Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knit In Progress: Beekeeper's Quilt

Hexipuff Madness

Hello...my name is Melissa...and I'm a hexipuffer.

Yes, you heard right.  I too, have jumped on the bandwagon long ago when this pattern came out.  I've actually talked about this project a few times in various posts but never made it "official".  So here it is.  I'm officially announcing that I am knitting the ubiquitous Beekeeper's Quilt.  Am I crazy?  Oh, probably.  But know that there are over 3500 other knitters out there that are knitting this up too.  Well...that are willing to admit that they are mad enough to tackle such a project.  And that's not even counting the knitters that just like to knit the cute little hexipuffs and then send them off to others who have this blanket on the go (now that's crazy!).  If you look on Ravelry I swear that every yarn company group has a Beekeeper's Quilt thread or some sort of a sock yarn blanket thread, because even before the hexipuff craze started there were knitters out there knitting up sock yarn mitred square blankets like this one or crocheting a Babette.  But even if you weren't looney enough to knit one of these tedious blankets, tons of knitters out there love minis, so there are at least a minis swap of sorts in practically every group out there.  I think yarn companies and indie dyers would make a killing if they offered a mini skein set made specifically for this pattern (or sock yarn blankets in general) or for small projects.  So far I know of only one dyer that offers these kinds of sets (and she was doing this before the hexipuff craze) and they sell like hot cakes!  And it's a great way for a knitter to see and try out a colourway before committing to a full skein or without having to purchase a full skein when they only need a few grams.  It's a win-win situation for all involved.  So check out the mini skein sets at Sunshine Yarns...good luck on getting your hands on a set (and let me know if you do, so I can live vicariously through you)!

Hexipuffs

I started my blanket last year in August.  I waited a whole month after the pattern was released to hem and haw over whether or not if I should even attempt to knit such a massive project.  I kept looking at the photos, marvelling over the shabby chic-ness of it, squealing with delight over the baskets full of little puffs, and weighing the pros and cons of having this type of project in the knitting basket.  I really didn't have to talk myself into it or twist my rubber arm before I finally couldn't take it any longer and bought the pattern and cast on for my first little hexipuff.  Yup.  After that first puff, I was a goner.  I was hooked.  It took a few puffs before I got the hang of it and into a rhythm.  I started out using the method that Stephanie, the designer, used to knit up her puffs.  It was a little fiddly for my liking, especially since I'm not at all a fan of DPNs.  I tried Magic Loop on one puff, but found that my cable was too stiff for such a tiny knit.  Then when I got my first pair of Signature needles, which happened to be in the size that I needed for this project (and the size that I use the most, hands down), I decided to give it a try.  Perfecto!  These needles were made to knit hexipuffs!  The cables on these needles are so beyond pliable that knitting a puff is a breeze.  And ever since I made the switcheroo to Judy's Magic Cast On, knitting a hexipuff is even faster.  I think I've got it down to half an hour a puff!!

Hexipuffs closeup

I'm being über realistic about this project.  I know this blanket won't be completed for at least a few years, especially at the rate that I'm adding to the hexipuff pile.  I used this magical website to calculate just how many hexipuffs I'll need to knit in order to have a blanket that will fit my king size bed (why do I need such a big bed??  Crap!), and know that I need approximately 903 hexipuffs!!  I say approximately because I'm not sure how much of an overhang I want and I'm not digging the half puffs to make the blanket a proper square shape.  I like the jagged edge that the hexagons make.  I think it looks so...organic.  So how many hexipuffs have I made to date?

SweetGeorgia Hexipuffs

23.  Yup.  That's right.  Twenty....three.  No where near the triple digit area.  I have a loooooong ways to go.  Just 880 more to go.  But I'm ok with that.  Like I said, I'm well aware that this will take me a few years to complete, and as I've mentioned in this post I've recently discovered that knitting a hexipuff takes the edge off of Starteritis.  I get the excitement of casting on and the satisfaction of binding off, whilst still being productive and not at all feeling guilty about having another project on the needles!  Bonus!  Fist pump!

