Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stockinette Market: November 2014

Hello, knitters! It's that time of year--I can feel the heat rising off everyone's furiously clacking needles as C-Day draws closer.  For a little bit of a break, let's take a look back at what November had to offer by way of numbers!

 There was only one change in the content of the average percentage this month, with toys taking the place of ponchos.  Other than that, the categories remained the same, as did their rankings for the most part.  There were some percentage shifts from October: neck accessories dropped from 24% to 22%, cowls rose from 13% to 19%, hats rose from 12% to 16%, and cardigans and pullovers dropped from 12% each to 9% and 7%, respectively.  This ties in to the trends we've been seeing previously, as well as with the general shift in the winter months towards cozy and necessary accessories.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens in the spring--whether cowls are here to stay, or whether they are indeed seasonal and will dip down again during the warmer months.

 There were very few publications in November that made an impact on the HRN standings; most trends were organically based or through the efforts of individual designers.  We did see the publication of three different collections: Kate Davies' Yokes at the beginning of the month, whose one-pattern-a-day release schedule caused a continual buzz in cardigans and pullovers for about a week in a row at the beginning of the month.  The 20th saw the release of Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 8, which caused similar attention in garments, but showed as a spike rather than a continual line.  Finally, Twist Collective's latest issue debuted on the list on the 25th.  Each of these publications was garment heavy, and padded pullovers' and cardigans' stats up for the month.  However, despite these, both categories fell over the month, as did neck accessories after a promising start.  Cowls and hats both rose organically, with a promo from crochet cowl designer Deborah Currier-Hornyak boosting figures for that item near the end of the month.  All other garment types remained relatively steady, with little to no movement at the bottom of the spectrum.

Though solid and semi-solid yarns usually trade for dominance over the month, in November they saw nearly identical drops in prominence as the month went on.  Though each saw several spikes throughout the month, in the end the organic rise of variegated and self-striping yarns and the boost of tweeds with Wool People 8 brought their average down.  Projects with two colors rose in November as well, following a general trend towards stripes and colorwork this winter.  However, 3+ colors fell, suggesting people are going for the simpler, perhaps quicker versions of these trends.

 Modeled garments are still maintaining the majority, with a plateau corresponding to the daily release of the Yokes collection (as the previous days' patterns often remained on the first page as new ones were released) and a spike corresponding to Wool People 8.  We did see some organic spikes in both flat items and mystery knits throughout the month, and one spike in dressforms correspondent with Deborah Currier-Hornyak's promo.

 Fabric type kept texture as a clear winner this month, with occasional dips to accommodate the spikes in stockinette that came with Yokes and Wool People 8.  Colorwork also saw a spike in the second half of the month, as did lace almost immediately after Wool People.  Despite these spikes, texture was the only fabric type that rose over the month; the rest dropped or remained steady.

 Grey, white, and blue continued to hold the top spots in the month, with the former climbing the most as the month went on.  Blue had a very sharp organic spike around the 19th which caused it to trend upward as the month went on, but was otherwise relatively mellow in comparison to its usual volatile showing.  White fell over the month after several strong spikes in the first two weeks.  Red also saw a spike along with blue on the 19th, but fell overall.  There were slight gains in orange and brown, typically pretty underrepresented colors, and losses in purple, green, and black.  Yellow remained a minimal, but steady presence.

That's it for November--not a whole lot of violent action, but some interesting things to watch on trendlines as the winter progresses.  Hope everyone is staying warm and having a wonderful holiday season!

p.s. if you're interested in actually *listening* to me talk about stats, I had the pleasure of being a guest on Hannah Fettig's Knit.Fm podcast a few weeks ago to talk about overall trends in knitting.  Have a listen and please do weigh in in the Knit.Fm Ravelry forums!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stockinette Market: October 2014

Hello, knitters! As I write this, the sun is beginning to disappear at the ripe old time of 3:30 in the afternoon, I have the space heater trained on my feet, and there's a lot of what sounds suspiciously like holiday music playing in the stores.  October saw the end of the fall knitting season, and we are well and truly into gift-giving land for the knitters of the world.  Before I get started on stats, I wanted to give a shout out to an awesome event starting tomorrow(!!!), November 13th, over on Ravelry: the Gift-a-Long 2014! With a whopping 293 participating designers (including myself) offering discounts on over 3,800 patterns, you can't help but find something you love.  After the sale is complete, we'll all join in on the KAL, working furiously on those presents for the holiday season.  More details are up in the Gift-a-Long 2014 group on Ravelry--including the massive list of all participating designers and their patterns--but in the meantime, check out the sweet stats one of the organizers put together!

