As with the beginning of the school year, this month marks the the kickoff of the knitting calendar for the Northern Hemisphere. The second the first frost occurs, or the first whiff of woodsmoke is in the air, it's like someone hits the "on" switch for knitters and publishers alike. Casey stated in a forum post (warning: that's an argumentative thread) that "more individual designers made a sale in September 2013 than any other month ever (5,443 different designers had at least one customer last month). The average # of sales per designer was the 2nd highest", beaten only by December 2012. It's big. And, as we can see from the data below, it's created a big shake-up in the HRN stats.
For the first time we've seen, neck accessories has lost a lot of its dominance (dropping from a typical 45-50% of the first page). Cardigans and pullovers have remained at about the same percentage, but other garment types have gained some major play. On this month's list that we haven't seen in previous months are hats, mitts, and men's garments; the first gained a place due to being featured in the Ravelry front page spotlight at the beginning of October and also, along with mitts, perhaps due to the need for accessories as the weather gets colder, and the latter due to a consistent presence from Stephen West due to his Dear Amsterdam collection and his 2013 Mystery Shawl. Cowls have also gained prominence, which tallies with the general uptick in other accessories over the month.
Another notable spike came with the news that Sue Pendleton, a noted crochet toy designer, was retiring and thus offering a large number of her patterns for free. Cowls and hats saw a gain at the end of the time period, due to the Ravelry spotlight, Lee Meredith's giveaway (she specializes in accessory designs, and her hats, shawls, and cowls took precedence in the promotion), and Michelle Krause's promo (which featured a number of cowls). All other garment types remained relatively steady.
Modeled garments remained strong over the month, gaining steadily after some sharp drops in the early part of the month. These drops corresponded to a spike in flat items (due to Sue Pendleton's toys) and an organic spike in dressforms mid-month. Flat items then fell steadily throughout the month, with some small organic spikes late in the time period.
Along with garment type, fabric type was the other factor that showed a large amount of variation over the time period. For the first time, lace has lost its dominance over the other types, gaining only slightly over the time period with only few small spikes corresponding to knit.wear, Lee Meredith's giveaway and Michelle Krause's promo. Colorwork and stockinette fell after seeing a lot of use in Sue Pendleton's toys and in Little Cotton Rabbit's toys slightly earlier in the month, though colorwork saw a spike with Lee Meredith's giveaway later on. Texture rose over the month, with spikes due to the crochet toys, Shibui's Pebble collection, Lee Meredith's giveaway, and organically at the end. Other fabric types remained steady, with a high spike in cables corresponding to the cable-rich Brooklyn Tweed Fall13.
In sum, we're seeing a lot of changes in fabric and garment type, with more emphasis being placed on accessories, texture, and cables. Garments remain steady, but neck accessories and lace have dropped. Semi-solids and solids are still strong, but variegated and self-striping yarns have gained. I look forward to seeing where it goes next month!