The Knitting Year in Review
As we start the new year, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the most popular patterns and designers in the knitting world in 2017.
According to the wonderful search facility on the knitting and crochet website, Ravelry.com, there were an incredible 41,095 knitting patterns published in 2017.
(Unless otherwise mentioned, all following statistics have been gathered from the search facility on Ravelry- see (here))
Although the top five patterns knitted in 2017 were shawls (see list below), hats were the biggest percentage of both patterns published and patterns knitted in 2017, at 16.9% and 17.2% respectively. This popularity perhaps stems from their relatively simple sizing and construction, and the fact that they generally take less time and yarn to knit than bigger garments. However, shawls/wraps do appear next in the list, (15.1% of patterns knitted), followed by sweaters (pullovers and cardigans) (13.1%) and socks (11.3%).
Faded garments became a big hit at the end of 2016 with the arrival of the Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry (see here), and the trend continued and grew in 2017. This distinctive technique involves the mixing of colours to create a faded effect, and a quick search on Ravelry shows about 6 patterns using this approach in 2016, but at least 38 in 2017. The impact of the fade trend is shown even more clearly in the fact that 4 out of 10 of the most knitted patterns of the year included a faded element.
Self-striping yarn cakes with long colour repeats, designed for shawls and garments, were another big trend in 2017. While some of these yarns had existed prior to 2017, it was during this year that they really rose to popularity- e.g. 2,564 projects were completed out of Caron Cakes in the time ‘2016 and earlier’, but in 2017 this increased to 5,890 projects. By the end of the year, most of the major commercial yarn companies had produced their own version of self-striping cakes, with an increasing variety available in terms of weight and fibre content.
This yarn also echoes the striping that was popular on the autumn/winter 2017 catwalks, for example, the sideways knit stripes of the Missoni Striped Wool Long Cardigan, above, and see (here).
Examples of this yarn include: Lion Brand Mandala (DK, 100% acrylic); Bernat Pop (aran, 100% acrylic); Caron Cakes (aran, 80% acrylic, 20% wool); Rico Creative Cotton Degrade (4-ply, 50% cotton, 50% acrylic); Sirdar Colourwheel (DK, 80% acrylic, 20% wool); Stylecraft Candy Swirl (DK, 100% acrylic). All of these yarns are available at Wool Warehouse website, international delivery is available – see (here).
Brioche stitch continued and grew as a trend in 2017, with the number of patterns featuring the stitch increasing from 588 in 2016, to 722 in 2017. (If you haven’t come across it before, a very brief definition- brioche is a tuck stitch in which each row is knitted twice, with yarn overs knitted together with a slipped stitch from the previous row, creating a squishy fabric.)
Stephen West led the way in celebrating brioche in 2016, drawing on the work of Nancy Marchant. In 2017, they and other designers created increasingly innovative and complex brioche designs, including brioche lace and cables. E.g. cabled brioche design by Lavanya Patricella shown above and (here). For more, see Westknits designs, (here), or watch the brioche Craftsy classes by Marchant (here).
Most popular patterns
So what were the most popular patterns in 2017? It is impossible to have a definitive answer to this question, but a sense of the most popular designs can be gleaned from the number of projects listed for each pattern on Ravelry.
MKALs and pattern popularity
If you’re publishing a new pattern, it might be a good idea to release it as a mystery knit along: 4 out of the top 5 most popular patterns were originally mystery knit alongs in 2017 (see my post on MKALS (here)). A number of others in the top 50 were also part of unofficial knit alongs, and/or official knit alongs hosted by their designer. E.g. 4 patterns in the top 50 were released as knit alongs by the designer Helen Stewart.
2017 Patterns with the most projects in Ravelry:
1 Starting Point by Joji Locatelli (see (here)) – 4,609 projects. Originally a mystery knit along, this is a 4-ply/fingering shawl, combining blocks and stripes of colour, lace and ingenious construction. See top photo.
2 What the fade?! by Andrea Mowry (see (here) ) – 1,974 projects: 4-ply/fingering brioche, fade shawl, with tassels. See photo above.
3 Speckle & Pop Shawl by Stephen West (see (here)) – 1,876 projects: striking, 4-ply/fingering weight shawl, featuring faded effect, eyelets, slipped stitches, brioche and icord edging. See photo above.
5 Wonder Woman Wrap by Carissa Browning (see (here)) 1,612 projects: comic book inspired, graphic print shawl using 4-ply yarn. See photo above.
6 Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston (see (here))- hat. See photo above.
7 So Faded by Andrea Mowry (see (here))- pullover
8 Wolkig by Martina Behm (see (here))- cowl
9 Pussyhat by Sarah Keller (see (here))- hat
10 Snowmelt Shawl MKAL (here)– shawl. See photo above.
11 Twisted Madness by Gina Meyer (see (here))- socks
12 Comfort Fade Cardi by Andrea Mowry (see (here))- cardigan. See photo in Trends section above.
13 Free Your Fade by Andrea Mowry (see (here))- shawl. See photo above.
14 Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter (see (here))- pullover. See photo above, copyright boylandknitworks.
15 Fairyhill Shawl by Helen Stewart-(see (here)) shawl
If you would like to see the full list of patterns, in order of projects knitted, see Ravelry (here).
Over to you:
Did you notice any other trends in the knitting world this year? Are there any patterns you are surprised not to find in the top 15? Do you have any predictions about what will be popular in 2018?