All right, let's look back at October, when leaves were orange on the trees, "Rhinebeck sweater" were the words on everyone's lips, and on October 9th, Casey at Ravelry made some serious changes to the way Hot Right Now is structured.  Starting with this thread and this poll, you can see some very interesting discussions about how different people utilize, understand, and appreciate Hot Right Now.  After long discussion, Casey made these changes to the Hot Right Now algorithms (detailed in post #266), which should significantly cut down on patterns whose place on Hot Right Now is gained by clicking through from a blind link and then leaving soon thereafter.   How is this important to us? Often times, those blind links are in the Ravelry forums, announcing that X pattern is free for a limited time, or on discount for a limited time. 

In addition, on the 29th, this change was announced for all patterns going forward: patterns will no longer be able to have promotional text on the photo or additional keywords besides the title in the pattern name.  You all know from reading the Stockinette Market that free patterns, especially those that are free for a limited time, have held a significant place in the rankings, and in recent months more and more people have begun using text in the main photo to indicate a discount or promo.  Though I didn't see a huge difference in any of our major categories once these shifts occurred (garment, yarn, model, fabric, and color), the composition of Hot Right Now itself looks very different as a page. Definitely check it out if you haven't been looking in a while!

With those details in mind, let's take a look at the numbers! (Also known as, Bristol's been talking for a while; bring on the pretty graphs.)

Neck accessories continued to decline over the month, going from 30% in September to 24% in October.  Cowls and hats took the second and third spot, with cowls up 4% and hats remaining steady.  Garments also remained steady at 12% each.  We kept the same number of categories as we had last month, but swapped out toys for ponchos as that accessory begins to make its presence known again in the knitting world.  Overall, I definitely want to continue to watch how cowls and neck accessories interact in the future. At this time last year, neck accessories held 31% of the average and cowls held 14%; while there are certain ebbs and flows of popularity (for example, cowls are at around 4% through much of the summer), that falling number for neck accessories is definitely an important one.

We saw a few major spikes in garment type in October, but the interesting thing is that, despite several publications and promos, only one was really associated with these; this was with children's garments at the beginning of the month, concurrent with a "free for a limited time" promo by Mon Petit Violon.  There were two large organic spikes in neck accessories a week later, and two smaller organic ones throughout the month.  Pullovers had an organic spike mid month, and there were several further spikes throughout the month.  Indeed, many different garment types traded for dominance in October.  The one clear winner in terms of trajectory was cardigans; this saw strong play (but no real spikes) at the end of the month with the publication of Pom Pom Quarterly Winter 14, Vogue Holiday 2014, and Interweave Winter 2015.  Pullovers, hats, cowls, kids, and socks all fell over the month. 

Solid and semi-solid yarns traded for dominance throughout October, with solids spiking concurrent with the Mon Petit Violon promo (along with 2-color projects, typical of Mon Petit Violon's work).  They then fell as the month continued, with semi-solids climbing slightly.  There were slight climbs in tweeds and multi-color knits through the month, and a notable spike in self-striping yarns near the end of the month both organically and in association with a Ravelry spotlight on gradients.

Model type remained steady through the month, with modeled garments retaining a clear dominance.  It's interested to note that there was a clear spike in mystery knits towards the end of the month, something we haven't really seen before, perhaps associated with the Halloween holiday.  Items shown flat also had several spikes, the first associated with Mon Petit Violon and the rest organic.  Dressforms also saw a small spike on the 12th.
Texture remained the dominant fabric type almost entirely through October, with two small trades for stockinette at the beginning and at the end of the month.  Stockinette saw several further spikes, along with colorwork and one spike in lace.  Cables were still low, but maintained a decent chunk of the market.  Each category remained steady across the month.

Colors were as wildly variable as we've come to expect, but grey and blue continued to dominate (though the former climbed and the latter dropped).  Again, as we saw above, the only color spike associated with a promo or publication came with Mon Petit Violon at the beginning of the month with a spike in white; all other spikes appear to be organic.  Interesting to note is that several colors spikes that don't typically see the spotlight: purple (falling throughout the month) and brown (climbing).  Yellow and green had slight rises as well, but all others maintained or fell slightly.

