Posts Tagged ‘hexipuff’

30
Apr

In honor of Spring

Posted under Free Patterns, Hexipuffs, Knitting No Comments

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How about some new hexipuff charts! Here’s my newly charted delphinium:

delphiniums

and some stylized flowers as well!

sylized_flowers1

Remember, it’s wonderful feedback and donations on the side bar that keep your free hexipuff charts coming. Thanks all!

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12
Feb

Rainbow Spun Yarns

Posted under Hexipuffs, Knitting, Spinning No Comments

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During Yarn Along the Rockies last September, I picked up a little bag with one ounce of rainbow colored sliver at a shop called, “A Knitted Peace,” in Denver. I loved the name so much I wanted some kind of souvenir and they didn’t have any small balls of yarn for hexipuffs which is usually my go to fiber-y souvenir. I figured I could spin some hippy looking bright yarn with this little bag of wool. Then of course I came home, had a million things to do, and the bag of wool got buried.

I pulled my wool out and decided to have a go at it during the Olympics and as part of the Ravellenic Games as a rainbow project in a show of support for the LGBQT community. Plus, one of my Ravellenics goals is to knit up 10 hexipuffs and I want most to be of my own handspun. Here’s the wool I spun as I was watching the Olympics with my mom. The wheel is my Majacraft Pioneer with some modifications to make it electric.

I split the sliver in half and set one half aside. Then I split the other half into half again vertically so I’d have two roughly identical strips of wool. I spun each one into a single and then plied them together for my light fingering weight hexipuffing yarn. Because I spun both strips of wool in the same order, there is a slight gradient to the yarn in addition to the cane striping. As the weights for each color weren’t identical, the singles changed colors at different points. I had initially tried to tear the strips into piles of color so I could get equal weights, but the color segments were shorter than the staple length.

I absolutely love how this yarn came out and would happily knit socks or a shawl out of something similar. I would NOT buy more of this particular wool though as it was still full of dye and left my fingers blue for a whole day.

With the other half ounce of sliver, I tried to spin a crepe yarn. Unfortuantely, I stink at spinning thicker singles, so my rainbow single is a bit thick and thin. After that, I plied it with black polyester machine embroidery thread mostly just because it was on hand. Then, I plied it once more to another strand of the same embroidery thread. I was way too tired by the time I was doing the second round of plying and it didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped, but I still think the yarn will work well to knit or weave a small coin purse type bag. I may stripe it with a black wool and I’ll definitely end up sewing a liner for the bag from black quilting cotton.

Quite possibly the coolest part of the entire spinning experience has been getting to see the two finished yarns together. The crepe is very bright and loud looking. It’s not my thing, but I can see the appeal. The sock yarn though? The slight muddying of the colors created by plying together contrasting colors has toned down the bright jewel toned rainbow significantly. I generally don’t like rainbow or other bright and wild yarns, but I just love this in it’s slightly subdued color. In the future, I will be much more likely to try to spin my brightly colored handpainted tops in this style so as to tone down the colors and create perfect somewhat muted but still exciting and full of color yarns!

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07
Jan

Hexipiuffs 2013 Week 1

Posted under Hexipuffs, Knitting No Comments

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I’d like to make more progress on my hexipuff quilt this year, so I’m trying to make at least one hexipuff per day. I doubt I’ll hold that rate all year, but I did manage 8 hexipuffs for this first week of 2013! That’s a great start, and even if I can’t keep it up all year, I’ll still have more hexipuffs than I started out with. Here’s this week’s hexipuffs:

puffs 2013week1

 

This puts my hexipuff total at 248 puffs. However, I’ve got a small problem I wasn’t expecting. I’m a better knitter than I was last year–significantly so. It’s an exciting revelation, but I’m not sure what it means for my hexipuff quilt. Is it going to be okay to mix the horrible old ‘new knitter’ puffs with my nicer, new, experienced-knitter puffs? The look terrible side-by-side. Not good at all. Here I’ve pieced old puffs around the new puffs from this week. They don’t even fit together. Look at those gaps!

compare 010713

 

Most of my old puffs just can’t play nice with the new ones. Up close, the differences between old and new puffs is even more apparent. The older puffs are on the left and the new ones on the right.

differences2

 

The puffs are the same weight yarn with the same number of stitches. The old larger ones on the left even have visible stuffing, which I hate. I really prefer the new, slightly smaller and tighter hexipuffs. I just can’t decide what I should do with the old ones. Some of them have rather special yarn. I dyed the purple and pink one in the photo above and the large green one is yarn my mom and step-dad gave me. I want those puffs in my quilt, I just don’t want them to look horrible! I guess on the bright side, I need over a thousand hexipuffs and including my new ones, I’ve only got 248 puffs. If I keep making nice new puffs, the old ones will be over run and hopefully hidden due to their sparse numbers in the finished quilt!

