I’ve always loved it when designers give their patterns intriguing names. It’s almost become essential in this Ravelry age – how else could you navigate through upwards of 15,000 cowls if it weren’t for names like ‘Hitchhiker’, ‘Wingspan’ and ‘Ishbel’? I doubt that 37.5 thousand Ravellers would have favourited the Gap-tastic cowl if it were just called ‘Chunky Cowl’. My personal favourite purveyor of pattern names has always been knitty.com, from whose stable come familiar legends such as ‘Clapotis’, ‘Calorimetry’ and ‘Tubey’; these names have a currency of their own, like a masonic handshake of knitting: “Is that a Clapotis you’re wearing?” (sly wink – you’re one of us).
In true secret-language style, in the best cases the relationship between name and item seems delightfully obscure. Say the name ‘Monkey’ and a populace of knitters know precisely which sock you mean. And it doesn’t look much like a monkey.
Inspired by Knitty et al, we christen all the makes that appear in Let’s Knit, although after six years it can sometimes be a struggle to come up with something new. People do occasionally say to me ‘Why do you give all the patterns names – it’s daft!’, which makes me a little sad. After all, we’re not dealing with tins of beans here! A designer has lovingly toiled over that pattern to bring it into being, nurturing it from swatch and sketch to final, fabulous creation; it deserves to have a life of its own and be sent off into the world with an appropriate moniker. It doesn’t always go to plan though; we once featured a bag designed by the wonderful Debbie Abrahams, and we gave it the name Candida. I thought this was fine as I knew of a writer called Candida Crewe, so I thought nothing of it. Next time I heard from Debbie she said “Thanks for my copy of the mag, but why did you name my pattern after a yeast infection?”
Anyway, here are the finished gloves I’ve been working on, and they’re called Grayson.
This is the first time I’ve given a name to something I’ve designed – I copped out with my previous effort and just called it Wool Week Hat! Not very imaginative. The name, as you might have guessed, is in honour of this year’s Reith lecturer and all round good egg Grayson Perry, whose lectures on contemporary art provided the soundtrack to most of the knitting of this pattern. And very interesting lectures they were too, although I have to say they did reinforce some of my misgivings about modern art. Emperors new clothes and all that…
By the way, I’m not making any claims that my Grayson gloves are art, just in case you were wondering. Admittedly I do get an aesthetic kick from the way the cables snake away from the rib cuff and twist up to a point just below the fingers…but what with beauty being a construct and of no relevance in the modern art world and all that, I’ll just have to settle for them being a really cosy pair of gloves in a lush yarn.
The pattern will soon be available for free and I’ll write more about the actual gloves when that happens. Watch this space!