This has been an interesting month for data; despite several publications and promos, the data was truly in the hands of the knitters.  This seems to be the case both pre- and post-Hot Right Now changes, so it will be interesting to see what will happen moving forward.  Stay tuned, and I'll see you in December!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Stockinette Market: September 2014

Hello everyone! I've just returned from that landmark weekend of the knitter's season, Rhinebeck (aka New York Sheep and Wool).  Though the weather was forecast to be high 60s on Saturday, both days ended up being perfect, crisp fall weather for showing off your Rhinebeck sweater.  There were some amazing sweaters out there, and it was fun to see which ones kept cropping up.  I saw quite a few Hitofudes and Grandpas, and also several Pumpkin Ales, Hiros, and Beekman Taverns.  Once you got past the garments, I didn't see a lot of consistency in accessories--I'd be hard-pressed to tell you the shawl of the show, or the hat of the show.  Did anyone else get a good perspective on that? Please let me know!

Though I didn't spend much time in the vendor barns (I need more yarn like I need a hole in my favorite pair of handknit socks), it seemed like it was a pretty even balance between yarn hand-dyers and more rustic, farm-style yarns.  Miss Babs was always mobbed when I tried to take a peek, and Into the Whirled had to get creative and put up a sign showcasing their "invisible yarn" when their booth was nearly sold out on Sunday. I also saw a lot of Foxhill Farms cormo yarn getting the Charmin treatment, and of course, Jennie the Potter and Jill Draper were mobbed for much of the weekend.  Though I know Rhinebeck isn't necessarily a true representation of the knitting world at large, getting to be "in the field" for the weekend was a lot of fun!

Jumping back a bit in time, let's take a look at what was going on on Ravelry in September.

While neck accessories are continuing to hold the lead, they dropped a further 4% from the previous month's average.  Hats took up all this slack and more, jumping from 5% of the average to 12%.  This is due both to a general uptick in presence due to the imminent northern hemisphere winter (I'm not ready to talk about that yet!) and two promos during the month, one by BabyCocktails and one by Crochet by Jennifer.  Cardigans and pullovers took the next two spots due to a strong showing with some garment-heavy collections such as Brooklyn Tweed Fall 14, Quince & Co.'s Wool 5, Knitscene Winter 14, and Justyna Lorkowska's What the Heart Wants.  However, despite these, cardigans dropped 5% from last month and pullovers dropped another 1%.  There were a higher number of categories represented this month as well, with men's garments and toys joining the list.  Cowls also gained a few points, as we're starting to see some of the stalwart winter accessories come to the fore, like the Gap-tastic Cowl and the Honey Cowl.   

As we saw with the average percentage above, neck accessories continued to hold dominance, but you can see the sharp decline over the month above.  They did have organic spikes at the beginning and twice in the middle of the month, but fell in the last third.  Hats rose over the month, with a spike in the beginning tied to the BabyCocktails promo, and both organic spikes at the end and one tied to the Crochet by Jennifer promo.  It's interesting to note that September seems to be the month when crochet designers discovered the "entire catalog free for a limited time" model, as knitwear designers have been doing for a couple years, and several of them over September and October have utilized this model. 

Also moving steadily this month were cardigans and pullovers, which seemed to meet each other in the middle of the month and go their separate ways--cardigans climbing and pullovers falling.  The former saw a rising wave in the second half of the month both organically and along with Justyna's collection, and the latter fell sharply after a large presence in Brooklyn Tweed's Fall 14 and Knitscene.  Cowls and men's garments also climbed organically over the month.

Though there were many spikes in yarn usage in September, the trendlines themselves remained relatively steady.  We saw a sharp spike in tweeds concurrent with the Brooklyn Tweed collection, and though there was a slight drop over the month, it was otherwise represented very well organically.  The same is true of solids and semi-solids; while there were several spikes, the general organic overview was very steady.  We did see several spikes in 2-color items, which are tied to many of the crochet promo throughout the month, as those were often multi-colored in various capacities.  Also notable is a slight rise in the use of variegated yarns, after a long period of steadiness at the lower end of the spectrum.  That's one I'll be keeping my eye on in the future!

Interestingly, though the majority of the industry publications--where we typically see utilizing the most modeled garments--occurred at the beginning of the month, these climbed organically to the end of the month.  All other categories remained steady. 

Texture took over as the clear winner of fabric type this month, decidedly besting lace for the first time since March.  This was caused both organically and due to a large presence in both the Brooklyn Tweed collection--based on traditional fisherman's sweaters--and the crochet work we saw in the latter half of the month.  Lace did continue steady, tying with colorwork for second place across the month, the latter of which saw a heightened presence thanks as well to the crochet promos.  Cables and stockinette also remained steady, with a spike in the former corresponding with the Brooklyn Tweed collection.

The cool tones and neutrals are continuing to dominate this month, with grey and blue trading for dominance most of the month.  White saw a large spike near the end of the month with a promo by Paloma Perez, who featured crochet newborn photo props.  Despite these colors keeping dominance through the month, we saw rises in red and yellow as well, culminating in an organic spike in the former around the 24th.  Green, orange, and black dropped slightly, and brown remained steady.

