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A friend pointed me to Descendant, and I’m grateful that she did.

It’s amazing.

We weren’t supposed to know this story, which is why it’s crucial for us all to shine light on it.

Watch Descendant as a way to honor and preserve history that was supposed to have been erased.

Watch it to meet the residents of Africatown, Alabama. Some are descendants of the Africans who arrived in Mobile, Alabama, in 1860, on Clotilda, an illegal ship that covertly and very deliberately smuggled West Africans to the United States in order to enslave them—fifty years after the Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves was enacted.

There are layers to the story here, each one stunning. Where is the sunken Clotilda, the ship that was burned and sunk to hide the evidence of its existence? How did Africatown become a settlement for these people? How did they keep this history alive? Why, 150 years later, does Africatown experience an abnormally high rate of cancer? What about the descendants of Timothy Meaher and William Foster, the slave traders?

After watching this well-crafted documentary (including 1928 footage shot by Zora Neale Hurston, the writer and filmmaker), I want to share it with as many people as possible. I think you will, too.

The curator for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Slave Wrecks Project, Paul Gardullo, explains: “This was a search not only for a ship. This was a search to find our history and this was a search for identity, and this was a search for justice. This is a way of restoring truth to a story that is too often papered over. Africatown is a community that is economically blighted and there are reasons for that. Justice can involve recognition. Justice can involve things like hard, truthful talk about repair and reconciliation.”

Please take time to watch this astonishing story. Descendant is streaming on Netflix.

Weekly Giveaway Time

We’re celebrating BIPOC designers. Settle in with this extremely juicy list of designers and designs on Ravelry, so much to see. We’ll be sending five winners the pattern of their choice.

How to Enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.

Step 2: Leave a comment with your favorite BIPOC pattern and designer, and a link to the Ravelry page for that pattern, so we can all enjoy seeing and shopping the patterns.

Deadline for entries: Sunday, February 12, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw five random winners from the entries. Winners will be notified by email, and we’ll gift the winning patterns via Ravelry.


  • I love this sweater by Vanessa Smith:

    • I have long admired GG (Gaye Glasspie) and Dana Williams-Johnson. Thank you SO much for suggesting a Ravelry search for BIPOC designers!
      I dropped Netflix a few months ago and now I see I will be adding it back soon! I am working to fill in so many gaps in my public education.

      • I just watch Descendant. Thank you for this recommendation.

    • Ooo, I just bought this one, it’s beautiful! Thanks for the link.

      • Its socks with daisies!!!!

      • I enjoyed knitting the Levato Wrap by Noma Nedlovu @biggerthanlifeknits. And Safiyyah Talley has revolutionized my sock making!! ❤️

  • I’ve had my eye on these jackets by Denise Bayron for a while, and because of your post, I got the patterns. Her designs are crisp and and clean!

  • Irene Lin

    • Thank you for sharing this! Love some of these patterns!

  • Wow, so many beautiful designs. I didn’t even get all the way through them, but so far my favourite is the Julissa sweater by Vanessa Smith

  • I love Tif Neilan’s patterns… this one has been on my to do list

  • Jeanette Sloan has many lovely patterns. I’ve been meaning to make her Mood Cardigan!

    • Sloan’s terrific. I love all her creations.

      • I bought Gleem lace a couple years ago from MDK to knit the Mood cardigan. It’s a big leap for me, having never knit a garment. But it’s gorgeous, so I am feeling the pull. I got my lace tutorial from knitting Jeanette Sloan’s Rib Lace Scarf, which I now wear with pride! Mood Cardigan, I am coming your way soon!

  • Toni Lipsey was the designer who motivated me to do my temperature blanket last year. I used her crochet linen stitch square. I was incredibly grateful for her YouTube videos. As a sometimes crocheter I watched the video every month on how to start the square! And my blanket is beautiful!!!

