I have added this topic as some members are interested in learning more about designing flourishes. Feel free to add any information to help us all learn.
The main thing to remember when creating spiro swirls is to apply Path>Object to Path before any other path command or the design will change. Also spiro paths are not available in any version of Inkscape before version 0.47.
Little Web Hut have many videos on You Tube and can be found here http://www.youtube.com/user/tutor4u Below is a video from Little Web Hut showing how to create fancy swirls and flourishes
I created a video on Spiro paths when Inkscape 0.47 was first released. It is a little outdated now but I will add it here as it does have some basic information. The part showing spirals it at the end of the video.
If you are playing with spiro paths and want to create a design with slightly different sections I find it is easier to duplicate the swirl then make slight changes to the duplicate. Pictorial example below.
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