The Puff of Puffs @Ravelry
The Hexipuff is making all the other pillows on my couch feel inadequate. It’s 16” tall and 22” at the widest point. It used almost 6 balls of yarn or 190 yds, an entire bag of stuffing, and almost 3/4 a yard of black cotton for the form. It is the undisputed pillow king of the couch, at least, until I give it to my mom. Honestly, it’ll rule that couch too with an iron fist.
Want to know the secret behind a giant and proportional hexipuff? The necessary evil known as swatching. You’ll need the yarn and needles you’ll be using as well as a scale. Also, the following numbers and modifications are in no way meant to be a replacement for the original Beekeeper’s Quilt by Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits. Buy the pattern, use it, and you might even want to make a whole flock of tiny hexipuffs.
Cast on the same number of stitches and in the same way as a regular puff. Then, just knit a tube for a few inches to make the math easy. If your swatch is 20 stitches around, has a gauge of 5 rows to an inch, and is 3” long, your equation should look like this:
20 stitches x 5 rows x 3”= 300 stitches
Next measure how many grams of yarn are in the swatch with the scale. In this example, let’s say 5g.
300 stitches / 5g = 60 stitches per gram
So, for every gram of yarn, you can knit 60 stitches. Let’s say you have 2 50g balls to make your puff.
(2 x 50g) x 60 stitches = 6,000 stitches
This means that the total number of stitches in your puff is 6,000. Any more than that and you’ll run out of yarn. Now, you can figure out how many stitches to cast on and much to increase before decreasing. The original puff has twice the number of stitches at its widest point than at the cast on.
Since the puff is symmetrical you only have to figure out how much to cast on and number of increases to use up half the number of stitches, 3,000 in this case. I wish I had a handy formula I could just plug numbers into for this next step, but it’s all trial and error. And on a spreadsheet.
Take a reasonable guess about how many stitches to cast on (62) and keep adding 4 until the number is twice the cast on (124). Multiply every number of stitches per row by 2 and sum the results. The answer, 2964 stitches, is almost 3000 stitches so you would cast on 62 and increase until you have 124.
Let the knitting begin! Don’t let the sheer number of stitches put you off of a puff or knitting in general. Just enjoy the process and the awesomeness that is a giant puff. Plus, you can use this method for more than just hexipuffs. Whenever you need to figure out how much yarn you’ll need for a project, you can follow the same basis steps.
When I first started this project, hand sewing a pillow form wasn’t even on the radar. Just knit and stuff and graft and gift it away. Easy peasy. As the pillow got bigger, however, a form seemed much more necessary. It added few more steps and time to the process but it’s totally worth it. I picked up 3/4 of a yard of black, cotton homespun and spent part of an afternoon cutting and sewing it up.
Over the past few days, The Bearded One, Shadow and I have put the puff through some rigorous testing. It’s still firm, has kept it’s shape, and isn’t leaking any stuffing. Pillow forms are officially win. Also, it’s so much easier to graft stitches together when you aren’t pushing stuffing out of the way every 5 seconds.
I know I said I was only going to make just one puff. Just one puff to rule them all. Now, I think I have to make two. They can duel for supremacy when I’m done.
Ah, still makes a nice hat.