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Inclusivity & Accessibility

There are currently several important topics being discussed by knitters and fibre industry participants all over the world, both in person and over social media. While I have been active in those discussions which take place in person, my access to social media is currently extremely limited due to a combination of health/personal reasons, and internet availability. For that reason, I would like to briefly outline my thoughts on these topics here.

On Human Rights and Safe Space Expectations

On a personal and professional level, I welcome and respect persons of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, of all sexual orientations, of all gender identities, of all bodily shapes and sizes, of all ages, of all socio-economic backgrounds, and of all degrees of physical and mental (dis)ability.

To address where I stand on some specific issues being currently discussed among knitters:

. I support ravelry’s policy regarding disallowing support of the Trump administration within their space. I would, further, be in favour of ravelry extending this policy to include regimes outside the USA that espouse similar sentiments toward segments of their populations.

. It is my view that we have long been building up to a crisis of lack of racial inclusivity in the knitting community, and that a major and authentic attitude change is needed to resolve this. Such attitude change cannot be accomplished with sound bites and generic statements. It requires digging deeply, communicating honestly, and being in a state of genuine openness. It requires a lack of defensiveness on the part of white persons. Authentic attitude change will take time and the path to it will be difficult, messy. With respect and empathy, I believe that we can - and must - persevere.

Inasmuch as I have control over my virtual spaces - including the website and blog, the @lbhandknits instagram account, and the LB Handknits ravelry group, I embrace my responsibility to make these safe spaces for all, by which I mean: ensure that these spaces are free of hate speech, bullying, intimidation, and disrespectful, derogatory, or undermining sentiments of any kind toward other human beings.

It has always been, and remains, my wish to keep my virtual spaces apolitical. However, I do not see the issues outlined above as political matters. Rather, these are matters of basic human rights and human decency, and as such I wish to make my views on them clear.

On Size Inclusivity

While I have been fortunate enough to gain a small following over the past year, I am still a fairly new and inexperienced designer with much to learn and to correct. When I first began designing patterns (2017), the industry advice I received was that the standard size range for handknit garment designs was 32”-42” and I initially followed this advice without questioning it. However, based on my own observations and feedback from knitters, I soon came to realise that this range was entirely inadequate. I have since done my best to make my patterns increasingly size-inclusive. Due to financial constraints, this is not something I have been able to do all at once. But over time, my range of sizes has been steadily expanding. My newest patterns accommodate a size range of 34”-54”. And my ultimate goal is to offer a size range of 34”-60” in 10 size increments. At the moment, it looks like I will be able to reach that goal by 2020. And once that is accomplished, my plan is to go back and re-release all previously published garment patterns so that they too accommodate this size range.

In the meantime, I am happy to offer bespoke pattern support to anyone who wishes to knit one of my patterns which is not currently offered in their size. If you find yourself in this situation, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I will provide you with information enabling you to knit the pattern in your size.

On Financial Barriers to Accessibility

As an independent handknits designer, I earn my living from pattern sales. And while my patterns are not ‘expensive’ insofar that the prices are set to enable me to earn a minimum living wage, I am keenly aware there are knitters who find them unaffordable and therefore inaccessible. I attempt to mitigate this inasmuch as possible, by offering substantial sales (40-50% off) on each pattern I release, either at the time of its release or at least once per year. If you wish to be kept informed of these sales, the best way is to either subscribe to my mailing list (below) or follow my instagram account.

If you wish to knit one of my patterns but simply cannot afford it, even at the sale price, please contact me and I will send you the pattern free of charge. You do not need to explain your situation or justify your request; simply message me and I will send the pattern no questions asked.

Thank you for reading. Over time, I hope to delve deeper into each topic in a dedicated series of blog posts - to which I will then provide links.