Friday, May 31, 2013

Stock(inette) Market: Quick Hiatus!

Hello all! I know there's supposed to be a scheduled Stock(inette) Market post this coming Monday, but there's a slight hitch: I'll be traveling in Iceland! I'll be back with a super-sized edition next time around.  In the meantime, have a wonderful couple weeks, and we'll get down to nerdy knitting talk when I get back!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Wake for a Creative Giant

I had hoped my first post with content other that the Stock(inette) Market would be a happy one, but, as you've probably heard, there was some tragic news in the creative community this past week.  Kathreen Ricketson, the incredible mind behind WhipUp, and her husband, Rob Shugg, died tragically in the midst of their once in a lifetime roadtrip around Australia.  They left behind their 10 and 13 year old children, Orlando and Otilija.  It's impossible to fathom the grief surrounding those kids, and I can't even begin to express my sadness at their loss and the loss felt by Kathreen and Rob's community at large.  I've been holding everyone I love tight this past week, and I hope you've been doing the same.

I came across Kathreen's blog relatively late in the game, when she ran a series of blog posts from knitting designers last year.  It was an unparalleled opportunity to peek in the minds of some of the best and most creative designers on the planet, and I gobbled it up.  Since then, I've continually been struck with how comprehensive and vital WhipUp has been to those working in creative industries; she not only approached her work and her art with joy and energy, but with an understanding of how to survive, build, and thrive in creative fields.  The recent guest series by Destri of Mother Huddle is a perfect example--a wealth of information, presented wonderfully and joyfully.  WhipUp has been a godsend for me as I work to make my way in the knitting industry, and I don't know what I'll do without Kathreen's invaluable words.

I'm babbling.  This is hard.  It's hard to explain to people that you're grieving for the loss of someone you've never spoken to.  But Kathreen's impact on the creative community was enormous, and I am privileged to have been able to follow her for at least a small part of her journey.  If you feel even a modicum of the same way, a fund has been set up for Orlando and Otilija's education costs; you can donate via PayPal to the address otilijaandorlando [at] gmail [dot] com.  And give everyone you love an extra big hug.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Stock(inette Market): May 6th-19th

Hello all! An interesting couple of weeks in the knitting world! We had some major industry publications: the continued presence of the Interweave Knits Summer 2013 preview I mentioned in the last edition; the 5th collection of Wool People, Brooklyn Tweed's guest designer series; Hannah Fettig and Quince & Co.'s collaboration on a Sparrow collection, Knitbot Linen; the debut of Melissa Wehrle's new book, Metropolitan Knits; and the preview for Knitscene's annual Accessories issue.  In addition, there were several notable trends caused by independent designers or searches.  Colorwork mittens had a continued presence through the first week due to Drunk Girl Design's subversive patterns (warning: strong language behind the link); Marisa Hernandez's shawls had a spike midway through the fortnight due to a Mother's Day promotion; and a variety of pineapple crochet patterns made an unexpected appearance on the morning of May 14th. Let's see what effect all of this activity had!

One clear trend from all of the above publications was the presence of many, many neck accessories.  Of the 16 items in Wool People 5, 9 were shawls or scarves, and Knitscene Accessories had 10 out of the 33 patterns in its pages.  Add to that a continued organic interest in them and the well-timed promotion from Marisa Hernandez, and neck accessories dominated with 55% of the market.  Cardigans also did well, as they were well represented in Interweave Knits and Knitbot Linen, and pullovers had a strong showing in Interweave.  Vests also made a comeback this fortnight, due to both organic presence and some popular examples from Interweave and Knitbot Linen.  Of note is the fact that hats, kids' garments, and toys fell off the list this week; the former was present in Knitbot Linen and Knitscene, but otherwise didn't make a huge impact, and the latter two were present in self-publications but not in great numbers.
Though neck accessories were present in large numbers, there wasn't a huge spike or uptick in their numbers over the weeks.  There was a small spike on May 7th when Wool People 5 debuted, then a larger one on May 9th that combined organic results and the continued presence of Wool People 5, and again another over Mother's Day weekend during Marisa Hernandez's promotion, but they remained otherwise fairly steady.  Pullovers started the session strong due to their heavy presence in Interweave, and cardigans rose in the end due to Knitbot Linen and Melissa Wehrle's Metropolitan Knits.  All others remained relatively steady, with a slight organic peak in cowls over the Mother's Day weekend and a combination organic and Interweave-based spike in vests around the 15th.

