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Newsletter - February 2013
It’s February, the month we celebrate our best selling designs at Patternfish. These are designs that you have selected as favourites by buying them. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do.
Our Newest Designers and Publishers
In January we welcomed four new designers to Patternfish.
Dana Eckert Patterns debuts at Patternfish with her Crocheted Set of Three Hanging Baskets. Can’t you just imagine several of these in different colours for hats, gloves, and scarves? What about in a child’s room to encourage tidiness? It’s an easy pattern and Eckert offers lots of tips to help even a novice crocheter make these fast.
Elena Chen's passion seems to be designing patterns for little girls. Her first pattern with us, the pretty Rolled Brim Hat with Flower, is easily made, with a rolled brim, stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette for the stripes, and the perfect addition, a flower.
Linda Skuja begins at Patternfish with a simple to crochet, lacy, drapey triangle that we can imagine wrapped around any body part - hips, head, shoulders. The designs that follow her Triangle Cowl are equally inventive: a cabled skirt, a striped Tunisian crochet sweater, a cable and lace scarf… Do look at her Collection.
Claire Fairall debuts at Patternfish with her Teardrop Felt Pouch. Fairall provides such detailed pattern instructions that a non-felter can be confident about succeeding with this design. Fairall provides reassurance with photos of how your project should look at each stage.
Best Selling Patternfish Designs 2012
Last year was the first time we published the best selling Patternfish designs. Our customers loved it. This year we’re following up with the best selling designs of 2012. Like last year, some of the results were surprising, some expected. We are intrigued with the results and hope you will be, too.
You’ll find this year’s best sellers' categories a bit quirky. There are best selling patterns from designers that joined us in 2012, from our male designers, a look at pattern best sellers by (some) yarn weights, patterns with cables…
Here’s a guide to this newsletter. We’ve focused on the top 10 designs in each category, showing and commenting on the patterns and designers and providing a link to the top 10 in each category. We’ve listed the category titles In This Issue… so you can easily find the ones that you’re most curious about and go back at your leisure to see the rest. Patternfish has over 13,000 patterns listed right now. You will be seeing the best selling 146. You'll be seeing duplicates of patterns in different categories. That's because they qualify in several and have been best sellers in some of them.
We would have liked to have included photos of all top 10 patterns in each category that we’ve selected, but there just wasn’t room. To see them, click on the ‘Full Collection’ link next to each title.
The Very Best of the Best Selling Patterns - Full Collection
Knitting Pure and Simple’s Adult Mukluk Slippers was the best selling design in 2012. Here’s what we wrote when it was posted for sale, “This is going to be one of those things you could make hundreds of, if you were willing-- demand would be that high, and the pattern's that simple.”
We don’t know how many slippers were made from each pattern, but we’re guessing it’s very high. If you’ve made lots, do let us know.
Diane Soucy, the woman at the heart of Knitting Pure and Simple, also designed the 2nd most popular best selling pattern, the Children’s Mukluk Slippers. She’s got feet covered from toddler to men’s size 13.
We asked designer Diane Soucy to tell us about these patterns. Here’s her story: “I had been knitting these mukluk slippers for a few years for babies and adults in my family before I decided to make the pattern available to other knitters. I was surprised and delighted to see how popular the pattern became! Knitters email me telling me that they have made multiple pairs, and are being asked for more! It is such a basic pattern, so easy to knit with many different yarns that many people are knitting them for their favorite charity.
"As with all of my patterns, it is so rewarding and satisfying to know that knitters will love making them, and that they will keep so many people warm.”
Four more Knitting Pure and Simple patterns are in the top 10 best sellers, the Top Down Swing Pullover, the Summer Open Cardigan, the Children’s Neckdown Cardigan, and the Top Down Lightweight Cardigan. Soucy’s garments appeal because they are virtually sewing-free, have easily customizable top-down construction, and look good.
Last year, we reported that Elizabeth, from Classic Elite Yarns, was the best selling cardigan. This Cecily Glowick MacDonald design was the winner of our 10,000th Pattern Design Contest. It’s still popular. The folks at CEY say it looks good on everyone and we believe it.
Maddy Laine’s Girl’s Smart Topper is a best seller too. Nice flat double moss stitch means no edge finishing needed, just a bit of ribbing for neck and sleeves. Customers demanded it, so Laine created a woman’s version, too. Robin Hunter’s wonderful Prudence Crowley Vest was a sensation in last year’s Best Seller list and it continues to delight. Laverne Waddington’s Andean Pebble Weave, is a best seller for the weavers among us.
See the top selling 20 patterns by going to the Full Collection.