So all in all, a bit of an odd month; despite the beginning being loaded with industry publications, trends associated with these collections maintained throughout the rest of the month, indicating that they were on target with the organic interests of the rest of the population.  I will be continuing to watch the dramatic drop in shawls over the next few months to see if it levels out, as well as the rise in smaller accessories like hats and cowls.  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stockinette Market: Summer 2014

Well hello there! It seems like it was just yesterday that I had the space heater trained on my feet at my desk, a hot mug of tea at my elbow as I wrote the previous Stockinette Market post (it was not a warm start to the summer here in Maine).  And suddenly here we are in the third week of September, a glorious, balmy fall day, poised and ready for prime knitting season! Though--as you'll see from the data below--summer is a slower, mellower time for knitting consumers, that's definitely not the case when you work in the industry.  Despite my best intentions to keep up with stats posts throughout the summer, the amount of traveling, teaching, day-to-day work, and deadlines on my plate made it very tricky.  So, my apologies for the unintended hiatus! But hopefully I can make it up to you with a super-sized edition this time around.
Though the organic trends we saw in May slowed down and there were only a few publications throughout most of the summer, there were no radical changes in percentages.  The big three--neck accessories, cardigans, and pullovers--maintained their lead, but lost a few points to each of a few other categories: homegoods, kid's, and hats.  Kid's patterns benefited greatly from a few separate incidences: Brooklyn Tweed's BT Kids launch in mid-June, new children's patterns from Melissa LaBarre and Ysolda, and the "going out of business" freebie release of Boomer Beanies at the end of June.  But, as you can see from the individual months' breakdowns below, kid's items dropped 5% from June to July, back closer to their previous percentage; garments also saw a good amount of play in June due to the release of Knitty First Fall, Norah Gaughan vol. 15, and Knitscene Fall 14.  July saw neck accessories gaining back a few points, almost to their May numbers, while garments dropped.  This slack was taken up by homegoods, thanks to a Ravelry spotlight on bags.  August saw cardigans taking a further percentage, due to the release of several garment-heavy collections: Twist Collective Fall 14, Interweave Knits Fall 14, Pom Pom Quarterly Autumn 14, Kelbourne Woolens' Knightsbridge Collection, Kirsten Johnstone's Monochrome collection for Shibui, Shibui's own Fall 14 collection, and Kim Hargreaves' North--most of which were published within a few days of each other.  Whew! We're also starting to see the creeping return of cold-weather necessities: for the first time since March, mitts are making an appearance.

Overall, though, in comparison to this time last year, one trend to watch is the overall drop in neck accessory percentages.  Last year in June they held an average of 46%, and continued strong throughout the summer.  They dropped for the winter slightly, and while they've climbed from their lowest point (22% in December), they haven't yet made up the ground lost.  It will be interesting to see where they go over the coming northern hemisphere winter.
Though most garment trends remained relatively steady over the summer, there was a slight decrease in neck accessories, and an even more marked decline in pullovers, despite the garment-heavy collections mentioned above (themselves responsible for the spike in pullovers at the beginning of August).  It remains unclear whether this trend is a result of a bias within the collections themselves, or whether it's an all-over trend towards cardigans after a pullover-heavy year.  It's one to watch, for sure!

There was one massive spike in kid's garments late in June as a result of the Boomer Beanies promo, and a smaller spike in kid's garments concurrent with BT Kids. There were also several neck accessory spikes arising organically throughout.  There was also a slight rise in homegoods, tied to the Ravelry spotlight on bags mentioned above.  All other categories remained relatively steady.

Though yarn type remained pretty much steady across the summer, dominance traded several times between solid and semi-solid yarn during that time.  The former had a huge spike in relation to the Boomer Beanies promo and also in association with the Ravelry spotlight on bags.  Also prominent with the Boomer Beanies promo was a spike in 3+ -color projects, as many of the items featured were in multiple colors.  Semi-solids saw play organically throughout the summer, and tweed got a boost during BT Kids and during the Shibui collections in August.  2-color projects also saw a lot of organic action across the summer.

Modeled garments saw a very slight decline over the summer, with a spikes corresponding to the Boomer Beanies promo, the early August release of the model-heavy magazines and collections.  Items modeled flat also fell slightly, and there was a small organic rise in dressforms over the summer as well.  Mystery knits remained steady; though several prominent designers held summer MKALs, there were not enough at one time to make a dent.

