Monday, April 22, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: April 8th-21st

The past two weeks have been big ones for publications in the knitting world, both industry and indie: the beginning of the fortnight brought us Kate Jackson's Knotty Boys 2013 calendar, Hunter Hammersen's Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet, Volume 2, and Rachel Coopey's Coop Knits Socks.  The middle weekend brought us the Spring/Summer issue of Twist Collective, and Joji Locatelli's Hopeful Knits collection has been going strong since the 17th.  Let's see what effect these and others have had on trends over the last two weeks!

Garment type stayed on a relatively even keel throughout the weeks; there was a downturn in neck accessories and a corresponding upturn in cardigans due to Twist Collective; this issue was heavily garment based, with 12 cardigans alone out of the 28 patterns.  In general, however, neck accessories regained a little bit of the ground they lost in the last edition.  Though it just didn't make the graphing cut of averaging 1 per data collection time (averaging .9), men's garments were also strong this time around, due to the afore-mentioned calendar from Kate Jackson.  Several Stephen West projects have stayed on the front page over the last few days, adding to the men's average.  Though men's garments made this strong showing, the top nine garment categories remained the same as in previous editions.

Yarn type also remained relatively constant, with a slight downturn in solid yarns and a slight upturn in semi-solids.  Neither of these seem to be tied to specific publications; there seemed to be an even distribution of both in the publications listed above, so any changes could be completely organic.  There was a small spike in 2-color projects around April 18th; again, this seemed organic, with a lack of cohesion between the projects, indicating that they weren't present due to a blog or forum post on a specific topic.

In addition, fabric type remained relatively steady; there were very slight downturns in lace and stockinette, and slight gains in texture and colorwork, the latter in part due to the small spike in 2-color patterns discussed above.  Lace, texture, and stockinette were well represented in Twist Collective, Hopeful Knits, Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet, and Coop Knits Socks; the latter two also featured complex cables not present in the garment-heavy former two. 

Modeled garments spiked due to Twist Collective, with a corresponding drop in items modeled on dressforms.  Even with this change, the trends varied little over the two week period: there was only a slight climb in modeled garments overall.  This stasis continues to indicate a default preference for modeled garments, but I look forward to exploring it further throughout the year.

There were some interesting changes in the color statistics; blues remain strong but continue a downturn, while reds and greens have recovered from their drop last time and are climbing slowly.  Grey and white also rose.  This is an interesting combination of themes; we have the strong colors of on one hand and the neutrals on another.  I will be interested to see where both of these trends go once the weather finally makes up its mind here in the northern hemisphere.  There were also a few spikes in black throughout the weeks, both as part of two- or three-color garments and individually, and across fabric types.  Black is a tricky color to photograph and capture detail, so it takes a bold designer to work with it.

In conclusion, a calm couple weeks in Lake Woebegon the knitting industry; while there were several publications, both through the industry and independently, the general trends stayed relatively constant.  One thing I did want to share with you all: designer Jill Gutman Schoenfuss joined the Stock(inette) Market discussion on Ravelry with a note that she'd performed similar data collection almost three years ago.  I got her permission to share her average percentage with you, and I thought it would be interesting to compare it with the past two weeks.  One disclaimer--Jill's data is from a single collection point, and therefore the next day could have been wildly different.  But, even if we can't account for averages over a larger collection period, it's still great to see the long-term perspective!

An interesting thing to note is that neck accessories have remained strong for at least three years now, with a clear majority of the patterns on the page and a growth of almost 10%.  Cardigans and pullovers have also gained ground over time, going from a total of 24% to 34%.  Concurrent with what we all know of knitting trends, socks have dropped drastically, from 19% to just 3%.  Interestingly, it seems that fewer pattern categories were represented then, but the minorities (mitts, kid's, and vests then; cowls, socks, kid's, homegoods, hats, and vests now) hold almost the same percentage of the page: 19% then and 20% now.  This indicates that, while the broad focus is on a specific few garment types, the variety in the less prominent types has increased.  Whether this is change in popularity or in production is something I'm hoping to explore further later on.

That's it for this time--what trends have you been watching over the last couple weeks?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: March 25th-April 7th

An interesting couple weeks in the knitting world this time around--we had promotions, magazine previews, pattern copyright controversy, and a chicken in a dress.  Let's jump right in:

The pattern categories that averaged more than one appearance per collection point did not change from the previous time, indicating that these 9 categories (plus Other) are the core categories for this time of year.  It will be interesting to contrast this to mid-winter, for example, or late summer, to see what changes might occur.  Most garments remained relatively steady during the fortnight, with a slight rise in cardigans and vests due to some strong showings from the Knitscene Summer 2013 preview, which went live at the beginning of the time period, and a few free-for-a-limited-time vest patterns from Elegant Economy Designs at the end.  The most notable shift, however, was right after Easter, when Romi Hill launched her very clever Easter Egg Hunt promotion.  She had hidden 16 pictures of Easter eggs throughout her patterns, and those who found them and reported their location were entered into a drawing.  The upshot of this is that her independent pattern views and clicks skyrocketed, sending her patterns to the front page.  At the peak of this promotion on the evening of March 31st, Romi held 29 of the 48 spots on the first page.  As she is predominantly a lace shawl designer, this greatly affected the make up of the data for this edition.  Shawls did drop once the promotion was over, down past their normal average location, and so I look forward to seeing where they go in the next few weeks.

As you can see from the above percentages, neck accessories continue to dominate on average, with the normal crop of patterns present in addition to Romi's spike.  It's interesting to note that cowls and socks made less of an impact this time around than last, denoting that it's not a general accessory upward shift, but one specific to shawls, scarves, and wraps.

Yarn type remained incredibly steady over the two weeks, with spikes in semi-solids concurrent with Romi's promotion.  This correlation rings true, as many of her patterns are knit in yarn from independent dyers.  There was also a slight rise in two-color projects over the two weeks, but not with any specific impetus, nor outside the realm of the normal fluctuation over a longer period of time; 3+-color projects also dropped slightly.

The spike in lace reflects Romi's promotion midway through the fortnight, but fabrics were mostly constant through the weeks.  There was a slight uptick in cables, but it still averaged lower than in the last edition.  This is concurrent with what I'm seeing in data collection for the upcoming edition--cables seem to be taking a backseat for the spring and summer.

Despite a large downtick in modeled shots during Romi's promotion (many of her patterns are pictured flat or on a dressform), there was a slight rise in modeled patterns over the two weeks, and a slight downturn in those pictured flat. 

Color remains incredibly variable; the strong reds we were seeing previously have gone way down. Orange continues a slow climb, but the other strong colors that rose last time--blues, greens, and yellows--fell.  Purple, white, and grey rose slightly, and other neutrals continued to fall.  I would be curious to tie this to weather conditions in the northern hemisphere; after a somewhat promising week of nice weather, there has been snow and cold in a lot of places, perhaps bringing back some of the more wintery tones. 

That's it for this time--relatively steady numbers all around, with some spikes due to shrewd marketing and industry publications.  In the wings for the next edition--get ready for a spike in men's garments!