Glenwood: A Q+A with Cheryl Toy
Glenwood by Cheryl Toy
Over the last month since our Spring 2020 collection premiered we've been getting questions about Glenwood, the popular pullover designed by Cheryl Toy. This garment features unusual construction with a lot of wearability. We thought we’d take your questions as a great excuse to ask Cheryl a bit about herself, the design, and the historic city of New Orleans where she lives and designs. Enjoy the virtual trip to Cheryl's colorful world!
H+W: For our readers who aren’t familiar with your work (and you!) tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you live? How’s quarantine been so far? What’s your background and pre-knitwear designer life?
CT: I’m a former Set Designer and Art Director in the motion picture industry, a native of the beautiful city of Toronto, and a grateful resident of New Orleans. I fell in love with New Orleans back in the 90’s and have never been able to stay away for long! I feel a little guilty, but stay-at-home has been really lovely. (I’m social distancing on a Gulf Coast beach as I write this!) I’m fortunate to live in a warm climate where lots of outdoor activity is possible and I’m a person who enjoys alone time. It’s meant lots of knitting and design time (though that evaporates pretty quickly once you start knitting socks!)
Glenwood in progress!
H+W: Glenwood shot to the top of Ravelry when H+W Spring 2020 launched. Tell us a bit about your inspiration for this design?
CT: I collect vintage knitting patterns and frequently turn to them when I’m looking for inspiration. The dolman sleeve was super popular in the 1940’s and the shape caught my eye. The challenge with Glenwood was to take the rather trim 40’s line and update it to modern standards of fit and ease.
H+W: Glenwood’s shaping and silhouette are generous and unusual, which particularly speaks to our #stayathome life. What can you tell us about the design to better help someone select their intended size?
CT: With so much positive ease in the bust due to the dolman line, it’s difficult to determine sizing using that measurement. I would consider using the hip measurement as a point of reference for sizing. Length is also a factor, but that’s a little easier to modify.
H+W: Are there any modifications to Glenwood, depending on a person’s body shape, that you can recommend?
CT: The generous shape of Glenwood accommodates a range of bodies within each given size, so someone who wants a closer silhouette could consider knitting one or two sizes down. (Do consider the hip measurement when choosing this option, though). Body length can be modified after the dolman decreases which means a less oversized version can be worked in a longer length. Also, working fewer dolman increases would mean less ease in the bust area. Just plan on knitting the cuff a little longer to compensate.
H+W: How was working in Weld? The sweater is a light and airy cocoon, perfect for nearly every season!
CT: Weld is, in a word, divine. You’d think after knitting 1,800 plus yards I’d be ready to move on, but no! I’ve got a stack of proposals that would be fabulous in Weld. It’s rare to find a yarn that is silky and airy at the same time. I can’t get enough.
H+W: Being from the Deep South, how do you approach knitwear design in wool for warmer climates?
CT: As a Canadian, I can say that knitting is a very different sport here, but that’s mainly due to the shortness of the cold weather season. That’s not to say that wool is not a necessity...it definitely is! Here in New Orleans where it’s very damp in winter and most buildings are not heated or insulated wool is a must. When it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside too and 40 degrees with 90 percent humidity is cooooold! A sweater like Sloane’s “Lomond” would be perfect as outer wear that you probably wouldn’t remove indoors. Since we like to knit year round here, Southern knitters tend toward plant fibers and blends. Accessory knitting is very popular. Shawls are a necessity especially in summer when indoor areas tend to be way over air conditioned.
H+W: We all seem to have a bit more knitting time on our hands lately. If you could make anything in Forge or Weld, what would your next design or selfish knitting project be?
CT: Oooooh, I’ve got a beauty pinned to my idea board! It’s a shawl called Torrey (named for Southern California’s Torrey Pines, where I am frequently freezing!) It features a lacy cable pattern stitch that really shows off Weld’s stitch definition. It was the first stitch pattern I swatched with Weld. I’ve gone so far as to swatch with some very nice yarns from stash, but nothing else will do!
H+W: Where is the first place you’re going in Nor’Leans after this is over? (We all need insider recommendations!)
CT: Definitely lunch at Coop’s (I’ve been fantasizing about it for weeks!) It’s my favorite lower Decatur dive bar that serves THE best authentic New Orleans classics all made to order and from scratch. I love to sit at the bar and feast on marinated crab claws, gumbo and New Orleans style BBQ shrimp. Beyond that, I’m excited to be in my home bar, the Artisan Cafe, drinking icy Abita Amber with the Tipsy Knitters.
H+W: Anything else you want to talk about that we didn't ask?
CT: Sure! I’ve been steadily working away on a Southern Gothic collection in lightweight wool and wool/plant blends. I’m pretty excited about that!
Say tuned for Cheryl's Southern Gothic collection! We can't wait to see what she has in store, and "thank you, Cheryl!" for sharing a bit of yourself with our readers!
Until next time...