knit | look

Shawm Gadgie Gloves

November 5, 2012

Tim’s warm mittens are finished and being useful – just in time for the snow.  Yes, snow!  In late Autumn! We had a small show of it up North for about 15 minutes but now we are down south in Somerset and snowed for at least an hour this morning – everything was covered in snow – the road, the car, the roofs.

I used Kerri Cadd’s Cigar pattern available for free from and the Scappa Aran from K1 Yarn Boutique in Edinburgh. The technical details are ravelled here. The gloves are named in Northumberlandish meaning ‘warm bloke’ gloves.  We have a big list of such tasty words from our time there.  My other favourites are ‘bait’ for a packed lunch, ‘mickle’ for small and ‘clarts’ for really mucky mud.

I spent a while thinking of a name for these gloves.  Why? They are just a pair of gloves, I knitted from someone else’s pattern. So I started thinking about why we bother to name craft objects.  Pattern names have been around for a long time – I have loads of old knitting patterns from the 40s called ‘Vera’ and ‘Estelle’.  But naming has changed.  Now we have patterns called ‘We Call Them Pirates’ by Adrian Bizilia and ‘Mr Fox stole my Heart’ by Tiny Owl Knits.

Not only are pattern names often trying to convey ideas beyond pattern identification but we often name the items we make from patterns now.  I am trying to work out if this says something about our drive to personalise and individualise ourselves and what we do or simply a technical artefact from sharing our Finished Objects on the internet in places such as Ravelry, Flickr and Pinterest.  A hundred items made by different folks from the same pattern are tricky to explore unless they are identified with unique names.

For example Kerri Cadd’s, Cigar gloves pattern has given rise to 1034 Ravelry projects with various modifications, yarns and purposes.  Not everyone has give their gloves a unique name – many are simply identified with the maker’s username and pattern name. But there are many many other personalised names also. There are the descriptive names like Smoking gloves, Mark’s Conductive gloves and Texting gloves.  There are also other names trying to capture something else associated with making of the gloves such as ‘The Long Goodbye’ and ‘Waterfall Wolf Warmers’.

And still – these are all just gloves. We are curious creatures indeed.