Since I knit with fingering weight yarns a lot, I have a ton of leftovers.  I'm excited that they now have a purpose and that I'll be able to use them all up AND be able to knit up those single skeins in the stash that I have no idea what to do with (some sock yarns don't scream out socks to me...or baby garments).  I've also participated in a bunch of mini skein swaps (which is a fabulous way to try out different yarns...commercial and indie dyed...LYS and of the CDH variety!) and I now have a plethora of yarns and colours to choose from.  I recently discovered that knitting hexipuffs is more enjoyable and more exciting when you switch up the yarns with each puff.  Before I was knitting three hexipuffs in a row using the same yarn and it just felt tedious.  

Over the weekend I took a dive into my SweetGeorgia Yarns mini skein stash (they were calling and teasing me to knit with them...how could I say no to such beautiful colours??), and whipped up a handful of puffs.  Can't you tell I was on a yellow kick?  Even alternating the Saffron with a multi was enough to trick my brain into thinking it was knitting a different project each and every time.  Want to see my favourite hexipuff to date?

Hexipuff in Hand

Isn't she a beaut?  O...M...G.  I seriously LOVE this colourway.  I never paid too much attention to it before (in case you didn't catch it in the last post, this is SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in the Firefly colourway), but I was blindly pulling out a mini to knit with and after this puff was finished I was in love.  The photo doesn't do it justice as to how gorgeous this colourway really is.  A very close second favourite is the SGY TLS in the Hard Candy colourway (that's the eye-searing red, pink, and yellow puff two photos up).

Anyhoo, I could go on and on (and on) about these hexipuffs.  They really are the ultimate portable project.  It's so easy to grab a project bag, shove your needles, a few minis or leftovers, a handful of stuffing, and a crochet hook (unless you have one in your notions case), and off you go.  I completed a puff just from driving around on Monday.  Talk about utilizing your time!  I have a feeling you'll be seeing more hexipuffs pop up on the blog more, now that I've unleashed the secret to keeping the knitting up of these.  Not to mention the frequent Starteritis tendencies that I seem to have, and my project hoary ways are always acting up whenever I catch a glimpse of something shiny...whether it be new yarn or a new pattern.

But knitting up more hexipuffs isn't such a bad thing...after all, I've got how many more to knit??

8 comments:

  1. This post makes me feel like we have a lot in common! About the startitis and project hoary-ness at the shinies :P Anywho, good luck with this project! I started it too but kinda decided a bit in that I don't know if it's the best quilt for me. I'm going to turn them into a fun cushion instead now i think. I loved getting to try so many new yarns from mini skein packs, too! Good way to find new favorites.

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    1. Hahaha...I like knowing I'm not the only one with major knitting ADD! ;)

      Thanks, I'll need the luck! Just hope I have the patience and project stamina to keep going with these puffs!

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  2. haah this is awesome! the first thing i said to my computer outloud.. is "oh she's knitting one too?" haha. but i bet it will be gorgeous! when it's done... and it will be.. eventually :) i'll be even more jealous. or maybe i should jump on the bandwagon too? eeks. don't get me thinking! i have too much to knit right now... or do i? xo

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    1. You should totally knit one Rebecca!! And you don't have to knit it all at once! If you can handle that it'll take a fair bit for it to be completed, than you should do it! :) We can share minis!

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  3. you are amazing tackling this project. It is pretty intense! I don't think I have the commitment needed to keep up a single project for this long. I got bored just crocheting 20 granny squares for a stroller blanket for Squishy.

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    1. Thanks Kat! But I don't think I'm amazing....just crazy! ;)

      I think the fact that this project is knit up a little bit at a time is what's helping me with the commitment thing. And the fact that I'm doing it as an "in between" project of projects. Just hope it doesn't get ditched 200 hexipuffs later! ;)

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  4. Your blog is fantastic, congratulation, you made things amazing.♥♥♥
    http://queliodehilo.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Irina!

      Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments and thanks for reading my blog! :D ♥

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