Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spiraling away

I should be working on the ballet neck sweater right now. I've got the front and back panels done, but want to take some photos before I sew up one side and start on the sleeve.

After doing the spiral crochet snake, however, I became somewhat obsessed with trying another one, this time with a more pronounced spiral. I ripped the whole thing several times before I got it, so it took me longer than I intended. Here are the results.


If you've looked and the previous snake, you can see I did manage to get a deeper spiral, though it does require a bit of shaping to stay that way. I used a narrower yarn I got at a yarn exchange a couple of summers ago - I have no idea what it is, but it feels quite lovely. I also used a 3.75mm hook.


In this photo, you can see the distinctive lines made by the opposing increase and decrease stitches. I originally tried to prevent this from happening, but was totally messing up. Now I think it actually adds to the overall look of the body.


Planet June has an excellent step-by-step for techniques, so I won't even try to go into detail here.

(note: stuffing was added every few inches)

I started off with a magic ring and 6 sc. To make the conical shape of the snout, I increased in thirds. So the first round was 2sc in the first sc of the ring, then 1sc, repeated for a total of 9sc. The next round had 12sc. If I felt the snout was widening faster than I wanted, I'd do a round with no increases at all, then go back to adding increases in thirds. When I got to the width I wanted (24sc, in this case), I did a few rounds with no increases at all to give the head depth.


To narrow things down for the neck more distinctly, I started working in quarters instead of thirds. That brought my round of 24sc to 20sc in the first round, then I did a round of sc only, another decrease round to bring to total to 16sc, then a couple more rounds of just sc.

For the to body transition, I did only one increase for the next couple of rounds. This gradually brought my total stitches to 20sc again. That's where I stayed for the body until it was time to decrease at the tail.


For the spiral, I started with a couple of rounds doing 1 invisible decrease at the start of the round, with 1 increase a few sc later, at not quite the opposite side. To get the spiral, I worked as if the rounds were one stitch short than they actually were. After a couple of rounds, I started doing 2 invisible decreases at the start of the round, then 2 increases a few stitches later. In this photo, you can see the decreases (with two together, the "invisible" decrease is quite visible).


Here you can see the pairs of increases.

Working with rounds 20sc long, my rounds worked out to be 2 invisible decreases in the first 4 stitches, 1sc into the next 5 stitches, 1 increase in the next 2 stitches, then 1 sc in the next 8 stitches, for a total of 19 stitches. I kept up this pattern until it reached the length I wanted.

When it came time to reduce the width for the tail, I simply dropped one of the increases. This meant each row became smaller by 1sc each round. As things got smaller, though, I started to alternate between decrease rows and unchanged rows to keep the shape change gradual.


I'm not too happy with how the tip of the tail worked out. As I was getting narrower (and having to use the back of my largest crochet hook to push the stuffing into the narrow opening), I eventually started working in front loops only, reducing as things seemed to require before finishing it off. I tried to push some of the stuffing into the tail tip, but it didn't co-operate. I'll have to figure something better out.


The eyes are pretty basic. Just a couple of X's sewn in using black yarn.


The tongue was fun to do. Using a 3.50mm hook and leaving a long tail, I did a chain of 8 in red. I then slip stitched into the BACKS of the chains, starting at the second stitch from the hook. I did 3ss, then chained 4 for the second fork of the tongue. Once again starting in the second chain from the hook, I ss'd to the end. To finish, I tied the two yarn ends together in a simple knot, snipped the ends even, then threaded both ends onto a needle to sew the tongue onto the snout.


I think he likes my parsley. :-D

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