Best Selling Patterns from Our New Designers - Full Collection
We love our new designers and publishers. It’s always exciting when a designer writes to ask if we would publish their patterns. What will we find when we open the email attachment?
In 2012 we welcomed 65 designers, some brand new, many new to us, and thought, “Why not feature their best selling designs, too?”
The accessory of the year at Patternfish is slippers. Not only were they the #1 and #2 overall best selling designs in 2012, but here they are again, taking the top two positions in the new designers category. Kriskrafter’s Kris Basta designed 4 slipper patterns that made the top 10 best sellers from new designers.
Sue McCain has been a friend of Patternfish almost since our beginning and while not new to designing, she launched a new line, Basix, in 2012. Her Boston Top-Down Hooded Coat is a winner for any woman’s fall or winter. Marina Munroe used DK weight yarn held double for speed in her easy, fast lace cover up, the Whitby Summer Sun Wrap. Bonne Marie Burns from Chic Knits has two wearable, flattering, top-down knit cardigans, the Eyelet Cardi and Uma.
Best Selling No-Sewing or Top Down Patterns - Full Collection
There are times when some knitters want a pattern that requires each seam to be finished impeccably, a button band knitted separately and carefully sewn on, shoulders sewn and sleeves set in as if to make the seamline almost disappear. And then there are the times when knitters just want to knit, weave in a few ends, and be done. That means no sewing and no sewing usually means top down knitting.
This category is really popular, and that popularity is increasing quite dramatically each year. In addition to no sewing, top down knitting allows adjustments as you knit, so fit is improved. Most of the top 10 best sellers are from Knitting Pure and Simple.
The Top Down Swing Pullover skims the body and is just about perfect for cool weather. The Summer Open Cardigan gives a little coverage over skimpy tops and dresses and the Top Down Lightweight Cardigan is Diane Soucy’s launch into lighter weight yarns.
These patterns from Elizabeth Smith and Cabin Fever are more favourite top down/no sewing patterns from this past year.
Best Selling Patterns by Yarn Weight
We thought it would be interesting to look at the patterns our customers bought in different yarn weights. It’s an important consideration when we're choosing a pattern: what weight yarn do we have in our stash, what yarn have we just fallen in love with at our LYS, what yarn do we prefer to work with? Most of the heavier weight choices can be seen in other sections, so this section focuses on lace weight and sock weight only.
Best Selling Lace Weight Yarn Patterns - Full Collection
I automatically think “shawl” when I see lace weight yarn, but I do know that there are many other ways to use it, like the Monet Jacket by Laura Bryant. Laura uses three strands of her lace weight Prism Delicato yarn and changes one strand at a time to shade the colours. It’s painting with yarn.
The tiny, lace scarf, Grace Mcewen’s Twig, was the second place best seller in the lace weight yarn category.
Other lace weight cardigans are Cia from Louet in KidLin , Featherweight Wrap to Knit from Val Love, and the Magic Lace Cardigan by Angela Juergens, an impressive entrant in Patternfish’s 10,000th pattern design contest.
Most of the lace weight yarn patterns are shawls, the Basilica by Liz Capik, Molehill from Mer Almagro, Martha Simonsen's crocheted Kornblomst Shawl, and Robin Gallimore’s Bavarian Shawl. Gallimore instructs: “A whimsical attitude towards colour …is a good thing to have.” It’s something we can learn from her; it doesn’t have to be in our genes.
Best Selling Sock Weight Yarn Patterns - Full Collection
Somewhat surprisingly, only two of the top 10 patterns in sock weight yarn are socks and when we look at sock pattern purchases, most of the patterns call for a heavier weight yarn.
A woman’s cardigan, the popular Top Down Lightweight Cardigan from Knitting Pure and Simple, was the most popular in this category.The variety continues with shawls, baby patterns, mittens, and yes, socks.
Best Selling Patterns by Difficulty
Patternfish customers are familiar with the difficulty rating that appears on every design page. Who of us does not consider that issue carefully when we peruse patterns, whether looking to challenge ourselves, to find some TV knitting, or simply to match our needs at that moment? We thought it would be interesting to look at the choices that people made by pattern difficulty.
Best Selling Beginner Patterns - Full Collection
The beginner rated patterns list is surprising. None looks like it’s all that simple and therein lies the secret of success. See if you agree.
Robin Hunter’s Prudence Crowley Vest is the top seller and Kriskrafter’s Kris Basta holds the #2 spot with her Sideways Slipper Boots with Options. The Silverlake Shirt, designed by Annie Dempsey and Deb Gemmel’s Kimono Vest are closet staples among the best sellers.