It’s frustrating to have so much work done on such a wonderful project and realize just how poor quality my knitting was only a year ago, but at the same time, I feel quite privileged to be able to see such a difference in my work. I’ve come so far! Who knows where my knitting will go next!

 

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31
Mar

Spring is starting to bloom!

Posted under Hexipuffs, Holidays and Celebrations, Knitting, Life, Maple Wool Farm Products, Yarn No Comments

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All of these mini skeins and hexipuffs are from Maple Wool Farm’s own Soda Pop Dyed series of yarns! Enjoy a bit of spring blossoming on your doorstep by ordering Maple Wool Farm mini skeins!

Little mini skein buds nourished with last fall’s hexipuffs!

To make your very own spring tee, simply find a well forked branch and ‘plant’ it in a pot full of small rocks or decorator marbles. Cover the rocks in hexipuffs and gently slide mini skeins in spring colors onto the tips of the branches of your yarn tree. A little tree like this would be stunning as a centerpiece on your Easter or Spring Celebration table!

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14
Feb

Happy Valentines’ Day in Hexipuffs!

Posted under Hexipuffs, Holidays and Celebrations, Knitting, Life No Comments

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I don’t have much of anything planned today beyond cleaning, cooking, and puffing since I’m single. I did however make one BIG special valentine to share with everyone I love!

Happy Valentines Day!

Also, one important thing I learned today that you’ll probably find helpful is that unseamed hexipuffs photograph best on a black matte background like polar fleece fabric. It really helps the puffs pop where as designs like this heart were impossible to see when the puffs were photographed on a white sheet. I’ve also decided I rather like the heart layout, not for my scrap quilt beekeeper’s, but maybe for a baby beekeeper’s quilt of unpuffs knit from a DK or worsted weight soft acrylic with a heart of pinks and reds surrounded by a sea of undulating green with a border in shades of purple!

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08
Feb

13 New Hexipuffs put me at 175!

Posted under Hexipuffs, Knitting, Lathe, Woodworking No Comments

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Here are the first 13 hexipuffs of February 2012:

The castle puff is from the duplicate stitch tricks tutorial. The cat puff and one of the matching puffs are made from Premier Yarns Serenity in Lavender Topaz. I’d received enough for a single puff in a swap and mentioned to a friend on Monday that I wanted more of it for puffing. She offered to give me two puffs worth from one of her balls of Lavender Topaz destined for sock knitting. I duplicate stitched a black cat on one of them to forever immortalize her in my quilt. It’s actually quite appropriate as she’s had black cats as long as I’ve known her and her name is Kat! Before Kat offered me some of her Lavender Topaz yarn, I’d also mentioned on Ravelry that I’d loved these colors and was shy on purples. Did anyone have any? Ajsgramma said she had some Purple Spice in the same brand of yarn that she’d be happy to send me! Her yarn arrived and I knit it up into the two fake isle puffs here. The two semi solid purples and two semi solid pinks are some of the Maple Wool Farm soda pop kettle dyed yarn! I love how bright and summery the soda colors are. The three green/blue/purple ones are from a swap on Ravelry from Minibrrdie. She sent me several wonderful yarns in exchange for a hand turned nostepinne from my woodshop. I made that this weekend and am getting ready to send it off to her. I actually like it better than the darker one I made for myself about 7 months back. I think it’s got a better weight in the hand, but I do like the deep beading of mine’s handle. Looks like I need to spend more time getting comfortable with my lathe so I can perfect a nostepinne design.

