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  • Beautiful Top 8!

    May I express my immense frustration about the selection progress? As far as I can tell diversity in many dimensions has disappeared step by step. What could we do to promote designers representing more than the anglophone white western world?

    • Diversity pretty much disappeared after round 1. I don’t think it helps having so many well known names in the mix. Do Caitlin Hunter, Thea Colman, Joji et al really need the exposure? My sense is that the choice was better last year.

    • I thought we were voting on kitting patterns. It isn’t a commentary on race.

      • Right, it’s not about race. It’s about how racism has created a world where the playing field is not level. Time to focus on leveling up so we can enjoy the contributions of more diverse talent.

        • Expanding/correcting myself: the real point is to intentionally expand the field so more BIPOC designers enjoy the benefits of broader exposure and support. That’s the really important point.

        • This is an excellent and succinct way of putting this!

      • I too believe this is about knitting patterns. I believe the criteria was that the pattern had to be created and marketed in 2018. There was nothing about leveling the playing field with respect to gender, race, sexual preference, etc. Although I am disappointed by the focus on boxy patterns among the voters. Would love a little length to cover the bum.

        • I thought that it was also supposed to be new designers, or new–ish anyway. I thought that was one of the criteria last year. (I’m notparticipating so I’ve got no skin in the game).

        • Here’s the post that set the criteria: https://www.masondixonknitting.com/march-mayhem-is-coming-nominations-please/. It’s a wonderful idea to support knitting designers. I feel like my Dad when I say now “let’s have fun [darn it]. He used different words at the end there. And it is fun. Thanks Ann and Kay.

      • While I agree that the criteria for MDK March Ms didn’t specify anything about diversity and inclusion, it was still heartening to see a wider variety of designer backgrounds among the full nominees.

        A lot of us who aren’t the typical knitter background, and I am sure many who are, have appreciated the recent conversations about inclusion in the knitting world and want to be hopeful of change. So it’s a bit disappointing when we seem to revert to the status quo.

        Personally, I’d love if 2020 event *did* have a criteria to nominate only designers who’ve never been part of MM before, or maybe never made it past round 1.

        And I hope future field guides will involve a more diverse slate of designers, too! How cool would it be to have Cetus Knits do a mosaic field guide, or all-bulky coziness from Nathan Bryant?

  • I’m still in! My faves are moving along. I didn’t vote for the designers. My votes are based on designs that I would actually consider knitting and wearing.

    • me I vote for the pattern that I want.
      I love everyone designer because they are a person who love to create the them and I’m happy to buy their patterns.

  • Why is there a final round to pick one best pattern? Why not one best in each category? We all have our favorites in each type of garment. This seems arbitrarily limited.

  • I love the knitting that’s made it to this round! They are things I’d actually knit and WEAR.

    For those who are upset that the bracket seems less diverse at this point, why not go buy some patterns from the original pool? Voting with your money is a great way to support designers you want to encourage.

    • Thank for your pointing out the broader variety of the original pool. That’s true.

      And I appreciate Geralyn’s idea to focus on levelling up the field. We can contribute and support designers of all kinds by buying there patterns, knitting their designs and showing then off.

  • Such hard choices!! I already owned a number of the patterns but I bought a bunch more and, after looking at their other designs, I bought a bunch more. I will need to live to an ancient age to knit all.the.things. Thank you for so much fun

  • My favorite from day one is still in!

  • I agree, re trying to increase diversity. No idea if the following is teue, but may be something to look at for diversity: Perhaps some of the less well known often offer patterns for free, whcih knocked them out?

    Also I’m an arden’t diversity advocate, but do the numbers exist in the cohort we’re looking at? I’ve always been surprised by how white Ravelry seems to be. Or maybe it’s just the groups I’m in? Or do those with time to create knitting patterns for a few dollars & post them on Ravelry tend to be a certain kind of person? As opposed to those who create things to sell at the local bazaar? I don’t know the answer… I’m better at questions.

    • Unfortunately, the internet is full of algorithms which show you the people who look like the people you already follow. This buries many people, making it look like they don’t exist.

      If you have Instagram, @booksandcables has three fantastic story highlights called “POCFibreFolx”, with links to loads of people. She had to make three because there are so many people, but I couldn’t see them before either, because algorithms.

