One of the questions I am asked over and over again is how I come up with new names for my knit and crochet patterns and books? How to name your knit and crochet patterns may not sound too difficult, and it isn’t really, but over the course of my 18-year (and counting) career, I have published well over 900 patterns and 22 books. It is the sheer quantity of names I have come up with that piques the curiosity of so many people.
This is the first time I am sharing so many details of my resources for naming knit and crochet patterns and books!
Coming up with singular names is quite easy. You can name a pattern after a person you admire or maybe you want to dedicate your pattern to a specific person. While over the years, I have made a couple of duplicates, in general, I have tried to come up with unique names for each and every pattern. Once you add a second or more words to your name, it allows you to have even more naming possibilities. The Trina Knit Pullover is named after my sister, the Agnes Crochet Vest is named after one of my grandmother’s maiden names, and the Annika Heart Knot Knit Necklace is named after my niece. The Tender Claire Crochet Vest is not to be confused with the Claire Knit Pullover, though!
Using translation tools is helpful when coming up with original names for knit and crochet patterns, too. Perhaps I am inspired by a word in English but want to find a nice sounding translation of that word in another language to name the pattern. For example, the Morango crochet shawl and cardi wrap pattern: the stitch pattern reminds me of strawberries, so I used Google Translate to see how to say strawberry in other languages. I love to study languages and though I already knew how to say strawberry in French, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew, none of those translations spoke to me. I saw that in Portuguese strawberry translates to Morango and loved the way it sounds!
When coming up with a collection of names, like when I have to come up with 20 or more names for a collection of patterns in a book, I try to keep it to a theme. Sometimes the theme is obvious, and other times it is not. Did you know that for my book, “80 Handmade Gifts” I had to come up with so many names that I decided to use my love of old soap operas for inspiration. I looked up Days of Our Lives, Another World and Santa Barbara (NBC soap operas I watched as a kid in the 1980s and 1990s) on IMDB, which is an international movie database website. On that website you can look up any tv show or movie from all the way back to the beginning, get all the facts and trivia about it, and see a list of the entire cast and crew. In the cast area, you can see the character names and the actors names, too. Since these three shows were on the air for so many years, I figured they must have had a huge cast overall. And I was right! I picked and chose character or actor/actress names from all 3 shows that I liked to make the collection themed.
TV and movies have inspired me many times for coming up with knit and crochet pattern names, not just for the big collections like 80 Handmade Gifts. My most recent name collection for the 3 mosaic knit hat patterns for my Intro to Knitting Course Part 3: A Trio of Colorful Knit Hats features the names Alex, Dylan and Natalie. These are the names of the Charlie’s Angels in the 1990s movie remake of the beloved 1970s TV Show that I love so dearly. And the Lagertha knit shawl pattern is named after Lagertha, Shield Maiden and Queen of Kattegat, from The Vikings, a show on the History Channel a few years back. Did you know that my Lagertha knit shawl pattern was featured on Knit and Crochet Now, season 13?
Another website I love for naming inspiration is Fantasy Name Generator. It is a huge database of real names by origin country; fantasy and folklore names by theme; places and locations by theme; other names by theme, pop culture names by theme; and so much more. It is a dangerous website for me because I can get lost looking around it for hours! I have used this website for naming yarns, books, patterns and so much more over the years. I just love it. You have been warned though – you may fall down a rabbit hole here and stay lost meandering around this fascinating site for a very long time!
Baby Name websites are also a good source for coming up with names. I especially like the websites that will allow you to look up names by their meanings. If I think a project or pattern I’m making, in either knitting or crochet, reminds me of a specific flower or other natural beauty, I will search names by meaning so I can find unique names from other cultures or languages that will still give me the intention and meaning I desire. You can also search names by gender: male, female and neutral. I like to use gender-neutral names when I am designing knit or crochet patterns that I believe are unisex designs.
Word alliteration, idioms and puns are also a fun way to name different products. And for this reason, the Thesaurus has always been a favorite tool of mine, too. I could get lost on the thesaurus website for hours, too. For example, Motif Magic is word alliteration (both words starting with the same letter). And I have recently discovered rhyming websites. This might be very fun for future project names, too!
And last but not least, I am such an avid reader, so being inspired by my favorite characters and authors has been a special way to dedicate my work to them, too. Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel inspired the Ayla Knit Shawl Pattern; Jamie, Claire and Brianna from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon inspired the Jamie Crochet Hat, the Brianna Crochet Cowl Pattern and the above mentioned two Claire patterns. Rowan from the Witching Hour by Anne Rice – I have always wanted to name after a pattern after her, but since Rowan Yarns has been so well established since long before I became a knit and crochet designer so many years ago, I feel it is appropriate to leave that name alone. But I have used her ancestors’ names for patterns, including Diedre, Stella and Julian. I could go on and one and on…
What would you like to see me name knit and crochet patterns after next?
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Kristin Omdahl is the best-selling author of dozens of knit and crochet books; designer of almost 1000 knit and crochet patterns; and producer of award-winning videos. You can join Kristin LIVE 5 days a week for The Kristin Omdahl Show on YouTube and browse through thousands of tutorial videos there, too. Kristin donates a portion of every sale to help survivors of domestic violence. Learn more about Kristin’s charity, Project Kristin Cares HERE.
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I look forward to seeing what you create!