Best Selling Easy Patterns Collection
The Easy rated best selling patterns were almost identical to the overall best selling designs. Look here for those.
Best Selling Intermediate Patterns - Full Collection
The best selling design rated intermediate difficulty is best selling cardigan, Elizabeth, from Classic Elite Yarns. This Cecily Glowick MacDonald design was the winner of our 10,000th Pattern Design Contest in 2011. Its popularity continues. The folks at CEY say it looks good on everyone and we believe it.
Here are more, what a variety! Rivulet, the cardigan with flair, a dressy lacy shawl, Starry, Starry Night, Cabin Fever's newest book, Need a Plus Cardigan?, our most popular toy, the Snowbuddy Family, Knitting at Knoon's Wrap Me Up Shawl, and the Classic Elite Yarns pullover, Flurry, with knitterly elegance
Best Selling Experienced Patterns - Full Collection
Look at these and imagine the excitement you’ll be in for when you tackle one, and the satisfaction and pride you’d feel when it’s completed.
Oat Couture’s Annie Dempsey rated her Curlicue Coverlet for experienced knitters, and commented, “not for the faint of heart, but experienced knitters will enjoy exploring what can be done with short rows.” Robyn Gallimore’s Eliza is stunning. What else is there to say? And knitters went a little mad when this beauty, the Wavy Lace Tunic from Nashua Handknits, appeared. A particularly astute Patternfish customer specially requested it and we are delighted we found it.
Here are a few more experienced rated patterns. Swirl from Reynolds is a very pretty sweater, but be warned - the type size is small. Be sure to check out the palm view of Gregory's Dragon Paws and then immerse yourself in garter stitch or cables.
Best Selling Patterns by Male Designers - Full Collection
At Patternfish, male knitting and crochet designers, and customers, for that matter, are rare creatures. At the end of 2012, we had a total of 840 designers, only 16 of them were men. We thought it would be fun to look at their Best Sellers and see if there was anything different about them. Danny Ouellette’s exquisite Diamonds and Roses Shawl and Traveling Rib Hat are both examples of knitting scholarship and mastery. We’ve seen both and the photos barely do them justice.
Eugen K. Beugler is a famous lace designer. His designs at Patternfish, the Tulips and Rosebuds Baby Blanket and the Flower Eyelet Afghan, are happily achievable by most of us. Ken Jones crocheted cardigan is aptly named 'Harvest' Cocoon.
Is there anything different about male designers? Not really. A good designer often has a different take on traditional knitting and crochet approaches and writes patterns that are exceptional in helping the knitter turn out a product that they’ll be proud of. These men do those things well.
Best Selling Scarves - Full Collection
Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer’s Thinking of You Scarf, is perfect to be knitting during this Valentine’s Day month. I wonder if any purchasers have created a second design by skipping the hearts and using the reversible wavy eyelet component alone?
For something entirely different, here’s #2, Volan from Christiane Burkhard, fun, flexible, not a short row to be found despite the look of it. Lucy Neatby’s Sea Lettuce Scarf was last year’s best selling design. Look here for Neatby’s story about the process of creating it. It’s enjoyable-she’s very funny! Neatby’s Bubbles has extensively explained double-knit construction, tips and tricks, and even instructions on stuffing the bubbles.
Classic Elite Yarn’s Firefly Fringed Scarf has lovely loopy fringe that suits the drape of the yarn very well. The Lotus leaf Scarf from Val Love’s Dovetail Designs was likely a favourite because of its speed, easiness, and use of a mere one skein of worsted weight yarn.
Best Selling Shawls - Full Collection
What strikes me most about these patterns is the amazing variation.
Jeanne Abel’s Starry Starry Night is the best selling pattern in the shawl category. It’s both beautiful and practical. Chris de Longpre’s Wrap Me Up is fun and educational. You can learn to make lots of different knit stitches and importantly, understand the different gauges associated with each stitch pattern from a Wrap Me Up experience. Robyn Gallimore uses an old Anatolian pattern and long colour change yarn for her Eliza Shawl. This is one of those patterns that could take your knitting skills to a whole new level and you also have a stunning accessory for years to come.
Best Selling Socks - Full Collection
The easier the sock pattern, the more people buy them. Here is a strongly held belief - handmade socks are the way to someone's heart.
These patterns, the Beginners Lightweight Sock, the Men's Heavy Weight Boot Sock, Beginner Socks, and Easy Children's Sock, from Knitting Pure and Simple are the cuff down basics for handmade sock lovers, both the creators and the lucky people who wear them.
