Books Read in 2015

151. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S. (reread)
150. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S. (reread)
149. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S. (reread)
148. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S. (reread)
147. Jack Spratt Investigates: The Fourth Bear, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
146. Jack Spratt Investigates: The Big Over Easy, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
145. Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
144. Borders of Infinity, Bujold, Lois McMaster
143. Something Rotten, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
142. The Well of Lost Plots, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
141. The Warrior’s Apprentice, Bujold, Lois McMaster
140. Dreamer’s Pool, Marillier, Juliet
139. The Vesuvius Club, Gatiss, Mark
138. Lost in a Good Book, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
137. The Eyre Affair, Fforde, Jasper (reread)
136. Cordelia’s Honor (Shards of Honor + Barrayar) Bujold, Lois McMaster
135, Thomas the Rhymer, Kushner, Ellen
134. A Crack in Everything: Welcome to the Other Side, Long, Ruth Frances
133. A Murder Is Announced, Christie, Agatha
132. Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories, Christie, Agatha
131. *Of Noble Family, Kowal, Mary Robinette
130. *Valour and Vanity, Kowal, Mary Robinette
129. *Without a Summer, Kowal, Mary Robinette
128. *Glamour in Glass, Kowal, Mary Robinette (reread)
127. *Shades of Milk and Honey, Kowal, Mary Robinette (reread)
126. Lord Byron’s Novel, The Evening Land, Crowley, John
125. Fool’s Run, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
124. Solstice Wood, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
123. In the Forest of Serre, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
122. Winter Rose, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
121. The Bell at Sealy Head, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
120. Harrowing the Dragon, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
119. Alphabet of Thorn, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
118. Ross Poldark, Winston Graham
117. The Bards of Bone Plain, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
116. Flora Segunda, Wilce, Ysabeau S.
115. The Cygnet and the Firebird, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
114. The Sorceress and the Cygnet, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
113. Ombria in Shadow, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
112. The Tower in Stony Wood, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
111. Revenant, Richardson, Kat
110. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
109. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
108. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
107. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
106. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
105. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
104. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
103. Liaden Universe Constellation, #3, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
102. Liaden Universe Constellation #2, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
101. Od Magic, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
100. A Liaden Constellation #1, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
99. The Tomorrow Log, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
98. Hunter of Worlds, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
97. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
96. The Book of Atrix Wolfe, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
95. *The Winter Long, McGuire, Seanan
94. *The Winds of Marble Arch, Willis, Connie
93. *Firewatch, Willis, Connie
92. *The Best of Connie Willis: Award Winning Stories, Willis, Connie
91. Impossible Things, Willis, Connie
90. Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
89. Dragon Ship, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
88. Necessity’s Child, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve
87. Ghost Ship, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
86. Saltation, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
85. Fledgling, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
84. I Dare, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
83. Plan B, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
82. Carpe Diem, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
81. Agent of Change, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
80. Conflict of Honors, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
79. Mouse and Dragon, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
78. Scout’s Progress, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
77. Local Custom, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
76. Trade Secret, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
75. Balance of Trade, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
74. Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
73. Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
72. Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve
71. Uprooted, Novik, Naomi
70. Elfland, Warrington, Freda
69. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
68. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
67. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
66. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
65. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
64. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
63. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
62. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
61. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
60. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
59. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
58. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
57. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
56. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
55. Invader, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
54. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
53. Doomsday Book, Willis, Connie
52. Not To Mention The Dog, Willis, Connie
51. Saga, Vol 3, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
50. The Adventuress, Niffenegger, Audrey (graphic novel)
49. Saga, Vol 2, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
48. Saga, Vol 1, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
47. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J.
46. The Masterharper of Pern, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
45. Ender’s Game, Card, Orson Scott
44. The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall, McCaffrey, Anne
43. Nerilka’s Story, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
42. Dragondrums, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
41. Dragonsinger, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
40. Dragonsong, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
39. *Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C. S.
38. The White Dragon, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
37. Dragonquest, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
36. Dragonflight, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
35. Archer’s Goon, Jones, Diana Wynne
34. Enchanted Glass, Jones, Diana Wynne
33. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C. S.
32. The One-Eyed Man, Modesitt, Jr, L. E.
31 Tehanu, LeGuin, Ursula
30. Castle in the Air, Jones, Diana Wynne
29. *Thieve’s Quarry, Jackson, D. B.
28. *A Plunder of Souls, Jackson, D. B.
27. *The Price of Doing Business (short story), Jackson, D. B.
26. *A Spell of Vengance (short story), Jackson, D. B.
25. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C. S.
24. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C. S.
23. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C. S.
22. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C. S.
21. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S.
20. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S.
19. Fire and Hemlock, Jones, Diana Wynne
18. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S.
17. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S.
16. Possession, Richardson, Kat
15. The Year of the Griffin, Jones, Diana Wynne
14. Dark Lord of Derkholm, Jones, Diana Wynne
13. Till We Have Faces, Lewis, C. S.
12. Catch the Lightening, Asaro, Catherine
11. Seawitch, Richardson, Kat
10. Unexpected Magic, Jones, Diana Wynne
9. Fortunately, The Milk, Gaiman, Neil
8. Downpour, Richardson, Kat
7. Labyrinth, Richardson, Kat
6. Pogo’s Double Sundae, Kelly, Walt
5. Pogo’s Bats and the Belles Free, Kelly, Walt
4. Primary Inversion, Asaro, Catherine
3. Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer, Howard, Jonathan L.
2. Beau Pogo, Kelly, Walt
1. Emerald House Rising, Kerr, Peg

