Saturday, February 20, 2010

You're getting veeery sleeeepyyyy...

This spiral block is one of the crochet designs I'm using for a block swap I'm involved in. The other swappers liked the design so well, they asked if I had a pattern I could share with them. I don't, really, though if you can crochet a flat circle, I can tell you generally how I did it. Again, this isn't a pattern, so much as a guideline, and you do have to have at least a little experience with crochet to do this.

Start with a large slip knot, either color, doesn't matter. Into the loop of the slip knot, sc, hdc, 4dc. Pull your working loop large, and drop it off the hook. Attach the second color after the last dc (I just made a small slip knot, like you would start a chain with, and brought it through the loop from the back, then started working around the loop.). Repeat the same sc, hdc, 4dc in the loop. Pull the loop tight.

Now, still with the second color, work 2dc in each stitch of the first color. Enlarge and drop the loop, pick up the first color, pull the loop back down to working size, and work 2dc into 6 stitches of color 2.

So, at this point, you should have a center with 6 stitches of each color, and the first round of the spiral with 12 stitches of each color, with the colors ending on opposite sides of the spiral. From here, you just work flat, taking one color to the end of the other, and count the stitches you make, then take the other color to the opposite side of the spiral, making the same number of stitches in the same increase pattern.

When the spiral is almost as large as you want it, measure it across the ends of the spiral arms (we'll call this the X axis) and perpendicular to that (the Y axis). You will find that it's slightly larger across the X axis. Mine was about a half inch difference, much less than the height of 2 rows of dc. (Remember that what you do with one color you also do with the other, so each round increases the size by 2 rows.) What you have to do is work until you're about 6 stitches away from the narrowest point. Then work 4 hdc, 4 sc (this is going across the narrowest point), then 4 slp st, and stop, but don't break off yet. Repeat for the other color, also not breaking off yet. (Unless you're not making a block. This would be a nice design to make in a heavy natural fibre for trivets and coasters.)

As for turning a round spiral into a block, this is actually the hardest part to figure out. Count the stitches around your motif. Divide that by 4. Now take a good look at the edge of the piece, and decide how many stitches could reasonably be considered straight enough to be part of the edge of the block (we'll call this number N). Subtract N from your previous number. This is how many stitches need to be enclosed in a corner.

Decide how many sections of mesh you want to work into this area. A number that divides evenly, or within one stitch of even, is good. I made three sections worked over about 18 stitches total, each section worked over 6 stitches.

It gets a little confusing here. If you read slowly and work along with the instructions, I think you'll be okay.

From the end of one spiral arm, chain 1 or 2 more than the number of stitches that the first section is worked over, preferably an odd number of chains. (I chained 7) Join to the spiral at the appropriate place (6th stitch, for me), then repeat this until the last section. On the last section, chain half as many, then work a tall stitch to match the height of the chain (I worked a treble stitch), placing this stitch in the last stitch of the spiral to which the corner is attached.

Turn the work, chain a section of mesh, join to the middle of the next chain loop, continue to the last section, and work the last section as before, with the tall last stitch. You'll work 1 fewer sections of mesh than the previous row. Continue like this until you make a single last mesh section in the corner. Bind off.

Remember "N"? Count N around the spiral from the end of the mesh, join, and make another mesh corner. Then pick up the yarn from the other spiral arm and do it all again.

That's it. Please ask any questions in the comments here, so that others may learn from the answers as well. I'd love to see your interpretations of this pattern!

[Credit where it's due: Photo by S. Kelley]