Ins and Outs

Boy, are things every moving fast around here. I got home from Madrona Monday night (Well, technically it was Tuesday in the small hours) and hit the ground running. Yesterday was Sam and Lou’s birthday, her 21 and him 3, and a good time was had by all, I think. Sam had her favourite dinner with the whole family there, and I’ll have to see my little guy when I get back.

Get back? Yup. I’m out the door again. This time for what has become my traditional winter trip with my Mum. It’s Mexico for us again, and today I’m dumping sweaters and scarves out of my suitcase, and dumping shorts and tee-shirts in – although there’s one scarf I’d like to take with me. Fox Paws.

foxpawsdetail 2015-02-18

It’s done, and I’m so in love with it that even a tropical climate can barely dissuade me from wearing it.  I blocked it when I landed in Seattle, and it was dry in time to be worn all over Madrona.

foxpawswhole 2015-02-18 (1)

It got the proper number of compliments, and how could it not.  What a beautiful thing. Absolutely worth the fuss.

foxpawsfolds 2015-02-18

Pattern: Fox Paws, although I only did 4 repeats across- to make it a scarf, rather than a wrap. It was a good move I think, this size is more practical and wearable for me.  I knit until it was longer than a full chesterfield, I’d say it comes in at about 2m long (that’s about 6.5 or 7 feet, for my American friends) and it’s the perfect, perfect length.  I’m glad I didn’t wimp out.

foxpawswhole 2015-02-18

Yarn: Rowan Fine Tweed, in Arncliffe, Keld, Bainbridge, Tissington and Dent. Two balls of each – with a good bit (about 8g) left of each ball when I was done. Needle: 3.75mm.

I’m in love with it. I could take pictures of it all day, and it’s currently hanging over a chair in the living room, where if I thought the cat would stay off it, I’d leave it – just as a piece of art.  (As it is, if she puts a single claw to it, I’ll have her killed, so for both of our sakes I’ll move it.)

foxpawsdetsnow 2015-02-18

Having a scarf like this makes me almost glad it’s winter, although not glad enough to not be thrilled that I’m off to warmer climes.  This time tomorrow I’ll have knitting in hand,  bum on the sand, and toes in the ocean.  For now, I’ve totally got to wind some yarn, pack a bag and polish my Spanish. I can’t wait to have an adventure with my mum.  Last year we learned to snorkel. This year? Who knows.


114 thoughts on “Ins and Outs

    • read the fine print and make sure reputable
      company and check insurance there have been devastating accidents
      don’t mean to put a damper on it but there was just an episode on W5 I think about this!

    • (and hey, I posted without clicking on the pretty image it tells me to click on – so I think either that’s a fluke or your captcha is broken)

  1. So beautiful! I was at Madrona and caught a look at you wearing Fox Paws, it looked stunning in person. I was happy to see you wearing it!

  2. PLEASE please please please. Label your scarf with a return address/postage guaranteed sticker as well as an RFID tag. You want that baby back home.

    In the meantime – have a great time! The Blog will live vicariously through your pix. (I’m in North Dakota – it’s warmed up to -3F/-19C. Low tonight -20/-29.)

    Take care!

  3. Wish I could see the glorious FoxPaws in person! Someday, perhaps. I’m not quite ready to make my own, though I have yarn and plans for Petal Cowl by the same designer. I hear that Petal Cowl is the entry level version, and FoxPaws the advanced degree.

    My favorite place in Mexico is Isla Mujeres, a little island just off Cancun, but a world away. Low-key and way less crazy (and expensive). That’s where my husband and I got engaged (when I asked him). 🙂 We went back for our 20th anniversary. Have a wonderful time raising your vitamin D levels!

  4. Love it. Got a few other projects to finish, then Fox Paws watch out. Enjoy the warmth of Mexico – Toronto and Northern Michigan share a lot of the same weather!!

  5. Dear Steph, the scarf is amazing. I know in the past you have written extensively about knitting on airplanes. I have just returned from Santiago Chile and security demanded my two Addi Turbo Lace circulars and a crochet hook. The really odd part is that when arriving in Santiago, I had to leave the plane, go through security and then re-board the same plane to Buenos Aries. Chilean security said nothing about the knitting in my carry on bag. There was a poster listing pictorially the banned items and nothing resembling knitting needles was there…just scissors. I had endure an Air Canada flight with no way to knit. I hope you will write about this in a future blog post. The word needs to get out to any knitter or crocheter to pack all tools in checked luggage. Or better still, just don’t go there. Go somewhere where knitting is understood to be a peaceful activity. It’s too bad as there is a strong knitting/crochet tradition in Chile. How do they manage? Thanks.

