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!
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something's coming

I've been quietly working away behind the scenes this year, getting ready to launch something new!

I'm thrilled to be working with Tina and her gorgeous range of yarns over at Blue Moon Fiber Arts again - and I have two surprises in store for you later this week.

Yarn is BMFA Laci in colorway "Debra's Magic Blue"Can't wait to show them to you!


this organized life

I'd better admit it right up front - organizing is one of my hobbies. With a free evening on my hands, the thought of pulling things out of cupboards, sorting and then re-organizing them actually sounds like a lot of fun.

Realizing that this isn't everyone's cup of meat, perhaps my enjoyment in how I organize things might lead to some insights for folks who like it a bit less...

So expect a regular thread on organizing and managing your to-do lists, your creative supplies, your wardrobe, your... you name it!

Top of the list for me right now is my digital vs. analogue life: I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about journaling, to-do lists, and generallly managing all the ideas and to-do lists that stream out of my brain every day. (Trust me, it's a lot, and unmanaged it would be pretty scary.)

(The mild irony of that sticker is not lost on me.)Like a lot of 21st-century creative professionals, I've spent the last ten years or so, since the advent of smartphones and tablets, thinking that I should go completely digital with my to-do lists and grocery lists and lists of all the things. As soon as I'd jotted down a note on paper, I tried to convert it to an item in an app somewhere. This had its advantages - timed reminders to do things, no bits of paper to fly around (or forget at home when running errands), but there was a whole side of my brain that wasn't ... satisfied with the digital capture.

I'm a child of the European school system - the fountain pens for schoolwork, the paper notebooks handed in for homework, the leather cases with slots for pens and pencils... The stuff of an analogue life is close to my heart.

So last year, when a colleague discovered the Passion Planner, I dove in and never looked back. Analogue was back in my life! (It didn't hurt that at about the same time, a wee shop opened down the street selling fine fountain pens and inks. We were doomed.) Suddenly, I was carrying a pouch full of pens and pencils to meetings, loving the feeling of writing things down again.

I've loved getting back to the literal - being able to pick up a pen and just write something down has an immediacy to it that typing into my phone or tablet can't match. Plus, the potential for visual creativity is such a joy on its own: which pen to use? which ink color do I want for that little list?

As with all obsessions of mine, this one swung to the extreme - I was barely using my digital reminder systems at all anymore... and after a few missed appointments and scrambles for information, it became clear that I could do with a balanced set of analogue and digital tools.

It's taken me a while to figure out which things I like to keep in which format, and my planner system is morphing into a new shape now that I'm back to freelance work from home, but I've enjoyed the process of considering what works for me and building my little set of tools - which I'll start to share with you over the coming weeks.

Go dust off those fountain pens, if you've got 'em! We're about to go play.

[My stack of toys, bottom to top:]
Passion Planner for 2016 (16-17 editions now available!)
Roterfaden cover and notebooks, available from Baumkuchen in LA
• Leuchtturm 1917 notebook (mine from Goulet Pens)
• "Things" app for iPad
• Vintage Parker fountain pen 


winter wardrobe

Proud of my stack of knits for my Winter 2016 wardrobe, based on my inspirations from my Pinterest board. I think I might have nailed it! (Surprised at how many garment-sized pieces I finished for this season.)

More posts to come about my process around seasonal wardrobe makes!


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.