Though there were many variations in fabric type over the summer, the only clear spikes were in texture and colorwork, corresponding with the Boomer Beanies promo.  Lace continued its decline from May, and texture, colorwork, and stockinette all rose.  Cables continued steadily as the smallest portion of the group, but they may shift higher in September's report due to some heavy use in collections and individual pieces.
The steady, clear trendlines of the other categories were also reflected in color throughout the summer.  Though there were several large spikes in white, blue, and grey, non of them especially swayed the course of their respective trends over the months.  Grey, red, and orange all rose very slightly and mostly organically.  All others remained relatively steady.  It's interesting to note that even with the shift of seasons and with the rise in those trendlines, we didn't see much by way of brighter, warmer colors this summer; the most prevalent colors (cool tones and neutrals) were the same as have been popular throughout the year.  We'll see what those look like as autumnal colors start to make their presence known!

So all in all, a calm summer in terms of trends.  I've heard it said multiple times that a knitter's interest shifts outside in the summertime, away from yarn, and back inside once the first cold snap hits in the fall.  Though my own attention never leaves the needles, it's true that once fall hits, it turns up to 11.  So it will be interesting to see what September's numbers bring!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A couple tutorials in brioche and fisherman's rib

So it's no secret that I'm a huge, huge fan of brioche and fisherman's rib.  I've been working pretty obsessively with them over the last year or so, and the obsession doesn't show any real signs of stopping.  I've had a couple questions recently on troubleshooting with these stitches (and one question relating to my Linum tee design with Knitscene in particular), so I thought I'd do a couple quick video tutorials on getting more comfortable with them.  The first is one laddering down and rebuilding stitch columns in these stitches:

And the second is on how to perform a knit-1-below into a stitch that was decreased on the previous row:

Now, YouTube star I am not, but I hope these will help explain the process and help people get more comfortable with some of my favorite stitches!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Stockinette Market: May 1st-May 31st

Alert: as I type this, the window is open next to me.  I repeat, THE WINDOW IS OPEN.  The last few days here in Maine have been one constant internal monologue of "summersummersummersummersummer", and while I'm still knitting constantly, I'm thinking wistfully of how I'll manage it outside for the next couple months.  (Two words: cupholder chair.) The knitting world seems to be having a similar shift in focus right now, with most activity the result of organic spikes rather than publications or promos.  Let's take a look at what went down in May!

After a few months of upward climbs in percentage points, neck accessories remained at a steady 39% this month.  Cardigans saw a small gain, taking the upper hand over pullovers with a gain of two percentage points.  All other categories fell, with kid's garments dropping off the list from last month and men's garments and vests joining.  The strong showing in garments is due to a few garment-heavy publications or promos at the beginning of the month, with Amy Christoffers' New American Knits' preview going live, and Amy Miller and the ladies of Plum Dandi (Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary) doing promos.  Neck accessories' continued dominance was almost entirely organic, with only a small percentage of promos or publications featuring them; the most prominent of these was Knitscene Accessories mid-month.

The trends over the month reflect the garment-heavy nature of the first few weeks of the month, with especial spikes for New American Knits and Amy Miller.  There were also a few spikes later in the month correspondent with Ravelry front page spotlights on bonnets, which skewed towards kid's patterns, and blankets.  Most other spikes throughout the month were organic, with neck accessories taking the clear and dominant lead mid-month forward with a boost from Knitscene Accessories.

Yarn type was an interesting one this month; semi-solid and solid yarns switched for dominance the end of the month without any especial triggers from publications or promotions.  There were spikes in the former tied both organically and tied to the Amy Miller and Plum Dandi promos, but it faded over the month.  The latter had a few organic spikes at the beginning of the month, and otherwise gained organically throughout.  We saw a few small spikes in two- and three-color patterns spaced almost equally through the month, with some tied to the kid's bonnets and some organic.  Variegated and self-striping also gained some ground over the month, showing up in old favorites like Hitchhiker and Nymphalidea. It seems as though these are more prominent with higher rates of neck accessories, so it would make sense that as those gain in the summertime, variegated and self-striping yarns do as well.

Model type remained steady, though there were a few interesting organic spikes in both items photographed flat and those on dressforms throughout the month. Items on a model fell slightly over the month, after the high numbers we saw in April and the garment-heavy beginning of the month (as sweaters correspond more closely to human models than other projects). 

