Oddments and leftovers

Cooey the pigeon

This year has been the year of socks and snails as far as knitting goes… there have been other things (slugs, worms, a butterfly, Cooey the pigeon and Nessie for example), but mainly socks and snails, The result being rather a lot of wool oddments. I had thought about knitting a pair of really random socks, combining all the different patterns of wool that I’ve worked with this year, but somehow that really didn’t appeal. Then the other day, whilst browsing the blogs I subscribe to, I came across reference to the ‘Beekeepers Quilt‘ on The Secret Life of Yarn. It’s just what I’ve been waiting for* – a way of stylishly using up all those bits of yarn that I can’t bear to throw out, but I haven’t been able to think what on earth to do with.

My first three hexipuffs

The quilt is constructed from ‘hexipuffs’ – tiny knitted hexagons, lightly stuffed. They are each only about 5cm, so take hardly any wool and you combine them into a crazy patchwork quilt so the more colours there are, the better. Until you stitch them together at the end, there is no sewing required, as they are knitted ‘in the round’ on double-pointed needles. I decided to learn a new technique for casting on (not necessary, but interesting) – the two-needle long-tail cast on. So far, I have knitted three… but I only started yesterday and I do also have a pair of socks I want to finish this weekend. Apparently, for a quilt measuring 3 feet my 4 feet (90cm by 120cm) I’m going to need nearly 400 hexipuffs, so don’t expect to see it finished soon! It’s going to be a WIP (work in progress) for a long time yet.

I am a great fan of using up leftovers, whether they be in the form of wool, fabric or food. The latter is easy, as we usually eat them up the next day – meat is turned into rissoles; sour milk is used to make waffles or scones (Mrs Beeton’s for preference); stale cake can become trifle; roast vegetables can go into soup… the options are endless. And, anyway, most things can be frozen in one form or another for even later use. Of course, it’s different with craft materials: since they don’t go off, I can save them indefinitely**. This is not good for a hoarder like me, as I’m happy to allow things to accumulate because I know that they might come in useful later. I am trying to rectify this at the moment and make some more space by selling some things on ebay. I find it much easier to send things to a good home than to throw them out, but I fear that no one but me is going to be interested in my (not for sale) selection of used wrapping paper, felt off-cuts, bits of wool and packaging material. Still, at least the latter will be useful when I find buyers for the other stuff that’s on the market…


* And for real obsessives, like me, there’s a whole thread on Ravelry dedicated to this one pattern!

** Not entirely true  I just found a ball of wool in the loft that had been consumed by clothes moths… the little blighters!

Leave a comment


  1. Linda Winn

     /  November 24, 2012

    LOVE the hexipuffs! I have dexion shelving stacked with boxes full of scraps of material, bits of wool, ribbon, boxes of boxes and tins that I just KNOW will come in useful one day, likewise jam jars, screw top bottles, coffee tins and pretty paper, paper bags, net bags and SO MANY cake tins of buttons…..but you seem to make time to actually DO things with it all, whereas I only seem to just get as far as the collecting of it!

  2. I love using leftovers from projects to make hexipuffs! It’s like having a record of everything you’ve made.

    I also keep a bag of leftover scrap yarn in amounts too small for hexipuffs to use for stitch holders, lifelines, or provisional cast-ons. I used to keep a box full of random things that I thought I could use for embellishments but I think it got lost the last time I moved…

  3. Aren’t hexipuffs addicting to make? Each so quick, yet satisfyingly complete in themselves.

  4. Janet

     /  March 7, 2013

    You lot are on my wavelength! I have started ‘puffing’ to use up all my wool oddments,. So far I have 32 and I have got it down to 45 minutes to complete one. Problem is that I am fast running out of wool oddments so I have just come on line to see if I can buy bags of oddments. Has anyone tried oversewing with the designs on the Ravelty site? I have done a bee and a collie dog which are fun and useful to decorate those boring plain coloured ones. Keep puffing!!.

    • I decided to leave my plain puffs plain because I have so many crazy ones knitted out of self-patterning sock wool and I think the final quilt will be overwhelming if I do too much extra decorating. That said, I have knitted quite a few plain ones recently and they do seem to be asking to have something done to them!
      As for oddments to buy – try e-bay and freecycle, A friend of mine got a bag of wool from the latter but only wanted the DK, so gave me all the finer stuff, it’s really added to my stash!

  5. Janet

     /  March 7, 2013

    Thanks, I will try them. I am not too worried about ply. I am making my puffs in double knitting and thinner stuff works well using 2 or 3 strands, especially if they are all different colours.

  6. barbara

     /  March 17, 2013

    could i make the hexi puffs with knitting needles, not the double ones. I can’t use the double ones. I don’t mind sewing.

  7. Janet

     /  March 17, 2013

    I tried this and they seemed to lose their shape when I sewed them together. Have you tried circular needles?

  1. ScrapHappy February | The Snail of Happiness

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