    • Thank you for mentioning this! I recently finished a knitting project in linen stitch and, as a new crocheter, have been wondering whether there was an equivalent. I’ve never been motivated to make a temperature blanket before, but this one is lovely. If not a blanket, I may try for a smaller project in this stitch. I’ll also be checking out other designs from this designer!


  • Joji Locatelli is a brilliant designer and her Ranch Coat is a stunning design!

    • So many wonderful patterns by talented designers! But if I had to choose one pattern to make next, it would probably be the “Nightly” sweater by Natsuko Iida:

      • Thank you for sharing! This is a sweater that needs study! Such lovely details!

  • Flugeldar- I fell in love with this sweater at first sight.

  • My all time favorite, the Hitofude Cardigan but Hiromi Fukatsu:

    • It’s beautiful!

    • That should be Hiroko Fukatsu…not Hiromi…sorry!

  • Swatch Love
    Experiment in stitches

  • There are so many!! I am going to pick Junko Okomoto for today. I’ve wanted to make her Papa pullover for ages.

  • Timtim
    by Sandhya S.

  • I’m intrigued by so many of Safiyyah Talley’s designs, but I simply must try the two socks in one technique she shows in her book. Everyday sock is on my to do list!

  • Denise Bayron and all of her patterns!

    • Joji Locatelli and all of her designs

  • –Fatimah Hinds — Shawl for everyBODY

    –Safiyyah Talley — Jacob’s Pullover

    –Sylvia Watts-Cherry — Morowa Mitts

    Sorry that I don’t know how to link. These designers and their designs (including the ones mentioned) can all be found on Ravelry. Also, follow the designers on IG.

    • I already have the first 2 patterns that I listed.

  • I love Yumiko Alexander and have made a couple of her designs. The next one I want to make is Breezy V found here

    • Junko Okomoto twigs

    • Just saved that pattern! Thank you for the sharing!

  • Hiroko Fukatsu

  • Can’t wait to cast on…..

  • Tif Neilan Stratified

  • I love all of your Knit To This recommendations- I will definitely watch this!


    Burkhart by the wonderful Julie at Work.

  • I went to the pattern search option and there were so many beauties! But The Petite Knitter’s work kept catching my eye, and I fell hard for the Ovis sweater:

    • I love her designs, and her Instagram is great (her bunny is cute too!)

    • I love her designs! I love Arctic Spring especially. But really, I’m barely into the second page of the list, and I’ve saved so many patterns already. Is there a word for the list of patterns you want to make being beyond life expectancy, like SABLE for yarn stash?

  • I love this pattern, never made something like this:

  • The Indira Cowl by Vanessa Smith, although it’s impossible to choose just one designer or pattern!

  • Oops! Forgot to link. Indira Cowl by Vanessa Smith.

  • Denise Bayron. She is also one of the best pattern design writers.

  • Perla by Joji Locatelli

  • I was introduced to Tif Neilan with her Cloves Entwined Toque, and what I’d like knit is–up-tee.

  • Sylvia Watts-Cherry. Nubian Queen

    • While there are many patterns by BIPOC designers that I love, my current favorite is The Nubian Queen by Sylvia Watts-Cherry. It was fun to create and is a joy to wear.

  • Joking Locatelli’s 3 color cashmere cowl.

    So simple but probably my most worn accessory.

  • So many glorious designers and patterns but one that has been on my list to make for a long time is Bhakti by Nidhi Kansal

    • Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I have to make this one!

  • Denise Baron. The Wave of Change pattern family is amazing.–blanket

    • That should read Denise Bayron. &$@! autocorrect.

  • The Sheep Camp sweater by Jennifer Berg caught my eye:

    • A big YES for everything by Jennifer Berg.

  • The Petite Knitter. So many gorgeous patterns it was hard to choose just one.

  • I loved making this one by Jimenez Joseph. I made it with a Cormo yarn that I bought from MDK a few years ago, came out well.

  • Denise Bayron’s Wave of Change cardigan:

    There is also a sweater version. It looks so cozy!

