Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Exploration Station, starting out step by step.

Stephen West of Westknits is an artist. What I find fascinating in his Exploration Station Shawl design is the movement and structure, combined with various stitches from bold to delicate. 

Exploration Station is a  work of art, inspiring to look at and to knit. 

Stephen does not only design exciting knit patterns, he calls them really great names. Exploration Station is a very apt name for this pattern I think. The name conveys the experience that lies beyond the knitting needles. 

For me personally it will certainly entail exploring new knitting skills, textures, colours and techniques. 

I learnt to knit in junior school and have pretty much not knitted since then.  
 I decided to take knitting lessons. Knitting lessons with one goal, to knit Exploration Station. 

I found the ideal teacher in Puk Vossen of Bureau Vossen. At first I thought I would need basic lessons followed by lessons to knit Exploration Station, but Puk reassured me,  I was going to learn to knit better, while knitting Exploration Station! 

 Off I went to Rotterdam on Monday morning to start my first knitting class. We started with a try out and within no time I had knitted the first two 'wedges' of my Exploration station! Abbreviations that seemed so abstract started to make perfect sense under Puk's positive  guidance. 

 Exploration station in all it's glory. From front, back, side, this is a statement piece. I love the styling of this photo and the way the scarf is presented. Images above and below are by Westknits.

Before I could start to knit Exploration Station, I had to decide on colour. I looked at many coloured versions of this pattern on Ravelry,Pinterest and Instagram and downloaded images of the ones I liked the most.

  Even though I love all colour, neons, brights, neutrals, the patterns knitted in tonal colours caught my eye most. I wanted to keep my version of Exploration Station neutral so that the beautiful stitches would speak for themselves. Example below by  Hedgehog fibres blog. 

I decided on neutrals but still had to determine colour. Pinterest is always my ideal place to search for inspiration and I found these beautiful images below on my board ''Nature Inspires' to determine my colour choice.

I decided to use the gorgeous hand dyed  Sockweight yarns by Cowgirlblues. I chose the colours Natural, Lavender, Candyfloss and Silver Fox. Knitting with Cowgirlblues is wonderful, their sockweight yarn is so soft and beautiful.  I Love their sophisticated colour palette. Cowgirlblues is hand dyed in Cape Town, South Africa. 

 Puk Vossen, pictured below is an experienced knitter. She told me her mother taught her to knit at a young age. Her mother spun wool, knitted, dyed and had a vast knowledge of which plants and bugs had to be gathered to create her own dye baths.  As a child Puk recalls not being aware of the value if this knowledge, but now as an adult she can enjoy and reap the benefits of this gift passed on by her mother. 

Below my hands getting to grips with the first few rows of Exploration Station. Using an alternative yarn for the first try out. The pattern for Exploration Station can be purchased on Ravelry as a PDF download. I will continue knitting this fascinating fun and beautiful pattern and will keep you posted on my progression. 

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