nina in the window
Just a pretty picture of Nina for an otherwise picture-less post.

Uploading that new pattern to Ravelry got me thinking about something I really ought to have put more thought into earlier. You see, my pattern is listed on Ravelry under my actual name as the designer, but the “pattern source” is called “Whitknits Ravelry Store”, while my username on Ravelry, and many other places, is an obscure German word with cultural/ethnic connotations I have no actual claim to (I originally chose it because it was the title of a violin piece that I like to play). What a mess! When I started this blog, I didn’t really imagine I’d try to publish patterns in any way. I didn’t really put too much thought into the name, either (when your first name is “Whitney”, and you knit, it’s a pretty obvious choice!). When it came time to choose my “Designer” name on Ravelry, I just picked my own real name, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Hence having the 3 identities. I mean, on some level, it’s no big deal…I can think of several indie designers on Ravelry who have the same sort of thing going on.

Where it gets tricky, for me, is that there’s actually another whitknits out there, an online yarn shop. They’ve got the “.com” domain, while I’ve got the “.net” (for email, and the like…my blog is still hosted on WordPress). I’ve gotten emails before from people who think I’m somehow associated with that shop (which is how I learned about it in the first place), but I’m not, at all. I didn’t know they existed until fairly recently, and I think my little blog might have actually predated their online presence, slightly, but that probably doesn’t matter. Anyway, I feel a little bit weird that my patterns currently say “whitknits presents…”, and are listed under the “Whitknits Pattern Store”, on Ravelry, given this situation. I suppose the latter is probably easy enough to fix on Ravelry, and the former would only require making small changes to 2 pattern .pdf files. But it feels weird to me to use anything else. My actual full name is kind of unwieldy, with my last name being a long, hyphenated beast with an unusual and frequently misspelled German name as its first half. It’s the sort of name you’d (be forced to) change, if you were going to be a movie star or something, you know? I mean, I like it, because it’s mine, and there are only 3 people with my last name in the entire world, but it’s not really the sort of name I’d use as a “brand”, you know? I also don’t want to use my Ravelry username, because while I chose it for its role as the title of a favorite violin piece, I feel a little bit guilty of cultural appropriation, given what the word actually means.

It’s not really a big deal, in the grand scheme of things. But I do intend to put out more patterns, so it would be nice if I could figure out what the heck I want to do about the situation before I do that. Sometimes I wish I had a name that rolled more easily off the tongue (which, incidentally, I would have had, had I changed my name when I got married), or that I’d had a bit more creativity when I originally named this blog. C’est la vie. Any advice?

9 thoughts on “identities.”

  1. You could super-simplify to WGH knits, but maybe that’s too boring. :) Or maybe combine your first name and your regular username into something new like whitzig. (and hey, “witzig” is a real word, too!)

    1. You know, it’s funny…everyone intializes me to “wgh”, but I’ve never ever thought those were my initials. In my mind, my initials are “wmg”, where the “m” is my middle initial; the hyphenated last-name counts as 1 name to me.

      Heh, “witzig” would be funny! I’m leaning towards introducing punctuation into my “whitknits”, so that it’s like, “whit*knits” or something. Just to make it look different on Ravelry from the yarn shop, which also has a Ravelry presence. But I’m still not sure.


  2. What about bringing your middle name into it instead? My (non-knitting) e-mail address is my first name combined with my middle name. It’s survived marriage and name changes that way :)

    1. I could try that, but I have the world’s least distinctive middle name, I’m pretty sure. I remember finding out, in 3rd grade, that over a quarter of the girls in my class had the same middle name as me :)

      Of course, in combination with my less-common first name, it might still be a reasonably unique name. Thanks for the suggestion!


    1. Ha, that definitely counts for something! Most people have NO idea what to do with my Ravelry username :)

      I’m just uncomfortable with the “gypsy” aspect of it, since I have no claim to that culture at all. I just liked the violin piece.


  3. Funny how initializing last names can vary so much. Other people usually abbreviate “O’Connor” with “O” but we always do it “O’C”.

    “whit*knits” does have the benefit of simplicity, which I think is a good thing.

  4. I understand your conundrum. I use my full name even though I absolutely hate my last name. Barn yard animal? Stubborn as a? gaaah! I also have always wished my first name was actually my middle name, which is pretty common and plain (elizabeth) but that’s more because so many people still call me anne-dree-ah no matter how many times I correct them. It frustrates and annoys. Have you thought about creating a fake last name for yourself? A knitting pen name, if you will? Then you can be Whitney ______ and call it a day. And it is kind of awesome to have a name you picked yourself.

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