  • Thank you for posting the trailer to Descendant. It is an important piece of our history.

  • Given that you use all capital letters, I assume BIPOC stands for something. Please don’t assume all knitters know what that means. May I have clarification please?

    • Hi Gillean! BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

      • There’s also Google.

        • Of course. But as a confirmed grammar geek, it is a question of clear writing, which I find declining everywhere.

    • I believe it’s Black, Indian, People Of Color

  • Mieka John designed this cool graphic cowl:

  • Jeanette Sloan has some beautiful designs! In particular is gorgeous. The embroidery really makes it something special!

  • Toni Lipsey and all her beautiful Tunisian Crochet. I must learn how!!

  • I am eager to see and learn more from Detroit Maker Toni Lipsey (TLYarnCrafts), who is flaming my interest in Tunisian Crochet! (I tried to get my daughter into a class she is teaching nearby, but it sold out in less than an hour of its opening.) Here’s just one of twenty patterns of hers that has me eager to learn this craft (and get my crochet-proficient teen daughter into it too; I am adept at knitting thus far):

  • I’ve long admired the designs of Weichien Chan. She lives on an island in Nunavut and creates gorgeous, Nordic-inspired stranded colour work knits. It’s beyond difficult to choose a favourite, but I’ve settled on “evergrey” which has 2-colour rib detailing at the neck and wrists.

  • My current favorite is East or West, by Joji Locatelli. Here’s the URL:

  • Tina Tse and her Floating Magnolias Tee.

  • I love this sweater by Jennifer Berg:

  • Autumn gold shawl by Jaya. I am a ginkgo fan!

  • So many, but I’ll list Denise Bayron.

  • Jeannette Sloan. Mood cardigan ❤️

  • Thank you for this important post. It’s so important to remember both our history and the storytellers who keep it alive. Looking forward to knitting to Descendant.

  • I love Rastus Hsu- Brette or Arrowverse or so many others.Can’t wait to see where he goes with his creativity. brette

  • Wow, an embarrassment of riches. I’m going to say Eye Dazzler by Jennifer Berg.

    • Wow! That sweater is gorgeous!

  • The Travel Sweater – Tif Neilan’s new pattern – easy to wear anywhere and everywhere.

  • Thank you. Also thanks for the Nicola Walker info on the podcast precursor to the Annika tv show, I’m a big fan of hers and love everything she does. (I’m late to the party on River, but Freeform on Amazon is slowing me to catch up. I hope the show holds up to the first episode, although I don’t know how reveal in the last scene can be matched.

  • I enjoyed discovering so many great designers! Sachiko Burgin of has designs that really resonate with me. I am now looking forward to knitting her pattern “Petaltail”. Thank you so much for pointing us towards all of these wonderful designers!

  • I love all of Fatimah Hinds hats. This one will be next on my needles.

  • This sweater by Denise Bayron–Grace (,. Or any of her patterns…..

    • That’s a lovely one!

  • Arne and Carlos are my i inspiration. If I start now maybe by Christmas I will Have my gifting done! Conversations
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  • Gaye Glasspie, ggmadeit, everything in orange!

  • The Last Cardigan by shinysuperhero.
    So many options to customize!

  • I couldn’t pick a favorite designer, I love the designs of all of them! And thank you for making me aware of Descendants – this is going to be my Sunday afternoon must-watch.

  • What a wonderful list – I’ll have to spend more time looking and learning!

    I love Jennifer Berg (Native Knitter)’s work. My favorite might be the last sweater I knit for myself, her Eye Dazzler –

  • This is getting cast on as soon as I finish my shawl test knit.

  • I really love Joji Locatelli’s Ranch Coat.

  • The Tundra Touque by The Petite Knitter is on my list!

  • Michelle Wang – Auster Pullover

  • Brandi Cheyenne Harper!

