When it comes to chosing a knitting pattern, what are the things that attract you?

I often find myself looking at other people’s finished objects on Ravelry, especially those ones that are shared with groups I belong to (NaKniSweMoDo being the biggest influence right now), and looking at patterns afresh.  I have been enjoying Interweave Knits magazine and instantly find myself wanting to knit at least five patterns from each one. But of course, that’s what we buy it for! 

I also love the “Friends” function on Ravelry where you can see what your friends have been knitting, queueing and favouriting. My Multnomah shawlette came into being because of one of my friends favouriting the pattern first.

 But, when you are browing Ravelry or Knitty for a pattern, it’s easy to see the ‘most popular’ patterns as a good bet. If thousands of knitters have gone before you, it can’t be all bad, right!

Here is a list of the twenty most popular patterns on Ravelry right now:

Fetching *


 Baby Surprise Jacket

Calorimetry **

 Clapotis **

Saartje’s Booties

 February Lady Sweater

Noro Striped Scarf

Ballband dishcloth

Sock Recipe

 Swallowtail Shawl

Turn a Square *

Felted Clogs


Jaywalker *

Lace Ribbon Scarf

One Row Handspun Scarf

My So Called Scarf

Ishbel *

February Baby Sweater

I’ve asterisked the ones above that I have knit, with a double asterisk for those I’ve done more than one of.  That’s only six out of twenty – not too bad, I don’t think that it makes me a total sheep. (Yep, may as well have a sheep joke on a knitting blog).

Out of interest, 14 out of the top 20 patterns are freebies, 5 of them are from Knitty.com, and of the 20 next most popular patterns, a further 16 are freebies, with 5 more of them Knitty patterns.

Now, why all of these ramblings? Well, I have a confession – two of these patterns are ones I have finished recently. This is the first:

Picture 2995

Yep, the ever-popular Jaywalker socks 🙂 Currently there are 6599 pairs of these socks on Ravelry’s database- mine will make 6600 I guess. I chose to knit this pattern because I thought it would suit the yarn – Lion Brand Magic Stripes. I was able to look through the projects and find several pairs in the exact same colourway and know that I would like the finished product – a pretty good guarantee all things considered. I was also able to find out that previous knitters had discovered they ran out of yarn before the second sock was done. I knew I had two balls but figured if I shorted the length by an inch on each sock I’d be right. Wrong! I still ran out before the toe of the second sock. So I now have one slightly used ball back in my stash.

These are non-identical socks, which would drive some people batty – I think if I were to do them again, I’d do a contrasting heel and toe to stop the differences in the pattern over these areas. Well, to be honest I will have to if I do more, given the wool crisis 🙂

Picture 2997

So, why am I not modeling them for the pics? These aren’t for me. In fact, they are in a courier bag on the way to their destination as I type. They are a wee reward for my yarn-mule sister who lugged back my purchases with her when she went to the States a couple of months ago. Yes, I am slow. I ran into a problem with the pattern (like I did a single increase instead of a double, a couple of times over, was too slow to pick up on it and then wondered where I went wrong)… so they sat, ignored, waiting for me to pick them up again. I had to frog back from half way down the foot back to the start of the gusset, but it was plain sailing after that.

So, is this pattern all it’s cracked up to be? Yes – it’s fab! A two-row repeat, one of which is all knit, what can you complain about? Super simple, and it allows you to get away from pattern following and just enjoy the results.

As if that weren’t enough, here’s the other FO I have to share:

Picture 3000

It’s a super simple, really cute wee pattern, called Turn a Square. This pattern is ideal for using up leftovers. I had a half ball of Noro Kureyon which was calling to me from my scraps bag. And now it’s going to be DH’s new winter hat. Yes, I know it’s Spring, but I’ve been *meaning* to make him a hat all winter!

You see, last winter DH complained his hat was itchy. So I went and bought him so soft 12 ply yarn and knit a hat. He’s got a big head, but not as big as the hat I knit! I tried to shrink it in the drier, which worked a little, but every time I see him wearing it I cringe. Thus the new hat.

And what a cool way to take advantage of the colour changes of Noro.

Picture 3001

So, despite the 3005 other “Turn a Square” hats out there, I really like my one. I am looking forward to seeing it worn if the weather turns again. But for now, I am enjoying the sushine and blue skies, contemplating lighter summer knits, and procrastinating about finishing my Central Park Hoodie. ( Half way up front #2 – hood and bands to go after that 🙂 )


19 Responses to “Popularity”

  1. 1 Judy September 8, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Well, I guess the thing is that only a small percentage of the popular knits will be knit in NZ, so the chances of running into others wearing another must be pretty minimal.

    I feel like a real knitting geek when I recognize the patterns to knitwear people are wearing at the shows I’ve been to!

    I’ve only knit 2 of the top 20.

    • 2 shortly24 September 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

      Absolutely! I think I’d be more excited than anything if I were to see another pair of knitted socks here, let alone being the same pattern!

      That said, last Wednesday we had three wee ones in their Milo vests at our Nappicino 🙂

      And, is there actually anything wrong with being a knitting geek? (Drooling over the fact you have shows to go to of course!)

