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# European 4 in 1; My Easier Method for Expanding CirclesArticle © MAIL User: dubhdarra

So when I made my first coif, I did it from a pattern I found on line. I copied that pattern step by step to do the expanding circle that did the top, and didn't actually absorb or understand any of it. I decided to try my hand at a second coif without using someone else's pattern (and making it a little more accurate to the period I'm trying to replicate) and I ran into the problem of expanding circles again. Oh, how I hate them. Now, I'm the kind of person who can't do something without seeing it done or explained in absolute barney-terms simple instructions, so I'm going to try to explain the method I arrived at after numerous botched attempts to replicate other people's methods. I sincerely hope this helps someone, because if it doesn't I think it means I'm the only person who doesn't "get" expanding circles. Sorry there aren't any pictures, I was so happy that this method worked that I just kind of finished the project without snapping them.

Step 1: Making the band

We're going to work from the outside in for this project. Doesn't really matter what you're making but this works well for coifs, mantles, and conceivably anything else round you can make (teapot covers?). What you're going to do is take the outer measurement of whatever it is you want to make; if it's a coif, the circumference of your head; if it's a mantle, the outer circumference you want it to have, etc. With that measurement in hand, make a ribbon wide enough to hold its shape, and long enough to make that circumference with this many rows (different people count them different, I consider this two and a half)

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Step 2: Mathing it out

Now you need to count your rings on the top row, all the way around. Figure out the factors of the number that work - I did this on a coif, it just happened to work out that my head was 60 rings around. The most useful factors for me were 6 and 10 (it helps if they're close-ish). Assuming you don't want a really tight expansion, we're going to use the big number for how many rows, and the little factor for the number of contractions per row. These will stay the same. In this case, it works out that I'll be "removing" six rings per row for each of the ten rows.

Step 3: First contraction

Since this is the "tenth" row, we're going to put nine rings in the ninth row (the one we're making) through every ten rings of the tenth row (the inside of your ribbon). The easy way to do this is find a starting point on your ribbon, put one ring through three (hereafter called the 1:3 ring), and mark it with a ribbon, twist tie or marker (whatever works for you). Because it's the ninth row we're doing, you're going to make "units" of nine; this contraction link (the 1:3 ring) is the beginning of a unit. Now do eight rings that go through two rings of the tenth row, followed by another 1:3 ring. It helps to just work around in one direction (I work to the right) and keep doing this until you get all the way back to your starting ring. There will be one extra because the end of the circle joins to itself, just ignore it.

Step 4: Keeping it even and second contraction

The advantage of making an expanding circle is that you don't get the ribbing from the triangle method, so you're going to want to start at a different point than you did in the last row to make your coif beautiful and smooth and silky and... ok, digressing. At any rate, what I do is find the approximate half-way mark between the ring I started on in row nine and the second 1:3 ring (this distance is four rings in in this case) and put in a 1:3 ring of row nine (it wont be perfectly even, but whatever) and marking it the same way i did on the last row.

Because we're on row eight now, you need to subtract one from the "unit". That means you put 7 regular rings through row nine, then another 1:3 ring, and so on, all the way around to where you started.

Step 5: Keeping it up

Now you get the method: start halfway down the starting unit of the row before, and the unit should consist of 1 1:3 ring, and then one fewer regular ring than the row you're on, til the next 1:3 ring. It will form a very smooth contraction, and eventually you join them all to that one "extra" ring in the middle, and you have a beautiful round thingie with no visible seams.

I hope this has been useful, feel free to message me if you need any more help, I'm kind of a n00b, but I'll do what I can to sort you out.
Original URL: http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?key=521