Perhaps if it was less drafty

Today is better. I’d say that everything is smoother, and it’s all evening out, but the truth is that last night I made a determined and clever decision to care less. It’s easy, when things are chaotic and wild to start thinking that if only I had my scene together, the world would just smooth itself out.  Another list, two more post-it’s another tremendous effort to pull it all together – nope. A bunch of this is simply beyond my control, and I’d do well, I realized to remember that.  Some parts of life are just a ride you’re on, and you really can’t get off until the next station. Until then, you just smile, nod, do the best you can to be cheerful, and wait until you can high-tail it out of Dodge. That’s my plan.  In the meantime, a miracle has happened.

foxpawsscarf2 2015-02-04

I’ve continued to work on Fox Paws, and it’s been this… thing. it’s something I knit on, something I like, but it’s been going so slowly that to imagine it as a finished object would have been folly.  I’m not making a scarf, I’m just knitting Fox Paws.  It’s sort of like  yoga or something. You go, you do it, and it’s pleasant, and it’s a thing that you do, but it’s not like there’s a finish line. A time when you’ll have accomplished yoga, and you’ll stop and do something else.  Fox Paws has been like that. The finish line seemed so far away as to be an unlikely goal.  Last night, that all changed.  On a whim, for no reason other than I felt like it, I draped it around my neck in between rows.  Really, I was more reinforcing that idea that I wasn’t making a scarf than anything else, but lo and behold, it’s actually pretty long.

foxpawsscarf 2015-02-04

It is long enough that for a second, I could see the future. A future where I am not knitting Fox Paws, because the exercise actually ended, and I got a scarf. I scarf I wear on my body!  I took it off and measured, and I measured a repeat, and I thought about how long it takes me to knit a repeat (tip: a long time) and I realized that I’m eight repeats from done. Eight. That’s it.

It prompted this amazing thought, something I’d given up thinking about 20 minutes after I started knitting this.  I think I’m making a scarf.

How about that.

111 thoughts on “Perhaps if it was less drafty

  1. Yeah, I hear you! I’m in the same mode right now–just enjoy the ride as best you can and when it’s all said an done, make sure you wash your hands.

  2. To me Fox Paws looks like one of those projects where I’m mentally making the ‘looks good’ v ‘would drive me mental’ calculation. I’m veering on the latter, but thank you for letting me know that the former is possible.

  3. I’m empathizing with you here. I’m about one event away from directing traffic in my nightgown. So for the next hour it’s lace knitting and screw the rest, it’ll all be waiting for me when I’m done.

  4. ” Some parts of life are just a ride you’re on, and you really can’t get off until the next station…” I think you’ve just handed me my new mantra. Thank you. And your Fox Paws will make a stunning scarf when you finish it.

  5. Congratulations! That is an amazing feeling when you know that you will have a finished object and soon. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the end.

  6. I can totally relate. I am making a sock yarn blanket which seems like an endless multi year project, but then yesterday I put it on my bed and realized I am half way…..light at the end of the tunnel!

  7. “Some parts of life are just a ride you’re on, and you really can’t get off until the next station.”

    I just quoted you on my FB page. I hope you don’t mind. There are people in my life who need to hear that little nugget of wisdom.

    • So did I! I’m having some serious challenges right now, and I feel like a caged animal more time than not, but this is wise advice. So I guess I’ll just enjoy the view, try to learn something on the way, and knit some more fingerless mitts. If nothing else I’ll have product at the end.

  8. Your fox paws is finally seducing me. I actually added it to my queue. Don’t you know I have other complicated knits to do???? Stop tempting me with that saucy knit.

  9. There’s been a saying going around my Facebook, and I think it applies here: “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backwards after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha” Keep dancing!

  10. I’ve been working on a pi shawl much like that. It’s been months since I’ve cast it on, and it’s beautiful and enjoyable to work on. The thing is that I had been working on it for so long that it was just one of those projects that I felt would always be there amidst the horde of Christmas gifts to be knit and this one who needs a new pair of knit socks… a few intricate lacy rows here, check the chart there. Lo and behold about a week or two ago, I found myself up to the final edging chart. My 6 year old daughter is amazed that anything could ever have something you would have to repeat 96 times. She’s taken to asking me how many repeats do I have left. Shockingly, row by row, repeat by repeat, the end is near. funny how things work like that. Happy Knitting!

  11. Learning that we cannot control everything is one of Life’s biggest and hardest lessons. Also one which has to be relearned regularly. Congratulations, oh Wise One.

