17 December 2007

Spiraling out of control

Ok, I really did not mean to get wrapped up in how many different ways there are to create a spiral in pattern. In my defense, I did mention the perfectionism at the start. After many tries, I have here a pattern that I am willing to post. And many, many comments to go with it.

There are several ways to start a center. I hadn't realized how many. The example in natural uses a 7st center. The very first row is in seed st. Unfortunately, the seed st is somewhat obscured by the increases in the second round.

Another variant (at right, in magenta), uses an 8 st center. The first row is all knit, and the seed st is not established until the increase round.

Both of these beginnings involve merely wrapping the yarn around a knitting needle and then threading the loose end back through with a tapestry needle. This makes a beginning that looks exactly the same as an ending -- i.e. an end bit of yarn runs through all the loose loops and pulls them together into one tight little bind.

Last time I posted an example that used Thom Christoph's circular beginning. That beginning creates a nice little daisy shape that looks more like alternating knits and purls. So much of this is a matter of taste. Keeping the first round or two in all knit makes for a flatter and calmer center. The "daisy" beginning, on the other hand, lends itself nicely to the seed st pattern. So, if you are knitting this spiral ask yourself, how much chaos do you want in the center? Purl sts or daisy center = semi-controlled chaos.

I also experimented significantly with where and how to increase the spiral. More on that another day. For today, here's one possible solution for how to knit a seed stitch and stockinette stitch spiral in pattern.

Nomenclature clarifications:
I've used lifted increases here. Hence when I write (p1 k1blw) the lack of comma between them indicates that both of these movements are in the same stitch or wale. The first movement is to purl the stitch, the second movement is to knit into the head of the stitch below it in order to increase. A comma will tell you to move to the next stitch.
I've used parenthesis the same way they are used in algebra. Hence (k1, p1)3x means to repeat everything between the parenthesis three times -- in this example, to k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1.
A semicolon indicates extra stitches required to finish the round to keep the pattern correct. For this pattern, instructions following a semicolon are followed only once.
A period indicates the end of the round.

Ways to start:
Cast on 7 sts.
Round 1: (k1, p1)3x; end with k1.
Round 2: (p1 k1blw, p1blw k1)3x; end with p1 in the running thread btw the next two sts, k1. 15 sts total. Notice that the k1 at the end of the round will be in the top of the p1 that started the round.
Cast on 8 sts.
Round 1: k8.
Round 2: (p1 k1blw)7x; end p1, k1. 15 sts total. Again, the k1 will be in the p1 that started the round.
Daisy cast on 8 sts.
Round 1: count the cast-on round as the first round.
Round 2: (k&p in one st)7x; end with k1. 15 sts total.
Daisy cast on 7 sts.
Round 1: k7.
Round 2: (p&k in one st)7x; end with p1 in the running thread btw the next two sts., k1. 15 sts total. The last k is in the top of the 1st purl of the round.

Round 3: (p1, k1)8x.
Round 4: (p1 k1blw, k1)8x. 23 sts total.
Round 5: (p1, k2)8x.
Round 6: (p1, p1blw k1, k1)8x. 31 sts total.
Round 7: (p2, k2)8x.
Round 8: (p2, k1 k1blw,k1)8x. 39 sts total.
Round 9: (p2, k3)8x.
Round 10: (p1, k1blw p1, k3)8x. 47 sts total.
Round 11: (p1, k1, p1, k3)8x.
Round 12: (p1, k1, p1, k1, k1 k1blw, k1)8x. 55 sts total.
Round 13: (p1, k1, p1, k4)8x.
Round 14: (p1, k1 p1blw, p1, k4)8x. 63 sts total.
Round 15: (p1, k1, p2, k4)8x.
Round 16: (p1, k1, p2, k2, k1 k1blw, k1)8x. 71 sts total.
Round 17: (p1, k1, p2, k5)8x.
Round 18: (p1, k1 p1blw, k1, p1, k5)8x. 79 sts total.
Round 19: (p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k5)8x. Pattern established.

Remember, you always have one fewer stitch than needed for a full pattern multiple. The shift each round creates the spiral.

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