Monday, December 30, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: December 2nd-December 29th

Welcome to the second-to-last day of 2013! It's been a great year for knitting, with an incredible number of publications, both industry and self-published.  In fact, since I know you love stats as much as I do, take a look at this data that Casey from Ravelry put together about this year's publications in relation to others.  That's some pretty interesting stuff right there--I'll be very curious to see how 2014 stacks up!

Looking a bit more micro, let's take a look at December's numbers. 

It was pretty clear, in looking at the numbers this month, that quick, giftable knits were dominating over garments.  Pullovers and cardigans, usually accounting for around 25% of the data, averaged just 14%.  In contrast, neck accessories, cowls, and hats took 59% of the average, up from 56% last month.  For as much as garments had dominated in the fall (second to neck accessories, of course), this is a pretty big shift.  I do think this has a lot to do with the Christmas season--a lot of knitters were looking for gifts for others, and garments are a lot more of a commitment/crapshoot on sizing than accessories.  One interesting thing to note, as we'll see in the graph below, however: in the last few days, garments dropped over the month, but have started spiking in the last few days, indicating that January may well be as much of a month of selfish knitting as it's touted to be.

After a few big spikes mid-month due to promotions from Kourtney Robinson and Kristi Holaas, both of whom had predominantly shawl designs hitting the front page, neck accessories continued to climb with several organic spikes later in the month.  There were also two organic cowl spikes in the first half of the month, as well as several organic hat spikes throughout.   The aforementioned neck accessories climbed, as did hats, cardigans (partly due to the release of the Knitscene Spring preview, and also due to an organic or forum-driven collection of striped cardigans late in the month), and kid's garments.  After a very strong start, cowls fell, along with almost all other categories, indicating that after an abnormal couple of months, we might see a return to the pattern we've experienced throughout most of the rest of the year where neck accessories and garments reign.

Semi-solid yarn continues to dominate, with spikes concurrent to Kourtney Robinson's promo and Tin Can Knit's The Simple Collection, both of which featured it heavily.  Solids did overtake it around the 8th-11th, but without a corresponding publication.  There was another organic solid spike around the 22nd.  Multiple-color projects had a peak correspondent with the release of the Winter issue of Knitty, nine of whose projects were multiple colors, but both fell over the month.  Tweeds had several smaller organic spikes, but also fell overall.  Variegated and self-striping climbed over the month, after very little play in November.

Model type remained relatively steady over the month, with a small dressform spike organically around the 10th and a corresponding dip in modeled garments.  All categories saw little to no change.

As with last month, fabric type traded many times for the top spot, but texture came out ahead overall.  This was due to major spikes around the 8th and from the 25th to the 28th, both with some minor influences (Tin Can Knits' Simple Collection, present at the second spike, features a lot of garter stitch, for example) but also organically.  There was a lace spike correspondent with Kourtney Robinson's promo, and colorwork spikes related to the release of Knitty as well as organically through the month.  Stockinette also made its presence known multiple times throughout the month, gaining prominence at the very end in the striped sweaters mentioned above.  Cables remained low, but were featured heavily in Knitty.  Overall, lace rose, colorwork dropped, and all others remained relatively steady.

There were several different colors playing for dominance in December, but green and grey took the lead for the most part, with large organic spikes across the board.  While there were many different spikes for the others as well, the trendlines for colors in December almost look like the staff on a sheet of music--very little movement up or down across the month.  Of note is a spike in red around the 19th and a few spikes in white throughout the month--the first time we've seen it taking precedence over the rest of the colors. 

In conclusion, we saw a lot of accessories riding high over the month, with several promos bringing shawls and neck accessories to the fore as well as a predisposition due to gift knitting.  Texture, semi-solids, and cooler neutrals (greys and white) also came to the fore.  For next month, we have the potential for garments to continue their rise back to prominence, with more and more of the spring publications starting to crop up on Ravelry.  I can't wait to see what the first month of 2014 brings!

