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Top Five Things to Consider in a Pattern Name (and how I name my patterns)

For me, choosing pattern names is up there with writing romance copy! It’s not easy, especially when you think you have an awesome name, you do a Rav search, and then it turns out 20 other patterns are named the same thing. I was very happy to find Beneath the Moon (above) was not already chosen!

A good pattern name is (not necessarily in order of importance):

  1. Easy to spell (I often sacrifice this….Euphilotes, anyone?)
  2. Catchy / memorable
  3. Not already used (or at least not used a lot, or for that particular pattern category)
  4. Tied in to your brand in some way
  5. Ties into the design in some way (inspiration, stitch pattern, theme, etc)

I think it can be really hard to hit all five of those. I think #4 is most critical — and I wish I’d considered it sooner. Someone who is great at having names that directly relate to their brand is Thea Colman of Baby Cocktails.

 

I’ll admit, when I started designing, I was choosing pattern names somewhat randomly. My first pattern was Dave Finally Gets His, with our cat Obi, above, a worsted weight house sock pattern with a fun cabled gusset — named thus because my husband Dave finally got gifted his own house socks (after watching me give away pairs to other family members).

I did, early on, start using some Cole Porter song titles: Don’t Fence Me In (still one of my favorite fingerless mitt patterns!), Sw’Elegant, and De-Lovely; and a couple Beatles references (All You Need Is… Mitts, Wanna Hold Your Hands).

I also started using California place names (Abalone Cove, Malaga Cove, Pt Reyes).

When I wrote California Revival Knits, all the pattern names chosen referred to architectural feature. Patterns from the Wild West books were all, as the subtitle suggested, named after “the Flora, Fauna, Geology & History” of Arizona. (I’ll be talking about themes, and collections, in another blog post!)

In the last year or so I’ve started naming single release patterns more systematically.

Patterns with Lorna’s Laces / Mrs Crosby yarns, starting with Isn’t It Romantic?, are name after Cole Porter songs. Amanda of Lorna’s Laces had requested a music themed name to go with the String Quintet mini skeins bundles used for Isn’t It Romantic?.  I love the cleverness and prettiness of so many Cole Porter songs, and I hope that those qualities are also evoked by those particular patterns.

Knit Picks patterns, sort of starting with Flidais (well, with a couple exceptions) have Celtic or Irish names. (Caridwen, initially done as a Craftsy kit, also has a Celtic name.)

General self published patterns have either California place names, flora or fauna names (often Latin), or oceanic or beach feature names (Estuarine, Cayucos, Alongshore). I really want to keep my self published pattern names tied to California, and the things I love here.

What sort of names do you like? Do you pay much attention to pattern names?

4 comments… add one
  • Jane George May 9, 2017, 4:18 am

    Yes, a name will make me click on a link, also love yarns that have names.

  • Jean May 9, 2017, 8:57 am

    Re: Euphilotes…well, seeing as you are asking… I prefer a name that I know how to pronounce – either in my head when I’m thinking about it or talking about it to other knitters. If someone doesn’t know how to pronounce it, it’s hard to verbally communicate about it with others, so instead of saying to someone, “You know that pattern of Stephannie Tallent’s that begins with Eu-something, youfil youfilot or whatever it’s called…” they may not even bother to bring it up. Just saying…. 🙂

    • StephCat May 9, 2017, 9:26 am

      Yeah, honestly, that one wasn’t the best choice. 🙂

      I may actually change it!

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