Tuesday, March 2, 2010

is it a circle, or a hexagon?

Earl Lenmeyer the Flask starts with you making a flat circle for his base.

Did you say "circle"?

Yes.

Then why does it look like a hexagon?

Ah, well, yes, I suppose it does. But this one doesn't.
How did you do that?

I staggered the increases.

Um, look, I know this is a flask and all, but not that kind of flask, right?

(hic) Huh? Oh, I see. Very funny. Do you wanna know how to make it round or not?

Well, yeah, but what's that got to do with you not being able to walk straight?

Nothing (hic). Nothing at all. Shall we begin?

First thing you need to know, when making a crochet circle: if you do the increases right on top of each other as you go around, you'll get a slight corner, or pointy bit, at each increase (increase=inc=2 sc in same stitch). Not a huge problem, unless you were really counting on having something perfectly round. Which is sort of how I am with this. Not everyone will notice, or care, but as I do, and you might, here's how it's done.

Let's use our friend the flask for an example:
(these directions are not exactly as the original, I've paraphrased them, using different abbreviations/notations, but the base number and the increases are the same)

Rnd 1: 6 sc in magic ring

Rnd 2: inc in ea sc around, 12 sts

Rnd 3: *1 sc, inc in next* repeated 6 times, 18 sts (to this point, there isn't anywhere to go to stagger your increases yet)

Rnd 4: *2 sc, inc in next* repeated 6 times, 24 sts (optional staggering: 1 sc, *inc, 2 sc* repeated 5 times, inc, 1 sc - 24 sts)

Rnd 5: *3 sc, inc in next* repeated 6 times, 30 sts

Rnd 6: *4 sc, inc in next* repeated 6 times, 36 sts (optional staggering: 2 sc, *inc, 4 sc* repeated 5 times, inc, 2 sc - 36 sts)

Rnd 7: *5 sc, inc in next* repeated 6 times, 42 sts

Do you see where this is going? Every other row, the increases are offset, centered in each repeated segment, instead of at the end of each segment. You don't need to stagger every Rnd, just every other increase Rnd, starting with Rnd 4.
I have sometimes started my staggering on Rnd 5 instead, but then the offset increase isn't centered between an equal number of sc. This doesn't hurt the shaping, but I can get confused when I have an odd number of sc between increases. Plus, my compulsion for symmetry is upset. However, the concept is the same, and you will still get a more circular circle, no matter which Rnd you choose to start your staggering.

Make sense?

Yeah...

Then why are you holding your head in your hands?

All this staggering is making me dizzy. Are we done?

Do you have a more circular circle?

Hey, look at that, I do!

Then, yes, we're done. Except...

What? More staggering? But I'm dizzy already!

If it helps, you have a few rounds before you have to think about it again.

Okay. So, I've got my nice circular base, and I'm starting up the sides, right? What's next?

Staggered decreases.

Oh. Of course. Same concept, right?

Exactly. Do your first decrease round as written, and on the next round of decreases, center the dec in the repeated segment. Stagger every other decrease round, just like the increases.

Got it. Are we really done now?

Yes.

Good. I'm going to go lie down. I need some rest before I start staggering again.

(BTW, small pattern correction: Round 2 reads "Round 2: sc in each sc around (=12)", which of course isn't possible. It should read "inc in each sc around (=12)". But I'm betting most of us were smart enough to figure that out on our own. Or, more likely, read it quickly, and read it as we expected it to be.)
(Note: if you aren't familiar with "magic ring" in crochet, click on the words, either here, or in the pattern above, and you'll be taken to a great tutorial from Planet June)
yarns used for this tut: Vanna's Choice Baby, in Little Boy Blue, Goldfish, and Pink Poodle

10 comments:

Marina said...

This post is so helpful! Thanks!

mary smith said...

That's awesome! I love to make toys, and the hexagon drives me nuts! Thank you!

J. Hunter said...

How can you figure this out with someone else's pattern? Is there like a set formula to use? Thanks

bookette said...

as long as it starts with 6 stitches, or uses a multiple of 6, you can follow the above instructions. basically the formula is to increase in every stitch on the second round, then add 1 stitch between increases on the next. each round has one more stitch between each increase until you reach the desired number of stitches. the point is to stagger them, so the increases are not stacked directly on top of one another. to do that, you basically have two rounds, each with a "set" of stitches. on the "a" rounds, you will do the single stitches first, followed by the increase; on the "b" rounds, you center the increase - do half of the single stitches, increase, and do the other half of the singles. then you repeat that group until the round is complete. I could have written rnd 4 (a "b" round) as: *1sc, inc, 1sc* repeat 6 times (24 stitches)
as long as the increases are in regular increments (each round in this example adds 6 stitches) you can stagger the increases every other round. lots of patterns out there are based on 6 stitches, which is why I chose to use that in my example.

Walking with Matthew said...

Do you have a video for this? I am a beginner and it would be easier to understand it if there was a video. Thanks.

bookette said...

no video at present. I should make one.

JKLMomof3 said...

This is awesome. Thank you so much. I was making a Mario hat, and trying to make the emblem on the front, and it was a hexagon. Not good. It HAD to be a circle. After this post, I did exactly what you said (staggered the increase) and it worked out beautifully. I still need to make a Luigi had and I think I am going to try it for the hat itself so that its more round too. (My Mario hat is pretty hexagonal)


Ramona Quimby Lives said...

Oh PLEASE make a video!!! My poor brain just cannot get this. I understand it, I just can't get it. That made no sense. GAH! Even one of those map/diagram/chart things would be helpful, but... I am unable to find either of them anywhere.

I cannot make a flat circle to save my LIFE. Trying to make potholders, making yarmulkes instead....

crawdaddydoo92 said...

Very helpful. I make a lot of amigurumi and not many authors are staggering as of yet. I saw one do it and love it. Now I can use it more.

Fareeha Hasan said...

It was quite helpful.Thankyou :)