Exploration Station Shawl

Off the Needles | Exploration Station

Exploration Station Shawl

This is not a very recent FO, but I did just get it blocked yesterday. I still need to finish off the ends but couldn’t resist sharing.

I’m looking forward to getting this finished off and in a wearable state. I loved some of the colour combinations on other finished projects on Ravelry but decided on a slightly different approach. I’d just finished an afghan using a rainbow of sock yarn scraps and had a bag of neutrals left over. I’d also had this pattern in my library for a while too. Seemed like the perfect combination. I could have done it in browns and creams – which I may still do, now I come to think about it. But I had plenty of oddments in various shades of grey, and in various textures / fibres. I only actually used 1 whole skein (the Fyberspates); everything else was leftovers from other projects.

It is enormous, far larger than I expected when I got it blocked. However, I do like an oversize shawl so that is perfect.

When I started I did wonder about the double yarnovers, but with hindsight I’m glad I knitted them as written. A single yarnover would not have worked as well in my view.

Exploration Station Shawl

Yarn: A wide assortment! Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 Ply, Garnstudio DROPS Kid-Silk, Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumperweight, Lotus (Trendsetter) Mimi,  Snaeldan Nappað tógv 2tr, Uncommon Thread Merino / Silk 4 Ply and Rowan Pure Cashmere DK.

Needles: 4 mm

Pattern: Exploration Station by Stephen West

Mods: None, other than my own colour substitutions

July – August FOs

Not many to show, I haven’t been knitting a vast amount over the summer… apart from WIPs, which seem to never end. So just three to mention.

First up, Baby Bean Cardigan, using the very popular (and free) Little Coffee Bean Cardigan pattern on Ravelry. Yarn was Cascade 220 Superwash in the Oatmeal and Marionberry colourways. This was a new baby gift for one of the BFs work colleagues. And by random chance (since I didn’t know about this until after it had been gifted) the colours are in fact the colours of said colleague’s home town.

Next, we have the Sock Yarn Blue socks – using some Old Maiden Aunt Superwash Merino 4 Ply which I got to dye myself at her studio. These are for the BF, and I’m delighted with how they turned out. Not least because I was knitting the first one while I was away for work with no real idea of how big the foot should be. I resorted to phoning the BF, asking how long his foot was, and then using my project bag (which was around 26 cm long) as a ruler. First rule of knitting, always remember a tape measure.

And last but not least is the Tesserae shawl. This is a design in progress, it is currently undergoing test-knitting and should be ready for release in October. This sample is in a heavy laceweight – Lotus Mimi in fact – which is a postively decadent (and humanely farmed) 100% mink yarn. It uses three colours (this used light grey, grey and grape). A full-circular version of this shawl is also in progress.

March-April-May-June FOs

Since I haven’t updated this for a while, there are quite a few finished objects. And normally I run a post like this after the month has finished, but since I haven’t done it for a while I got carried away and included a couple of things that were finished in June. I should have some other stuff done by the end of the month (probably another pair of socks) which I post then.



All the socks follow my usual basic sock recipe, I’ve found that this pattern works well for me and I don’t have to think about what I’m doing. At some point I will write this pattern up!

  • Rye I and Rye II – the free sock pattern ‘Rye‘ by Tincanknits. The first pair is in Abstract Cat Sportweight Merino in the ‘Harvest’ colourway, the second uses Wollmeise Pure 100% Merino in a ‘We’re Different’ version of ‘Giandula’ – I held the yarn double for this pair which turned out too large for me but fitted the BF perfectly. He’s already asking for more socks.
  • Hermione – using the very popular ‘Hermione’s Everyday Socks‘ , just used the stitch pattern and some Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in the ‘Mt. Creek’ colourway. Really liked knitting these, they seemed to get knitted up awfully quickly.
  • Sherbet Socks – just my basic socks using Easyknits.co.uk Deeply Wicked in the ‘Dib Dab’ colourway. Actually had the first sock done for quite a while. I cast on the second sock on the bus on a Monday morning, by Monday night I had the entire foot and heel done. I didn’t knit on them Tuesday and finished it off Wednesday – one very fast second sock! Loved the colourway but the second sock pooled a lot more than the first, the first striped, whereas the second was pooling on the foot. Thankfully the leg returned to normal so I’m happy with that.