    • I’ve just found one of their patterns in a recent (to me) issue of an English craft magazine called Mollie Makes. Now I’d like to get their book and venture further into their lovely patterns.

  • Thank you for posting this and letting us know about this important film. It’s now at they top of my must watch queue. Tonight, I may just start yet another basic hat to keep my fingers busy while the story unfolds.

  • Drawn to the Nalu mitts Surprise! – they were already in my Favorites. Designer Leila Raven… and they’re a free Ravelry pattern!

  • I knit and crochet, but most like to crochet, and who can have too many tote bags to carry around all your projects? Ola Oganlolu’s “Celtic Weave Tote” is an innovative design that produces a uniquely textured tote bag that is not only lovely to look at, but also strong enough to withstand a lot of toting around! A perfect project for the advanced beginner that doesn’t want to worry about gauge.

  • Yumiko Alexander is my favorite.BIPOC designer. I like all her designs. they are very wearablle.


    Hatdana by Denise Bayron is simple, but oh, so functional! I love this pattern.

  • This cowl is fantastic!!!

    • I was loving this one too!!

  • Big Hair Much Care Hat by Fatimah Hinds is wonderfully practical and original. You knit it with two strands of fingering weight held together, so there is much scope for creative stash-busting.

    • Ha, at first I thought the hat had icord edges and then on closer inspection realized it was gorgeous blue dreads! I have a lot of curly hair and hate to have it flattened, so thanks for sharing.

  • So many good options! I have had Denise Bayron’s Waves of Change shawl in my library for a while now. I guess I just need to get on with it! Then I might need to try her Moving Forward wrap.

  • Earth tones Denise is a favorite for her calm & creative videos and patterns. She is my go-to for her shadow wrap heel.

  • What a great link! I am smitten with SS&A by Natsuko Iida. Going to check my stash right now!

  • I really like Tamy Gore’s Caladan pullover:

    I’m also really fond of Jasmin Carty, but that’s because I love the Knitmore Girls.

  • I love Jennifer Berg’s designs. This pattern is on my want to-do list:

    • Her Instagram is excellent too!

  • Kiyomi Bergan. So elegant. Plus Jeanette Sloan – I have Mood cardigan on the needles.

  • I love my Ieri by Mara Licole, but looking at her patterns I’m going to need to cast on for Solo Adventure Mitts soon!

    Solo Adventure Mitts (there’s a matching hat too!):

    Ieri (great use of some yummy A Verb for Keeping Warm yarn!):

  • My favorite would be Colors for a Cloudy Day by yellowcosmo. I saw it a long time ago and had forgotten it til now. I need to actually do this one, very wearable.

    So want to make this.

  • I don’t think she was included on the list because she is mainly a knitter and a writer but I love Dana Johnson Williams for adapting her sweaters to sweaters for her dogs.

  • Wow! Lots of knitting inspiration here. One of may favorites is Anjali and I have knitted the Punto Cowl and hat. She has many patterns including little girl dresses.

  • I’ve just added so many to my favourites list!! Hard to choose, but Wisp Raglan by Tif Neilan

  • There are so many knitting sisters of color that I’d want to highlight and honor! I’ll share two women who are so inspiring and talented! Melissa Georges and Aimee Sher!! I wish I could sit and knit with them!!

  • One more !! Aroha Knits!!

    • As a fellow Kiwi, I really love Francoises designs.

    • The serana shawl by Tamy Gore. I have knit it about three times!

    I’m a newbie to Tunisian Crochet and Toni Lipsey is my favorite! The simple Emperor Tea Towels are a great place to practice.

  • I have been meaning to make this ttps://

  • It’s hard to choose just one! I love this sweater by Tif Neilan: and this one by Denise Bayron:

  • Here is a current favorite-

    She has a few others I really want, too, butt this is my current favorite. Plus it’s nice to see the occasional free pattern

  • The Poetisa beret by Gavriella Treminio:

  • It’s a tie between the Sevrine cardigan by Vanessa Smith and the Hitofude Cardigan buy Hiromi Fukatsu

  • Delightful Dot Cowl by Tori Yu

  • is gorgeous!