  12. The folks who dye the lovely Baah here in San Diego, have put together a Fox paws kit. Half skeins of several gorgeous intense colors. If you go to the Needlecraft Cottage website, she sells and ships them. The owner, Liz, is halfway through making one.
    Julie in San Diego

  13. I began Fox Paws after seeing your start, just to use up all my ends of sock and fingering yarns, but I ended up succumbing to a buck a skein sale, just so I could have a little more color control. I love this pattern when it isn’t kicking my ass, sometimes it just works, and sometimes I apparently forget how to count. Still, it will be lovely if I ever get back to it. Maybe in March. Love yours, press on and it will be done eventually.

  14. “…a ride you are on…” Excellent wisdom there, ma’am. Very Zen. Thank you for imagery and the reminder that sometimes it’s worth doing things for the doing, rather than the being done.

    • …as Shakespeare said
      “Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.”
      Of course, if you’re on a deadline, it’s more like “Done is good”! 🙂

  15. It’s gorgeous! The very plain four-layer-thick hat for Christmas (wait, it’s February? Says who?) for my brother who lives above Denver (brrrr), not so much, but if you can envision yourself finishing yours then I’d better get to mine. All it really needed was a sense of the possible.

    He lives where golfball-sized hail dented his car two weeks after he moved there. It was August.

  16. I was just at a professional development workshop about stress – “Survive and Thrive with Humor and Laughter.” The speaker has a rule that you have to plan, by noon, to do something “fun” every day for 20 – 30 minutes. If you don’t have time to do something fun you are required to do TWO fun things. 🙂
    I had a hit a “knitting drought” a few months ago and I resolved to knit every day in 2015 without realizing it is one of my “fun” things. Your blog is another. You AND the commenters (directing traffic in my nightgown, above!) give me a reliable place to find a laugh. Every day. It is such a gift.
    It’s about time I said thank you. Thanks so much, Stephanie. Really. 😀

  17. I don’t want to upset you, but I always thought this pattern should be worked the other direction, so it is very wide, not long. Perhaps a triangular shawl.

    But, you’re braver than I am, the scarf is gorgeous, and you will get to keep it when it is done.

    Hang in there,

  18. That’s very lucky for you. Usually, I am making a scarf, and I put it around my neck and it’s this little piddly thing that wouldn’t keep a stuffed animal warm. Perhaps ‘mindful knitting’ is really the way to go.

  19. This looks like the most intricate weaving as in one of the great tapestries or a rich intricate brocade in a museum setting, And…to think it comes with a soul-suspending- expanding, inner anchored, higher consciousness time traveling, cosmic creek trickling over one’s feet, vulcan mind meld state of mind…and you get a stunning warm scarf!

  20. I picked up the needles again after a four year long hiatus. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much; I stopped reading knitting blogs, too. And here I am, three finished projects into the new year and still going. Your blog was the first I came back to because I’ve always enjoyed reading it and reading your books. You color me inspired. My last FO was the Wurm hat because I loved it the first time I saw it on this blog and again when you recently re-made it. Now I want to make Fox Paws. I’m goi to keep going with this momentum and hopefully never take a knitting hiatus again.

  21. On a day where yet another surprise snowstorm has occurred and yet more lake effect snow storm is forecast, I have only this to say, “me like colors that are not white or grey”, lovely scarf

  22. A while ago, someone suggested you knit “Heaven and Space” – I looked, I loved, I knitted it in a lovely Suri Alpaca (cria shearing) fingering weight on US size 4 – but it wasn’t really my color, so I gave it to my daughter. I missed it, so I bought some lace weight baby alpaca and I’m knitting it on US size 2. It does seem there may never come a day when I won’t be knitting Heaven and Space. It’s okay. I just touch it to my face every now and then… Ahhhhhhhhhh.

  23. I love the comparison to yoga-its about the fox paws process not the product. Of course if more knitting meditation is needed it can always become a tablerunner 😉

  24. I’m wondering just how long it was (in split seconds) before the Harlot began calculating in her head exactly how fast she could finish those last nine rounds… morning? by tea time? Before the weekend?

  25. Not only is the Fox Paws pattern lovely, and the colors you chose equally so, but I love the texture you captured in your photos! We won’t know for sure until you wash it, but I’d think twice about strenuously blocking this one. Instead of trying to get it just-steam-pressed flat, maybe just lay it flat on some towels and pat to shape. . . .

  26. I’m working on the Churchmouse mohair stripe shawl and its miles and miles of stockinette…now taking it to knit night at my LYS in hopes of finishing before the end of the decade. Press on Steph, you give us hope

  27. I think I need to make fox paws and turn it into a lined bag with wood handles. That’s less than a third the length of a scarf, right? I can’t get over what a gorgeous tapestry effect that pattern is.

  28. I finished a kauni all over patterned cardigan-my first stranded knit-also my first shot at design. I missed it when it was done. A project like that becomes a friend . its very comforting- always there.