  2. 3 Alison September 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I’m a bit of a hypocrite on this one. I’ve knitted a few popular patterns lately and have a couple more lined up ready to go but having said that I usually like to knit patterns that haven’t been done a lot before. I find especially when I’m knitting for Aiden I usually knit from pattern books I have and often these patterns aren’t even in Ravelry or only have a couple of projects, yet for myself I think I’m more influenced by Rav so tend towards more popular knits? I was thinking about this the other day actually, don’t really like to think of myself as a sheep but then if a pattern has been tried by many you know it will probably be a good pattern, or you can get tips from others on any problems.
    All that said it all usually comes down to whether I like the pattern, so if I see a pattern that is just right for what I’m after I’ll knit it whether it’s ‘popular’ or not, and often whether it is free or not (as long as I can source it).

    • 4 shortly24 September 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

      I’m a huge admirer of your kids knits – some of the things you’ve done are stunning 🙂 I guess for adult sweaters and the like it’s a huge investment of time and $$$ for yarn too, so it’s nice to have a sense of reassurance that the road you are taking is well tested by others first. I can understand the difference, I don’t think it’s hypocritcal!

  3. 5 kreachr September 8, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Well, of the list of 20 most popular knits on Ravelry, I’ve made one – the calorimetry. Guess I’m not so much of a sheep…

    Although I’ve only ever heard good reviews of the jaywalker socks and the February Lady sweater, so I may just have to make them and see what everyone’s going on about 🙂 What is your estimated yardage for the socks? I have standard size 7 NZ women’s feet (as do many others). Would I get away with 100g sock yarn, or would I need more?

    • 6 shortly24 September 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm

      The yardage for the socks with only 5 inches on the leg would be maybe 320 metres of the yarn I used – which is actually a sport weight yarn. Most 4 ply 100g skeins would have heaps for this pattern. My fave Vintage Purls has 384m and I usually have 20-25g left when I knit a pair of socks for myself.
      Happy knitting it sounds like you’ve got plenty of patterns left to experiment with 🙂

  4. 7 hannah September 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I was only just “enlightened” n the friends function of Ravelry and i have to say that it is 100% wher ei get my inspiration from at the moment. Oh maybye 90% as our tuesday night knitting group inspires me alot too 🙂
    Ive never looked at Knitty either so will have to do that!

    • 8 shortly24 September 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

      Yay for the friends function, and the knitting group – it’ s awesome, he! Knitty is well worth the visit, I hope you enjoy your time there – allow lots of time as it’s a huge site!

  5. 9 Libby September 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Yes absolutely I get lots of inspiration from my friends feed on Ravelry, now I’m inspired to blog which of those top 20 I’ve knit, which might be a few I think……
    Love your Turn a square, I have some random odd bits of Noro – what a great idea to use them up! thanks again.

    • 10 shortly24 September 9, 2009 at 10:25 pm

      It’s a super wee pattern, I am sure it will fly off your needles! And it’s pretty well guaranteed to be cute too, which is always a bonus 🙂

  6. 11 Alexandra September 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve knit three pairs of fetching gloves, the sock recipe and quite a few dishcloths! I also have to admit that most of those twenty patterns are in my real queue – things that I will actually knit, soon. I think some patterns are popular for a reason, they are fun to knit and the result is pretty!
    I choose my projects the same way you do; I love looking at my friends page on ravelry. Many times, I’ll see something and think it’s gorgeous, go to see what pattern it is and realize it’s a pattern I have seen before but didn’t like so much. Seeing what other people have done is very inspiring!

    • 12 shortly24 September 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm

      I love that aspect about other people’s projects too – it’s so inspiring to see patterns in a totally new light – it’s amazing what a different yarn, colour, size and a bit of imagination can do 🙂

  7. 13 Kate E September 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Love the FO S! I haven’t done many of them on the list to be honest – most of them are shawls etc. I do have an ishbel on the go though.
    I bet your hubby will love his new hat – love the color combo.

  8. 14 sara September 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I’ve only knit two of the top 20, but I like them all!

  9. 15 Amybel September 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I also am a big fan of the friends activity on Ravelry. My other favorite is the recently added patterns. Now if I could only spend as much time knitting as surfing!

  10. 16 Vicki September 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Totally loving the socks! Well worth the wait.
    I think of all the ones you have listed, the February Lady Sweater is on my ‘to do’ list.
    But I am enjoying Knitty patterns – currently working on two different sweaters from there (with another queued up).
    So much to knit – so little time!

  11. 17 Nancy McCarroll September 11, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Nice post. I am half way through the Clapotis scarf after frogging it at least four times! I liked looking at the most popular patterns on Ravelry.

  12. 18 Kate Salisbury-Metcalfe September 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Sheryl, the hat is super scrummy :-). I agree, the friends funcion on Ravelry is wonderful. It’s the best way to find the inspiration and encouragement to try challenging new items.

  13. 19 Kate September 12, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Ouch- I’ve knit 9 out of 20. I guess I’m just a sheep- and there are worse things that a knitter could be! I love the Jaywalkers! The yarn looks great with the pattern.

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