, I redesigned the middle and grew the pattern the same way this pattern did.

Here are the principles I used:
1. To be flat, an initial circle needs 6 sc or 12 dc
2. To have a gradual transition from the first round to the second, the stitches need to get gradually taller in the first round.
3. There will be 12 sides, so there need to be 12 stitches initially.

Here's the result:
Round 1: Ch 2, sc, hdc x2, dc x3 in 2nd chain from hook with color A. Attach color B and sc, hdc x2, dc x3 in same space.
Round 2: (dc, ch 1) in each stitch
Round 3: (2 dc, ch 1) in each stitch
Round 4: dc in each stitch until last dc of the side, (2 dc, ch 1) in last dc of side
Repeat Round 4 for pattern until work reaches desired size.
This pattern makes sense to me, so I think it's easy.  Hopefully this makes sense to other people too.  I used Bernat Baby Coordinates in Tangerine Dream and Funny Prints to make this baby blanket.


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  2. My husband has been bugging me to make him a blanket all winter... I find square blankets to be monotonous and boring to make. However, I love this pattern. Crocheting in the round is so much easier, enjoyable, and quicker for me. I do have a few questions though.
    1. When do you switch colors after the initial base round?
    2. What size hook did you use?
    3. In round 4, what do you mean by "side"? From the picture it seems there is an increase of one DC for each round, although I am not sure how you determine when to make that increase.
    4. Do you join your rounds, or do you just keep going? I am no expert, but it seems to me a stitch marker could be helpful in determining where to start the increase (relates to question 3).
    I will get started on this pattern and hopefully as I work, I will be able to answer some of my own questions! Until then, I await your reply.

    Thank you!

    1. In answer to your questions:
      1. You crochet with a color until you can't crochet with it anymore without using the other color. Color A serves as the base for Color B. You'll run out of Color A to crochet on, so you'll switch back to it.
      2. Hook size doesn't really matter for this, but I used a J hook, my favorite.
      3. The pattern I've written is actually for a 12 sided shape. As it gets bigger you'll be able to see the sides. The side ends with 2 dc in the last stitch, followed by the ch 1 space. Look at the ch 1 space to show you the sides.
      4. I don't join the rounds, I just keep going, which is the beauty of this pattern. It's totally mindless (at least after you've gotten it started): no need to turn, count stitches, or use stitch markers.

      Happy Yarn Crafting!

    2. I use stitch markers to help keep the yarn color currently not in use from unravelling.

      It might help with figuring the colors to think of it more like this.
      Round 1 with A. Round 1 with B. Round 2 with B. Round 2 with A. Round 3 with A. Round 3 with B. Like Sarah said, you keep going with your current color until you run out of the row below it.

      The sides are each repeat of that part of the round. Round 2, each side is "dc, ch 1." Round 3, each side is "2dc, ch 1." Round 4, each side is "dc, 2dc, ch1." Round 5, each side will be "dc, dc, 2dc, ch 1." You'll do six repeats or sides with each color to make that round.