* Ebook

Snow, As Promised, and Still Snowing

2015_12_27-03Beetil (in the middle) in the snow yesterday afternoon.  It’s a combination of sleet and snow (sneet?) and frozen hard.  I’m glad to see the predicted low for Wednesday night is now 17F (-8.33C).  When I looked yesterday evening, it was 4F (-15.55C).  I’ve got my Walmart special royal blue fleece shirt on with a sleeveless undershirt (singlet) on underneath it, leggings and my pink fuzzy socks on under my yarn slippers. I’ve got a lap robe on and until a few moments ago, I had a fat cat between my knees.  I’m glad he’s gotten down, though, because my thermos carafe is empty.  I need to brew some more Earl Grey hot, and maybe think about going night-nights.  Here’s a shot of the area in the center of my end of the apartment complex.

2015_12_27-01  As you can see, we’re quite snow-covered,

2015_12_27-02drifted in places,

2015_12_27-04and I crunched when I walked, and didn’t leave appreciable footprints except in a few places, faintly up by the foot of the stairs.  The snow has a frozen top on it, probably a function of its being so cold.

My weather widget shows it’s still snowing, but squinting in between the Venetian blind slats, I can’t tell we’ve gotten that much more snow.  We’re supposed to get up to 41F (5C) on Thursday.  I can hardly wait.

I ordered some calendars, books and stuff from Amazon with my Xmas money, and I’m expecting them to come Wednesday.  Good thing I put a new battery in my doorbell plonger.

Hunkered Down and Braced for Goliath

Weather1Here in the rectangular bit at the top of TX, we were in the 60’s for the week of Christmas, but now on the tail end of Saturday, it’s 29F(-1.66C) and heading for an overnight low of 22F(-5.55C). Winds are from the NNE at 32 mph(51.49 kph), gusting to 45 (72). We were supposed to get a “wintry mix” of precip tonight — and as promised, I hear sleet pellets blowing against the window panes.  The low pressure swirly thing that’s driving “Winter Storm Goliath” is due east of us, straddling the AZ/NM border at the moment and heading straight for TX.

Weather2Our “high” tomorrow is forecast to soar all the way up to 27F(-2.7C) with snow predicted. In fact, we are under a “blizzard” warning with accumulations of 3-5 inches (I hear you snickering, you Northerners!).  Sunday night will be a balmy 18F(-7.77C). Monday will be sunny and warm with a high of 32F(0C), cooling down to a brisk 15F(-9.44C) Monday night. Highs/lows predicted for Tues of 36F/11F (2.22C/-11.66C) and Wed of 33F/6F (0.55C/-14.44C), at which point it will officially be colder than a wedge.

