One of the things I like best about Ravelry is the 'Friend Activity' page. To reach it you log in, click on 'friends' in the 'my notebook' menu, and then click on the 'friend activity' tab.
While cruising the forums I saw a thread where a knitter had asked how to find a list of all the most popular patterns. Someone had kindly responded with not just one, but three lists! Each subtly different.
In the following descriptions if you click on the links you'll be taken to Ravelry to the results of the search itself. These lists depend on Ravelry users so may have changed between me posting this and you looking at them.
The first search was for 'Most Popular'.
1. Ishbel by Ysolda Teague (shawl)
2. Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (baby cardigan)
3. Fetching by Cheryl Niamath (gloves)
4. February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (cardigan)
5. Monkey by Cookie A (socks)
6. Clapotis by Kate Gilbert (shawl/scarf)
7. Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf (head band)
8. Turn a Square by Jared Flood (hat)
The second search is for 'Most Projects'.
1. Clapotis by Kate Gilbert (shawl/scarf)
2. Fetching by Cheryl Niamath (gloves)
3. Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (baby cardigan)
4. Monkey by Cookie A (socks)
5. Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf (head band)
6. February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (cardigan)
7. Saartje's Booties by Saartje de Bruijn (baby booties)
8. Jaywalker by Grumperina (socks)
Probably no surprise that 6 of the 'most popular' are also in the 'most projects' list.
Lastly, we have the 'Most Favourites'.
1. February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (cardigan)
2. Saartje's Booties by Saartje de Bruijn (baby booties)
3. Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson (hat)
4. Owls by Kate Davies (Jumper)
5. French Press Felted Slippers by Melynda Bernardi
6. Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery
7. Shalom Cardigan by Meghan McFarlane
8. Travelling Woman by Liz Abinante (shawl)
Here we see only two cross-overs from the previous lists.
"So what?" I hear you ask.
Well, anyone noticed the names appearing in these lists? Or rather, noticed the names that are not appearing? I know I've only arbitrarily taken the top 8 but there is no Norah Gaughan, no Ann Budd, no Kaffe Fassett, no Debbie Bliss. In fact no mainstream names other than Elizabeth Zimmermann. Jared Flood and Ysolde Teague are certainly big news in the knitting world but still relative newcomers and might not be on most people's lists of the top knitting designers in the world. And yet....these lists show whose patterns knitters are really enjoying. Which ones they like and which ones they come back to time and again.
And for me that is a very interesting thing.