I've finished knitting Brooklyn Tweed's shawl pattern, Terra, using the Shelter yarn for which it was designed.
I'm very happy with this shawl. Because it's knitted with quite thick yarn - worsted gauge - it seems quite casual. It's the kind of shawl you could use when watching television on cool evenings, or to drape over your shoulders when you go for a coffee. I have a tendency to buy the same clothes, with slight variations, over and over again, and I'm now finding I knit the same kinds of things, with slight variations, over and over again. The Shelter yarn has the slight catchiness I love in yarns and that I've used before for shawls. It's quite a simple pattern, very well-written as all Brooklyn Tweed patterns are. It combines a triangular base of garter stitch broken up with regularly spaced rows of stocking stitch with a simple lace edging.
Over the last year or so I seem to have had a number of conversations with knitting friends about the amount of attention male knitters and knitting designers attract, and whether the same designs would have the same success if designed by women. I don't think there is a simple answer to this question. It's certainly easier for male knitters to be initially noticed in the mainly feminine world of knitting. But I don't think that this attention would translate into the kind of success Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed) has achieved without a significant injection of talent. I happen to like Brooklyn Tweed's aesthetic sensibility. It has an elegant plainness - a kind of Shaker design quality - that appeals to me. I also admire the professionalism with which he's imbued all his activities, whether it's yarn production, knitting patterns, photography, garment blocking, or the design of his blog, with this sensibility.
I think this is the third Brooklyn Tweed pattern I've knitted. I may have initially noticed his designs because he stood out from the crowd as a male knitter, but I keep coming back to them because his knitting aesthetic appeals to me and because his patterns work.
I'll be glad when the weather cools down sufficiently to use this shawl.