This is the first time we've seen a third figure really come into play on the yarn front to rival solids and semi-solids.  It's no surprise that tweed yarns would spike strongly with the release of Wool People 5, but what's also interesting is that other patterns featuring tweed or heathered yarns gained prominence around that same time as well, such as Jon, the Market Shawl, and the Salt and Pepper Cowl.  However, after about a week, things settled back down to normal, with solids and semi-solids again trading for prominence.  Both had strong presences in Interweave and Knitscene, with semi-solids leading slightly.  Solids rose a bit more in the first half of the second week due to Knitbot Linen, as well.  There were also some interesting spikes in 2-color projects throughout the weeks, both organically and due to industry publications.

Modeled garments started off the session strong, with the highest number on record (39/48) coming on May 9th, due to Wool People 5 and Interweave Knits.  However, this dropped off sharply as the period went on, with only a small spike for Knitbot Linen and Interweave.  Pictures with the item shown flat spiked organically over the 14th and 15th, and there was a small dressform spike on the 12th that matches Marisa Hernandez's promotion, as she shoots most of her shawls on a dressform.

Fabric type continues relatively steady, with almost no change in the continued dominance of lace.  There was an organic spike in stockinette on May 10th, and various small spikes of stockinette, texture, and colorwork throughout the remainder.  Cables started strong with a few garments in Wool People 5 utilizing them, but then dropped off throughout the rest of the weeks.  

 Color was again incredibly variable; blue started the weeks strong with a large presence in Interweave and a few popular garments in Wool People 5, and then spiked at the end of the session both organically and with Knitbot Linen.  Red climbed throughout, with a sharp organic spike between the 14th and 16th.  Grey spiked with Marisa Hernandez's promotion, as many of her shawls present were knit in that color, and green, orange, and white also climbed throughout the weeks.  Black, purple, yellow, and brown fell slightly. 

A very interesting couple of weeks, in all; industry publications brought many neck accessories and sweaters to the table, but these were also shored up by organic results.  We saw a continued dominance of lace, modeled garments, and blue and grey, with red rising again.  What do you think the next couple weeks will bring?

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Stock(inette) Market: April 22nd-May 5th

Hello all! The Stock(inette) Market is coming to you live from brand new headquarters--I signed on the dotted line and bought a condo at the end of April! I wanted to tell you this because a) it's super exciting and b) it explains why there are fewer data points than usual this time around.  Between packing, moving, and not having internet for the first couple days, there were a few missed data collection dates in there.  But! It was a very interesting two weeks regardless.  This has been the first time in a while when there weren't large numbers of publications coming out during the weeks; between April 22nd and 29th, no major multi-pattern publications made their way onto the front page.  Over the rest of the dates, there were a few notable groupings, but single publications didn't dominate as they have done in the past.  This gives an interesting and organic approach to the data; individual self-published patterns or small collections could come to the fore, or single patterns from industry publications could shine.  Of note this time was Kyoko Nakayoshi's Fresh Inspiration collection, Cookie A's Jazz Collection, the Quince & Co. Socks book one, and the start of the preview for Interweave Knit's Summer 2013 issue.  Let's take a look at how these and other patterns affected the data!

Neck accessories retained 46% of the market, the same percentage as last time.  Cardigans and pullovers dropped a small amount, but homegoods, cowls, and socks gained slightly.  This makes sense in terms of what we saw last time; the most recent issue of Twist Collective had many garments, and there were fewer of those represented this time around.  The patterns from the Interweave Knits Summer preview are slowly trickling onto the first page as we speak; from what I can gather so far, industry pubs tend to favor garments, so we'll see what the beginning of the next edition looks like for those.  Also of note is that vests dropped off the list of those pattern types averaging over 1 hit per data collection (averaging instead just .21); instead, toys took their place this time around with the continued presence of the Happypotamus.  I would have expected vests to do better as we transition into Northern Hemisphere summer, so it'll be something to keep an eye on.