  • Voar II – a pair for me (the first were a shop sample for Ginger Twist Studio) using some leftover Cascade Superwash 220 and Drops Nepal.


  • Hoxne – I’ve wanted to knit this since I first purchased Doggerland: Knits from a Lost Landscape, I originally planned for it to be knitted up in some Snaeldan 2ply I picked up in Reykjavik earlier this year, but one of the later released patterns uses this yarn and I had to find a substitute – so a well matured skein of The Yarn Yard Crannog in various shades of purple was used instead. I need to reblock the shawl but am delighted with it, I think it will be a perfect lightweight summer shawl.


  • 3-in-1 – a jumper in fingering weight… which I love so much I’m already planning a second. Uses some Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere 4 Ply in two colourways which I dyed myself at the workshop I took last year, plus some cream sock yarn and one of the Small Skein Society colourways from The Yarn Yard. I need to get better pictures of the FO rather than just the progress pictures! The next one will use orange shades I think.


  • I Talk With The Moon Tea Cosy – more on this in an upcoming post. My own design, which uses Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds B.F.L. in the Cream and Brown B.F.L. shades.
  • Oink! – A mini version of the free pattern ‘Big Pink Pig‘ by Purl SoHo, using my own handspun (Hilltop Cloud Merino/BFL/Seacell/Llama).
  • A mystery project/design which I cannot tell you anything about – come back in September for information on this one!

February FOs

Just a quick picture update, which isn’t …um… all that different to my Ravellenics post.

These are the 3 FOs which I have pictures of.

Look familiar?


There is a Windschief (the second I have knitted this year), for J again, this time in black. Which I don’t have a picture of him wearing. Actually I don’t have a picture of the hat, let alone anything else.

FO: Abalone

The first finished object from February! Abalone, a shrug-like cardigan. Originally the pattern was written as a bottom-up pattern. But me being me, I reversed it and made it top-down. I blogged about this already – including the rather unfortunate mistake which was thankfully easily rectified. It still needs blocking, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

I used some yarn which I’ve had in stash for some time. I purchased the Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica back in 2009. It got knitted up into a jumper (Ski Lodge Scoop). Then I lost weight, that jumper became too big, so it got frogged and this has been waiting to be reknitted for some time. It is fabulous yarn, and has stood up to being knitted, worn, frogged and reknitted really well. Quite an economical purchase in some respects! I was also able to spit-splice the separate balls of yarn back together, so there were not too many ends to sew in.

From my Ravelry Project Page – My Modifications and Notes


  • Knitting this top down.
  • Adding set-in sleeves (using top down short row sleeve method).
  • Switched to 5.5mm needles – fabric looks better at that tension.

Fronts: Provisionally cast on 15 stitches, knitted in stockinette, slipping 1st stitch for 7.5”. Then increased 1 stitch on one side only three times on right on knit rows only. 18 stitches total. Repeated for left front, increasing on left-hand side. Slipped live stitches on holder.

Back: Unpicked provisional cast on left front, knitted across 15 stitches. Using backwards loop cast on, add 28 stitches. Unpick provisional cast on right front, knit across the 15 stitches. 68 stitches total. After 7.5 inches, increase 1 stitch on each knit row at each end 3 times. Purl back and turn work to RS. New total 74 stitches.

Body: With RS facing, knit across back, at end backwards loop cast on 2 stitches then knit across right front. Turn work (WS facing), purl across to opposite end of back piece. Backwards loop cast on 2 stitches, then purl across left front. 78+18+18 stitches = 114 stitches. Work in stockinette until work measures 12” from underarm.