With that, I've wrapped up my final stats post for 2013.  I wanted to thank you all for reading, for your encouragement, and for the discussion this has produced.  As the year draws to a close, I am continuing to turn over in my mind where I'd like to take this next.  Though I try not to talk about personal stuff in the stats posts, it's hopefully clear that a lot of time and effort goes into these, and I am still trying to figure out how to juggle this and the rest of my life, work, and designing while retaining sanity and a decent sleep schedule.  As such, I'd like to open a discussion with you about what The Stock(inette) Market would look like if it was monetized in some way, thus helping to keep it sustainable and important as part of my daily life.  What would you think if I added a donate button? Made this subscription only? Pursued a magazine column? Affiliated with a sponsor? Would you like to help me make any of those things happen? Please let me know what you think would be a good or realistic idea.  I've defended this blog multiple times as a necessity, a way of treating our industry as an industry, as a way of respecting what we do in terms of hard data and not just as a hobby.  But I also need to be realistic and respect my own work here, too.  I tell enough people to charge for their patterns--it's about time I listened to my own advice, right? :)

In any case, regardless of the big, deep topics above, I send you all my best wishes for a wonderful 2014.  I can't wait to see where it takes us!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: November 4th to December 1st

Welcome to December--there's been snow on the ground (though it hasn't stuck here in Maine yet), there are Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge, and gift knitting season is well underway. Let's take a look at the last month in the knitting world!
Accessories continue to dominate this month, with neck accessories and cowls retaining the top percentages.  However, those percentages have dropped from last month, with the former going from 31% to 23%, and the latter from 18% to 14%.  Cardigans and hats gained more ground, the former perhaps due to the three garment-heavy major publications of the month, Interweave Knits Winter 2013, Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 6, and Twist Collective Winter 2013. Mitts, toys, kid's, and homegoods also gained ground, while men's and socks lost ground, with only a few showings in either the major publications or organically.

While neck accessories stayed dominant over the month, rising slightly in popularity at the end, there were many times over the month when other garment types spiked over them, which is unusual in comparison to what we've seen previously.  There was a major neck accessories spike mid-month correspondent with Lee Meredith's Coloring Book/Color by Number collection and smaller organic spikes throughout the rest of the month.  There were also high organic spikes in cowls all through the second half of the month, a similar spike in hats late in the month, and spikes in cardigans correspondent with the release of the three major publications listed above.  Despite these spikes in garments, however, they dropped steadily over the month. Cowls, homegoods, and mitts climbed, and all others remained relatively steady. 

Solids and semi-solids continued dominant over the month; semi-solids had multiple organic spikes and a slight rise, and it and solids were both used relatively evenly in the major publications.  There was also a tweed spike concurrent with the release of Wool People 6, and small tweed and 2-color knitting spikes concurrent with both organic results and the release of Twist Collective, which featured many examples of colorwork sweaters and accessories.

Modeled garments remained dominant, but fell slightly during the time period after strong presences in Interweave Knits and Wool People, with a deep dip in the middle of the month matching small organic spikes in each of the other categories. Modeled garments did spike back up organically and at the release of Twist Collective, but did not regain its beginning prominence.  Flat garments also had several organic spikes throughout the month, and all three minorities rose for the end of the month.

Fabric type was more variable and competitive in November than we've ever seen before, with texture taking a clear lead for the first time with heavy presences in industry publications and organically.  Stockinette started strong but fell over the month, and lace and cables both rose slightly.  Colorwork spiked with Lee Meredith's collection and Twist Collective, but remained otherwise steady.

Color was also wildly variable, with colors trading for dominance each day.  Grey had a clear and strong presence early in the month concurrent with Wool People 6, and despite several smaller spikes throughout the month, fell slightly.  White also had a major spike at the end of the month and several lesser spikes at the beginning, each time organically.  Red, purple, and white rose through the time period, while the aforementioned grey, orange, brown, and black fell.  Yellow, green, and blue remained relatively steady.

So this month brought us consistent stories in terms of garment, yarn, and model type, but some big changes in fabric type and an ever-changing line-up in color.  I look forward to seeing what next month brings!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: October 7th-November 3rd

We are well and truly into the knitter's favorite time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere (I write this currently swathed in cardigan and scarf, and am seriously contemplating fingerless mitts), with tons of activity in the pattern world over the last few weeks.  Let's take a look!
There was a good bit of a reshuffling in the average percentages this month, with neck accessories gaining back two percentage points, sweaters dropping a few points, and cowls and hats gaining a larger share of the market, up six and four percentage points from last month respectively.  Toys have dropped off the list entirely for the month, but other categories remain relatively steady.  I would have suspected from previous analysis that we'd be seeing more garments at this time of year, but the popularity of accessories is continuing strong.

In addition, while many patterns were published in October, there were few spikes due to major publications, instead coming organically or as the result of promotions or sales.  After starting strong at the beginning of the month, the major spike in neck accessories on October 22nd came from a promo by Rose Beck, whose work is predominantly accessories.   However, despite this and a few further organic spikes later on, neck accessories fell over the month, with all other categories remaining relatively steady.  Other spikes include organic ones in cowls throughout the month, and a spike in sweaters due to a Ravelry spotlight on yoked colorwork sweaters

Rose Beck's influence is also felt in yarn type, as most of her samples were produced in hand-dyed semi-solids.  These yarns rose slightly over the month, with organic spikes throughout the second half of the month.  There were also organic spikes in solids at the beginning of the month and the very end, and spikes in 2 and 3-color projects near the end due both to the Ravelry spotlight and the release of Hannah Fettig and Quince & Co.'s KnitBot Yoked, which featured several colorwork projects.  All other categories remained steady.

