The Naming of Shire

I do love concepts and itemizations and documenting things, so I keep a list of words I think would make a good pattern names—Delta, Outpost, Espionage, Covert, Adirondack, Tabernacle, Camp Director, Fleetwood, Magoo. It’s a useless thing to do because I never refer to that list when I’m ready to name a pattern, but it comforts me to keep them safe somewhere.

With my Shire scarf, that was the working name and the name I stayed with through publication, but not before trying out some other names, which is the dessert part of designing knitwear.

A while back, I designed some fingerless mitts that I sold to Knit Picks. The design looked a bit like chain link, and the German word for chain link, Kettenglied, was cool, so I turned to German again when it came time for dessert.

First* I listed some words that described the design: grillwork, lattice, crosstalk, fraternal, harmony, duet, crosshatch, hatch, intersection, balance, reflection, similar, mirror, reversible. Then I looked up their German translation.

Some weren’t different enough and would look like a simple misspelling:

  • Harmony = Harmonie
  • Duet = Duett
  • Balance = Balance
  • Reversible = Reversibel

Others either made the scarf seem hard to knit or they sounded offensive when pronounced, even if just quietly to yourself at home:

  • Crosstalk = Übersprechen
  • Fraternal = Brüderlich
  • Crosshatch = Kreuzschraffur
  • Intersection = Überschneidung
  • Reflection = Betrachtung
  • Similar = ähnlich

Others were just meh:

  • Grillwork = Gitterwerk
  • Lattice = Gitter
  • Mirror = Spiegel
  • Hatch = Luke

The scarf has a sort of Irish flavor, so I looked up those same words in Gaelic.

  • Harmony = chéile
  • Balance = Iarmhéid
  • Reversible = inchúlaithe
  • Fraternal = bráithriúil
  • Crosshatching = tras-haitseáil
  • Intersection = crosbhealach
  • Reflection = frithchaitheamh

Jeez!

I eventually decided that Shire was a right good name for it, especially after I found an old email I had written to a friend in May 2015 about why I named it Shire.

The working name of the design is Shire in honor of a draft horse I met earlier on my morning walk down to the lake. There was a gal with seven horses down there. She gives trail rides and was waiting for her clients. She let me pet her horses and we talked for about 30 minutes. Then I took her old dog Shadow down to the lake so he could cool off in the water. There were a bunch of wild blackberries on the trail that the deer hadn’t eaten, so I foraged as many as I could hold in my hand and fed some to the Shire (which is the breed of draft horse rather than his name), then split the rest with the gal.

Not the actual horse or the actual lakeside.


*Actually, I first looked up Shire, which is translated as Grafschaft. I’ll let you decide what’s wrong with that.

To Ponder: In early times some sufferer had to sit up with a toothache, and he put in the time inventing the German language. |-Mark Twain-|

 

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