Thursday, April 26, 2012

3KCBWDAY4--Just How Seasonal is My Knitting?

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?
Well, again, I should be working but here I am blogging. I think what I should do is fill my Urgent--To Do list with things like knitting and blogging and looking at stuff on Ravelry, and then I might get distracted by work and end up doing that instead. I'm sure it can't fail any more miserably than my current system.

Today's distraction has been the KCBW topic for today.  Originally I thought I would just dash off a post about how I'm not an obviously seasonal knitter and go on my way.  Then I read the part about looking through my finished projects and explaining their seasonality and I thought "Oh, good.  An excuse to look at Ravelry." And so I did.  I took a good long look at my projects and then I thought I might just jot a few down to see if I could identify any trends.

Several hours later, I had copied out a list of the project types and the month they were started and finished in.  I have about three years of projects on Ravelry, so my list covers all of  2009, 2010,  and 2011 and has a little of 2012 thrown in.  It was really hard to identify trends from my handwritten notes, though, so clearly the next step was to make a table for all of this information.  Once I had a table, of course, it was a piece of cake to start sorting the table by this, that, and the other thing.  And then it was a matter of a mere 45 minutes to an hour to look over the data and summarize the trends.  Pffffft.

Here's what I learned.

1. I am exceptionally good at looking industrious while avoiding my work.

2. Some knit items demand strict adherence to seasonal trends.

  • Hats, gloves, and mittens are entirely seasonal.  They are started only between October and March, with 2/3 of them being started in October and November when the cold weather kicks in.  They are always finished in the cold season too.
  • Gloves in my world are subject to the additional requirements that they must be started in October and finished in November, although I don't knit too many gloves so the data might be  weak.  
  • Socks, which have made up over 1/3 of my knitting in the last three years,  are knit pretty much year round, although they are for some reason NEVER EVER started or finished in February.  Why?  WHY????
  •  My sweaters are fairly seasonal; over 50% are started in the September or October, right when I want to start wearing them, although finishing patterns are entirely random.  Sweaters for kids and babies, though, are random.
3. Most of my seasonality revolves around how much I am knitting at a particular time of year.  I knit more in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer (although if you were to examine my spinning habits, you might find an explanation for that).  
  •  January (11 items), October (10 items), and April (7) are my big months for starting projects.  February, May, June, and September are the months when I am least likely to start new things (3 starts in each month over three years). 
  •  Finishing up, which is not as concentrated in time as starting, occurs most often in February (8 projects completed), March (8), October (8), January (7) and November (7).  May (3) and September (2) seem to be months when I am largely incapable of completing anything. 
  • Comparing starts and finishes, it looks like January and October are big knitting months for me. Early spring is also a pretty knitterly time (lots of finished in March followed by lots of starts in April?), but May and September look like knitting duds as far as I can tell: nothing started, nothing finished, and I'm not sure if I'm always in the middle of knitting something in those months or if I'm busy doing something else entirely.
Other things I was surprised to learn:  the number of projects has been fairly consistent from year to year.  In 2009, I started 18 and finished 17, in 2010 I started 20 and finished 21, and in 2011 I started 19 and finished 21.  For this year, I have started 9 (a little ahead of schedule?), but have finished 7, and since we are 1/3 of the way through the year, this puts me on track to finish 21 items again.  Weird.  Also, the vicious sock knitting bender of 2009 (12 out of 18 projects) is over, and they now represent only 25 -30% of my knitting.  More recent years have also seen an increase in the variety of items I knit (hats, mittens,  sweaters, and socks have been joined by gloves and shawls, plus the Afghan of Eternal Knitting).  

Unfortunately, if I keep up with all this analysis and blogging about knitting, I will have to give up the knitting itself in order to make way for actual working time.  Since my job pays for quite a bit more than my knitting habits, I think the choice is clear. Must go!


  1. I actually think if I didn't spend so much time on Ravelry and blogging I'd get alot more knitting done. You seem to have a fairly consistant output

  2. Do you know, I am the sad kind of person who appreciates statistics such as these. I am inspired to go see my starts/finishes. Can't visualize how to out it in a table though *hopeful face*

    1. My six year old has been practicing his hopeful face on me. I think he learned it from the dog and I think I'm becoming immune. Sort of. p.s. I had to enter the data by hand. I was hoping Rav could export project data just like it does with stash data, but I didn't see anything that would let me do it. :(