Hi friends, and happy Friday!

Mr. N and I have returned to Philadelphia, and as I write this, my phone tells me it’s 24 degrees F outside — and I’m telling you, it doesn’t feel that much warmer in here!  All the things I love about my apartment … the high ceilings, the big old single pane glass windows, the old wood floors … don’t make for the best insulated place!  But never mind, that’s what woolly sweaters and socks are for — and I do love winter weather!

But since my Instagram feed seems to be filled with pictures of snow and discussions of just how cold it is at the moment (at least from the people I follow in the Northern Hemipshere!), I thought it’d be fun to share some pictures from a walk we took around the Huntington Gardens earlier this week, on the evening before we left California — quite the opposite of a winter wonderland!  The Huntington was founded in 1919 and is an interesting place — part museum, part rare book and manuscript research center, and part botanical gardens (you can read more about it here).  I’d never been before Mr. N moved to LA, but knew of it by reputation.  Historians and literary scholars speak of it in wistful tones, always looking for ways to spend some more time there, and for good reason!  Besides being a world class research center, there are extensive and beautifully kept grounds, with several different types of gardens — a rose garden, a Japanese garden, an Australian garden, and the one we spent Tuesday wandering around, one of my favorites: the Desert Garden.  (If you’re not in the mood to see lots of pictures of catci and succulents, scroll on down — I promise there’s some knitting at the end!)

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Something about the Desert Garden makes me feel a bit as if I’ve fallen through the looking glass — it’s weirdly wonderful!2016-12-13 16.01.41.jpgSome of the cacti and succulents were flowering:2016-12-13 15.58.52.jpg

2016-12-13 16.12.06.jpgThis little one was my favorite:2016-12-13 16.02.53.jpgOthers looked like they needed a hair cut:2016-12-13 16.15.54.jpg

2016-12-13 16.10.07.jpgMy favorite spot is an area that’s filled with the Echinocactus grusonii species of cactus, commonly called golden barrel catci (or alternately, according to Wikipedia, the “mother-in-law’s cushion”).

You walk around a small bend in the path …2016-12-13 16.04.30.jpgAnd suddenly come upon an assembly of the bulbous things — they always strike me as at once strangely beautiful and impossibly comical.2016-12-13 16.05.18.jpgIt’s hard to believe that two days ago, I was walking around these cacti in just a thin long sleeve shirt, with a shawl around my neck just in case it turned a bit chilly.  But so it was! The only hand knit I brought wtih me to LA (besides a hat and a pair of favorite socks) was my Mara Shawl, which I figured would be perfect for wrapping up in when the sun went down.

2016-12-13 16.08.32.jpgMy Mara has a very long history!  Ravelry tells me I started it in … wait for it … August of 2010!  At some point or another, I put it down — I’m not really sure why — and it sat in a WIP basket for years.  Sometime comparatively recently — I’m not quite sure when — I came across it and finished it up (maybe last winter or spring? who knows!)2016-12-13 16.07.41.jpgSince we were out with the camera, and the garden was quiet, I thought it’d be nice to get a few shots of the shawl.  The yarn is Madelinetosh Sport, in a color called Holly and Ivy. I packed it as my only shawl/scarf/wrap this trip because I find the color quite versatile — there’s the dark reddish pink — the “holly” — and the “ivy” that reads green, gray, or black depending on what it’s paired with.2016-12-13 16.07.50.jpgAs you might be able to see, the ribbing’s color is slightly more muted than the body of the shawl. The yarn was all bought at the same time, but of course there were variations from skein to skein — and I think, when I started it, I didn’t know that you should alternate rows with hand-dyed yarn (though I’m not sure that, had I known, I would have bothered — I am not a huge fan of having to alternate!)

Despite the fact that this sat unfinished for ages, it’s just the kind of shawl I like to wear — big enough that you can wrap it around you in various ways (and I think it will even grow a bit when I finally get around to blocking it), squishy, and cozy.  I think I need more of these in my wardrobe — maybe I should cast on for one in the New Year!  I do have some beautiful Sweet Fiber yarn for Authenticity … maybe the interest of the lace would mean I would, ahem, complete it in less than a half a decade!

Are you someone who leaves WIPs unfinished for months, even years?  If so, do you ever get around to finishing them? (Not that I have any more ancient WIPs, of course — I’m asking for  friend!)

Off to the kithcen for me, now — this weather calls for Leek and Potato Soup!

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8 thoughts on “Desert Garden and a very old shawl

  1. What a wet, green season in California. Must look so green from the air instead of gold. Glad you got to visit the gardens. I haven’t been there for over 25 years!

    Liked by 1 person

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