Shaping: Follow shaping only on RS rows (sl1, ssk, k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1) (WS, sl1, p to end), decreasing 2 each RS row, repeated this several times, then switched to decreasing on both knit and purl rows once at each row end (RS: sl1, ssk, k to last 3, k2tog, k1, WS: sl1, p2tog, p to last 3, p2tog, p1). After a few more switched to decreasing twice (RS: sl1, ssk twice , k to last 5, k2tog twice, k1, WS: sl1, p2tog twice, p to last 5, p2tog twice, p1). 42 stitches left.

Edging: Knitted across live stitches at base, pick up 1 stitch in each slipped stitch and across collar. Continue with edging as written in pattern. 8 ridges, used decrease bind off.

Sleeves: 55 stitches picked up, start with 15 stitches centred at sleeve top, work short rows back and forth until all sleeve stitches are included. Edging as pattern, decrease bind off. Repeat twice.

January Round-Up: The Finished Objects

Since I’ve been lax actually talking about what I am knitting at the moment. And since I actually knitted quite a bit in January, it seems better that I summarise the January finished objects into one post.

Test-Knit Cowl

Test-knit for a friend. Used 1 full skein of sock yarn, and overdyed it when I finished knitting it up. The original colour can be seen on my project page. Pattern will be available sometime soon.

Grown Up

The pattern is by Justyna Lorkowska, and is available to purchase via Ravelry. I knitted it up in Drops Andes – a wool /  Alpaca blend. I love jumpers like this, which are perfect for layering over long-sleeved T-Shirts. I’m not a big fan of longer sleeves (I like them for warmth but tend to roll them up the first chance I get), so this design is perfect. I love the asymmetric details on it too, especially the hem. And the pattern has a few optional details, you can choose whether to include the asymmetric hem and collar and the pocket too. I made a few mods to the shaping, details are on my project page.

Jewellery (Cable Braided Necklace & Entwined)

I had a small quantity of handspun tussah silk, and wanted something small and slightly luxurious to knit with it. I quite like the outcome of these.


A cozy little headscarf-type hat, and a free pattern too – available from Knitty. I used some of my own handspun for this one.

Flightless 2.0

This is the shawl I’m having test knit at the moment. I won’t say too much now, but you’ll be seeing more of this in the near future.

FO: Snawheid

The last finished object from 2012 – finally!

Kate Davie’s wonderful Snawheid hat pattern (sans pom-pom – I’m just not a pom-pom kind of person). Quite a quick knit (despite putting it down for a few days in the middle of knitting it) in the lovely Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme. I used Shaela and White for a lovely subtle contrast.

No snow though to wear it in though… so better (and more appropriate pictures will have to wait)!

12 Twelves in 2012

I had grand plans last year as I mentioned in my Resolutions 2013 post. These were the aims…

  1. 12 Sweaters, Cardigans, Tops
  2. 12 Socks (6 pairs)
  3. 12 Mittens, Gloves (6 Pairs)
  4. 12 WIPs or Queue Items
  5. 12 Favourites
  6. 12 Scarves, Cowls, Shawls
  7. 12 Hexipuffs per month (12 x 12)
  8. 12 Techniques (New and Previously Used)
  9. 12 Seasonal Decorations
  10. 12 Wildcards
  11. 12,000 Yards Knitted
  12. 12 Months Keeping my Knitting Stuff Organised

And with hindsight, probably a tad excessive. Maybe I was aware of this at the time, as I did add this postscript:

I’m planning on having a fair bit of overlap between the various categories, means I can tick off more early on!

Nevertheless the start of 2013 seemed like a good excuse to actually assess what I did last year in terms of these knitting goals.

So, here goes…

1. 12 Sweaters, Cardigans, Tops

  1. January Morning
  2. Blaithin
  3. Viisi Päivä

Only three in the end. I am hoping to get more garments knitted this year, so maybe I will improve on this total in 2013. 

2. 12 Socks, Slippers (6 pairs / 12 individual socks or slippers)

  1. Vanilja 
  2. Double-Layer Slippers
  3. Circle Socks
  4. Maeva
  5. Longitudinal
  6. Pink Elephants!
  7. Skew

14 individual socks and slippers knitted, seven pairs. Am pretty impressed with this, 3 of the pairs were gifts and have been well-appreciated. Plus I finally got the Socks of Shame (Skew) finished!