  • Delightful Dot Cowl by Tori Yu

  • The comments are making my already-enormous queue even bigger!

  • Joji Locatelli has so many wonderful patterns, but this is a favorite:

  • Gavriella Treminio has lovely designs:

  • Noma Ndlouv

  • My favorite designer is Jessie Meade. I just love her Ripple crop top, worsted. I’ve made it 3 times as gifts. So beautiful.

  • Indira Cowl by Vanessa Smith

  • Oops I forgot the link. Indira Cowl by Vanessa Smith

  • The Penumbra shawl. I tried to find the name of the designer, but either Ravelry or the internet wasn’t cooperative.

  • I just saw the sweater by Vanessa Smith and like it even more.

  • by Vanessa Smith. She has terrific patterns. I bought this pattern a while ago and I think it’s going to be next on my list!

  • I rather like Joji Locatelli’s Imagine When. Imagine how surprised I was to see how comparatively few entries there have been. Says something, methinks.

  • Thank you for sharing Descendant. Fully agree with more people should know about Africatown and their story. Thank you

  • Jessie Mae is my fav. Love this one:

  • My favorite BIPOC designer is Ririko. Love her attention to detail and her well written patterns. I’ve made Iris
    And have the Kaga pullover
    And Menuet Cardigan in my queue
    You will not be disappointed!

  • I really like the simplicity of UraUe DK by Natsuko Iida. I’d leave the collar off though.

  • This top! So summer! So good! The best of actually wearable crochet.
    Designs by Key, Keysha Allen

  • Thank you.

  • Stephanie Lau has been one of my favorite designers for a long time. Her patterns are simple and elegant at the same time. I’m a huge fan of pastels and anything that looks like funfetti! I made her Cotton Candy cowl and beanie and I absolutely love them.

    The cowl is here:

    The beanie is here:

  • So many wonderful designers, I couldn’t pick just one! The Boatswain Sweater by Ola Ogunlolu. is up next on my list.

  • Having just finished reading- literally yesterday- The Tea Girl from Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, an eloquent story about finding one’s roots, I was particularly struck by this topic. I loved knitting Deschain by Leila Raven, want to have the skills for Sheep Camp Sweater by Jennifer Berg, tried to buy jewelry by the Burgin sisters (they had closed out that item) and was lucky enough to meet elegant, gracious Shirley Paden after one of her classes. Still looking at your list. So many both familiar and new names. My computer keeps defaulting to one designer’s long pattern list, so I can’t go past page 3. Great patterns but not what I was looking for. Maybe later…

  • Field of Wildflowers hat by Joji Locatelli

  • Looking forward to knitting this mini skein cowl by Dana Rae Makes. Dana lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

  • It’s so difficult to make a decision as there are so many wonderful patterns. I think I would go for Sachiko Burgin’s Mantary pattern.

  • This is like choosing a favorite book, impossible! There are so many talented BIPOC designers and so many amazing

    But perhaps because I am in a sock phase right now, I am going to go with Yucca, a Japanese designer who has so many beautiful sock patterns, many of which have really interesting construction. Issen is the one I’ve just cast on so it’s my favorite right now 😉

  • Brandi Cheyenne Harper. Her book, Knitting for Radical Self Care, is AMAZING. Check out this fabulous cowl/hood:

  • There are so many to choose from but I really love Jennifer Berg’s (Native Knitter) patterns and the Farmer’s Daughter Fibers yarn

  • I really love the Whakairo Top by Francoise Danoy:

  • Please check out KnitDraper. I first learned about her through a pattern published in Nomadic Knits, the Michigan book. This is the pattern I hope to knit soon. I was drawn to the interesting structure and colors. Her story drew me in deeper. She is an architectural architect and mother.

