Newsflash: Knitters not that opinionated

A few weeks (okay, it might be months now), I set up a survey to find out how opinionated knitters (and crocheters) were. From my experience with yarn crafters, I thought there would be strongly held opinions.

I was wrong.

The Survey Respondents

The survey originally went up on a blog post, where I had 8 responses. Unfortunately, it didn’t appear to work on tablets, so I sent out the direct link to the Survey Monkey site and received a few more responses. I still wanted a slightly larger sample, so at the risk of skewing the data towards knitters, I put up the call for responses on a couple of Google+ knitting forums.

I then had a sample of 53 knitters and crocheters from around the world, which I considered a reasonable sample size – not representative of knitters in general, but enough to make an interesting article!

‘No Preference’ was the Preference

For many of the questions – working in the round technique, charted or written patterns, and socks toe up or top down – most of the respondents said they didn’t have a preference, they were happy to do as the pattern suggested or as the project required. Of those who did have a preference, there were evenly split across the options available.

no-preference-was-the-preference1

I did wonder, perhaps, that people were happy to do as the pattern suggested because the pattern generally agreed with them. For example, more respondents (44%) said they were happy to knit socks top down or bottom up; of the remainder, a small majority (30% versus 26%) said they preferred top down. If we look at the patterns available on Ravelry though, the vast majority (5,807 to 1,055) of patterns are top down – therefore, people are not faced with this choice very often and see themselves as happy to go along with the pattern.

The seamed versus seamless question, however, seems (punny!) to contradict this. Again, most people (56%) would work the pattern as written – but of the remainder, an overwhelming majority (41% versus 4%) preferred seamless. In the complete opposite of the socks example, the vast majority of sweater and cardigan patterns on Ravelry are seamed, rather than seamless (37,885 to 10,054). There are various reasons this could be – most probably because many older patterns have been added to Ravelry, which are seamed.

Unfortunately, we can’t sort finished projects on Rav by construction type to see which are more popular. But of the cardigans that currently have the most projects on Rav, eight out of ten are seamless.

While the above questions showed a strong preference for ‘no preference’, there were a few categories in that most respondents had a marked preference. I’d suggest the three categories below are core parts of how a yarn crafter works – and thus, they’re less likely to change these.

Knitting and Crocheting Techniques

Most respondents picked had a preference for knitting and crocheting technique, rather than choosing whichever suited the project. The vast majority of respondents held the yarn in their left hand while crocheting, while half of respondents preferred British-style knitting and a third Continental-style.

techniques

Tool Material

This was one area where I thought results would be pretty evenly spread – but again, I was proven wrong. Only a fifth of respondents had no tool material preference –  the vast majority (56%) preferred metal tools, with only 19% liking wooden hooks and needles, and only a single respondent preferring plastic.

tools

Monogamous or Polygamous Crafter

The one question in that a great preference was shown was whether the crafter saw themselves as a monogamous crafter (one project at a time), polygamous crafter (many projects at a time), or someone who committed to one project, but had occasional ‘affairs’.

Of respondents, 72% were polygamous, having many projects on the go, and presumably flitting from project to project like a butterfly from flower to flower (I really wanted to use another, more crude simile here. I refrained).

project relationships

Process or Product?

There’s one question I haven’t covered here and that’s whether the respondent was a process or product knitter. There was a fairly even split between Process, Product, and Not Sure and I want to explore this idea in it’s own post.

What do you think?

Do any of the results surprise you? Do you have any suggestions why people have the preferences that they do?

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