      • Yup. I watched maybe one or two films on Netflix with black people in a prominent role and suddenly it switched to showing me all the promo images with black people in for a while. Then it forgot about it again. Randomness is way better than personalisation. I turn it off when I can.

  • Alas, Ephemeris has not made it through. I really encourage you all to buy this pattern! I ended up getting the book, and the way these stitch patterns are formed is so cool.

  • It was difficult initially to figure out what standards to use in judging the patterns. I decided to pick what I myself would want to knit and to wear. One of the things that’s important to me in picking out a pattern is seeing that others have tested the piece, so I know how it looks on different body types. In the later brackets I did not vote for one of my favorite pieces because I knew I would be unlikely to buy the pattern without seeing more versions of it. Maybe I’ll be more confident when I develop more skill at knitting sweaters.

    I can see that it could be difficult for a new designer to attract test knitters and maybe solving that problem would be a good step for more diversity in the design community.

  • Five of my original choices were in this round. Only had to make one hard choice.

  • Thank you Kay and Ann for all your hard work choosing such a great bracket this year. It’s always a little disappointing when your favorites don’t make it to the end, but of course we can always knit them!

  • Hi everyone,

    I’ve been reading the comments and wanted to share some thoughts. I work in the field or removing barriers to employment for people who have been systemically excluded from the workforce so I spend a lot of time learning, talking, and thinking about these topics.

    I went into this the way I encourage people to look at hiring–redact the names and addresses on the resumes. This eliminates the opportunity to apply unacknowledged bias to the resumes. There have been many studies done that show when Jamal Jones and Paul R. Worthington III, submit the exact same resume for the exact same job in the exact same formate, more often than not Mr. Worthington will get an interview and Mr. Jones will not.

    So I didn’t look at any of the designers backgrounds to determine race/gender/anything that might make me somehow judge it. I just looked at the pictures of the items and picked the ones that I wanted to make.

    However, when it came time to make a decision between two patterns that I already liked a lot, that’s when I went and took a look at the designers and made my decision based on whether I could create more inclusion by my choice.

    This process worked for me because I could make decisions on merit first and inclusion second. I think this will ring true to anyone who has ever been told that they only got into a certain college because they were black or a certain job because they were a women (etc. etc.). Tokenism is just as bad as exclusion.

    Which leads to my next point. The real problem is exclusion–which is a whole different kettle of fish from inclusion. Someone in the comments spoke to the algorithms that point us to certain things online be it instagram, facebook, or any other platform. I’m a white woman. Pictures of me are of a white woman. By making sure that I am aware of the things that are directing the algorithms to exclude people from my feed, I can change that. On a normal day, I could either click like on everything I see on instagram or click like on none of it. It wouldn’t really change anything for me. But I want to be sure that I am not excluding people from my feed, so I click like happily and often on the people who are most likely to be excluded by the algorithm sending people my way. In a small way, I am hijacking the system.

    Last but certainly not least, none of this will be solved or sustainably changed until we address the systems themselves. I think we all are pretty clear on the fact that most of our systems (at least in the U.S.) are skewed toward serving educated white men with money. As an educated white woman who can at least support herself, I am still on the winning team. We have to a: be willing to give some of that up and b: be willing to intentionally skew the balance of opportunity toward those who have been excluded. It is hard work, often emotionally charged, and likely to be an endless struggle because we are humans and we are flawed. Solving one problem often exposes another. But I believe that with open hearts and minds paired with a willingness to be vulnerable and honest, this community can go down in history as being thoughtful, nimble, and solution driven when it comes to addresses these types of issues.

    Love,

    Karen

    P.S. Each week I’ve been purchasing a pattern from one of my previous rounds votes who got eliminated. So far, two of the three have been BIPOC which happened organically–they simply happened to be my favorites. On the third one, I couldn’t decide so I went with the one that was more inclusive.

    • Thank you for this. It’s what I wanted to say, expressed much more clearly.

  • This has been an interesting discussion. Like others, I’ve picked designs I would like to wear. But I thoroughly enjoy other designs to look at or see on someone else. Maybe another time we could vote like we would vote for art, ie “best use of color”, “ most artistic”, etc. A different set of parameters.