Seventeen months ago I embarked on a new knitting project, and this past weekend (thanks to a mammoth bout of insomnia) I finished it. Well, sort of. I had initially intended the quilt to be, well, quilt-sized when all the pieces were sewn together… but things don’t always turn out as planned. I’ve kept track of my hexipuffs using a spreadsheet (yes, I know…) and last week realised that I had 347 – just 37 shy of the total needed, according to the pattern, to make a 3ft x 4ft quilt.
Almost there, so I decided to lay out all the ‘puffs and see how it looked. Well, it looked small. I guess my hexipuffs are a mite smaller than they’re supposed to be, or perhaps I just imagined something bigger! Still, I was determined to get it sewn together rather quickly because we’ll be bringing our new puppy home in just over a month and the idea of trying to lay hexipuffs out on the floor once there’s a puppy here is just laughable 😉
So, what to do? Ah, I know – lay them out differently and make a comforter for the foot of the bed instead. Long and thin, just enough to keep our tootsies warm during the cold winter nights (and with a view to adding a row at a time in future so that the quilt eventually covers the whole bed).
Having made this decision I promptly packed all the ‘puffs away again, knowing I still have a month and a bit to get them put together… and then the insomnia struck. Seriously, I was awake for over 40 hours straight. I spent the first day doing an awful lot of crocheting (more on that soon!), and then got a bit fed up and decided to start on the quilt.
It took quite a while to lay them out in a configuration I was happy with. Juggling all those colours was akin to doing a jigsaw without having the lid of the box to refer to. Still, I got there in the end, and then settled down to sew them together (with the aid of some vital supplies).
I used the method given in the pattern, which basically ties the hexipuffs together at their corners.
Which does leave an awful lot of loose ends, but the front looks amazing.
I was particularly relieved to find that the ‘puffs all pulled together nicely – something that had been worrying me a bit as there was quite a difference in size between some of them due to the different types of yarn I’d used. The sewing process was easy, but time-consuming…
…halfway there! I had to keep stopping as I was working on the floor and (to be blunt) my backside kept going numb! Still, I eventually got it all sewn together and voila!
It’s simply gorgeous, isn’t it? The loose ends at the back annoyed me, and they’re certainly not very practical when you imagine a small puppy pulling at them, so I started to weave them in (just pulling them into adjacent ‘puffs using a crochet hook):
I’ve done about a sixth of them so far, but frankly it’s very dull so I will do the rest bit by bit over the next few weeks.
The finished quilt measures 6ft x 2ft (333 hexipuffs), and I’m delighted with it. I still have some of the original Sublime merino left (the colours of which form the base of the whole configuration), as well as some other luxury yarns I bought specifically for this quilt, so I will keep making hexipuffs in what is laughably called my spare time and then add to the quilt bit by bit as time goes on. I might start experimenting with texture a bit more (perhaps some cabled ‘puffs?), as well as decorating more with patterns sewn in duplicate stitch, so it will be a good ongoing project for the future. Because the hexipuffs are tied at their corners they should be relatively easy to remove, so if I decide to swap ‘puffs around in future (to better suit the configuration as it grows) then it hopefully shouldn’t be too much of a drama.
It’s been a hell of a big project, and an education too. When I first decided to make this quilt I had never used double pointed needles before, never knitted in the round, and at first it took me between 45-60 minutes to make a single ‘puff. Now I can knit hexipuffs without thinking, and it only takes me 20 minutes per ‘puff!
Would I recommend this project? Abso-flipping-lutely! It’s no small task, but it’s good fun. My quilt is ridiculously expensive because I chose to use only luxury yarns (all natural fibres, not a single bit of acrylic for a change!), but it can be done with any leftovers you have. I did worry at first about mixing different types of yarn in case the difference in size was too great, but found that switching down a needle size (for thicker yarns), or doubling up (using two strands for laceweight) worked very well.
I hope you have enjoyed this finished project, and I would welcome your comments. If you’re working on a Beekeeper’s Quilt of your own then please do share a link to any photos you have, as I would love to see them!
Yarns used (the ones I remembered to write down!):
- Sublime extra fine merino 4 ply (pink, green, blue, purple, cream and gold). 100% merino.
- Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (earth, pebble, and burnt umber). 100% pure Shetland wool.
- Louisa Harding Grace Hand-dyed. 50% merino wool & 50% silk.
- Louisa Harding Willow Tweed (pink, purple, and green). 40% alpaca, 40% merino wool, 20% silk.
- Noro Silk Garden Lite (colour 2048). 45% silk, 45% kid mohair, 10% lambswool.
- Maggie Stearn handspun hand-dyed silk. 100% silk.
- Boo’s Attic “Lavishly Exquisite” DK (Acorns & Oak Leaves). 52% superwash merino, 42% mulberry silk.
- Pure Tinctoria mini skein.
- Noro Yuzen. 56% wool, 34% silk, 10% kid mohair.
- Noro scraps (various).
- Artisan silk (Dove). 35% seaweed, 65% silk.
- The Mulberry Dyer “Delice” DK. 50% baby alpaca, 50% mulberry silk.
- Willow Knits mini skein (Morello). 100% silk.