So there you have it! Thirteen brand new puffs to add to my puff pile and a beautiful pine nostepinne to head out for a swap. I’m particularly happy with the past 8 days of puffing because each yarn has a story, from swapped and gifted yarn from friends, to pictures representing my friends (the castle is in honor of a friend who’s making 1:24 scale castle dollhouses with me for fun, but more on that another day), to some of my own soda pop yarn!

The next batch of puffs is going to be a Valentines set done in all lovey-dovey colors because I’ve got a shortage of pinks and purples in my quilt. I’m not a big fan of Valentines, but I’ll try. I guess I’m just of the belief that it’s too commercialized and that someone who loves me can tell me any day, and it’s more special when it’s unexpected! Plus, my valentine won’t be bringing me chocolates. He’s furry and can’t have chocolate. Maybe I’ll commemorate the day by making a puff of him! I’ve already got the chart ready and waiting.

Will you be making a special hexipuff to put a bit of your loved one in your quilt?

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05
Feb

Duplicate Stitch Tricks and More Free Charts

Posted under Free Patterns, Hexipuffs, Knitting, Techniques, Tutorials No Comments

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I’ve been a but quiet for a while due to increased pain levels and being busy as a bee designing new hexipuff charts for the Beekeeper’s Quilt!

The new charts are primarily a series of buildings and more flags. The reason I’m making so many flag designs is that I’m trying to collect mini skeins from as many countries as I can and knit them into puffs for my quilt! I will be knitting each flag as I receive yarn from that country. If you’d like to send one in from your country, shoot me a message on Ravelry! I’m Swamps42 over there. So far I’m set for yarn from the United States and Canada only! I am expecting yarn from Cuba and the UK any day now though!

Of the new charts, which are all posted for free via the hexipuff chart tab at the top of this page, the castle is the one that tempted me most to get out a needle and do some duplicate stitching. Duplicate stitched puffs take much longer than a plain puff, for me about an hour and a half longer. I do think it’s worth it though, don’t you?

The chart

 

The resulting puff

Whenever I post picture of my duplicate stitched puffs on Ravelry, my inbox is filled with PMs from people asking how I get my duplicate stitched puffs to look just right. Common problems with duplicate stitching include the background color showing through, the puff looking bunched up, the duplicate stitching unraveling over time, and the design not being centered on the finished puff. I’m pretty good about responding with my tricks, but doesn’t it seem better to have a photo tutorial to send folks to with all the tricks I’ve learned over time through my own successes and failures?

The Duplicate Stitch Tutorial of Win

***I’m assuming you know the basics of how to duplicate stitch by following the Vs of existing stitches. If you have no idea what duplicate stitching is or how to do it, please visit a beginners tutorial and then come back here for all the tricks that take your basic duplicate stitching and make it look professional!

Of course, first you need to pick a chart and knit your puff with the appropriate background color(s). Here I’ve chosen the castle chart. The background in this chart is two different colors. I cast on with green yarn and switched to blue just before starting the increase row to move up to 16 stitches. I then finished out the hexipuff as per my usual modifications. I use Judy’s magic cast on and eliminate the last knit even at 10 stitches row as the three needle bind off counts as this row if you want a puff that isn’t top heavy. Don’t bind off the puff yet. Just stop knitting after the decrease down to 10 stitches row. Split the stitches on the front of your puff onto two needles and leave all the back stitches on one needle. This will make it easier to get in and out of the puff to weave in ends.

Next, thread your needle with your first color working form the top of the puff down. I’m doing grey. Turn the puff inside out and weave in your ends. The appropriate way to weave in ends requires you to split the ply (or fibers in a single ply) of the existing stitches, purls on the inside of a puff. I usually go one direction horizontally, back, and then up or down one or two stitches just to be sure my yarn is really solid and will hold up to repeated washings. If you’re using something really slippery, like a silk, you may want to run it through a few more times just to be sure. By splitting the ply, you not only assure yourself that your tail won’t be visible from the outside of the puff, but it also provides a more secure grab on your yarn tail.

Now, turn your puff right side out and decide on which stitch to begin with. I find the best results come from duplicate stitching a design from the top down. You will get more complete coverage with your top yarn, but we’ll get there. For now, pick your first stitch at the top of the design. If you are knitting your puffs with the same modifications that I am, your loops on the needles are the bottom row of 10 stitches in the chart. So the third stitch down from the needles on the first stitch on the right hand side of the right hand needle is the furthest top right stitch of the castle!

