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!