Fabric type also remained steady, though with many spikes across the board from each of lace, texture, colorwork, and stockinette.  Cables were the lone underachiever, hanging out at 1-3 items per day.  Lace continues to dominate overall, mostly organically, as there was little presence in the clean lines and simplicity of Amy Christoffers, Amy Palmer, and the Plum Dandi ladies (who were all responsible for the spikes in stockinette early on).  The spike two-thirds of the way through the month of texture and colorwork corresponded with the Ravelry spotlight on bonnets, many of which were crochet and in multiple colors.
Blue has started descending from its dominance of the last few months, with one last major spike mid-month.  Otherwise, grey, red, and white continued strong, with the latter two climbing over the month.  Purple, green, and orange also gained over the month as the aforementioned blue, brown, and grey fell.  Though this is happening a few months after we saw it last year (perhaps in response to the late spring?), this is a similar changing of the guard in color that we've seen previously.

So there were some interesting things to keep an eye on for next month--blue dropping, semi-solid and solid switching dominance, and whether neck accessories have leveled off for the summer or will keep climbing.  Stay tuned for June! Now, where are my iced tea glasses. . .

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Stockinette Market: April 1-April 30th

Helloooooooo, spring! Though today's been a bit on the rainy and windy side, there's no denying that the flowers are blooming full force, and the time for knitting out on the front porch with a tall glass of your favorite cold beverage is almost upon us.  Let's see what effect the approach of warm weather in the Northern hemisphere is having on the knitting world!

 We saw neck accessories skyrocket this month, due in part to Romi Hill's Easter Egg Hunt promo about two-thirds of the way through; shawls, stoles and scarves moved from 30% of the average percentage last month to 39%.  This is high in comparison to what we've seen for this category over the last few months, but it's still 11% shy of the 50% of the market we saw last year during the same promo and time period.  Garments also gained some ground this month, with cardigans moving from 14 to 16% and pullovers from 14 to 15%, partially due to the presence of the garment-heavy Wool People 7 from Brooklyn Tweed, Twist Collective Spring/Summer 2014, and Interweave Knits Summer 2014 and partially for organic reasons.  These gains caused vests, mitts, and men's garments to drop off the list, and all others maintained small percentages.

 The biggest spikes in April were in neck accessories, associated with Romi Hill's Easter Egg Hunt promo and organically near the end of the month.  These caused a mild upward movement in neck accessories over the month.  There was an impressive organic spike in cardigans at the beginning of the month, and garment spikes concurrent with the release of Twist Collective, Wool People 7, and Interweave Knits at the very end of the month; the release of the latter two brought pullovers up from a very low start at the beginning of the month.  All other items remained relatively steady at a low percentage, as we saw at this same time last year.

Yarn types were also relatively steady, with most spikes corresponding to publications/promos: semi-solids with Twist Collective, Romi's promo (say that ten times fast), and Interweave Knits, and tweeds with Wool People 7.  We did see an organic spike in semi-solids at the beginning of the month, and several small organic ones in solids throughout.  It was a quiet month for multi-color projects, variegated, and self-striping yarn, but they remained relatively steady across the month.

Model type this month also corresponded to publications, with spikes occurring for Twist Collective, Wool People 7, and Interweave Knits.  Flat garments had a small arc during the first half of the month and at the very end, and dressforms had a spike tied to Romi's promo.  All model types remained steady throughout the month.

Lace saw a major peak this month with Romi's promo, and smaller ones organically and with Twist Collective and Interweave Knits; it also climbed over the month.  Stockinette had an organic spike about a third of the way through, but dropped severely during Romi's promo.  Mid-month, both as a result of Twist Collective and organically, brought us a few less prominent spikes in colorwork and texture.  Each of these dropped slightly over the month as a result of lace gaining prominence.  Cables had a bit of a spike with Wool People 7, but remained otherwise very low. 

Cool colors continued to dominate this month, with blue the clear winner and spikes of white, grey, and purple.  Twist Collective brought us spikes in green and red, but it looks like all other spikes were completely organic.  Grey, black, and white dropped slightly over the month and blue rose, but everything was otherwise very steady.

So there you have it--a somewhat steady month across the board, but one where the percentages are creeping to a neck accessory and garment, semi-solid, cool-toned, lace majority.  I look forward to seeing what May brings!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stockinette Market: March 1st-March 31st

Ah, March.  In like a lion, out like a lamb.  Or, if you were in Maine, lion full-throttle all the way through.  The same can be said of activities in the knitting industry: as I collected data for the month, both industry and independent publications were stacking sky-high in the ranks of HRN.  In the course of the month, we saw the release of Quince & Co.'s Scarves, Etc. 2014 and Sparrow Sans collections, Knitty Spring/Summer 2014, previews for both Knitscene Summer 2014 and knit.wear Spring/Summer 2014, Joji Locatelli's Bohemian Girl collection, and the indie collection of kid's patterns, From Mama, with Love.  WHEW.  There were also promos, trends, Ravelry spotlights--let's take a look at one of the busiest months on record!