One of the most important tricks I’ve learned in duplicate stitching is the importance of NOT making twisted stitches. This means that to get a smooth stockinette finish on your duplicate stitching, you need to take directions into account. If you’re moving to a stitch left of the current stitch, you need to go through the current stitch from the right to the left, moving toward the next leftward stitch. Alternatively, if you’re working right to left on a row, you need to move right to left when you insert the needle under the V of the stitch above. Here you can see me working from left to right and so I’m inserting the needle left to right. Remember to work your duplicate stitching somewhat loosely! You want it to be soft and stretchable just like the original knitting!

The other big trick you’ll notice here is that since I’m on the second duplicate stitch of the row, I can pick up only the grey V of the stitch above and not the underlying original blue stitch. This helps prevent any blue yarn from showing through the crook of the V in the duplicate stitch!

It can also be very helpful to grab a bit of fiber or even a full ply of yarn from the neighboring stitch as you’re continuing along a row. This helps prevent your background from showing through in vertical stripes, an otherwise common problem. Here I’m working from right to left and have grabbed a bit of the grey yarn from the previous stitch to the right to help the current stitch and the one to the right stay snugged up against one another.

Continue working top down and side to side in this manner until your first color of duplicate stitching is complete.

Carefully turn your puff inside out again and weave in the tail of your duplicate stitching yarn just as you did when you were starting out. Now, you have loops of both your background yarn and your working yarn, grey. You can split the ply and weave your tail into any of these. If you weave into grey purls, your tail will not show up between stitches on the front of the puff. Of course a mixture or even all background yarn is fine too, just so long as your tail is securely woven in through the ply or fibers of the existing yarn.

Cut the excess grey yarn, thread your needle with black yarn, and weave in the end just like you did to begin working with the grey yarn at the beginning. Turn the puff right side out, and insert your needle through the first stitch. Remember to work from the top of the puff down. It is also important when filling areas like windows here to catch a bit of the wall yarn on either side of the window to make sure the stitches stay snugged up against one another and no blue yarn shows through. Here I’ve grabbed a bit of the right side’s grey wall fiber, the two V legs of the black duplicate stitch above, and a bit of the left side’s grey wall fiber. This stitch is sure to stay snugged into place and banish the blue to the background where it belongs!

Again work from the top down filling all the black stitches. If you need to strand across an area on the back, try to catch a bit of the black yarn underneath the purls of grey duplicate stitches on the back to help secure it. Remember to keep a loose tension as you’re duplicate stitching. If you don’t allow your duplicate stitching yarn to be fluffy, you won’t get good coverage. This is why embroidery floss is not good for covering large areas in duplicate stitch. My preferred fiber for duplicate stitching is the same fingering weight yarn I’ve used to knit the puff. I used all Knit Picks Palette colors to do the castle.

When you’re done with your final color of duplicate stitching, weave in it’s end on the inside as before and turn the puff right side out. I like to stretch my puff in each direction at this point to help the stitches settle into place and make sure there aren’t any gaps or mistakes. The reason a bit of background yarn shows through at the bottom of the door is because there is no stitch below it. Your bottom stitches will look like this unless you also duplicate the purl inside the V. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it. You can barely see the background with the zoom and flash on a camera. In person you’d really, really have to be looking.

Stuff your puff and bind off. Weave in your final tails and enjoy your perfect picture puff!

Remember guys, if you knit a puff with my charts I’d love to see it and feature your hexipuff on my blog! Drop me a line in the comments here or to swamps42 on Ravelry!

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24
Jan

Hexipuff Update: 153 Puffs!

Posted under Hexipuffs, Knitting No Comments

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I finished two bright yellow puffs today to finish out a set of 14 honey colored puffs from some yarn I bought specifically to mini skein up for puffs. I of course had to knit up two puffs of each color to get some sample photos for the mini skein listings on etsy. These puffs are just so soft and smushy! I really love this set. You just can’t get more appropriate colors for the beekeeper’s quilt than honey and pollen inspired!

Mini skein set available on etsy soon!