Weather3Whatever snow accumulation we get Sunday will probably be with us for the rest of the week. Since we are officially “semi-arid” in these parts, the local wet-weather driving skills leave much to be desired, so whenever we get snow or freezing precipitation, it is automatically a Demolition Derby Day. In view of the current weather forecast, I think I’ll stay off the streets for the rest of the week. I’ve got a full pantry, shawls, an electric kettle, lap robes, a cat, knitting to do, TV to watch and here directly I’ll go dribble the kitchen faucet. (My town is at the same latitude as Casablanca, Morocco (33.5667° N), so needless to say, we do not insulate houses or pipes with the same foresight as folks farther north.)

Not to put too fine a point on Winter Storm Goliath, today they had two tornadoes northeast of Dallas, between Dallas and Garland.  Apparently, one hit a major highway intersection, trashed cars and killed four of the cars’ occupants.  More tornadoes forecast in the east Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana area, and flooding in the southern and southeast US.  The weather is not being kind to us at the moment.

IMG_0001Here’s the baby stuff I’ve gotten finished so far.  I’ve got another baby dress about halfway through the skirt.  I’m going to do one more dress, plus the pair of booties and bonnet that match each dress, a baby afghan, and I think I’ll call it quits at that point.

I know it seems like a lot, but these little clothes are so small, and they’re fast to knit and just so much fun.

I hope my graphics card holds out til CK can get my new computer up and running.  Two of my programs had a weird fragmentation of the display tonight.

I have a pot of Earl Grey hot to hand, a lap robe on, I’m wearing fleece everything, I’ve got the recliner rared back and there’s a fat cat sleeping between my knees, which is just fine with both of us.  I’m good for the night.

Y’all stay safe and warm, now.  Hear?

Christmas Evening, Winding Down

My mom and my BFF came for Christmas dinner at my house today.  Although I sent leftovers home with them, there is still way too much food in my fridge. . . delicious food.  I can hear it calling my name . . .

2015_12_24-012015_12_24-04I managed to get both the knitted presents (one apiece) finished on time and in my BFF’s case, just in time for nasty weather.  This is a combination hat/scarf (“harf”)  I made for her from a pattern I’m working on.  This is actually the proof of concept version.  It’s close to what I wanted but not quite there yet.  The panel across the back of the head needs to be wider to give the hat portion a deeper “cup. ”  But as it stands, it’s deep enough to stay on the head and to cover the ears, which is what I needed it to do.  I’ve got some more Charisma yarn, which has a very soft, snuggly hand.  It’s not grey, but a different color called “Northern Lights.”The Mark II version is several projects back in the queue though.  2015_01_25-02

The pattern starts on the top of the head using Turkish cast on.  The hat portion is knitted all of a piece, working around in a “U” shape from the center line.  Then when you get to where the tails divide, you add a second ball of yarn and knit both tails “two at a time.”  Of course, you could knit it from end to end, fold it in half and then inset the panel that forms the back of the hat — but here’s the kicker — the Turkish cast on makes it look like it was knitted from end to end because the cast on is absolutely seamless.  When I get it looking (and working) like I want it to, I will publish the pattern on my knitting website.   I got this finished just in time.  I’m glad I got it finished in time to give it to her today because she’s going to need it come Sunday, when it’s supposed to get colder than the proverbial wedge and snow on us.

2015_12_24-05I also did this scarf for my mom.  It’s in “honecomb stitch”  I like the style of it and how it “works.”  After you’ve knitted 6 inches of honeycomb stitch, you put every other stitch off onto a separate needle, tie on a second ball of yarn, and knit about 4 inches of K1, P1 ribbing with each group of stitches, then put them all back onto one needle again, and continue the honeycomb stitch.  This makes a little ribbed “sleeve” for the other end of the scarf to slide through and holds it on your neck.  I’m writing a pattern for another scarf in the same style using the same yarn except instead of using the honeycomb stitch, I’m using feather and fan stitch.

I finished another baby sweater in variegated pink yarn and I’m working on a dress as well as a baby afghan for the baby coming in April.

