Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the meantime...

While you're voting on which hat to knit for my current boss/postdoc advisor, I offer up an FO. A toddler-sized Baby Surprise Jacket, modeled by one Toddler Wily. This sweater is not for her, but for a wee one yet to be born.




Friday, May 21, 2010


There are no mathematics in the world to help me predict which hat my current boss/mentor will like the best. Perhaps the very select readership of Knitting Rage can help?

First, a description of the recipient. Think tornado with a pony tail. Think Hilary Clinton in hiking boots. Think Peter, Paul and Mary with extra wheat grass. Got an image of someone like that? Now, would that individual prefer (warning: Ravelry links ahead):

1. Opus Spicatum (or here)
2. Entomology Hat (or here, but scroll down)
3. Beaumont Beanie (or here)
4. My Mum's Fair Isle Hat
5. Other (leave suggestions in the comments)

Vote on it - upper right-hand corner poll. Remember: vote early, vote often.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Road Rage!

Well, not really. I wanted to document the construction occurring directly outside my building this summer. The signs indicating the construction start date went up in early May. Construction start: May 10. What was happening as I biked into work yesterday? This:



And more than a few people doing something like this:

I hope to chronicle the progress over the next 2 months. BTW, the construction is for an addition to our current building. The removal of the road is to presumably access pipes and wires.

Oh yeah, I've been knitting - another pair of Monkeys.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The owner of this blog is currently engaged at a workshop on Complex Systems (kindly ignore that bit about Geosciences. I am not a geoscientist, nor do I play one on tv). Please leave a message at the beep commenting on your answer to that little poll in the upper right-hand corner of the blog.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Skew Askew

This blog's been all numbers for a few posts now, but I thought I'd remind my gentle readers that indeed, I do knit (albeit slowly) and occasionally, I have an FO to share. Today is one of those fantastic days. An FO! Skew, that fabulously unconventional sock from Lana Holden. This was an incredibly fun knit - and really, not too challenging once I let go of any sense of control over the pattern. This is a good pattern for striping yarn (although the logistics of the pattern did result in a small amount of pooling around the ankle). The socks fit quite well - though as many, many knitters note, they are tight to get on. Full details of my Skew available on Ravelry.

Sadly, the only picture I have of my beautiful skew was captured with my computer's built-in Photo Booth. Ho hum, I know. I'll try and do better this weekend.
Photo 18

Imagine, however, my surprise as I was editing the project details when up popped this little gem:

Be still my heart - dynamic analytics from Ravelry? I swooned! Then I checked out the data - nearly 90% of respondents rated Skew a 4 or a 5. What an endorsement! (Disclosure: I gave it a 4 for 2 reasons: (1) the kitchner stitch around the heal was fiddly and (2) a normal cast-off for the cuff? Really, after all that?). The mean difficulty rating was a 4.3, which places it as an interesting but not mind-boggling knit. (I rated it a little more difficult because I couldn't intuit my way through the pattern.)

Finally, a little appreciation for how quickly this pattern has spread. Released as a Knitty Winter surprise in early February 2010, this is the little pattern that could. As of this writing, there are 1000 Skews in progress or completed. 3194 members have queued this origami-like sock. All told, that's 4194 possible skews, roughly 28% the number of Fetchings... okay, that's a little misleading. Looking at the queuing figure, the rate of queuing looks fairly chaotic over the short term, but following the spike upon release (wow - 1062 in nearly a day?!), it's actually leveled out - sort of.

I can't help but wonder what might have been if Skew'd been released nearer to the summer Olympics...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Won't you be my neighbor?

Have you ever looked at your neighbors on Ravelry? Go ahead - take a look. Click the 'People' tab, then scroll to the bottom of the page. You'll see a section titled 'your neighbors: Ravelers with similar taste in patterns'. Basically, Ravelry compares your FOs/WIPs and queued projects with the rest of the member's FOs/WIPs and queued projects*. The ten people with whom you overlap the most are your neighbors.

I was interested in what projects my neighbors and I were knitting. Did we overlap on popular projects? Was there a tribe of like-minded individuals who had also knit lingerie, sea stars and tea lights? I also wanted to know a little more about my neighbors - how long had they been on Ravelry? Did they blog? How long had they been knitting?

On March 27, I recorded the following information about my neighbors:
  • Name
  • Knitting experience
  • Ravelry experience
  • Website (if any)
  • All our common FOs, WIPs and Queued projects
I then tallied how many of the common projects were common to all 10 of my neighbors (e.g., how many of my neighbors also knit a Baby Surprise Jacket?). I grouped the projects into: baby/toddler, socks, shawls/scarfs, sweaters/jackets and hats.