3. 12 Mittens, Gloves (6 pairs/12 individual gloves or mittens)

  1. Twelfth Night Mittens 
  2. Wanderlust

I need more mittens. 

4. 12 WIPs or Queue Items (Started or Queued Pre-January 1st, 2012)

  1. January Morning (Started December 2011)
  2. Twelfth Night Mittens (Started December 2011)
  3. Sharktooth (Started December 2011)
  4. Arroway (Queued)
  5. Oeste (Queued)
  6. Vulpix (Queued)
  7. Cumulonimbus (Queued)
  8. Honeycomb Quilt (Started December 2011)
  9. Skew (Started June 2011)
  10. Kimono Wrap (Started January 2011) – Still ongoing

Hmm… I cannot really remember what else was on my queue back at the start of last year. So this category will just have to be left as is. I did get all but one of the items started pre-2012 completed though. So that is good. Fingers crossed that the Kimono Wrap will finally get done in 2013. 

5. 12 Favourites

I started listing these, then twigged that pretty much everything I’d knitted this year had been on my favourites list at some point. I think I can safely say I met this target. 

6. 12 Scarves, Cowls, Shawls

  1. Sharktooth
  2. Arroway
  3. Oeste
  4. Vulpix
  5. Cumulonimbus
  6. Rockefeller
  7. Spectra
  8. Flightless 1.0
  9. Hemlock Ring
  10. Slip Stitch Cowl
  11. Shipwreck Shawl – Still ongoing

Two observations. 1. I knit fewer of these items than expected, and 2. I seem to have an obsession with Stephen West patterns. 

7. 12 Hexipuffs per month (12 months of 12 hexipuffs)

  • 230 Hexipuffs knitted between December 2011 and February 2012

As I suspected, I knew I’d go overboard with one of the categories. I just didn’t anticipate that it would be this one. Aim was for 144 hexipuffs over the year. I managed 230 in 3 months. Oops. 

8. 12 New Techniques

  1. Magic Loop
  2. Afterthought Heel
  3. I-Cord Bind Off
  4. Two at a Time Socks – Top Down
  5. Two at a Time Socks – Toe Up
  6. Steeking
  7. Steek Sandwich
  8. Cables without a Cable Needle
  9. Spinning with a Drop Spindle
  10. Spinning with a Wheel
  11. Kitchener Stitch / Grafting
  12. Crochet
  13. Tunisian Crochet
  14. Pattern Designing

Lots of new things! 

9. 12 Seasonal Decorations

  1. 26 Korknisse
  2. 3 Baubles
  3. 1 Festive Wreath

Total = 30 Decorations

All Christmas decorations, but to be honest that is the only time of year I have decorations up so that works. 

10. 12 Wildcards

  1. Sheepheid
  2. Mucklemuff
  3. Honeycomb Quilt
  4. Kentigern Blanket
  5. Phone Case
  6. Ripley
  7. Snapdragon Tam
  8. Encircle
  9. Bath Scrubbie
  10. Waffle Knit Scrubbie
  11. Boxy Scrubbie #2
  12. Boxy Scrubbie #3
  13. Snawheid

Unsurprisingly, I went over in this category. But I always was easily sidetracked. 

11. 12,000 Yards Knitted

Based on the project pages on Ravelry with yardage totals, I easily cleared the 16,500 yard mark. But this does not take into account all those projects which used scrap or non-stashed yarn – like the decorations or the Honeycomb Quilt. I think the quilt alone would take the total over the 20k mark. 

12. 12 Months Keeping my Knitting Stuff Organised

Partially succeeded. Some months were messier than others. But I have no excuses(!) now that the office is organised better and I have space for things. I’ll spend some time this month getting everything sorted after the chaos I’ve created over the Christmas break. I appeared to have established a knitting nest (or fort – depending on your viewpoint) of papers, books, laptop, coffee cups, tissues, blankets, and knitting and spinning supplies at one end of the sofa. 


Maybe I did better at this than I thought…