    • Two years ago we made a trip to Italy via Amsterdam and back via Paris, I was allowed my circular and thankfully no one batted an eye.

    • I just use wood where it might be an issue. Got me through jury duty with knitting in hand. Actually when we were in the jury Room the joke got to be that if I took my knitting out, they’d come retrieve us. Worked most of the time.

      • I took crochet on a plane from the UK (Manchester) to Boston Logan and back again. I packed the yarn in a clear ziploc bag and took a plastic crochet hook, which I stored in the pen compartment of my rucksack. The yarn was prodded and the crochet hook left unnoticed. I made sure to take yarn that wasn’t that valuable (and easy enough to snap in lieu of scissors), too so if I had to give it over I didn’t mind but it meant that I at least had something to keep my hands busy on the plane.

  6. Just what I needed- a post from the yarn harlot to lighten my mood. The fox paws is a gorgeous knit. Jeez, I wish my brain could invent knitting magic tricks like that!

    Enjoy the warmth and sunshine on your hols and do teach us some more Spanish this year…

  7. I just want to say thank you very much for taking the time last week to respond to my question about why you were knitting Fox Paws on circular needles. I have just started mine, and I took your advice; had I been using straights, I think it would have been in the bin by now! I’m doing it in Drops Alpaca, in muted tones of lilac, pink and turquoise. It would have been a shame to waste such lovely yarn.

  8. Thanks so much for stopping in between trips. I was getting a little worried about you, and now I know you are safe and sound. Have a great trip with your mom, and WOW – that Fox Paws is amazing!

  9. Fox Paws is stunningly beautiful and inspirational. I second the advice of the woman who suggested putting an ID label in it. I’d wimp out and leave it at home, away from the cat. Have a fabulous time and a good rest.

  10. That is spectacular! I am envious of both Fox Paws and your trip as I live in Western Massachusetts and warm weather is a long way off. Have great trip.

  11. Fox Paws is spectacular! Just beautiful. I’ll be thinking of you while I shovel the snow. Have a fun and warm time with your Mum.

  12. Truly stunning project and essential to move it, especially considering the malevolent look on that feline in your post of the 11th. Trust me, I know that look. Have a wonderful, warm trip!

  13. It’s fantastic. I don’t know that it’s a style I would west, but it shows its difficulty, and loold polished. Congratulations!

    P.s My phone tried to correct that to “condemnations.” It doesn’t think so highly of finicky patterns, I suppose.

  14. How about knitting a second version of Fox Paws in a light cotton yarn so you can wear it in warmer climes too???? (That WAS a joke, by the way, don’t throw anything at me!)
    Anyway it looks wonderful, no wonder the cat is attracted to it!
    Have a lovely time in Mexico … they have some fabulous textile traditions, though I am not sure that they include knitting. Perhaps a trip to the Andes next time??

  15. Sitting here in CNY, buried in snow and freezing, it is hard to believe there are places in the world where people are wearing shorts and t-shirts…I really can’t relate to this at all, it just seems so impossible! I hope you have a wonderful time, soaking up the sun the sea the sand – knitting in hand! (Does it really exist??) Please bring some of it back with you (great weather), we need it! PS the scarf is beautiful. How do people pick what colors to use? I look at ravelry and they all look so good!

  16. Yes, Fox Paws is beautiful… But how did Lou get to be three? And Sam is 21? Wow.. Darned kids, they keep time honest. Enjoy vacay in the sun!

  17. Boy! Have you earned this vacation! When I think of all you have accomplished this past year, I am in awe. I thought by the end of Madrona, you were looking a wee bit frazzled, though Fox Paws was certainly a distraction. Soak up sun, sleep and a mothers love. When your energy kicks in – you’ll have more stories to tell us. Here’s a virtual hug. Mmmmmaaahhh

  18. Thank you for taking the time out of the Madrona craziness to have the “matching wallet picture” taken. One picture of two people I admire! What’s not to love about that 🙂
    Bon voyage! And Bueno del sol!

  19. But you’ve been updating your Spanish all along! As long as you need to say truck, mitten, cat or Father Christmas, you’re good to go, guapa. (Damned Autocorrect, or DAC, as we call it around here, wants to change “guapa” to “Hispanic.” I despair.). Have fun. Don’t mind us. We’ll just huddle under blankets till you get back.

  20. It is stunning! Gorgeous! Congratulations on such a work of art. Enjoy it! Oh, and I hope you have a great and restful trip with your mom.

  21. Thanks for letting us all know the yarn you used and the quantity of each. That will make it all that much easier for the copycats among us (there must be plenty — just look at the Ravelry Favorites list any time you show your knitting) to make our own.