Then, because I accidentally knocked the basket of puffs over a couple days ago, I wanted to make sure I had found all my puffs and that my puff count was updated on my whiteboard. This meant I had to dump out all my puffs, stir them up, roll around in them, and lay them out. I can’t wait until I have a bathtub to put them in AND to get to roll around in that tub with them all! Only after my hexipuff bath can seaming begin. In the meantime, here’s what 153 puffs in an all inclusive color scheme looks like:

After that, I shuffled them up and took a gradient photo. While I will be seaming my puffs in the random arrangement, I like to look at the gradient from time to time and see if there are any colors I desperately need more of. Currently, it looks as though I’m a bit heavy on browns, but as I’m working my way through 100 colors of Palette starting with the browns, I knew I was going to be brown heavy.

And just to make sure you get your money’s worth here in the puff department, here’s the sea of puffs and the heap I rolled in!

I love my puffs. Storage is getting to be more and more of a problem though. I managed to cram 150 puffs into a lined basket I picked up at a yard sale a couple years ago, and I’ve got a small dollar store bin holding the 3 puff overflow. Space for bins is at a premium though as I’m living in such a small flat right now. If money were no object, I’d love to sew a beanbag-sized bag of a very see-through mesh fabric and use the puffs for the quilt in progress as additional seating for when I have company. Tell me, what are you using to store your puffs? Do you have any plans in place for what happens when they overflow your current container? Even if you’re not a puffer, have you got any good ideas for puff storage in a small studio apartment?

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22
Jan

January 22, 2012 Hexipuff Update and a Free Inkle Pattern!

Posted under Free Patterns, Hexipuffs, Inkle Weaving, Knitting, Weaving No Comments

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I’ve been avoiding my hexipuffs lately after puffing myself out with 3-9 per day for the first couple weeks of the year. Today, I did manage to finish the second yellow tonal puff though so I can start winding the remaining yellow tonal into minis for sale and trade! For today’s puff photo, I decided to let the two yellow tonal puffs try to help my US flag puff use my inkle loom.

This new loom is a work in progress. Guy pal and I built it on Saturday, and I warped it and started weaving that night while babysitting for some wonderful sleeping kids. The loom needs some changes to be really sturdy and functional. Right now, it has some EZ-grip clamps holding it together! The body is made entirely of maple with half lap joints. The pegs are the problem. They don’t stay in well enough and the cheap hardwood dowels from Home Depot just aren’t very good. I went through the whole bin at the store to get the least warped ones, but they still had a bit of curl and they’re splitty. I standed them by hand with 400 grit Abranet, but I’m still not happy. The current plants to upgrade the loom include purchasing some walnut dowels at Woodcraft, and instead of having the dowels screw into one side, we will glue them through the side supports. Thank goodness guy pal has a set of Forstner bits to do just that. My drill bit set only goes up to a half inch. Our goal is to have one side of the inkle loom be removable for ease of warping, but if it has to have both sides be permanently attached for peg strength, so be it. I just want to weave!

This is my first ever inkle project. I’m making some US flag bookmarks. I read up on different designs and the basics of inkle weaving on various websites and then came up with this design myself based on a dog collar I saw.

It’s actually a very, very easy design to weave. I’m doing it here in Red Heart Super Saver yarn which I DO NOT recommend using for inkle weaving. I had it on hand, and it was easy to grab on my way to my babysitting gig. Now I know better! Anyhow, the beauty of the pattern here is that it is all done in the warp. You don’t have to do any picking at all! Warping of course takes a while, but it does with any design with color changes. If you’ve got the patience for color changes in your warping, it makes a fantastic beginners pattern because the back and forth weaving is easy while the finished project looks advanced.

Here’s the warping pattern I came up with for you to try out if you’d like. Just don’t use Red Heart Super Saver. Cotton works much better because it glides easier when you’re making your sheds. The finished project will also have better definition of the design because the cotton isn’t so fuzzy as the cheap acrylic I’ve used here.

Bold strands should have a heddle. You will need a total of 19 heddles in this project. Use gold yarn on your shuttle as the weft shows along the edges of the project and the edges are gold. This way, it all blends together perfectly making your weft invisible!

G = Gold

R = Red

W = White

B = Blue

G G R R W W R R W W R R W W R R B B W B B W B B W B B W B B W B B W B B G G

Good luck with your patriotic weaving!

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