On Naming Inanimate Objects — Like Quilts


Are you a namer?

I am not a namer. 

My mother and sister are namers.  I remember the name of two of our family vehicles — Bertha and Mirabelle.  I don’t remember which vehicles they refer to however.  I know a lot of quilters are namers.  They have names for their sewing machine(s) or their quilt machine.

Naming my children was rough.  Often the names I had picked out for them before we went to the hospital was not what we ended up with.  I made sure they had names before we left the hospital because I realize that it important for a child to have a name, and if we waited until we got the child home, well, that just meant more paperwork. 

Quilts, on the other hand, I don’t know why they need a name.   Unless, of course, I am creating the quilt and sharing the pattern.  I have a real problem with this.  Quilts talk to me in so many ways, but I sometimes I feel like I haven’t been properly introduced because they haven’t told me their name.  In fact, the quilts I send to magazines, I usually let the magazines name them. 

One quilt I made recently I named Wonky Autumn Leaves.  It will be coming out in Fat Quarterly.  I will share more about that one soon.  I changed up a few things as I went along because the quilt told me it needed something different than I had in mind.  I feel like I might have just found the quilts nickname.  I was only mostly okay with that name.  I felt like their was a better one, but with a deadline looming, I just had to go with Wonky Autumn Leaves.  Hope she likes it!

One other quilt that I just quilted yesterday, I can’t even begin to think of a name.  I went through a creative process with this quilt, and it turned out nothing like I started.  I really enjoyed making it, and I just want the quilt to introduce herself to me!  But, since this one is going to McCall’s Quilting, I am sure I will ship her off and wait until the magazine comes out to be formerly introduced.

So — are you a namer?  What’s the name of your sewing machine? 

(Mine is “Sewing Machine” by the way.  You know, to distinguish it from “Quilt Machine.”  Or sometimes to my kids — the little one or the big one.)

Any suggestions on naming quilts?  I have a feeling I’m hopeless.


  1. Jovita
    July 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I’m not a namer, my pets have names (after long discussions) but quilts .. well they generally get titles, like books do .. something that sums up the experience, inspiration or what I mused about while making it.

  2. Monica
    July 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I’m not a namer AT ALL! My husband is lucky he already came with a name otherwise he’d probably be known as that guy I live with…hahaha.

  3. Staci
    July 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Enjoyed your post! My sewing machine has a name. It is Maggie. The machine is part of the Janome Magnolia line, so that wasn’t much of a stretch, or even a conscious decision. One day I realized I was calling it Maggie and had been for a while. My quilts get names, sort of. For instance there is the Jelly Roll QA quilt and the Layer Cake QA quilt. Also creative names like the Verna Quilt and the Tea Time quilt. Yep, named after the main fabric line in the quilt. Sometimes I feel like I should give my quilts better names. Then I decide that my creativity should be spent on something more important!

  4. Lee Ann
    July 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I’m not a namer of inanimate objects either. The only name I ever gave to an object was a Buick with same year I was born. It ticked like a bomb waiting to go off and it was a baby blue color. So, I referred to it as the “blue bomb”. 😀

    but no, my quilts usually go nameless or is referred to as the givee’s quilt name. Such as Mother’s Maxine Quilt or Dad’s Quilt or My first quilt… Such imagination I have. Ha! 🙂

  5. Denise in PA
    July 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I have a heck of a time naming quilts too. Usually, a quilt buddy of mine names them for me – LOL! I don’t name sewing machines (it’s the Bernina and the Juki), cars or my harps (much to the consternation of my harp buddy who feels harps are living beings who need names apparently). My pets and kids do have names however, but I did have a fish called “Fish” when I was little.

  6. shannon
    July 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    i’m a namer. i think i do it cause it makes my stuff more personal and a way to express my individuality. For instance- my long arm is an American Professional Quilting systems 2005 Millennium. it’s so much easier to refer to it as Nemo in general conversation.

    most of my quilts have proper names…artist name their works even if it’s simply Untitled #33 *giggle*

    my pets name themselves. i know it sounds weird, but they do. it’s whatever name the seem to respond to- that’s it. i have a friend whose dog’s name is ‘dee-oh-gee’

  7. Sandie ~call me crazy
    July 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I enjoyed this post! I guess I’m a namer, though sometimes I go thru a couple names before one ‘sticks’. My machines have names, even if they are pretty unoriginal. I always have a name for my quilts, though they are usually late at getting a label. lol Have a happy day!

  8. Terri
    July 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I am so not a namer, and neither is my husband. Case in point? one of our Jack Russells is 3 years old and named “Puppy”. Because we just could NOT come up with a name and by the time we did (Sadie) she thought her name was puppy……. lame

  9. Tiffany
    July 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I name my cars… (Heber and Don Giovani :)) and I def. named my machine (Mrs. Stitches – stitchy for short)

    I have not ever named my quilts tho – but I do name every stuffed toy I make 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    July 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I use to be a namer – but it was giving names to all my house plants. I’ve stopped that now, plus I don’t have that many anymore. I don’t have names for my 5 sewing machines. As for quilts, I think of them by different names, but I don’t say the name outloud. I’m not a namer.

  11. Teresa
    July 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I am usually not a namer – but I do like to name my quilts. Not sure why, but generally a name just comes to me as I work on it. Right now, my main projects are Do-si-Do, Granny’s Posies and Circus Stars. I also have an “applique project” which obviously has not inspired me yet to name it, and the Dear Jane which may just have to become Jane Doe.