I ran across this today:  The catchphrase “There’s an (smart phone) app for that” has taken on an interesting new meaning in the form of an app called “Be My Eyes.”  There may be hope for humanity yet.  Makes me wish I could afford a smart phone.

Probably a Brown One . . .

Rectangular bitsHere in the flatlands of TX, out in the Rectangular Bits, our predicted high for Christmas Day is 69F/20.5C, with a low of 46F/7.7C, and light breezes of 20mph/32kph or thereabouts, and neither snow nor sleet, nor rain nor precip of any kind predicted, but 63% humidity, which will be a break from the less than 45%, somebody should figure out a way to use all this stupid static electricity to charge your phone or something, humidity we’ve been having. . . . .So, no, we will not be having a white Christmas, but with the light breeze, we may have a brown one if the dust kicks up.

Oh, and that solstice thing?  We don’t even do “shortest day of the year” real good here — only 4 hours’ and 19 minutes’ difference between the length of the day on June 21 (14:23 hours) and December 21 (9:56 hours) at our latitude (33.5667° N).

And just for the record, we are, in fact, high and dry here at 3215 feet/980m elevation above sea level and an average of 16 inches of rain a year. 

Photographs above and below from “Candelight at the Ranch, 2007”  at the National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock, Texas

Finding any kind of tree on the High Plains could be problematic -- let alone finding one you'd be willing to cut down!  However, tumble weeds are ubiquitous.  The wind collects them into large drifts against walls and fences.  With a little imagination and resourcefullness . . . . Voila!
Finding any kind of tree on the High Plains could be problematic — let alone finding one you’d be willing to cut down! However, tumble weeds are ubiquitous. The wind collects them into large drifts against walls and fences. With a little imagination and resourcefulness . . . . Voila!

Counting Down to Christmas

2015_12_21-02Another baby is on the way, a second grandchild for long-time family friend AS.  My parents co-opted his daughters for grandchildren over 20 years ago, and the lawyer one is expecting her second child in April. Their first was a boy; this one is going to be a girl. I only found out about it Wednesday, and I’ve already gotten a little top finished, and the top half of a dress done.

The parents of this baby live in Austin, which is further inland and less humid (although not by much) than Galveston (which is located on a barrier island) (where Little Miss Raelyn Rose is doing just as fine as frog hairs, thank you very much!) Austin gets hot in the summer, too — 95+F/35+C for highs, which is par for the course for most of Texas, even where I live up in the Panhandle, actually.  They usually get about twice as much rain as we do, though.  We typically average 16 inches a year to their 34.5 inches.  (Yeah, but you ought to be here on the day it comes . . .)

Cool Cat - CopyI’ve been listening a lot to Interstellar Radio Station, an internet radio station, as well as Ambient Art Sound while I knit.   I can listen to music while I knit, but if I’m doing anything that requires looking at a pattern, I can’t watch TV.  I invariably mess up if I do.

Cat with a ScarfOur computer guru has ordered my computer.  It’s a refurbished Dell, (which have warranties).  It’ll be two weeks before he can get to juicing it up as this week is Christmas, and next week, they are going out of town, and the Tuesday after they get back, he’s having cataract surgery.  He’s going to clone my 500 GB hard drive onto a 1 TB hard drive, then wipe my old drive and put it in as an auxiliary drive.  That should make the change-out practically painless and give me oodles of room for music.  I’ll back up my games just in case.  The new computer will have a separate graphics card and will have 8 GB of RAM and a quad core processor.  It will be a desktop.  I don’t want a laptop.  I hate laptop keyboards.  I’m not going to part with my beloved Logitech keyboard.  It has the lightest touch and I love that it’s slimline.  Nor am I going to part with my two monitors.  The new computer will have two monitor ports, so I won’t have to use my adapter thingie that adapts one monitor’s VGA connector to to a USB connector.