Modeled garments remained the clear winner this month, with an organic spike on the 17th and one corresponding to the release of KnitBot Yoked, the tail end of the Ravelry spotlight on colorwork yoked sweaters, and the start of a Ravelry spotlight on mittens, gloves, and mitts. There was a small spike in flat garments correspondent with Rose Beck's promo and an organic spike at the end of the month. Dressforms fell slightly, and mystery knits remained steady. 

Colorwork and stockinette both rose over the month, with strong presences in KnitBot Yoked, the Ravelry spotlights, and organically.  Texture also had multiple organic spikes throughout the month, and lace saw a major spike with Rose Beck's promo, though it fell throughout the month.  Cables remained steady.

The major spikes in color this month were blues, greys, greens, and whites, all relatively organically and not tied to any promos or publications. Despite these, both blue and grey fell, along with orange (which had a strong showing at the beginning of the month) and purple.  Green, yellow, white, and black all rose, the latter two due to their frequent use in the colorwork projects on showcase.  Red and brown also rose slightly and organically.

So while September was a month jam-packed full of major publications, October was just as full of ups and downs organically.  Semi-solids and colorwork were highlighted, as were neck accessories, cowls, and sweaters.  Modeled garments remained prominent, and cool tones predominated.  Can't wait to see what next month brings!

(Also, hello 100th blog post!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: September 2nd-October 6th

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.

Despite a lower percentage over the month, neck accessories were still dominant, with a slight gain at the end.  Most spikes during this time were organic, with a few spikes related to promotions (Lee Meredith's giveaway at the tail end of the month, a promotion by Michelle Krause a week later).  Garments also had some major spikes related to collections, with cardigans having a major spike mid-September due to the confluence of Brooklyn Tweed's Fall13, Knitty's Deep Fall, and Knitpick's City Tweed and homegoods collection with Kerin Dimeler-Lawrence.  Pullovers spiked a few days later with the release of knit.wear Fall 2013, and then later on in the month with the release of Emmitouflage(s)

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.

 Semi-solids stayed relatively high during the month, with its highest spike coming organically mid-September.  There were major spikes in solids with the Sue Pendleton giveaway (which is also responsible for the spike in 3+-color items) and organically at the beginning of October.  There was a spike in tweeds associated with the Brooklyn Tweed Design Team's Fall 13, and smaller spikes in 2 and 3 color knits associated with Lee Meredith's giveaway.  Despite all of these spikes, most yarn types fell over the month, with only variegated, self-striping, and 2-color items gaining organically.

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.

 Colors remained a complete gamble, with lots of changes over the month.  Blues, yellows, whites, browns, greys, and blacks fell over the month, while greens rose sharply.  Purples, reds, and oranges also rose, perhaps to tie in with the autumnal colors so prevalent at this time period.  Notable spikes include an organic blue early in the month, white and red with Sue Pendleton's toys, grey with Brooklyn Tweed Fall13, and brown with Shibui Pebble.

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!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


My pile of woolens for KnitEast is bigger than any other pile. Do you think I can manage some midday costume changes?

(Pssst--that orange one on the left? Meet Windrow, a brioche cowl in Sunshine Yarns gorgeous Ultraluxe Worsted. $2 of every sale will go to the United Way's Foothills Flood Relief Fund.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Summer's End

My hands and wrists have been giving me some trouble recently (nothing major, promise!), so I took the weekend off of knitting, typing, and playing on my phone. Since those are the things that occupy most of my time, I suddenly had a whole weekend on my hands! (No pun intended.) So I took a day trip up the coast to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a place I've been meaning to visit for years. Well worth the trip, especially on such a lovely, late summer, hint of fall weekend we had here in Maine.  I'm not hugely into plants and gardening in general, but the color play and textures are always so inspiring.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: A Six Month Retrospective

Six months.  Approximately 360 data collections.  Approximately 9.5 million individual data points (seriously).  Scores of shawls, fountains of Fair Isle, legions of lace, and three chickens in sweaters.  I wrote down my first data collection on February 25th, and it's been a fascinating ride ever since.  Do you want to see what the past six months has looked like in knitting?

