Way back last summer, I had the notion to adapt Mary Konior's famous Spinning Wheel pattern, by making each repeat a little longer to produce a spiral shaped effect.
For my first attempt, after a quick review of the pattern, for some reason, I thought it would be necessary to work the spiral version starting at the long end. I did a few calculations for the number of rings per row, and soon produced the item below. Well, it laid flat, but had no other redeeming virtues. I decided to try again working from the small end outward.
My second attempt (the first starting from the small end) was ruffling like mad after just a few repetitions. I started over with fewer rings on the first row, but again, eventually it would ruffle out of control. I'm not sure how many times I cut off rows or started over. This went on for weeks. What was once an elegantly simple pattern was now excruciatingly monotonous. At some point, I returned to mathematical calculations. It seems there is a geometric progression (is that the right term?) involved. For extra ring, this doesn't just add to, but instead multiplies the number of rings in each successive row. To make the spiral, I would have to leave more chains not joined to in successive rows. Finally, I came up with the final version, shown at the top.
In Mary Konior's book, she showed this pattern in just the two versions: the small Spinning Wheel and the same design element as an edging around a linen center. I used to wonder why she did not include a larger version all in tatting. Now I know. If there were more rings in the beginning row, then it would not lay flat, or more chains would have to be left bare, which would not have been as appealing. I wonder how much trial and error she endured to arrive at the one perfect version.
Was it worth it, spending so much time and thread on this project? Persevering with the attempt instead of abandoning it was good for my strength of character. I arrived at an even greater appreciation of Mary Konior's greatness as a designer. My finished project, not so much. Sometimes, it's the journey not the destination that counts.