  12. Jan
    July 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I’m not a namer, my sewing machine is named Stupid Sewing Machine. I do have a suggestion for naming quilts, however. Give them names of people, like your aunts, if you can’t think of anything else.

  13. Kim and Jim
    July 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I’m not a namer. At least not when it comes to quilts, or sewing machines. My Bernina is called Bernina. And most of my quilts get the name of the pattern I used, or the name of the fabric line. Lame, I know. But I just feel like I don’t do the quilt justice with the lame names I come up with.

  14. Katie
    July 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    HAHA. . . I too, am lacking in the naming department. I never name my vehicles. . . they are “the van”, “The truck” and “the jeep.” LOL
    My sewing machines names are “The Singer” and “The Janome.” LMAO!!

    For quilts, what I like to do is leave the naming to someone else. My husband is VERY good at looking at my quilts, and naming it based on a “feeling” he gets. Floribunda quilt pattern by Erin Russek – my husband named that “12 Tribes” why? i dunno. . but doesn’t it sound cooler than what I named it?? “Baltimore Backyard”

  15. Chookyblue......
    July 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I don’t name things but I do name my quilts………..sometimes I struggle with the names others come to me straight away………..
    my first car had a name but that was it……….

  16. Karen
    July 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    I name my quilts, but I don’t label them. Go figure. I do name them and use them when I post on my blog.

    My quilt names are usually related to the fabric collection name or the pattern name.

  17. The Wheeler 5
    July 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    wow….this made me realize my sewing machine has no name. i better get on that!
    Bertha was the white van I drove in High School. Mirabelle was that red van you had then gave to Dusty. (if i remember right)

  18. Heather
    July 8, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Good post and some great comments.

    My sewing machine’s name is Beatrice (and I actually had to think a while to remember that). But I’m not much of a namer. I’m a stroker. If a machine isn’t doing what it’s supposed to I will stroke it and speak softly to it and voila, it works.

    I worked for a while at our vital stats office and a family came in (mom, baby, dad, grandparents) because the grandparents wanted to force the parents to name their baby. They baby was over 3 months old and still nameless. I was, and still am, totally amazed.

    As for my pets and my kids, oy vey, the naming process just about made me insane. But it turned out good in the end.

  19. kaye
    July 8, 2011 at 3:46 am

    I don’t name my sewing machines or cars. That just seems a little on the creepy side to me. (Sorry to all those who do it.) But I LOVE naming my quilts. The challenge for me is to come up with the perfect name that is clever and memorable but not too cutesy.

  20. Maggie A
    July 8, 2011 at 7:00 am

    I, too, usually just name quilts if they are for a pattern. My machines have very creative names – The Bernina and The Gammill 🙂

  21. sue
    July 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’m not a namer either but since some of my quilts are on display they do have titles, to use another reader’s naming distinction that I appreciate. I have a friend that names everything car, gps, computer, etc. It makes me laugh

  22. rubyslipperz
    July 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I like to name things…I dunno why, really…but, it seems like they are “living, breathing” objects if they have names…it’s not possible..but, make-believe.

    The names for items…usually just pop into my brain. Usually the names start with the letter of something related to the object. My Berninas…all have names starting with “B”. The Innova longarm…is Ida

    Quilts…I’ve not started to name those…yet =)


  23. Gari
    July 9, 2011 at 1:59 am

    I have named most of my quilts. I think it is because I talk to them all the while they are being made and I can’t talk to something (or someone) without using their name. However, I just recently named my HQ, reason shared on my blog.


    I have not named my other machines or any of my cars. I guess I don’t have as intimate a relationship with them. 😉

  24. kerrynjane
    July 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

    A lot of my quilts go to other people so the names often reflect something about the recipient. I just finished an animal print minkee quilt that I call, “No animals were harmed.” The recipient is a vegetarian. I have named my cars, but since I only have one sewing machine, I can keep it straight with out a name!!

  25. Amber
    July 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Funny and interesting! I never thought about it before…Am I a namer? or not? Well, truthfully I give quilts titles that come from a feeling I have while in the making process, but not names and my cars, or sewing machine, NOPE! If I gave any advice here at all it would come in a “go with your gut” or something like that. have a great day! it was fun to muse with you.

  26. Angela N.
    July 23, 2011 at 3:32 am

    My kids name mine! lol.. the last quilt i did was the robert kaufman challenge and it was dubbed “colored ice cubes” … whatever makes them happy. But let me tell you, with kids you’ll have original names. LOL

  27. Rachel
    September 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    OK, I know this is an older post (I read today’s post and went looking for a picture of the daughter’s “pillows”…) but this had me laughing. I do, sort of, name quilts. But there is NO creativity to it. At all. LOL. I “quilt with” my sister in law who lives over 1,900 miles away…so we have to call them SOMEthing so we know what we are talking about. For the most part the names refer to a theme or fabric being used (I am quilting a quilt made with coffee prints as a focus. It is the, get ready, Coffee Quilt. Yeah.LOL) At any rate, I have named my sewing machines…They are BabyLock and Juki. I know, so original. LOL. I just had to comment because your post had me laughing this morning. P.S. My kids name everything. Cars. GPS devices. Quilts. Rooms. If it exists they will name it.LOL.