When he ordered it, he had them ship it to my mom’s house since, because of the holidays, there was no way to predict how long it would take to get here, it requires a signature upon delivery, and they are, as mentioned, going out of town next week.  As it happens, Mom just called, and FedEx says they’re going to deliver it some time tomorrow and she’s going out to some kind of do with her church friends in the middle of the day, so I’ll decamp to her house for the duration.  When it comes to sitting and knitting, it doesn’t really matter to me where the chair is, as long as it’s comfy. . .

xmas bah humbugMom and my BFF are coming to my house for Christmas dinner.  I’m not making anything from scratch.  We’re having frozen everything.  Prater’s dressing is second only to my mom’s, and neither she, nor I see the point of going through the whole song and dance for three people.  I’ll bung it all in the oven and set the timer.  After we’ve  libated with the bottle of rosé I’ve got in the fridge, we’ll be so full of Christmas spirit we won’t care. We’ll have two servings of everything so our hips will balance, put a big blop of Cool Whup on the Walmart pumpkin pie and devil take the hindmost.

. . . and a parsnip in a pear tree. . .

Book Mice

2015_12_14-11If you’re looking for an easy craft project for a small gift, or as a fund raiser (especially for our beleaguered libraries), this is it.  Book Mice are simple to make, take a minimum of materials and you can make a wad of them for very little outlay of cash for materials.  What you need are:

1. A darning needle with an eye small enough to get the small beads over, but large enough to thread yarn through.
2. Some means of enlarging a hole in leather, such as a nail, awl or ice pick or, if you don’t mind ruining the needle, a pair of needle nose pliers, so you can get a needle threaded with yarn through the leather.
3. A pair of sturdy scissors that will cut leather.
4. A marker or ball point pen.
5. A small piece of stiff paper to make the patterns.

1. Fairly thin leather such as split cow hide or leather-like material such as Naugahyde in dark brown. (Most stores that sell leather have a scraps bin which scraps they typically sell by the square inch.)
2. Small 4.0 mm dark wooden or black or brown glass beads, two for each mouse you plan to make.
3. Pony bead size dark wooden or dark brown or black glass beads, one for each mouse you plan to make.
4. A small skein of dark brown or black lace-weight or fingering-weight yarn (size “0” or “1”).

2015_12_14-02You will need an oval or egg shaped pattern approximately 1.75 inches long by 0.75 inches wide for the body, and a small teardrop shaped pattern  approximately 0.5 inch long for the ears.

For each book mouse, you will need two “body” pieces and two ears, two small beads for eyes, one large bead for the tail and six 28-inch long pieces of yarn .

2015_12_14-04The idea is to sew the eye on through the ear, and down into the body.  With three pieces of yarn threaded on the darning needle, push the needle up from the underside of one of the body pieces, up through the ear toward the pointed end, through a small bead, then back down through the same hole in the ear and the body.  Even up the ends of the yarn so that the bead is about in the middle of the piece of yarn.

2015_12_14-06Then both ends of the yarn are brought back up through the body piece at about the “tail” position.  Now you’ve got something that looks like this:

2015_12_14-07Sew on the second eye in the same way and bring that yarn out the same tail hole.  2015_12_14-08Now you’ve got something that looks like this:

2015_12_14-09Glue the bottom body piece to the underside of the mouse, making sure the pieces are completely stuck together all the way to the edges.  Let the glue dry.  Place something heavy on the mouse body so that you can braid the tail.  Once the tail is braided, slip the large bead over the end of the tail and knot the tail to hold the bead on.  And there you have it.  One Book Mouse.



Here We Go Again

The graphics card on this computer has been acting up.  Now and again, for no discernable reason, the monitors go blank, then a few seconds later it recovers and the picture returns.  And sometime when I boot up, the icons on my desktop are cattywompus or a couple of them are missing.  The manufacturer no longer supports the graphics card and doesn’t provide drivers for it any more, and I can’t replace the graphics card without replacing the power supply, and I can’t replace the power supply without replacing the motherboard, and if you’re going to have to replace the motherboard to fix a problem, you might as well buy a whole new computer and start over.  I’m thinking that’s what my Christmas money is going to be going for this year.  We have a rather tech savvy family friend who replaced my mom’s computer recently, and he thinks he can put something together for me at a very reasonable cost.  A 1 TB hard drive, a faster graphics card with a faster video processor, and a good sound card.  He says he can fix it so I can plug both monitors directly into their video cards on the computer rather than having to kludge one in through a USB port, which will be nice.  He says he can also install my current hard drive as an auxilliary drive to get even more storage.  A  1.5K GB storage capacity would be nice.