    I like the width you chose since it is a more wearable width for me as well.

  22. Stunning. Simply stunning. I’m glad you didn’t block it to within an inch of its life, as the texture of the stitch pattern adds to its beauty.

    Now, this is just an idea I’m throwing out for you to ponder: Since you have so much of the yarn left over, do you think you could adapt the stitch pattern to a matching accessory? Maybe mittens (perhaps easier) or a tam (if you’re feeling truly demented). Just an idea. Mentally play with it a bit and see what you think.

    Enjoy the trip with Mom. Enjoy the margaritas or mojitos or umbrella drinks. Enjoy the warmer weather (we’re supposed to get wind chill factors of -20 to -30 F tonight, and the wind chill at O’Hare on my way home from work was already -17 F.).

  23. Trolling for the name of the cowl you were wearing Sunday morning at Madrona. Was it Spectral by chance??? (Fingers crossed that someone who knows/remembers sees this…kicking myself for not having asked at the time!!)

  24. I would leave Fox Paws at home so you can have something to look forward to upon your return. The way things are going weather-wise, there might still be snow in Canada 10 days from now.

  25. If trying out an art installation at home you could have Fox Paws in one part of the room, and your Kauni cardigan in another!

  26. Be sure to check out a yarn booth at the local farmer’s market. They dye the most amazing bright colors, mostly in man-made fiber in fingering or lace weight, which they mostly crochet into fabulous fantasy baby dress creations. Think tier after tier of lace ruffles. I have 2 projects going in Mx yarn, a vintage baby dress and 2 of the 5 colors in Fox Paws. The pink is the brightest I have ever seen, and the turquoise puts the Caribean to shame. Have fun!
    Julie in San Diego

  27. Sam is 21? Just yesterday you were a bright-faced barely teenager. Hope you had a marvelous day to celebrate! And a happy birthday as well to Lou, who can’t possibly be three. And to Steph, happy travelling to paradise, with hugs for your mum. Oh, yeah, Fox Paws is so gorgeous, I have decided I need to knit it after all.

  28. I was in your knitting for speed and efficiency class Friday morning at Madrona when you took a sip of coffee and the lid must not have been quite right because a bit spilled out, just missing Fox Paws. Nearly gave my a heart attack! Though a coffee brown hue would compliment it nicely, it’s beautiful just the way it is. (Thanks for a wonderful class by the way. Really enjoyed the history lesson).

  29. Foxpaws is truly amazing!! Enjoy the sunshine – its so long till summer here in the UK. Maybe I should start Foxpaws ready for next winter.

  30. Gorgeous! Not ready to try it yet but it is in my “I aspire to this” file. As to cat paws (as opposed to Foxpaws) my two kittens are doing evil things to my hand knit wool afghan. Unfortunately, they are still too frightened of people for me to be able to clip their nails. (They were feral cats I adopted when they were 5 months old. One is getting a bit friendly, but the other just runs if I get anywhere near him. Sigh.)

  31. Put a towel bar (or some more decorative bar) high up on the wall and hang it on there when you’re not wearing it, so all can admire.

  32. My daughter, Xandy Peters, created Fox Paws. So that might make me grandma to the fox. My mother, great-grandma fox, still knits at 92 and taught me to knit 60 years ago at age 5. I took to it and when Xandy turned 5 I sat her down and said this is something you need to know. I figured it was a great practical skill.

    She knit on and off through high school and did not relate in the traditional way; she just knit never used patterns. I would roll my eyes and think to myself “how does she do that”? Her college senior thesis in Industrial Design brought some interesting knitting ideas. I specifically remember a rare Skype conversation when she held up a swatch and said look at this really cool thing I made. It was a strange lumpy knitted swatch. I did not know exactly what to make of it but it became the stitch pattern in one of her first patterns in 2011 on Ravelry. She had just graduated and jobs in Industrial Design were scarce so she thought this could bring in some extra money. Her main field was shoe design and as she interned here and there she continued to knit. Good work for a train commute.

    In the fall of 2013 she came to me with a swatch that would become Fox Paws. She said “I think I have something interesting here”. I believe I had a fairly blank look on my face trying to figure out how this was created. It took a year to develop this into what she launched as this pattern in September 2014. She had tested the waters with the pattern Petal Cowl in July 2014 and it was well received. I have to admit that I was still a bit skeptical.

    When we went to Rhinebeck in October she wore her Fox Paws and I stepped back and watched as knitters approached her with enthusiasm and respect. At 25 years old she was a bit overwhelmed that day. She came home and just pushed on to continue her pattern designs.

