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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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I think he likes my parsley. :-D

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