  29. Hum with me:
    I’m a yarniac, I’m a legal yarniac, I’m a northerner stuck in a polarwortex… Ok that doesnt rhyme but who cares? It’s my excuse anyway.

    Sadly I knit so painfully slow, (I counted once, less than 50 st/min on stockinette in the round. Anything else is way slower, bcs of annoying elbow.) fox paws and other wonders of the same ilk are beyond my knitting scope, as I trudge on with endless amounts of baby/toddler pants, socks, mittens, hats, soakers, shirts and the occational fun dress or cardi for my two little daughters. One day my girls will grow up and be knitters themself (this is Norway. It’s practically mandatory), and this mother may finally knit something for herself! Yeah like…20 years from now. Or, (I have a teenager too), it will always and forever be “mom, could you knit me *insert crazy time-consuming project*, because I got studying/hanging out/working out/chatting/gaming/movie watching/other interesting stuff to do”.

    • (ahem) At least 2 of those activities – chatting and movie-watching – are knitting compatible. Also possibly hanging out; more data is required.

      Also: 50 SPM is not “painfully slow” to me, it’s about double my rate. If I could stand plain stockinette, that is. But since it’s too boring, I’m always doing something more complicated, so my actual rate is much slower.

      • Oh, not face-to-face chatting, sadly. Chatting here refers to the facebook chat/messenger, where teenagers live nowadays. I plan to brainwash, ahem, teach my daughters that most activities are knitting compatible, but sadly I’m a sorry example. I wave my arms around when I talk, and in addition jump up and down and make varìous oral exclamations when I watch movies. Clearly not knitting compatible. (But entertaining for others…) I hope the girls inherit my husband’s more quiet nature.
        I’m with you on the plain stockinette. Mind-numbingly boring. I love cables most, but can only knit them for 30 min and then I can’t knit until the next day, because of the elbow thing.

  30. Thank you so much for this post. I always love the blog, and your writing, but every now and then you post something exactly when I need that particular message. This post was one of those, and I feel comforted today knowing I have company in the smile-nod-get-out-of-Dodge clan. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  31. I will do Fox Paws as soon as I do what I have had on my knitter’s to do list for the last 3 years. Now that I am not working I have begun that list. First is Fero Easy by Wendy D. Johnson. Then there is…well, a long list. Fox Paws has been added but it may be a while!

    Congrats on the scarf! I knew you could do it!


  32. When I was quilting I had a PPP (perennial piecing project) so named by my husband who drove the truck on our long trips while I hand-pieced double wedding ring blocks. Now I have PKP’s, the current one(s) are scarves for Operation Gratitude which are simple enough to let me enjoy the scenery along the way. Fox Paws is gorgeous!

  33. Stephanie.. hey, I have just what you need. Your new/next book should be a combo cookbook/knitting one. Yeah! Then you can inspire the vegetarians to greater heights the way you do for us knitters. I knit because of you these days. Really.

  34. Ahhhhh Fox Paws…. Bought the pattern, bought the yarn, tried the pattern, twice, ripped it out, twice, backed away quietly and am living vicariously through yours!!!!

    • There is a very helpful group on Ravelry called X & Y Knits. There is a thread on Fox Paws and they are really helpful. They have developed use of markers and help knitters work thru the problems. Lots of knitters post progress pictures and get feelback from group members as well as the designer Xandy Peters. Once tthey work thru the problem it usually works out well. Maybe check it out. A swatch is a crucial component. And they explain how to do that.

  35. RE. Your tweet and some quick info

    official designation is The Medal of Honor, without congressional in title. The U.S. president bestows the medal on behalf of Congress. Trivia for the next. Time.

  36. This morning, as I was headed to the train station to drop my husband off on my way to work, we heard on the radio that there were delays on the commuter rail. I asked my husband if he wanted internet to check the delay on the train. He said, “Would it make any difference to what we’re doing?” Answer no- I’d still drop him off and he’d still wait just as long until the train arrives.

    My adorable spouse gets the whole ‘out of my control’ thing a lot better than I do. Even though I work to remind myself not to obsess about things I can’t control.

  37. Fox Paws looks great – your colors are wonderful. I was recently working on a seemingly-8-year-long scarf and I would have done well to take your advice on just knitting and not worrying about the end! There was a full moon this past week and that was my explanation for everyone acting weird and everything going wrong. It helps to place the blame SOMEWHERE.

  38. All right. I’m not an upper-case knitter, and think more like an English teacher who sort-of-knits and loves to read about knitting. And you’ll Never agree with my opinion. But that mistake was almost worth it for the sake of the sentence “Fox Paws is one small curled cat length short of a chesterfield,” Nobody buy you could have come up with that!

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