… I get around. Yup, I’ve got the Beach Boys stuck in my head, but for quite a good reason.
A couple of weeks ago I bought some lovely merino wool. It was a complete bargain at only £2.49 per ball (that’s over 50% off, it would have been a crime not to buy it at that price), and if you’re looking for similar bargains then visit Kemps. I bought 18 balls and then had a crisis over what to make with them. It was suggested that I have a look on Ravelry to see which patterns would match the yardage of the yarn I had, so I did and I fell in love with The Beekeeper’s Quilt.
To learn more about The Beekeeper’s Quilt you should pop along to the designer’s site. Click here and it’ll open in a new tab.
It’s a beautiful pattern and there was only one problem… I’ve never been very good at knitting, and had never tried knitting in the round. Bah!
Time to learn a new skill then. So I got myself some DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) and settled down to give it a go. My first attempt was fairly successful…
Can you spot the mistake? I got the increases and decreases right, and I successfully managed to knit in the round… but I was concentrating so hard on the increasing/decreasing and juggling of the three needles that I completely missed out all the rows which weren’t an increase/decrease. A very daft mistake, but I did laugh about it! On the bright side I did feel that I’d got the hang of using the DPNs enough to start using my pretty new wool, so off I went.
My first proper hexipuff, such a proud moment! It turns out that although I’m a rubbish (and very slow) knitter when using normal needles I’m actually pretty good with DPNs. This is an astonishing discovery but I think it’s down to two things.
1. DPNs are short. One of the things I’ve really struggled with when knitting in the past is the needles being so unwieldy (I know, I know, this is probably an issue with my technique). DPNs are more like a crochet hook so I’ve been getting along very well with them. I did have a bit of a Goldilocks moment though: the first set I bought were 20cm long and they kept getting caught on my sleeves (see, unwieldy), so I bought a set that were 10cm long… and they were too short to get a proper grip on… I finally got a set which are 15cm long and they are just right.
2. I hate purl stitch. Vehemently. I find it fiddly and a nuisance. Knitting in the round, with this pattern at least, there is no need for purling. Yay!
So I’d mastered knitting in the round and I was very keen to know how many hexipuffs I’d get out of one ball of yarn so despite being hugely excited by all the colours I had, I resolutely worked my way through an entire ball of blue.
I was pretty sick of blue by the time I’d finished, but I think it was worth it because I now know that I can get 16 hexipuffs out of a single ball of this particular yarn. I’ve got 18 balls, so this merino wool should make a total of 288 ‘puffs. That’s about three quarters of the quilt, and that works out perfectly because I want to introduce some other colours too. Namely these pretty yarns I bought at Stitch & Craft.
I think they’ll go well with the main colours, and I will be keeping an eye out for any other posh yarns I can use too.
Anyway, having worked (im)patiently through one ball of blue I was very keen to play around…
… and didn’t just go for one different colour, I went for two. Stripes! Very exciting, a bit too exciting really, no one should get this excited about a bit of knitting should they?
Stephanie (the woman who designed the pattern) suggests that this project is perfect for working on in between other things because each puff is relatively quick to make (it takes me somewhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour to make one). I like this idea, especially as she suggests taking it with you to waiting rooms etc., but I don’t really go anywhere other than work or home! I can’t knit while I drive, and I can’t knit during tea breaks at work (grubby hands, the joy of being a gardener), so for me this has become my evening project and I’m turning out hexipuffs while I’m watching telly at night.
My aim is to complete the quilt within a year, and I reckon if I can average ten ‘puffs a week that’s a reasonable target. At the time of writing I’ve got 35 finished ‘puffs and I’ve been at this for two weeks so, thus far, I’m on schedule. I’ll post another update in a few weeks