Because of the extended timeline of data, there was a good chance all changes would cancel each other out.  So it was very exciting, once the trendlines went up, that there were marked differences over the course of the six months!

It should come as no surprise that neck accessories dominated throughout the entire time, with multiple organic spikes as well as promotion and collection/magazine release spikes.  The highest spike in early April was a direct result of Romi Hill's Easter Egg Hunt contest, with other over-30 spikes due to the release of the shawl-centric Wool People 5, and two organic spikes in May and June.  Even without those major spikes, neck accessories continually held the largest part of the market throughout the entire six months, and grew slightly over that time.

Cardigans and cowls dropped slightly over the six months, despite strong, consistently placed spikes in the former that tied to the release of Knit.Wear, Knit to Flatter, Twist Collective, Ashore, with Friends, and Rowan's multiple summer releases.  An interesting thing to note is that while high spikes occurred organically in neck accessories, most high spikes in garments occurred as the result of a collection launch or promotion.  All other categories remained relatively consistent over the time.  Not represented on the graph due to low representation but also present over the six months: mitts, mittens/gloves, dresses, jewelry, vests (which almost made the graph, with .94 appearances per day on average), ponchos, unmentionables, skirts, pet coats, shrugs, and men's garments.

Remarkably, most yarn types gained prominence, with only two dropping.  Solid yarns dropped consistently over the six months, due to a solid (forgive the pun) presence in the first three months and fewer appearances in the latter.  They had a big presence in Quince & Co.'s Scarves, Etc. and Knit.Wear in late spring, and stayed consistently second place throughout the rest of the time period.  Variegated yarns also dropped over the time period, with no major spikes or collections highlighting the yarn.

Semi-solids, tweeds, self-striping, and multiple color projects rose over the time period, with a major spike in the first corresponding to Romi Hill's giveaway, and others corresponding to the Plucky Knitter anniversary, Amy Miller's kid's collection with the Plucky Knitter, and an organic spike in late July.  There were major spikes in tweed correspondent with the release of Brooklyn Tweed collections Wool People 5 and BT Men, as well as one correspondent with Rowan's summer releases.  There were small organic spikes in multi-color projects and self-striping yarns, but no major releases or promotions during that time.

Model type remained relatively consistent, with a slight drop in modeled garments and a slight rise in flat garments.  This is one that I'll continue watching, but I am under the assumption that this will remain relatively steady.

In fabric type, lace remained consistent both as the most prominent type and across the time period, with very high showings that are too numerous to count.  Notable spikes include Romi Hill's giveaway and an organic spike in mid August.  Cables were the only fabric type that dropped; stockinette, texture, and colorwork all rose consistently, with few major spikes other than an organic spike in texture in late August. 

Finally, color was wildly variable throughout the six months, but most colors trended upward.  Blue was consistently the strongest color, with major spikes corresponding to organic spikes, Interweave Knits, and Knitty First Fall.  Grey also climbed, with a major spike corresponding to the release of BT Men and the Rowan summer releases, and green had a few major organic spikes in the latter three months.  Despite some major spikes in red, including an organic one in early July, the color fell consistently over the time period.  We are currently also seeing a large uptick in cool tones and neutrals, perhaps in preparation for the winter garments to come.

So that, in a nutshell, is the last six months of knitting! Lace, neck accessories, modeled garments, and semi-solids reign, and there are some interesting developments with the drop in cables, solids, garments, and reds.  Spikes have occurred both as the result of major publications and of organic self-publications and searches, with neither taking a substantial causal lead.  Things should be interesting in the new few months, as well--there's been a new develop recently with the addition of the weekly "Community Eye Candy" feature on the front page of Ravelry.  As with the "Harlot effect", when an item is blogged about by a famous knitter and causes a spike in traffic to that pattern, the highlighting of specific garment or project types on the front page of Ravelry skews results soon thereafter.  It will be interesting to see how this comes into play in the next little bit! In addition, we've reached the beginning of the biggest time in the knitting world, with multitudes of collection launches, magazines, and books coming out soon.  It's been an exciting journey over the past half year, and I can't wait to see where it goes next!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Postcards from the Pacific Northwest

(From top to bottom: yarn at Twisted in Portland; the line at Voodoo Doughnut; the view on the train from Portland to Seattle; dahlias at a Seattle farmer's market; a picnic on the dock at Seward Park; the view from the path at Seward Park; blown glass at the Chihuly Museum.)

A whirlwind three days on the other coast with some of my favorite people in the world. Rejuvenating, inspiring, reaffirming--the best birthday present I could have given myself. Here's to a wonderful year!