Baby Name Search

As you may know, there’s a new baby niece on her way into our family this spring.

Her parents have chosen a name for their baby girl already, but that doesn’t stop the rest of us from talking about our favourite baby names — or the ones we just can’t stand! Not that we expect the expectant parents to change their minds, but there’s just something about debating a list of baby names…

I particularly enjoy going on the occasional rant about people who give their baby girls a name that’s more appropriate for a stripper than for a bank president. Don’t get me started!

Anyway, if you’re in the throes of picking out baby names, for whatever reason, here’s an online tool that might help:

Nymbler ‘Smart’ Baby Name Search Assistant
Nymbler is the smart baby name guide that responds to your personal taste. Just choose a few names that appeal to you or let Nymbler offer ideas. Then press “Find Names” and Nymbler will start using its expert knowledge to brainstorm names tailored to fit your style.

Nymbler combines human expertise (Linda Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard) and artificial intelligence (software by Icosystem) to sort through a database of thousands of names to find the ones that fit your taste.


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3 Easy Ways to Chart a Knitting Pattern

How can a crafter turn an image into a custom pattern for a knitted motif — quickly and easily — without spending a fortune?

It’s not as difficult as you might think, to make your own knitting pattern, and you can do it for little or no cost at all.  Suddenly, all sorts of creative possibilities come to mind —

  • custom logo knitwear for the cheerleading squad
  • a child’s artwork reproduced on a sweater vest for Granny
  • Impressionist landscapes rendered on knitted afghans and throws
  • a knitted tote with a rock’n’roll idol’s portrait
  • your pet’s portrait on a knitted cushion cover…

Here, for example, is a chart for knitting a Union Jack flag motif in three colours. (Click on the thumbnail image to see a larget version, or feel free to grab the printable PDF knitting chart to stitch up a UK flag as you wish.)

Now, let’s talk about how that knitting chart is made…

Here are three different ways to chart out a pattern onto a grid — without having to invest in some of that delicious but high-priced stitch-mapping pattern-design software — and each method has its strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Graph paper (either pre-printed knitting chart paper, or grids that you print out yourself) and coloured pencils or such
  2. Free online image-to-knitting pattern conversion tool
  3. Free downloadable Knitting Pattern Generator software

A lot of this will apply to a wide range of grid-based needle crafts and art projects, too — crochet, needlepoint, petit-point, cross stitch — possibly even related crafts like fabric-paint embroidery, if you’re into pointillism techniques — as well as beading and mosaics, so don’t go away, even if knitting is not your craft of choice!

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