A faux fox trophy
A few months ago, on the phone to my dad, who is a carpenter by trade:
“Hi Dad, it’s me”
“Amy! Hello! How are you?”
Insert some conversation about work, family members, Guiding.
“I was wondering if you could make me a shield.”
“Yes, a shield”
“Are you role playing with the Brownies?
“No, this is going to be a shield for a knitted fox head”
“A knitted fox head”
“Yes, I thought you said a knitted fox head. You’ve knitted a fox head?”
“Yes, it’s called ‘faux taxidermy’ and it’s a fox head, like you’d have a stuffed fox head, only it’s knitted.”
“A knitted fox head?”
“Yes. So I’ve knitted a fox head, and it comes with an MDF back so you can hang it on the wall-“
“You’re hanging a knitted fox head on the wall?”
“Yes, exactly. So it comes with this back so you can hang it but Ben and I have decided if you’re going to have a knitted fox head on the wall you’ve got to do it properly and so we’d like a shield to put on the back of the fox head so it can be hung on the wall and look even more impressive.”
“Right. So you want a shield, to put on the back of a knitted fox head, so you can hang this knitted fox head on the wall.”
“Not a problem. I will do that. Made some strange things in my time, but never a shield for a knitted fox head.”
Ben draws a diagram of the shield, adds in some measurements and I send the diagram off to Dad.
“Amy, hello, it’s Dad”.
“I’ve just got your incredibly helpful diagram [I detect a hint of sarcasm]. Do you mean 38cm across?”
“That’s what Ben said. If he said 38cm then it’s 38cm.”
“That’s a big bigger than I was expecting. Fox heads aren’t that big.”
“This isn’t exactly a life size fox head.”
“Right. So tell me again, what have you knitted?”
“I’ve knitted a fox head, which is pretty big, bigger than my head, and I’d like a shield for it, please.”
“38cm by 40cm is a big shield”
“It’s a big head”
“And you’re really going to put this on your wall?”
“And Ben agrees?”
“It was Ben’s idea to get a shield”
“Right. Do you want [asks some technical questions about wood and making things which I don’t understand]”
“I trust you to make a shield, do what you think is best.”
“Hmm. And how are you going to attach the fox head to the shield?”
“I’m coming to Cambridge this weekend. I thought I’d bring the fox head and you could do it for me”
“Ah. I see. Of course. Right. It will be ready by Saturday lunch time. See you then!”
“Amy! You made it safely! Well done. Right, where’s this fox?”
I get the fox head out of the car.
“Goodness me! Okay. That is not life size. That’s quite large. Okay. That’s possibly the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. Hmm. Come and see what I’ve done”
The shield he’s made looks brilliant. He does some technical stuff and attaches the fox to the shield and then adds some screws to the back so we can hang it. Finally, I hold it up against the white door so we can admire it:
“Okay. I said it was silly but it’s brilliantly silly. That’s so silly it’s beyond silly and is brilliant.”
“See! It’s a knitted fox head! On a shield! Going on a wall! Every house needs one.”
I take it inside to show my 17 year old sister. She has a rather bemused expression on her face as I walk into the house but then she sees the fox head masterpiece and declares, in that enthusiastic way 17 year olds have:
“No, it’s not good, it’s amazing. I have a knitted fox head. On a shield. It is the best thing I’ve seen in weeks. Months.”
“Okay, it’s amazing.”
“The lady who designed it has got other animal heads too. A badger, a deer, a rabbit or a hare I can’t remember, dinosaurs…”
“I’d like a badger”
“See?! They are AMAZING!”
“So, what do you think?”
“Would you like one?”
“I’d like a badger”
Dad holds the fox head shield up against the door, admiring it.
“I think I’d like a fox one too. If I give you the money for them, can you knit a fox and a badger for Christmas?”
Cash handed to me there and then. The fox head shield was then carried around the house being held up on various walls and admired from multiple angles. Then I mention:
“The lady who designed this also designed a tiger skin rug”
“A tiger skin rug?”
“Yeah, so a knitted rug that’s like a tiger skin with a head”
“Get the internet! Show me photos!”
Internet obtained. Photos loading.
“I need a tiger skin rug!”
“Dad, the kits are £129.99”
“I want a tiger skin rug! Could you knit one?”
“I’m sure I could, but they’re £130.”
“I want a tiger skin rug.”
I’ve now scrolled down to customer photos, one of which is of a knitted tiger rug draped over the back of a sofa. I show Dad.
“YES! A tiger skin rug draped over the back of the sofa!”
“Dad. It’s £130.
We spend the next few hours chatting away, constantly coming back to the fox head which is leaning against the sofa. Photos of it were taken on multiple devices so it could be shared. I’ve ordered the fox and badger head kits and it wouldn’t surprise me if, before too long, I’m given the money for a tiger rug too…