Exploration Autumn. FO Details.

First of all I am happy to be back. Though it’s been just 5 days without blogging, it seemed much longer. And I miss reading your blogs! I’ll try to be back on track though July is promising to be pretty hectic.

So much happened during these short  days. First of all, my dear Elena is gone 🙁 She went back to Russia and we won’t see each other at least for one year. We spent yesterday’s morning in the airport crying and laughing at the same time. I already miss her terribly… Second, our last FO photo story was interrupted by the death of my camera. Oh, well. I can’t complain – it was a 10 year old used camera that served me well the whole year. Before I replace it, I will try my best with my old second hand 40 dollar “pocket” camera. Well, that’s it for the life news, let’s get to knitting.

FO – Exploration Autumn

Hand Knit Shawl

Looking at my finished Exploration Autumn I realize that it’s probably the most stitches that I have ever knit in one piece. This shawl is huge! It wasn’t supposed to be this big according to the pattern, but it was my fault.  I know my hands, I know I a loose knitter, I know if the pattern asks for 4 mm (US 6) needles, I should go down to 3 mm, 3.5 mm tops. But I misled myself. The thing is that the 4 mm circular wooden needles are my favorite to work with, especially with this springy wool yarn. There is something so satisfying about wool and wood in my hands… So I closed my eyes and chose the recommended needle size to end up with a shawl-parachute. That being said I actually love its finished size! You can entirely wrap yourself up in its colorful stripes from head to toe!

Project Notes

Ravelry page. Exploration Autumn. The name was inspired by the color palette.

Pattern. Exploration Station by Stephen West

Yarn. This is the first project of my life that I knit with 100% wool yarn! Being restricted by the weather to cotton, linen, silk, bamboo, etc for the last two years, I’ve never even hold pure wool in my hands. Well, what can I say… You guys are right – wool is a dream fiber to work with! So springy, squashy and warm! Though I love the texture, luster and smoothness of cotton with all my heart and hands, I know that from now on I will have wool on my needles regularly! Because of my “misgauge”, I used almost 7 balls of Knit Picks’ Palette instead of planned 4. More details on yarn can be found here.

Design details.

Color. Stephen West is the king of the color play, that’s for sure!


The pattern provides a great canvas for experiment. You can use the recommended 4 color combination, or go crazy and take out all your leftovers from your yarn basket and go for it! Before casting on, you should definitely check numerous Ravelry projects to get some inspiration and ideas!

Texture. This shawl was a a part of a mystery shawl KAL last year. I was listening to Ashley’s interview with Stephen where he shared his design process and how the mystery KAL is slightly different from writing a usual pattern. Mystery pattern always has to have some element of surprise – you can’t start with one stitch pattern and finish with the same one. Well, this pattern is definitely not boring! Short rows, brioche, garter, knit/purl, lace… All this combination creates such a diverse fabric!


My personal favorite was colorful short rows! They are so easy to work with and they create such an interesting effect.


I’ve never tried brioche before and to be honest, it seemed a little bit too fuzzy for me. Maybe just because I am not used to it. But the texture it creates is worth all the effort!
hand_knit_shawl_8The border is absolutely beautiful and easy to knit! I also loved that the shawl required minimum finishing – no picking up stitches along the border, that’s the beauty of the i-cord trimming.


More on the Exploration Station this weekend!

Have a great day today!


Hand Knit Dress
Modification Series. Soho Dress. Part IV. Details.
Hand Knit Shawl
Deep End. Details.
Hand-knit Cable Cardigan
Modification Series. St. Brigid. Details


  1. Well, it surely looks great, warm, fuzzy and not that big! Maybe on the wearing pics I’ll change my mind about the last one!
    Some detox is always welcome….

    • Maybe it seems huge to me because I’ve never knit a shawl that big! Well, better for my Granny – she will need it during long winter evenings!

    • That’s a subtle way of thinking about it.

    • If I add a new user to an existing Apps group, it doesn't appear as though the sharing permissions are carried over to the new user, which pretty much makes this feature useless since I *still* have to pull up the permissions for each document, un-share, and then re-share. What a pain! I'm disappointed that Google still hasn't gotten this right.

  2. The color combination is perfect. I love all the different stitches that are in it. Your Granny is going to love it.

  3. Your color combination is fantastic! Love it! That’s an extraordinary piece of knitting, I’m sure your granny will enjoy it.

  4. Your choice of colors is awesome! I can see you’ve been influenced by the colors of Mexico 😉 I’ve been wanting to try this pattern also, and seeing your pictures makes me want to try it even more!

    • Thank you, Katrine! Mexico has definitely changed my color choices 🙂 I definitely came out of my comfort color zone of neutral shades palette. You should definitely cast it on!

  5. It may look like a parachute to you, but it is stunning to me. I am sorry about your camera but even more sorry that Elena went back to Russia. I was able to borrow Ari’s camera this week for my photos. Hope you will like them.

  6. welcome to the dark side of wool! as you said, it’s going to be hard to go back. and you’ve made such a beautiful FO too!

    btw your pics look great with that little camera. of course, if you want an excuse i’m happy to tell you they’re terrible 😉

    • Thank you, Jody! The “dark” side of wool is s enjoyable! And, yes, I do need this excuse, especially for my husband and our family budget 🙂

  7. Just beautiful!!! Your granny would absolutely love it.

    So sorry you’re losing your friend; I’ve really enjoyed your photo story collaborations. But a year would go by in no time and you’ll be seeing each other soon. Take comfort in the memories.

    • Thank you, Nicky! I do hope my Granny will love it! We made a deal with Elena – whenever we meet, we are going to take pictures of some knitwear! It became such a huge part of our lives!

  8. i had to laugh a little…..like you i am a really (REALLY) loose knitter, and I usually have to go down two needle sizes to get gauge; BUT, if it’s a choice between a ‘favorite’ needle and gauge—-favorite needle wins every time!!!
    and this time….favorite needle really worked great for you. THIS IS GORGEOUS!!!! And it looks like the perfect cuddle up size!

  9. Oh wow!
    Absolutely beautiful, Alina!

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