The Anatomy of a Spiral
For a long time, designing the perfect spiral eluded me. I just couldn't seem to get them right. Sure, I could follow a pattern all-right, but DESIGNING a spiral confused me. I'd get lost on which row I was supposed to be working on and almost always ended up frogging anything that I had managed to do out of sheer frustration.
As usual, I like to be a little difficult and wanted a spiral with more than the usual three or four colours.
I wanted a spiral with eight colours. Again, I went in search of a pattern or image to work from (I'd rather not reinvent the wheel) but found NOTHING. :(
Being the geek that I am, I've searched high and low for information about the anatomy of a crochet spiral- and the mathematics behind it all, but alas, I kept finding complicated equations for Hyperbolic crochet (not very practical for blankets or garments really - with the exception of a few cool ideas bouncing around in this nutty head of mine - and the Fibonacci theory; none of which really makes sense unless you are AWESOME at algebra and geometry and can understand what all of those weird little symbols mean.
I searched for patterns, tutorials and numbers and finally came across something that made the anatomy of a spiral "CLICK". Ahhh! So that's it!
I eventually found a tutorial from the amazing Elisabeth Wetsch of Nadelspiel , (a German knit and crochet cooperative) of a spiral granny square. which is a really cool take on the 'circle to square' that I had been playing with last week. The video is in Deutsch and my German is VERY rudimentary - I only had one year of lessons when I was in the 7th grade and that was a long time ago now. However, my language skills were good enough for me understand most of the video, for what I couldn't understand I just had to wing it.
So I reverted to my mathematics again.
But where to start????
No, no, don't run away.... I couldn't understand anything unless the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle applied to everything - All of the sums you need to do are very basic. If you know your times tables and/or can use a calculator, you'll be just fine.
Decide how many colours you want in your spiral.
In my case, I wanted 8 colours.
My first number is 8.
You will need a foundation circle to get you started. You need 3 stitches in your foundation circle for every colour you want to use.
Multiply the number of colours by 3.
In my case: 8 x 3 = 24
The stitch count of my foundation circle needs to be 24.
Make your foundation circle, applying the law of circle to ensure you get off to a good start.
In my case, I used a Magic Circle,
Row 1: 12 SC
Row 2: [INC, SC] x 6 (18sc)
Row 3: [INC, SC x 2] x 6 (24 sc) slst to join.
Now, you will notice in almost any pattern that calls for a spiral, the first 2 or three stitches are shorter than the rest. This is why I used Single Crochet as my foundation circle. The increase in the height of the stitches gives the spiral the 'lift' it needs to get out of being a plain old circle.
Regardless of how many colours you have chosen, using the equation above for your foundation circle, when colours are added, each colour is worked in the same manner.
Row 4: Section 1 - first colour (same as your foundation circle) *Ch 1, SC, HDC, 2DC into next stitch, place a stitch marker or pull up your loop so that stitches are not dropped *
For all additional sections/colours - join new colour into same st as 2DC using slst, then repeat **
I used 8 colours, so each section in Row 4 is repeated 8 times.
This is the foundation circle with the first coloured row (row 4).
Hahaha I know I know - you can only see 6 colours right??? Look closer. I used the white and rainbow yarn twice! :)
This is the really cool part. You remember the Law of Circle? Increase (inc), 1, increase, 2, increase 3 etc. etc...
It STILL applies to the spiral!
What had me confused (before it clicked) was the differentiation between the increase for each section and how it just didn't seem to fit.
We finished our first coloured row on an INCREASE, and this is our first round that builds upon the spiral, so each section in your following round should start with ONE stitch into the ch 1 sp, then an INCREASE, then One stitch into the next stitch. I'll give you the example again using the 8 colour spiral.
Row 5: *2HDC, DC into next st, 2DC into next st,* repeat ** eight (8) times (5 st in each colour)
See how we are applying the law of circle? inc, 1, inc, 1?
Row 6: *DC into next st, 2DC into next stitch, DC into next 2st's, 2DC into next* repeat ** eight (8) times (7 st in each colour)
See how we are applying the law of circle? inc, 2, inc, 2?
Continue in this manner for as long as you like.
Remember that your rows are worked on top of one another, so you if you want to check your work, count on a single colour line the spaces between each increase. Your spiral should literally have from the first coloured row to the last (excluding your short stitches), the law of circles applied. You should have 1, inc, 2, inc, 3, inc, 4, inc, 5, inc, etc... all on the one colour.
Can you see on the image below?
Looking at the while row and counting backwards from the last increase, there are 5 double crochet's before another increase. Keep going backwards, you will see that there will be 4 Double Crochet before the next increase.
When you have finished your spiral, as you work the last row, slowly step down using shorter stitches to bring the spiral back to a true circle. For example, if your next row needs 20 stitch in each colour, work 10 stitches in your tallest stitches (DC in the case of the 8 colour spiral), then 5 stitches in the next shortest stitch (HDC) then the last 5 stitch in SC, slst to join.
HINT: The only real problem you might incur when working in a spiral, is the entangled trap you set for yourself as you spin your work around! The yarn works itself around each other and can in some cases get so bad that you'll need to cut and rejoin your yarn if you aren't careful.
Don't forget I love to see your work, so if this information has been useful and you have created something special, why not share your work on my Facebook page (there is a link at the top right of this page)?