Knitting Trends - Accessories
I made a post on 1st Jan looking at trends for garment designs on Ravelry, so I thought I’d do a follow up for accessories. I really love looking at data and hope this is useful for my fellow knitwear designers as well as people just deciding what to knit next!
Where does the data come from?
I used Ravelry’s “hot right now” pattern search, filtered for accessories, only paid for patterns and “new to Ravelry”. I feel like free patterns skew the results – they’re not necessarily “hot” because of the pattern but because of the price tag! I included “new to Ravelry” this time as well. When I did my garment design trends post at the start of January I didn’t do this and I think I got a lot of patterns which have been at the top of Ravelry for months if not years, rather than reflecting current trends.
I only looked at the top 50, so this is more of a snapshot than a definitive study, but I think it gives a good picture of what’s popular right now.
There are definitely categories that I think I could break down further – knit and purl in particular covers a huge range of fabric types from simple stocking stitch to complex textured patterns. When I wrote the post analysing garment trends, I only included one fabric type per garment because there were so many other variables (fit, neckline, sleeve length, hem length….). For accessories, I only had a main category, then one layer of refinement – e.g. neckwear is the main category and that’s refined into scarf, triangular shawl, cowl etc. So I felt like I had more bandwidth to include more detail on the fabric type. I assigned two fabric types to each accessory (if required). This meant I could have e.g. lace and cables rather than picking the more prominent one. I also broke down colourwork into stranded, mosaic, stripes etc.
Broad Garment Types
Number of Colours
Breakdown within Garment Type
What Stands Out from the Data?
There were a lot more complex fabric types than I found in the garment trends -lots of colourwork, textured patterns, lace and cables. I think this must be because there’s such an abundance of free basic accessory patterns out there, if you’re going to pay for an accessory pattern, you want it to be something special. Whereas even basic sweaters are normally “pay for” – a lot of work goes into grading for multiple sizes and getting the fit right for even a stocking stitch sweater. Neckwear was most popular – this is always great for gifting, one size fits all, versatile in terms of what stitch patterns you can use or which weight of yarn.
The yarn weights that turned up most often were fingering and DK weight – these accounted for two thirds of all patterns. This is maybe a little surprising given the time of year – I do love aran and chunky weight accessories when it gets really chilly. I think it’s explained by the nature of the fabrics – lace and especially colourwork often work better with finer yarns. A chunky cowl with a stranded fairisle pattern might be simply too bulky to be comfortable. If I hadn’t filtered out free patterns I think there would be a lot more heavier weight yarns in simpler stitch patterns.
Colourwork Triangular Shawls like Thieve's Road (left) proved popular this winter. More complex stitch patterns and multiple colours as used in Dip in the Lily Pond (centre) outperformed basic knit and purl fabrics. Lace shawls like Beinn Ghlas (right) are on trend for Winter 23/24!
What are the Major Trends?
Colourwork is in! Over half of the patterns used more than one colour, and over a third used colourwork techniques (stranded colourworks, stripes, slip stitch, modular colourwork and woven knitting). The most popular colourwork technique was stranded colourwork by a large margin – fairisle is definitely on trend for Winter 23/24.
The three most popular categories, with each type making up 10% of the patterns surveyed, were:
While neckwear is the most popular category overall, colourwork is definitely the most used fabric type. Since it’s easier to work colourwork in the round it makes sense for colourwork cowls to be so popular. The next two most popular categories, each at around 7% of patterns surveyed were:
Lace Triangular Shawls
I wonder if this also ties in with the kind of yarn people were gifted – I know if I’m ever asked what yarn I’d like as a gift I ask for 4ply or laceweight since you only need one skein to make an accessory. Although I have been known to ask my parents for a sweater quantity of aran weight yarn, I wouldn’t ask anyone else to splash out potentially £100 on a gift! Then these lighter weight yarns lead to pattern sales for delicate lace designs. Just a thought!