  • I can’t decide between Jeannette Sloan’s Mood cardigan, Francois Danoy’s Karekare jumper or that beautiful Rooibos shawl in this winter’s interweave knits by Lana Jois.

  • It’s an older pattern, but I adore O’Kelly’s Chapel Shawl by Shirley Paden.

  • I love everything about this swig summer Tby Irene Linn! The calm bands of color, the wash-and-wear fibers, the texture, the fluid design for steamy summer days….

  • I’ve added a bunch of patterns to my favorites in Ravelry, thanks to all the links. I’ve been interested in Tunisian crochet for a long time, but may finally make an attempt, thanks to Toni Lipsey.

  • lace knitting by Jeannette Sloan

  • Instead of picking a single pattern, I’m going to point folks to darcidoesit’s Instagram, She is featuring 28 days of black knitwear designers through February.

  • Wow so many great designers new to me. To pick one, Jacob’s pullover from Safiyyah Talley

  • This shawl someday may make it to my needles.

    Junko Okamoto!!

  • I love Jennifer Berg’s patterns, this hat is near the top of my to-do-list.

  • HARD TO PICK. KNIT SEVERAL FROM THESE DESIGNERS IN YOUR LIST. Knitting The Millicent pattern and am loving it. Very relaxing.

  • I love this and thank you for shining the light on these amazing designers! I Love Gaye Glasspie and Dana Williams-Johnson so much !

  • Kiskeya Tank from Elisabeth Desamour has me dreaming of summer!

  • I love the Orange Love Poncho by Gaye Gillespie. Orange is the natural color of my hair. As I am now 61 it’s been a lot less orange than it used to be. Now I am supplementing my orange to bring it up to its normal amount. I have orange curtains and an orange throw. I follow Gaye Gillespie on Instagram, where she is @ggmadeit.

  • I am enjoying Annie Baker’s “Millicent” pattern. I have also knit “Groovy” and “Meringue” twice. One of my faves!!

  • So many beautiful patterns!
    I like the faded coloring of Jodi by Joji Locatelli.

  • I originally found JimiKnits while looking for machine knitting patterns that went beyond basics, but discovered she has a collection of hand knits that are also gorgeous.
    This one Veza caught my eye recently as it is a lacy knit drive in bulky weight yarn. I love a good bully weight quick knit that doesn’t look heavy.

  • Read Baracoon by Zora Neale Hurston, based on her interviews in the 1930s with Cudjo Lewis, last survivor of the Clotilde.

  • I love the Yorkville sweater by Knitting Expat Designs

  • I love everything Tif Neilan does!

  • Ooooh! ATL-based Vincent Williams who is not just super talented but super fun to interact with (!

  • In my queue: Sheep Camp by Jennifer Berg.

  • Girly by Joji Locatelli looks like a great sweater for toddlers. I’d love to make this for my 15 month old and by the time I finish, she’ll be 2!!! Here’s the link:
    Thanks MDK for this giveaway.

  • my fav is Gr8 Gingham Raglan
    by Jessie Maed Designs

  • Thank you for recommending this film. It might be the impetus to sign up for Netflix. I’d make ANYTHING by Tif Nielan!

  • I’m finishing one of the brioche scarfs. Lovely!

  • To be honest there isn’t just one. I’ve wanted to knit Rowe for years, but I right now I’d like to wear Boho Style Mosaic Cardigan, so that’s the winner today.

  • Burkhart speaks to me. (I love flared sleeves)

  • Stratified by Tif Nielen. I love all of her designs, actually. I am also thoroughly enjoying browsing this list, but I am too tech challenged to add a link!

  • Tressa Weidenaar, Navajo/Dutch, deserves a nod. My favorites are her Trading Post and Tsebiniidoo Headbands!

  • Jacobs pullover is a favorite of mine.

  • Tower of Power skirt by JimiKnits, aka Jimenez Joseph! Fabulously graphic and perfect substantial fabric.

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