I also recorded the top 10 ravelry projects, as identified by the number of projects in Ravlery.

Results and Discussion

Neighbor Analysis

Figure 1. Common projects by category.
  1. My neighbors and I have, on average 13.8 years of knitting experience (+/- 4.8 years). We have all been on Ravelry since 2007, with most of us signing up in the spring/summer of that year (Ravelry launched in May of 2007 - we were early adopters!). Nine of us have blogs. Clearly, we are a group dedicated to knitting for the long haul and we rather embrace technology. We are modern women.
  2. We are sock knitters. Of the 69 common projects, 45% are socks (Figure 1). Two of those projects (Monkey and Jaywalker) appears in the top 10 list on Ravelry.
  3. We are also people who knit for small folks. Again, of the 69 common projects, 22% are tagged as baby/toddler. One project (Baby Surprise Jacket) appears in the top 10 list on Ravelry.
  4. Scarves and shawls are a close runner up to babies and toddlers (garnering 17%).
  5. The number one common pattern is... Embossed leaves by Mona Schmidt. Eight of my neighbors have knit this pattern - a lovely lace sock pattern that comes in at #39 on the top 100 in Ravelry.
  6. Coming in at a close second is the Jaywalker pattern. I find this particularly amusing since I have long since frogged my Jaywalkers. But still, I was smitten with the pattern enough at one time to cast on!
  7. In general, we are not knitters of the Ravelry top 10 (or at least, if we are, we knit different items!). Only three of our common patterns appear in the top 10. Another 5 patterns appear in the top 50.
  8. A few of my FOs/WIPs have only one neighbor. These include: Moderne Log Cabin blanket, Helleborus and Na Craga. Interestingly, these are three of my favorite knits (even if one (Na Craga) is my longest languishing WIP).
  9. There is only one adult sweater that appears in the common WIP/FO list - Sunrise Circle Jacket. I am not, by nature, a sweater knitter. Don't get me wrong - I wish I were. I've knit a few but never been happy with the result. Even the Sunrise Circle Jacket, I don't wear (not happy with how the decreases make it look like a naked watermelon). So I stick to hats, scarves, socks and shawls.
  10. One of my neighbors is knitting royalty. Yes indeed, it's none other than the Yarn Harlot herself! We have 10 common WIPs/FOs, including the Sunrise Circle Jacket, Moderne Log Cabin blanket and the BSJ.
There you have my analysis of me Ravelry neighbors. Quite a nice group, don't you think? Now go take a look at your neighbors. What are they knitting? Why are they your neighbors? And are any of your neighbors knitting lingerie?

*There's something odd going on though. Ravelry says neighbor 1 and I have 16 projects in common. However, when I click through, I see 8 FOs/WIPs in common and 2 queued projects in common, which does not sum to the 16 projects Ravelry says we have in common. There is a similar discrepancy for a few other neighbors. I am wondering if the algorithm also takes into account favorited projects.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trend analysis, the collaboration edition

Many thanks to the commenters on last week's post. As someone who has done limited colorwork and as someone who did not watch the Olympics (I know, gasp!), I was constrained in my ability to explain that particular pattern in the data. Colorwork often requires more attention to both a pattern and the process of knitting - which distracts from watching the curling gold medal round (thanks, Kristy). Further, there really isn't a current must-knit colorwork pattern (thanks, Teresa). Finally, lace knitting may be an upward trend these days, thus it would be well-represented in the Ravelympics (thanks, Kimberli).

Kimberli also pointed out some differences between Ravelympics 2010 (winter edition) and Ravelympics 2008 (summer edition). Socks were quite popular in 2008, which seems reasonable given the season, the heat (at least in the northern hemisphere), and the travel. Socks are light, portable and go well with the beach, barbecues and fireworks.

I truly think the February Lady Sweater represents a first sweater project for many knitters - thus the appearance in both the 2010 and 2008 Ravelympics. What is it that makes the FLS so approachable that it is consistently queued in Ravelympics? It is knit in one piece and the shaping is minimal - and there is lace!

Finally, my thanks to the visitors this week - see below for the impact of a friend tagging a post on the Ravelympics discussion board on website traffic! I hope you enjoyed my analysis and follow-up. Return next week when I explore my neighbors on Ravelry!