On the naming of patterns...

Jim and I love almost every aspect of running Arnall-Culliford Knitwear, but one of the tasks that we procrastinate the most is the naming of patterns. There are so many things to think about when you choose a pattern name. Has it been used before? Does it relate to the design in question? Is there a theme to the collection and does the name fit with the theme? And most importantly, does the name have unexpected connotations, both here in the UK and internationally? When I’m thinking about a pattern name I have learned the hard way to look it up on Google as well as Ravelry. I once worked on a collection where one of the patterns now shares a name with a cream used for a rather unspeakable ailment…

I have been mulling over the options for naming the designs in Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting for some months now, but hadn’t been able to settle on anything. I’ve been reading about women in science with the kids, and wondered about naming them for women involved in research into DNA (Rosalind Franklin and Elizabeth Blackburn for example). Given the double helix of DNA and the double helix of 1x1 helical stripes, it seemed an interesting starting point. But after some weeks of poking around the internet I wasn’t really getting anywhere, the names I had were already used many times on Ravelry, so I asked for ideas in our Ravelry group.

Kudu antelope with helical horns. Photo by Sonja_bkm / iStock / Getty Images

Kudu antelope with helical horns. Photo by Sonja_bkm / iStock / Getty Images

What followed was so inspiring! The group started to share ideas, and I went on a journey through words relating to spirals or helices themselves (chiral, torsion, coil), on to the natural world (snails, antelopes including the magnificent kudu above, bindweed and honeysuckle to mention just a few), food (cinnamon buns and Kürtőskalács), architecture (spiral staircases), astronomy (helix nebula) and even a few humorous suggestions including Helix McHelixPants and a Blackadder reference which still have me giggling a few days later. Thanks to the thread, I have ruled out Helter Skelter, which in the UK is a simple helical fairground ride, but has a far more sinister association stateside, of which I had no previous knowledge. The perils of international publishing! I have now happily settled on a theme for the pattern names, and I’m just working on finalising the precise details and rounding up some related images to share here on the blog, so keep an eye out for a post revealing all probably after my weekend at Yarndale.

I’m so grateful to all the contributors in our Ravelry group, and of course to the moderators who so generously support the threads with their knowledge, expertise and general encouragement. If you haven’t already joined the group, please do come on over and say hi! You can be assured of a warm welcome and interesting conversation.

Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting will be available to purchase from Friday 28th September 2018, with the first chapter being released on Tuesday 9th October 2018, and subsequent chapters arriving fortnightly from then. To be sure to have the news first, do sign up to our newsletter and or blog posts by email by clicking the subscribe button on this page.