it's what i do

Knitting patterns and blog ramblings about knitting and sewing. ... and gardening, and cooking. Basically all the makes. There's a lot of strange knowledge in my brain that I'm hoping can do some good out in the world.


Unpatterns are available on Patternfish!

on the needles

• Big Grey Thing

• Lots of Turkish Bed Socks in BMFA Socks that Rock

in my ears
  • The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    by Louise Penny
  • A Rule Against Murder: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    A Rule Against Murder: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    by Louise Penny
under my nose
  • The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
    The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
    by Daniel J. Levitin
fueled by
go find it!
Powered by Squarespace

my digital life

double-screen action!

One of the things I've been looking forward to is having more time to organize the various bits of my creative life. KonMari-ing my yarn stash, re-folding and revisiting my fabric stash, creating a spreadsheet for my sewing patterns ... I've done a bit already, but today felt like a good day to tackle a biggie: my digital pattern library.

Like many modern knitters, my pattern stash is mighty (can't blame a designer for loving designs!). I've been on Ravelry since they were in beta and required invitations, so it should surprise no-one that I have six pages of patterns in my library there. ... And given the newfound obsession with garment sewing, the digital pattern library now extends over to Seamwork magazine, Colette, Grainline and other fabulous indie design houses.

Up until now, I've been happy to host my pattern PDFs on my iPad in the iBooks app. It was always a nice one-two punch to save them there, and open and read them there as I worked.


My iPad 2 won't last forever... and the iBooks app is starting to 'burp' when I launch it, which tells me that the end may be nigh. That, and recent vagaries of iCloud (where the h*ll are all those old photos, anyway?) have started to make me nervous. What would happen if my iPad failed to boot up one day? Where on earth did I buy that download of the Verb for Keeping Warm Endless Summer Tunic that I keep wanting to make more and more and more of?


So today I faced the inevitable - time to get those precious PDFs backed up into a safe location and revisit what apps I use to access them.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as "grab them out of iBooks and export them into _______" - because the only apparent way to get them out of there is to export them individually with email. *le sigh*

In case any of you are in the same boat out there, here's how I've chosen to move forward with this:

1) Storage and access: DROPBOX. I've used Dropbox for work the last few years, and Boyhood and I enjoy how it gives us access to files from different computers without moving and managing mutiple copies. I started today by creating "Knitting Patterns" and "Sewing Patterns" folders in my Dropbox (which I have access to from my computer desktop, as well as on the web).

[I have many friends who love to use Evernote instead of Dropbox - I have accounts in both places, but for some reason I use Evernote for screenshots and receipts and such, more than files. But that could change!]

2) Migration: I started with the most precious sewing patterns, sending them as individual e-mails to my gmail account, then downloading them from there on my laptop into the proper folder in Dropbox. Right now, I own far more knitting than sewing patterns, so the knitting patterns have subfolders like "Cardigans," "Pullovers," "For the Neck" and so on, so I can find them again easily.

3) More Migration: I quickly realized that it would be quicker to download directly from my Ravelry library those patterns I bought through Ravelry (which is the lion's share, anyway). Oh, and added bonus: checking for updates and getting the latest and greatest versions into Dropbox!

4) Access: I carry my iPad with me from room to room and tuck it into my bag/purse when out and about, so I'm always sure that the pattern I might need to reference is right there (without having to look it up on my teeny tiny iPhone4 screen!). But from here on out, I think I'll save iBooks for actual books and reading material ... so where to look up my patterns?

Dropbox has a great iPad app, and an 'offline' function for those PDFs you'll want to open and read even when you're not connected via wifi. So I'll download and have ready for offline viewing those PDFs I'm currently working on.

And then I think I would like to use some of my free time now to learn KnitCompanion! I have friends who rave about the tracking functions, pattern-reading highlighter lines, etc. that make this such a good aid to knitters. I'm off to YouTube to look up some tutorials and get started!


new year, new paradigm

2016 is ushering in a lot of great new things over here at casa akabini!

I'm back to designing full-time, and looking forward to re-issuing some of my 2nd Nature patterns as akabini patterns...

And has found a new home here - see the tab up at the top of the page (where there will be more detailed content coming soon), and feel free to click the Patternfish link at right to see the whole collection for purchase over there.

