November 2021 Studio Hours Recap: Holli Yeoh On Inclusive Garment Design

by | Nov 24, 2021 | News & Updates, Studio Hours

Earlier this month, Studio Members were privileged to have a chat with Holli Yeoh, the designer of D&T’s next pattern release. I won’t give away too many pattern details here—I’ll just say that it is a beautiful cardigan, designed to work on many bodies.

Holli designed the sweater as a gift for her stepfather Nigel, who is an avid knitter. She gave him a bespoke pattern, but rather than locking it to his size only, she designed options for all of us, so our community can all benefit. Shoulder fit is key to getting a well fitted sweater that feels good to wear, and Holli created a design that can work for both broad and narrow shoulders, and both tall and short people, entirely independent of the traditional gender categories we often see in garment patterns. One member asked about bust shaping and Holli suggested places to make modifications for bust darts and recommended Kim McBrian Evans’s classes on the topic of bust shaping for garments.

I loved having the opportunity to see the initial sketches and swatches and to chat with both the designer and the person she designed it for. Nigel pointed out his favourite parts of the design and both Holli and Nigel modeled their versions of the cardigan. I truly appreciated learning about Holli’s design process and catching a glimpse of her design submission document.

Because of the variety of options, the pattern is long. A pattern as detailed as this couldn’t be published in a print magazine—it is too long with too many options to fit the page constraints in traditional publishing. In this new world of digital media, the pattern can work. Kim shared her challenges in layout and promised that the pattern will be formatted in a way that we can follow the options and knit a sweater that fits whatever body we want it to.

Thank you, Holli and Nigel, for your generosity in sharing this sweater design’s story with our community!

Show and Tell

Note: where possible, pattern links are given to original sources. Ravelry links are indicated with (R) after the link.

We started with a quick peek at Kim’s newly acquired loom—a 46-year-old 36-inch Leclerc Artisat. She thanks all D&T members for their support and encouragement with this acquisition and also acknowledged the encouragement of keen weaver Felicia Lo (SweetGeorgia Yarns).

We saw some Nomia Socks (designed by Rich Ensor, published in Knitty) knit in a cotton/nylon blend yarn from Trailhead Yarns—the yarn is making the twisted stitches sing. These socks were the first of many gifts in our show-and-tell. The maker shared her story of hiding the socks from her teenager by telling her, “I’m just trying something.”

Another member showed a pair of bright, child-sized striped Gusset-Heel Socks (PDF link, pattern by Wendy Johnson) in Kroy Socks Meadow Stripes colourway. This free pattern is a good introduction to toe-up socks with a simple, quick gusset heel.

Then we saw a blue, cabled Custom-Fit Hat (based on the ebook published by D&T), knit to exacting specifications for a cousin.

Another member showed their output of handknit headbands, made by combining a strand of laceweight mohair with random yarn leftovers—sock yarns, worsted weight yarns—the combination makes the project warmer, thicker, and quicker to knit. Welcome to Team Mohair!

We do tend to see lots of knitting in our Show-and-Tells—something about all that time in online get-togethers—but we are multi-craftual. This month, we saw a lovely nuno-felted and embroidered piece for a member’s granddaughters that featured mermaids.

Continuing the theme of using up yarns, Kate showed some fingerless mitts she’s making from yarn salvaged from socks that didn’t wear well. Even after removing the thin and worn bits, there’s plenty of yarn available for re-use, even in that “previously knit ramen-noodle” form, and the mitts will protect her in her chilly house.

Another member is also combining yarns, this time to make Perky Little Hats (R) for charity using doubled fingering weight yarn. The hats are a way to use up random balls and to bring colours together that at first glance don’t seem to go together. Many organizations are again accepting charity knits to distribute—check with your local charities or your house of worship.

Finally, Kim shared some thoughts about teaching crochet to 9-11-year-olds recently and how she was reminded to keep a beginner’s mindset. Our products do not have to be perfect to keep someone’s neck warm.

At the end of the session, I think Kate summed things up beautifully. Our theme this month ended up being about gifts, in both Holli’s talk and our show-and-tell. Gifts to each other and gifts to the community. Holli’s pattern is truly accessible to all and I can’t wait to see the versions that members make!

Featured image credit Kim Werker.