Advice from Maya Angelou ~ no expectations

In an interview from years ago, Maya Angelou says she has no expectations from life so she is never disappointed. One might think, “How can I have no expectations?” But, Ms. Angelou’s outlook on life makes perfect sense: having expectations sets us up for disappointment. We often expect too much from ourselves. She is saying take the journey and delight in the wonders discovered along the way. It is a given that we will fail from time to time; otherwise we are playing it safe. So where is the knitting in all of this….

Knitting is a journey. Celtic Icon is in the planning stages and soon to be on my needles – this beautiful hooded zippered cardigan designed by Fiona Ellis shown in the photo below from Ellis’s book, Inspired Cable Knits – a book filled with patterns for gorgeous cardigans and pullovers.

Celtic Icon

Photography © by Lindsey Maier published in Inspired Cable Knits © 2006 by Fiona Ellis. Photograph is of page 127. Used with permission of the author.

I’ve chosen Cody, a sport-weight 100% merino yarn, from Mountain Meadow Wool in the colorway Pansy for this project. Cody Mt MeadowIt knits up like a dream. The yarn is dyed in batches of 12 skeins. Each label notes the ranch that is the source of the wool. My yarn is from The Cole Creek Ranch in Douglas, Wyoming. Pretty cool. I have knit the first swatch (stockinette) and am thrilled with it. Not so sure about the second swatch with the cable pattern, but I’m only on row 10.

stockinette swatch

Cody may have too much character to show the detailed knot work to its best. Keeping fingers crossed. I’m not overly concerned. If it turns out I don’t like Cody for this project, I have yarn in my stash that will work and, sadly, will look for a different pattern for Cody.

So with my knitting, rather than expect the perfect knit, I will make my best effort and hope for a lovely wearable cardigan. I will embark on this adventure and have no expectations. This doesn’t mean there won’t be frustration along the way. I won’t know until I take the challenge of this particular knit.

This morning I took Lemon, a design from Helga Isager, off the blocking board – actually the guest-room rug covered with a sheet. All that remains to do is mattress stitch a couple of inches under each arm and weave in the ends. As can be seen here, I will easily finish it today. Amazingly, I still have no expectations that I will love wearing it. However, the more I think about it the more anxious I become. Keeping fingers crossed that it will be a knit I will enjoy wearing. Okay, now I’m beginning to expect Lemon to fit perfectly when I try it on later today. Arrrgh!

A note on Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of my favorite autobiographies. She is one of our national treasures – an amazing, gifted, beautiful woman.

Missing Mr. Mantis ~ late summer joys

Found this guyBrown Mantis on my hummingbird feeder three mornings in a row. Each morning I moved him to one of the flowering plants that miraculously survives in my seriously neglected perennial garden. (Confessions of a knitaholic.) When Mr. Mantis didn’t appear on the fourth morning, I felt a bit sad. Did he find a mate and not survive, was he preyed upon by a bat, or did he simply relocate? I’ll never know, but at least I learned that the male praying mantis doesn’t always become a meal for his mate and that this mantis may have been a Ms., not a Mr. More surprisingly, I found that the Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) has been observed preying on hummingbirds. Next time, the mantis gets relocated as far away from the hummingbird feeder as possible. Don’t think he would have had much luck snaring a bird, though. His brown camouflage was of no help on the red-topped feeder and his stature was on the small side.

Late summer spiders are amazing – big spiders building big webs. One morning large webs spanned all three exit/entries to the house. I kept forgetting to duck when I stepped off the back porch ending up with spider silk in my hair.Fall spider

The New Dawn climbing rose is in its last bloom of 2011. If I feed the poor bush and weed around it, maybe it will show signs of its former glory. I must put the knitting aside to care for one of my favorite climbing roses.Rose

The cool evenings and mornings have been wonderful. Sunday was cool enough for me to wear my newly blocked Summer Solstice, a pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier, knit up in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I finally finished it. Love the fit, but may shorten the sleeves. Sure is hard taking pictures of oneself. Us regular folk look so much better in motion.

SS fini

I love working with the Silky Wool – a fabulous choice for this cardi. I have two more sweater’s worth of the Silky Wool. Deciding if Sigrun should be knit in the green or burnt orange. Silky Wool lt green

Silky wool burnt orange

Leaning toward the green.

No starting other projects, though; I have to get a couple of projects (my Ravelry project page) off the needles first (just a couple, not all) – 2 pairs of socks, a scarf (hibernating since March), a second hat (should have been posted as my second pattern a month ago), a shawl, a shawlette (Catkin by Carina Spencer), and a tank top (Zigzag top by Marianne Isager). What I’m hoping to finish in the next two weeks are the Catkin (a birthday gift) and Zigzag top. Kinda looks impossible since I need to cast on a pair of mittens to match the Laura’s Spirals hat pattern, socks I promised my car mechanic for his wife and a sweater for my granddaughter.

When can I possibly get to Lemon by Helga Isager, Marianne’s daughter? After seeing Helga’s Camomille shawl up close and personal, I want to knit that too. So many fabulous designs and yarn to go with them. What’s a knitter to do, but welcome the cooler weather and bring out the hand-knit socks, sweaters, shawls…….