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!