    Then someone said you have been blogged by The Yarn Harlot! The nerves hit this house – would it be thumbs up or down. Well the rest I guess is history. I am no longer skeptical and very happy that I passed on my love of knitting. I am also extremely proud – I say that knowing that she will most likely not read this post. And Great-grandma fox is sure that all the generations that knit before her would be proud also. I continue to watch her knitting evolve into what it is meant to become.

    Your Fox Paws is beautiful! Thank you for the thumbs up and thank you for sharing this experience with your world of knitters.

    • That is the best T-shirt EVER! Totally Steph! Love it! And the kicker – the human verification test wants me to click on the T-shirt…

  33. Good God. I ventured over to the pattern page on Ravelry and saw all of the other people’s Fox Paws. I am in absolute jaw-dropping, drooling awe over the color possibilities. (Go look! Though I dare say, you will be hard-pressed to leave the page.) I don’t know that there is a “wrong” color combination to be used.

    This… I must knit this.

    I love your oranges and browns, Steph. But those are my university’s colors… I’ll be in purples, blues and greens, I imagine, with complements to make it pop. Have a grand adventure in Mexico!

  34. Stunning Fox Paws (of course). Almost makes me want to embark on another fussy knitting project.

    Have a great time in Mexico, and hopefully your transition back to cold Toronto is less painful than my transition from New Orleans to KC. Going from sixties (deg F) to teens is brutal.

  35. Love Fox Paws and inspired to think about knitting it myself. And, Stephanie, lots of us Americans can do the math conversions. Not all of us are as self-centered and math-phobic as all that. 🙂

  36. That is GORGEOUS and should be worn and admired everywhere! Enjoy the tropical vaca & please post pictures (all I see here in Boston is snow). xoxo

  37. Your scarf is gorgeous! But I think the trip to Mexico is the better choice than wearing it here in Canada. haha

    Have a lovely, fun, and safe trip, and we’ll see you when you get back! 😀

    Katie =^..^=

  38. Looking forward to seeing photos of any place warm. Excellent timing to escape Toronto’s deep freeze. Fox Paws is extraordinary. Wear it everywhere. You might need to knit a second in cotton, or linen….. ;o)

  39. I would really love to see you modeling your Fox Paws. It is fabulous and seeing it in situ would help me visualize how to wear such a gorgeous piece of creation.

  40. That Fox Paws is so spectacular that EVEN non-knitters would have to stop dead in their tracks to look (and touch). It was lovely on the needles, but blocked a bit – it defies definition. Not exactly knit night stuff though, right?

  41. Oh my goodness it’s so beautiful Steph! Perfect scarf to take to Mexico, I suspect the colors and pattern will fit right in. It might get chilly at night. Keep a close eye on it though, as they say, tequila makes your clothes fall off. Have a great vacay! Can’t wait to see pictures.
    P.S. I plan to make Fox Paws with seafoam, turquoise, orange, yellow, white – I need tropical colors to get thru winters.

  42. My first thought on seeing the finished/blocked photos was that it really is a work of art and would be lovely on display at home. But yes, the cats here also would claim it as their own and our lovely relationship would come to a horrible end.

    Have a wonderful trip with the Mum! Nice tradition you two have started there, very nice indeed.

  43. Absolutely stunning, but would agree; you might want to label (with a somber nod towards Birch) or leave at home.

    I’m jealous – it’s warmer in Anchorage than in Philadelphia. (Knew I should have stayed way back when..) Buen viaje y aventuras; travel safe.

    Knitsiam (aka Bonnie)

  44. I am glad to learn that the trip with your mum to a warm place has become a tradition. I remember you fighting it the first time she set it up. It’s cold here, and you are so much further north. Wear sunscreen.

  45. Foxpaws is gorgeous! I think I would wear it non-stop if I had it! It is quite freezing here, so I could get away with it. I am interested to hear how you fair with it in Mexico! I hope you will take lots of pictures of it slung over gorgeous Mexican settings!

  46. Since I am completely ” shack wacky” (New Hampshire, snow 6+ feet deep, temps not above 20 in days) your enthusiasm, beautiful photos and amazing knitting have really lifted my spirits. Maybe I’ll even work on (yet another) baby blanket for a baby that’s already arrived AND the fiendish (for me) Stephen West Spectra scarf. Maybe I’ll just make it WAY shorter and call it done.
    Anyway, you were better than Prozac/Zoloft/Elavil and any of the others today. Enjoy your Mexico jaunt (and your mom. ( I was surprised to find I was missing mine.)

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  48. Absolutely stunning!! Well done. Can’t wait to see a pic of you wearing it.
    Enjoy your holiday with your Mum (I mean Mom). 🙂

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