There are several applications for this technique—the two main ones are for Tubes (like I am doing now) and for Disks. (Flat disks knit in the round) Obviously, items like hats or mittens that are combination of flat knitting and tubular knitting work as well!0
Once you grok the process (either in a disk or in a tube) you can easily do it either way. But don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to understand.
OK, so the first image:
The Beginning of the round is on the right (note a Big Blue stitch marker at the hem/cast on edge, and the tails of yarn.
There are 4 balls of yarn, 2 grape (left & top) 2 raspberry, (right and bottom)
In the center of the work, you can see (not too clearly, but...)an orange stitch marker, and even less clearly, a turquoise one. the orange marker divides G1 and G2.
Here the stitches on the needle are labeled—G1 and G2.
If I were working on a set of 5 DPN’s, (instead of 2 circ’s) G1 and G2 might be Needle 1 and Needle 2.
If I were working with more colors (and/or more balls of yarn, Needle 1 of set of 5DPN’s might hold G1 and G2!)
Likewise, I could work with 3 colors (1 color per needle on a set of 4 DPN’s)
Or just as easily I could work with 6 colors! (2 colors per needle)
I am using 2 colors (paired) so I am getting 2 row stripes.
If I worked with 4 balls of yarn /4 colors, I would get a pattern of 4 single (1R) stripes would be repeated every 4 R's.
There are lots of options--thick and thin stripes, multi color ones.. the numbers of balls of yarn you use, and how you position them will control the pattern.
As I knit, and come to the end of group 1—it’s easy to find-(with out a stitch marker!) –the last stitch in the group tends to stretch as you work it --Because it has been knit with a different strand of yarn.
Here, at the end of group 1, you can clearly see, 2 strands of yarn, one strand in the last stitch knit (on the needle) and one strand (the same color) coming from the stitch in the row below.
G2 is knit with the lower strand—(and as you pick up and work this strand, you correct the tension.)
At the end of the needle, the work is turned (if working on DPN’s the turn is more of crank, (a partial turn)). G3 and G4 stitches are in the front, ready to be worked
At the beginning of this needle there are again 2 strands of yarn available for use--The raspberry (in the last stitch knit) and the grape, in the last stitch of the previous row.
G3 is worked with the grape yarn.
At the end of G3, 2 strands of yarn again, and again, the lower yarn, from the stitch in the previous row is used.
At the end of the round, there is only 1 strand of yarn. (The last yarn used—in this case, grape.)
The work is turned, and the new round is started with this yarn.
At the beginning of a round, you will always only have 1 strand of yarn available to knit with—the yarn used in the last group. (G4 in this case.)
If you had 4 (different) colors of yarn, you’d notice it take 4 full rounds before Color 1—is once again Yarn 1 (first yarn used in a round)
Worked in a tube, (this neck ring or socks like these, or a hat, or...) the spiral is subtle.
But you can do the same thing working in the round in a flat disk, the changing yarns make a clear spiral –this WIP—is a fun shawl that is being knit from an assortment of yarns, silky ribbon yarns, smooth yarns, fuzzy mohair ones, chenilles-—8 different yarns in all! The spiral is clearler in a flat disk like this.
Flat disks like this can be Knit in Public projects. If you use 8 yarns, and 8 circ’s; 8 knitters can work on one shawl at once!
The knitters sit in a close circle, and work from one end of a circ to another, and as soon as they finish a row, the yarn moves to the left, and they start the next row with the yarn coming from the right.
The stitch pattern can be a simple knit stitch, or 4 segments can be plain knit, --with an increase –R1:K1, YO, knit all remaining stitches. R2: Knit all
-and 4 segments can be work in a 2 row pattern of R1: K1, YO , * k2tog, YO. /R2: Knit all stitches.
When the shawl is smaller, only 4 knitters can work on it at once, but as it get bigger, you can add yarns (or not, having started with 8!) and add needles (dividing 2 groups (G1 and G2) from 1 needle onto 2.)
The completed shawl can be raffled off as a fund raiser, or donate.
This project is fun for a guild or knitting group, too!
Spiral knitting is fun way to make some wild and crazy socks.. Use up all the odds and ends—worked entirely in solids, the result is subtle stripes--see the socks above. Worked in solids and self striping or hand painted (alternately) it’s a bit more mottled.
Work with no solids, the socks defy description—sometime they are wonderful, sometimes, well wild and crazy, and sometimes. A mess!
But there is the fun of it--and worked from scraps and odd and end, they become a pair of free socks!—perhaps best worn under boots for shoveling snow; or as a booby prize for a contest.