Neck accessories are slowly inching their way towards a larger majority; we've seen them climb over the last four months from 22%, to 28%, to 29%, and now to 30%.  Garments have also gained back a larger share, with 28% total as opposed to last month's 24%.  Both garments and neck accessories saw a heavy presence in both independent and industry publications during the month.  Despite these jumps in the major categories, the number of categories themselves haven't dropped, but there have been significant losses in certain categories to compensate.  Cowls, for example dropped from 12% last month to 7% this month, and hats went from 11% to 7%.  Though more data is still needed, I'm enjoying the subversion from what you might expect as the norm: it looks like garments and larger projects get more play in the spring and summertime, and smaller, more portable accessories in the wintertime.  We'll see if this holds true!

The percentage gain in garments holds true in the monthly timeline; the first half of the month saw a promo from Heidi May, a crochet designer who works primarily in kid's hats and accessories (the spikes in kid's and hats at the beginning of the month), and the release of Quince's Scarves, Etc. (the spike around March 5th).  

After the midpoint of the month came the onslaught of the publications, nearly all of which featured garments heavily: Knitty and knit.wear overlapped mid-month (spiking pullovers and neck accessories), and were quickly followed by Sparrow Sans (spiking vests and tanks).  Soon thereafter was a free pattern promo from Patti Waters, whose work didn't have a particular focus, but showcased garments, neck accessories, hats, and socks.  This was overlapped by Bohemian Girl (sweaters) and a Ravelry spotlight on zippered cardigans, which was then overlapped by the Knitscene Summer 2014 preview (sweaters and vests).  

In short, March was crazy busy.  We saw this a little bit last year, with multiple magazine previews and book releases as well.  Looking at last year's timeline, we're waiting on the release of a few further Spring/Summer issues of publications, but otherwise everything should be relatively calm for industry publications until Fall issues start coming out. 

 The most notable spike in semi-solid yarn use in March was tied to Patti Waters' promo two-thirds of the way through the month.  Most of her designs featured on the first page were knit in either Madeline Tosh or Malabrigo.  This was offset at the beginning of the month with Heidi May's work, which tended to be all solid colors, often with 3 or more in one project.  Though solids were featured there and in Quince's Scarves, Etc. early in the month, they fell overall, with only small spikes concurrent with Knitscene and an organic spike a few days later.  2 color projects also spiked slightly around that same time, with a presence both in Knitscene and organically.  Semi-solids remained strong throughout the month, featuring heavily both organically and in many of the publications.

Due to the heavy presence of collections and industry publications, we saw a larger proportion of modeled garments than usual in March.   This spiked during the arc of Knitty/knit.wear/Sparrow Sans/Patti Waters mid month.  Flat garments saw a little bit of organic play early in the month, but otherwise dropped slightly.  The same is true of dressforms and mystery knits; they saw small spikes, but mostly fell overall to compensate for the rise in modeled garments.

March had the closest race between fabric type we've ever seen.  Typically, even if there's not a lot of variation, there's a firm leader.  There's not a clear one here; texture and colorwork (tied to Heidi May's work) dominated at the start, and lace and stockinette climbed at the end.  Cables did have spikes concurrent with both organic causes and Patti Waters' promo, but remained otherwise low-key.  The uptick in lace matches what we saw last year at this time, so we'll keep an eye on it to see if that does indeed follow the seasonal trend.

 The colors this month remain consistent with last month, with white, grey, and blue remaining dominant.  There were spikes in purple and red to match Patti Waters' promo, and several organic spikes in red and pink a third of the way through the month.  Grey had a very big spike at the end of the month with the intersection of Bohemian Girl and Knitscene, both of which featured it heavily.  Despite these spikes, most colors stayed relatively constant; the two major movers were red, which dropped overall after the spikes early in the month, and purple, which rose from relative obscurity due to Patti Waters' promo at the end of the month.  Black also dropped after being used as an accent color in many of Heidi May's pieces, and green dropped organically. 

The big trends we're seeing for this month are a shift toward garments and neck accessories from the smaller-accessory based trends we've seen in previous months.  Yarn usage was heavily affected by promos throughout the month, and model type by the industry publications later in the month.  Color remained constant with the previous month's model, with spikes governed both by promos and publications. 

