Back when we did the Great Owl Crochet-Along, we had a pretty good conversation about the pros and cons of using a magic ring versus a chain stitch circle to start a new amigurumi project. To give you a quick summary, I prefer to tell people to create their foundation round by making single crochet stitches into the second chain from the hook for simplicity's sake. In addition to making for simpler instructions, I find that using the magic ring is a bit overkill when you're only working with six stitches in a round.
Whether you choose to use the magic ring or the chain stitch circle to start your pumpkin is up to you. If you'd like to try the magic ring, you can check out the tutorial I posted earlier this week.
Getting to Round Two (and beyond)
The base of the pumpkin is a flat circle, made by increasing evenly with each round. Since we started out with six stitches, I made the pattern so that each round increases by a multiple of six (6, 12, 18... you get the idea). As long as you continue to increase evenly, the circle will get larger and larger and larger -- but your pumpkin will also stay one-dimensional. That's great if we want pumpkin pancakes, but the object here is a 3-D pumpkin!
After making enough rounds to get a good foundation, we need to begin bringing the sides of the pumpkin upward. This is where we get into some basic three-dimensional shaping.
To visualize 3-D shaping, look at it this way... imagine that you're supposed to sculpt a sphere with pancakes. You have at your disposal a limitless supply of pancakes in assorted sizes, but that is all you are allowed to use in your sculpture.
Pancake number one would represent the foundation of your sphere. It will also be the smallest pancake in the entire sculpture.
To make the sphere begin to get taller and keep the sides going outward, you begin adding larger and larger pancakes to the stack...
See how the stack is getting a more spherical shape?
Now, if we just kept stacking larger and larger pancakes on top of each other, our sphere would probably turn out more oval-shaped than spherical. So, to get the height we need, we're going to have to use more than one pancake of the same size... like this:
Ok -- now think of the rounds in your pattern as those pancakes. Each time you make a larger round, you are adding a larger pancake to the stack. When you repeat the same size round a couple times, you're adding height.
Clear as syrup, right? try working through the first 12-15 rounds in the pattern and see if you get what I'm talking about. In the mean time, I'm going to go cook myself up a batch of pancakes!