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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