Now that most of the Spring/Summer publications are done, we'll be getting mostly organic results in April.  I look forward to sharing what happens!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stockinette Market: January 30th-February 28th

Welcome to the one year anniversary of the Stockinette Market! What a momentous year it's been in the knitting industry. I've always enjoyed tracking trends, but doing so with concrete data rather than vague theories and suppositions has been a whole new experience.  I feel like my brain's grown three sizes over the last year! I hope you've also enjoyed coming along with me on this journey, and are looking forward to what happens over the next year as much as I am.  I'm planning a year in review post, but it may be a bit delayed due to various other deadlines.  My life of shuffling priorities and to-do lists is never dull, I'll tell you that. :) But without further ado, here are the numbers for February!

The average percentage numbers for February, after the ubiquitous neck accessories in the first spot, show a very slight shift in priority for knitters: while hats held the second spot last month with 13%, it's now held by pullovers at the same percentage.  Cowls remain in third, dropping from 13 to 12%, and hats now come in fourth with 11%.  Cardigans have gained very slightly from 10 to 11%.  There are also more categories this month than there were last month (toys and men's garments joined the list, while mittens dropped off), with subsequently smaller percentages of the total.  All in all, not huge changes, but an interesting shift back towards the dominant categories we saw last spring. 

February was a busy one in terms of both industry publications and individual promotions, which showed as spikes in many categories over the month.  Neck accessories again remained dominant, with several high spikes corresponding to promos and collection releases.  There was an organic spike near the beginning of the month, and then two strong ones mid-month and towards the end corresponding to a promo by lace shawl designer Corrina Ferguson and a pattern release in Lucy Hague's Celtic Cable Shawls collection, which brought her other shawls to the fore.  There were also several garment-heavy releases or promos this month, such as Alana Dakos' Botanical Knits 2 and amirisu Spring 2014 mid-month and Laura Aylor's promo late in the month, bringing her many pullovers to the fore.  Cowls also saw a few organic spikes, as did hats mid-month. 

Even with these various spikes, however, most categories remained relatively steady through the month.  There were slight organic rises in kid's garments and cardigans over the month, as well as a slight drop in hats. Toys rose as a result of being featured in the Ravelry Spotlight near the end of the month.  All others remained steady throughout the month.

Yarn type saw solid yarns and 3+ color projects losing the ground they gained last month, and tweeds gaining slightly.  All others remained steady, though there were many spikes in semi-solids, solids, and 2 colors projects.   The first saw lots of play in the promos and publications of the month, with Pom Pom Quarterly Spring 2014, Veera Valimaki and Joji Locatelli's collection, Interpretations, Corrina Ferguson's promo, Lucy Hague's Celtic Cable Shawls, and Laura Aylor's promo all featuring them heavily.  Solids had fewer intentional spikes, with only the Ravelry spotlight on toys (which also caused the spike in 2 color projects a little more than halfway through the month) being a clear corollary.  2 color projects also featured in Veera and Joji's collection, with quite a few stripes or color blocks.  There was also a small spike mid-month in tweeds, correspondent to the release of amirisu and the Botanical Knits 2 collection.  Variegateds and self-striping yarns remained steady at a low buzz, their place often secured by consistent favorites like Wingspan and Hitchhiker.

Modeled garments continued to hold steadily in the lead, with spikes correspondent to days of overlap between collections or promos, such as when Pom Pom and Interpretations shared the front page and amirisu and Botanical Knits 2 did the same.  Though there were spikes in items shown flat, they were all organic and didn't correlate with any of the major players in the month. 

Again this month we've seen a wild variation in fabric type, with texture falling after lots of presence in Interpretations and in a forum-driven boost in crocheted socks and slippers around the 10th, and despite an organic spike near the end of the month.  Stockinette had a strong rise towards the end of the month due to a heavy presence in Laura Aylor's work, and there was also a strong lace spike concurrent with Corrina Ferguson's promotion.  Colorwork fell very slightly, seeing a strong start in Interpretations, then later to a lesser extent in the Ravelry spotlight on toys and in Laura Aylor's work. 

Color slowed down its crazy fluctuation a bit this month, with white taking the lead for the first half off the month and then again several times throughout the second half.  Grey saw several spikes with Interpretations, amirisu, and Laura Aylor, as did red right around Valentine's day, and brown and blue organically late in the month.  Based on these spikes, white fell over the month, while grey, blue, and brown rose, with brown being the sharpest climb.  All other colors fell, which brings us back to almost the original color scheme we saw at this time last year. 

So all in all, though February was a busy month in terms of publications and promos, most of what we saw during the month stayed consistent throughout and tallied with previous months or last year.  As we saw last year, March is another very busy one in pattern publishing, and it's been jam-packed so far.  I look forward to seeing where it goes!