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?


  1. As someone who works in the industry, this is going to be extremely helpful. I found it through craft gossip.

    1. My apologies for the super late reply, but that doesn't make my thanks less sincere! I really appreciate those who are willing to treat our industry AS an industry, rather than just a hobby. I think it's the only way to garner both respect from others and respect for ourselves.

  2. Very interesting -- but not all of us know about these knitting trends! Socks have become less popular? I ask this as a knitter who spent a bunch of time in the mid-90s knitting socks and then basically abandoned the practice (in favor of sweaters, gloves, hats shawls -- anything but socks) till two years ago, when I started making socks again. So I guess I'm going against the flow?

    1. Apologies for the late reply, but thank you for your comment! The general trend on sock knitting has dipped a bit in the last few years, which can be seen by the diminishing numbers of published patterns in magazines or collections. That's definitely not to say that they aren't still popular or knitworthy for sure, but that the sock craze of about four or five years ago has waned a bit.

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