And here are a few more basics that sock knitters bought.
Best Selling Patterns with Cables - Full Collection
What is the attraction to cables? The process is challenging because you need to keep your head about you, but once the pattern is established it’s not too difficult to read your knitting. Much depends upon the complexity of the pattern. A big part of the appeal is watching as the simple crosses of a few stitches turn into a masterpiece.
Shannon Okey designed Rivulet, the #1 best selling cabled pattern. It has cables, but also another appealing feature: it looks even better going than coming.
Annie Dempsey designed her Celtic Cardigan in 1997, but it could have been created last week or decades ago. Her Nehalem Hat is similarly timeless. The James C. Brett Waistcoat is striking more for the “Mega Chunky” yarn used than the cables, although they do emphasize the swing of this dress-like garment. By contrast, Robin Melanson’s Vivika is refined, cropped, shaped, and simply encrusted with cables in the manner of jewels. Colourful Kids from Reynolds provides cables for every size of child, and many adults, with chest sizes from 28” to 41”. For teenage and adult cabled hands, Shirley Scott created Shirl’s Mittlets for Cabin Fever.
Best Selling Patterns for Babies - Full Collection
It’s no surprise that Cabin Fever’s Last Minute Baby is the best selling baby pattern. You really could make this the evening before a baby shower or even while labour is progressing, although probably not your own. There’s no finishing or seaming. Just knit, sew on the buttons, and wrap it up.
Diane Soucy (Knitting Pure and Simple) has the baby wardrobe covered, except for diapers, with these 5 patterns in the top 10: Babies Neckdown Cardigan, Baby Pullover, Baby Hats, Mitts, and Booties, and her Newborn Layette.
The European as-can-be Coat, Scarf, and Leg-Warmers from Bergere de France, naturellement, is sized for children 6 months to 4 years. Just as appealing is the Rosie hat and cardigan ensemble designed by Beverly Ann Findlay.
Best Selling Patterns for Children - Full Collection
It’s practically a sweep! Knitting Pure and Simple designs capture 8 of the top 10 best selling patterns, but #1 is Maddy Laine’s Girl’s Smart Topper.
Our customers bought kid's patterns for all needs: boy, girl, rough and tumble, dressed up, preppy, adorable.
Best Selling Patterns For Men - Full Collection
Knitting Pure and Simple men’s neckdown pullovers are really popular. They include the Neckdown Hooded Pullover for Men in heavy worsted weight with a nifty, not-hard-to-do placket and hoody ties. Patterns don’t get much simpler to knit or to wear than this Neckdown Pullover for Men and its chunky yarn version, the Bulky Neckdown Pullover.
Karen Alfke produces the last word in unisex garments, her Unpatterns. Alfe’s Raglan Pullovers From the Top Down and Raglan Cardigans from the Top Down are customizable by size, gauge, stitch, and proportion so they can be made to suit and fit the most particular man (or woman or child). Best not to show this pattern photo to the man you might knit one of these for. The pattern works for any size and shape, but a non-knitting man could have trouble with the bosoms. Riddari from Istex-Iceland was a customer’s special request that we were delighted to fulfill.
Best Selling Crochet Patterns - Full Collection
There’s increased interest in crochet patterns. People are clamouring for more. Most of our patterns are knit, because that’s what our designers send us. The best advice we can give to those who want more crochet patterns is - buy more, not just here, although we would like that, but everywhere. That will encourage more designers to enter the market place and your choices will increase.
The #1 crochet pattern from Knot*Sew*Cute is the Oval Cotton Storage Bins They are practical, functional, pretty, and make a great house warming gift. This is a pattern that a beginner crocheter could easily make.
The best selling crochet patterns range from slippers to shawls, hats to dresses, coats and cardigans, socks and jackets.
Best Selling Weaving Patterns - Full Collection
Our weaving section is dominated by Laverne Waddington and her Andean Pebble Weave patterns, “step by step lessons for weaving traditional and contemporary designs…from the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands.” These patterns are available in English as well as German, Italian, and French. Weavers liked More Adventures with Warp-Faced Pick-Up Patterns, too.
Best Selling “Ethnic” Patterns - Full Collection
The patterns that their designers categorize as “ethnic” are a varied lot. What’s not to love in this collection? Some are for experienced knitters, most are not. Each will have friends and acquaintances wondering about your heritage.
From the Ambassador's Desk
- Gayle Clow
Chinese New Year is celebrated on February 10th this year. In honour of the Year of the Snake, I present the Fu Lantern from Anne Kuo Lukito.
Happy Chinese New Year!