I’d like to be able to download CDs to my computer so I can put together playlists for my MP# player.  Rhapsody’s last software upgrade made it really difficult to download stuff to my MP3 players — they’ve geared it more to smart phones and tablets, rather than desktops and it’s a PITA to fool with my MP3 players.  It would be easier to just download CDs and use Windows Media Player to make playlists.    I have almost no music on this computer, and the photos and graphics I already have on my hard drive have pushed me to 3/4ths capacity (I’ve only got 101 GB of storage left).  It would be nice to have all that room.

My mom had her club auction, and she put six of the ruffle scarves I made her in the auction.  Everybody brings multiples of a particular item, people bid on one of the items, and whatever the winning bid is, all the others ones like it go for that same price. Their proceeds go into a scholarship fund.  The scarves mom brought made $102 for the scholarship fund, so yay!

IMG_0002_1I’ve been writing knitting patterns again.  For weeks,  I’ve been trying to work out a triangular neck scarf  that won’t pooch or curl at the point, and I think I’ve finally got it.  It’s a pretty easy pattern and I’ve put it up on my knitting blog. I’m calling it the Hulda Scarflet, named after Hulda Holina Helmecke (1887-1902), one of my grandmother’s sisters, who died of typhoid fever at the age of 15.  Tragic circumstances.  My grandmother named the second of her four daughters Verna Hulda in memory of this sister, and it is Verna’s daughter that we stay with when we go to Pearland. This is one of Lion Brand Yarn’s “Vanna’s Choice” line of yarns that’s named for Vanna White, a popular TV personality who is also a knitting and crochet enthusiast.  This particular colorway is called “Denim Mist”

The scarf is designed so you take the points at each end of the “hypotenuse” edge, cross them around behind your neck (but don’t tie them), pull them forward over your chest and tuck them under the part of the scarf that’s under the chin.  This bunches that edge of the scarf up under your chin like an ascot, but one that’s not tucked in.  I guess I need to draw up a diagram to show how it’s worn.  The pattern is “advanced beginner” difficulty as it has slip-slip-knit stitch (ssk) and knit two stitches together (k2tog), along with yarn overs/yarn rounds (yo/yr), but it’s fairly straightforward. You could use a fine or fingering weight yarn and make it really lacy, or use a worsted or aran weight and wear it as an outdoor scarf.  If you bought enough of, say, a worsted weight or aran weight of yarn, you could keep going and make a shawl out of it, too.  Writing patterns is teaching me a lot about the mechanics of garment shaping.  For example, the six yarn overs (+6 stitches) are balanced out by two slip-slip-knit and 2 knit 2 together stitches (-4 stitches)for a net increase of two stitches every other row.  When you’re working a triangular garment like this scarf, the more stitches you increase per row, the more “obtuse” the triangle.

In other news, car insurance rates in Texas went up this year, mine included.  Mine went up $30 a month. Of course, my rates for Beetil are three times what they were for the 1987 Crayola, mostly because by that point, I had decreased the coverage to no more than the law required. But on the 2015 Beetil, I have new car replacement coverage, which jacks the rate up, and other coverage which is prudent to have on a new car, but makes no sense to have on one that’s 27 years old.  Sigh.

Another front is coming through next week and night-time lows will dip below freezing again.  Not looking forward to it. We might get some rain out of it, which will be a mess when it freezes.  Demolition derby time!

I need to pick up some glue so I can make some “book mice” — little book markers in the shape of a mouse with the ears and body cut out of leather, little beads for eyes, and a long braided tail out of fingering weight yarn with a wooden bead on the end.   The body of the mouse is only about 1-1/2 inches in length with the 9- to 10-inch-long tail being the actual “marking” part.  They’re cute as all get out, and easy and quick to make.

I finished two scarves from this pattern, and they turned out rather nice, if I say so myself.  Asymmetrical scarves are all the rage now, so I wrote a pattern for one.  2015_12_08-03 2015_12_08-01