And I'm looking forward to posting here again with my random thoughts about life, healthy food, geeky knitting tricks, and ALL THE MAKES!


Nice to be back.


#Whole30 Wrap-Up

'Day 31' is here!

Strange as it might seem to put this experience up there with something as physically grueling as training for and completing marathons, I'm just as proud of this 30 days as I am of each marathon I've run.

I'm the kind of person who devours 'Before and After' stories, who flips to the 'They Lost 100 Pounds!' features in the magazines... and now I have an inkling about how they must feel.

It's been fascinating to unplug the cravings, starve out the bad habits, and really learn an excellent way to take care of myself. Because, after all, at its root, that's what Whole 30 teaches you to do: to take exquisite care of yourself.

From planning meals and not skimping on preparation; to feeding yourself wonderful things so you don't crave the crappy stuff; to paying attention to what you're eating and making sure you build joy into each meal... it's been an education.

Best things I've learned:

• I can make my own salad dressing, and it *is* as easy as everyone says it is! (Sorry, Tina, Fiona, Laura... I should have listened.)

• Where sheer willpower can be limited, personal integrity and strength is buildable and potentially boundless.

• Thai curry paste + canned coconut milk = nearly-instant dinner! (Just don't get the green kind if you're a gringo like me. Thermonuclear, that stuff!)

• I am just as attached to beverages as I think I am. (Missed those milky drinks most of all!)

• There is life after toast.

• Salad every day for lunch is a great thing! (One more thing to simplify! hooray!)

In this 30 days, I negotiated how to host a party and not indulge (key: cleanup crew; and make yourself absent during the dessert service); how to negotiate a restaurant menu (hint: it's not as hard as you think - there's nearly always a meat & veg. option somewhere in the entrées); how to take a trip out of town that doesn't turn into a feast fest. Plus: Starbuck's does coconut lattes now! Revelation!

So Day 31 started out just as Days 1-30 had: eggy breakfast, pack a salad for lunch... and the only differences were my first mug of proper tea in a month (!) and a dinner out where the deviations were Caesar salad w/ dressing and Parmesan and a glass of wine.

This new life? Shaping up to be pretty good.

(Oh, and not that it really counts, but I like it: lost TEN pounds. In a month. That has NEVER happened, and certainly not while I was eating like a prince!)


#Whole30, Day 8

Dinner at home with the Boy - grilled chicken on salad! (The perk of doing a Whole 30 in the summer.)



#Whole30, Day 4

Day Four is done, and I did not want to Kill. All. The. Things!
(The joke is that by days 4 and 5 of #Whole30, you run into a serious emotional wall and get cranky. Co-workers will testify to waves of poutiness on my part, but so far no major crank.) 

 Breakfast used up the rest of the shrimp, with a shrimp-to-egg ratio that was truly thrilling (cut back to 2 eggs). Peek-a-boo from underneath was the rest of my bag o' spinach. Suprisingly tasty, even without the Parmesan cheese I would normally have been tempted to add!

Lunch was more leftover Thai curry (think I can go without making quite so much next week). I found I actually *missed* my salad - and ended up not eating more than half of it.

The poutiness occurred after lunch (see above re: possibly not eating enough), and was prompted by the thought that I couldn't have a comforting, satisfying cuppa Builders Tea. But two cups of Rooibos later and I was on a roll with work.

Afternoon spaciness combatted by the realization that I had nuts in my desk drawer. Almonds and cashews to the rescue!

An early dinner, so I could be in the shop by 5 pm:

 I sauteed up two turkey burker patties and set aside one for breakfast for Day 5. The last 1/4 avocado, and a BIG slice of heirloom tomato as an ersatz bun made for a yummy turkey burger! Some quick romaine and more tomatoes for a speedy side salad. It was warm out again, so a little spritzer with grapefruit juice and soda water sent me out the door to go back to work to finish my second 12+ hour workday.

Biggest revelation so far: I'm not hungry in the same way I used to be! I used to get sharp, searing stomach pangs if I didn't eat every 4 hours. Now I just notice a deeper, subterranean rumbling and notice that I'm slowing down and getting a little spacey. Is this what other people are talking about when they say they forget to eat? Hmm.

Friend T had her first round of chemo on Thursday. If she has to be strong for her stuff, I can damn well do this, too.