 In garment type, all but neck accessories showed a steady inertia or slight decline; neck accessories continued to climb along the same rate as they followed last time.  This brings neck accessories back up to about where they stood at the end of March, before the major spike and decline following the Romi Hill Easter egg hunt.  It will be interesting to see if they continue to climb over the summer months or drop again soon.
Of note also is that the spikes present in this graph are not the result of single publications.  On April 27th, for example, publication dates for shawls ranged from brand-new Knitty Surprises from the Spring/Summer issue (Brenda Dayne's Now in a Minute) to back to Knitty Spring 2009 (Elizabeth Freeman's Aeolian).  Similarly, April 29th's spike in cardigans had examples with publication dates ranging from earlier that day to November 2012 (Serra by Laura Aylor), to September 2009 (Andrea Rangel's The Dude).  While I don't intend to compensate in my data for things such as the Harlot Effect (i.e. if a famous knitter such as the Yarn Harlot or SouleMama blogs about a pattern, it shoots to the top of the list) or magazine publicity, I do think completely organic results such as these can be  very interesting and telling about the underlying trends.

Yarn type remained relatively constant through the weeks, and the interplay between solids and semi-solids was the focus of the data.  It is interesting to note that while the other types do have an effect on the numbers, solids and semi-solids have been almost mirroring each other since I start collecting data.  When one rises, the other drops, and vice versa.  It seems clear from this that while the other types remain present, the use of solids and semi-solids unquestionable fights for the largest part of the market. 

Fabric type also followed the path we've seen previous, with lace continuing strong and gaining slightly over the weeks.  All others dropped a small amount, with a spike in stockinette projects occurring organically in the middle of the period.   Cables saw small a small spike corresponding with the release of Cookie A's Jazz Collection and the Quince & Co. Socks book one, as the popular patterns from each utilized cables in their construction.

 Modeled garments climbed over the two weeks, with rises at the latter end corresponding to the trickle of Interweave Knits patterns and the aforementioned sock collections.  True to previous discussions, modeled garments dropped slightly over the weekends, and there was a slight organic rise in dressforms in the middle of the period. 

Grey and blue were the dominant colors this time, with a few sharp spikes in blues mid-period.  Again, these spikes didn't seem to come as a result of pre-conceived color stories, but as organic results of popularity.  The spike in blue late in the period, however, can most likely be linked to Interweave Knits, which had quite a few blue pieces making the first page.  Also of note is the plateau of red at the beginning of the weeks, before sloping sharply downwards; red has been one of the most volatile colors over the last few months, so I look forward to studying it closer.  Also of interest are the climbs in black and white; these colors continue to be present in single-color garments as well as part of multi-color projects as well. 

All in all, an interesting couple of weeks for "pure" data; a continued interest in neck accessories, lace, and cool colors, with a general rise in other accessories over garments.  Is this a trend for the Northern Hemisphere summer, or something larger? What do you think?

I also wanted to note a couple things on what further I hope to work on over the coming months.  I've had many requests to track number of projects for patterns that have been on HRN, and after trying to formulate a way to do so, I regretfully have to say that it's just not possible.  When things are moving slowly, probably about fifteen patterns will change between 12 hour periods.  When things are volatile, around thirty can change.  That's between roughly fifty and eighty patterns a day to look at, which equates to probably about a thousand over the two week period, at a low estimate.  There's no way to easily glance over them for project data.  I'm working on learning the API key so that perhaps, in future, I can revisit this, but at present, it's just not feasible timewise. 
However, based on recent conversations I've had with a few friends and commenters, I would like to start thinking in broader terms.  When do we know a trend is on its way out or is completely done? What factors do I consistently see that create a presence on the first page? How do industry and self-publications play against each other? I'd like to explore these in further detail, and hope to bring those thoughts to you as their own posts, essays, or articles.  Stay tuned!