My point, and I do have one

Β The weather at the coast is rainy and cool, and it’s given me time to think and make decisions (and knit.)

More than every once in a while, a pattern comes along that captures the enthusiasm of a lot of knitters. Monkey, Clapotis, Swallowtail, Fetching, Jaywalker, Baby Surprise Jacket… and every time this happens, the world of knitters can roughly be divided into five groups.

1. Knitters who see something, give no weight at all to whether or not something is popular and either knit it or don’t according to their whims.

2. Knitters who see this lots of people knitting something, decide that it’s cool and knit it.

3. Knitters who pay attention to what’s going on, trend-wise, but have other stuff going on and end up following a trend way late – after everyone else has knit it. (I fall into this group a lot.)

4. Knitters who see that lots of people are knitting something, and decide instantly that they wouldn’t be caught dead knitting it, specifically because it’s popular.

5. Knitters who don’t know what’s popular at all, because they aren’t part of a knitting community, and really, statistically speaking, this is most knitters. There are about 50 million knitters in North America, and even Ravelry only has 455,766 users. That means that the very biggest chunk of knitters are acting entirely independently. (This is an interesting point for those of us in an active knitting community who think that "everyone" is knitting or reading a particular knitting pattern or source.)

Me, I flip flop around and find myself falling fairly often into the first three groups -and almost never in the last two. (Although I often don’t know what’s going on in general, I usually know what time it is in the online knitting community.) As a matter of fact its group 4 that I almost never fall into. I understand the argument – or at least I think I do, it seems to be rooted in a strong sense of independence, and a desire to be unique and "trendproof" and that much rings true. I don’t know many knitters who would spend as much time, money and energy as it takes to knit something working on something that they don’t like or doesn’t resonate for them, and I know a lot of knitters who won’t knit something really popular even if they do like it, since a big part of knitting for them is the part where they can express their individuality in yarn. Even if they do like a popular pattern, knitting it would make them appear less individual, and so they reject the pattern. That makes lots of sense, and I respect it. There’s lots of us who want to look like ourselves, and don’t care if there’s other people wearing the same thing, and lots of us who want to look like ourselves and feel like that can’t be true if you look like everybody else. Fair enough.

There does, however, seem to be a fringe element in that group who would rather die than knit something popular, and in fact hold popular knits and the knitters who knit them in contempt. We’ve all heard the "sheep" comment – about how if you knit something popular you’re just a sheep who’s following the herd and have no will of your own and … You know where this goes. This small group of knitters dislikes things that are popular not because they’re worried about protecting their sense of individuality (valid) or not because they don’t want to look like everyone else (valid) or because a pattern isn’t to their taste (really valid) but simply because it is popular, and for no other reason.

I don’t buy the argument, and sometimes I’m even offended by it. The idea that something is a crappy knit just because lots of people knit it, or that those people are somehow brainless minions who are only following a trend annoys me. The whole premise seems rooted in the McDonalds theory. The one that says that something is popular because it’s a) accessible, and b) watered down or benign enough that it’s now nothing more than the lowest common denominator… a reflection of the basest human cares, devoid of value… and they’re right – sometimes. McDonalds is popular because of those reasons. Human like fat, sugar and salt. McDonald’s delivers that, pretty much straight up, and is therefore popular. Nobody pretends it’s the best food in the world – and everybody knows it’s junk. It’s popular anyway.

On the other hand, some things are popular because.. well. Frankly they’re popular because they’re really good. Really, really good. The Mona Lisa. Michelangelo’s David. Monet, Bach, chocolate cake … these things are popular because they’re the best of humanity. They’re brilliant – and when something is good enough it hits a lot of our common buttons at the other end of the scale, and it gets popular for reasons that are exactly at the other end of the scale from McDonalds.

People who hate popular things on principle aren’t allowing for both ends of the scale to exist. They think that everything popular is part of the McDonalds theory, and there’s no convincing them otherwise. Even though they (as far as I know) don’t walk around saying things like "Michelangelo? What a hack. Anyone who likes him is a brainless sheep who can’t think for themselves" or "Bach? What a load of crap. I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to him. I wouldn’t want people thinking I can’t think for myself", they say stuff just like that about knitting patterns or knitting trends. There’s enough of this fringe element out there that when I said that I thought that my next knit would probably be the Drops Jacket, that a bunch of them wrote to me and told me that it had already been knit too much, that it was "too popular" and that I should think for myself and choose something else.

With all due respect to them (and I really mean that, just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean that I don’t like you or think less of you) I think they are ignoring that other end of the scale, and I wonder what makes them think that I’m not thinking for myself and choosing what I like? I mean, it’s not like I took a look at that jacket, heaved a huge sigh of regret and said "Damn. That jacket is popular? Crap. Now I’ll have to knit it and wear it even though I think it’s stupid." Sure, it came to my attention because a lot of people knit it, but what about that makes it a bad pattern, or me brainless?

This is all just a long way of saying that I’ve decided that my brown handspun should be the Drops Jacket 103-1.

Yes. I know lots of other people have knit it. I think that’s because it’s a great pattern and because a lot of people have good sense. I don’t have a problem with that.

Baa. Sheep unite.

333 thoughts on “My point, and I do have one

  1. I concur. Knit what you want and deuces to those who choose to disagree. Most really popular patterns are really popular because they are good. The Baby Surprise Jacket is a perfect example. Even after all these years it is simply a really good jacket knit entirely in garter stitch. It’s simplicity and beauty have assured its perennial popularity.

  2. I think the jacket looks neat . should be a good knit. Have fun. We eagerly await your journey with this knit.

  3. Go for it! I knit that jacket last year, and it is one of my favorite sweaters. (Even if I should have made it a little longer.) I didn’t realize it was (or would become) so popular, or maybe I would have thought twice about it… While I think of myself in Category 4 in most contexts, I have a much more healthy approach to knitting patterns! Knitting what you like and what you think will look good on you or the recipient is a better criterion than popularity quotient.

  4. I say, make what you want and to heck with the rest! Lovely jacket (I’d make it with the long sleeves) – and two gauges to choose from, very cool! The collar is neat too.

  5. I completely agree with you, though I have been accused of hating the popular. It’s not the popular patterns that bug me – they are usually popular for very good reasons. I just got really fed up within my knitting group of the way the popular patterns and yarns were given more validity – in fact, i felt like a target just trying to suggest that there might be sock patterns as good as monkey. I think, knit what you love and what will work for you. I just love the way knitting brings out our individuality, and don’t like the way the surge of particular patterns can lead people to feel that they must be a certain type of knitter, or knit a certain pattern in a certain way in order to have any knitting street cred.
    I hope that made sense.
    Great post Steph, and great jacket πŸ™‚ knit on and more power to you!

  6. I cannot fathom why other people feel the need to tell other people what they should knit. I find it so ironic that someone would tell you that you should think for yourself by doing what they would do and not knit something that is popular. I don’t get it.

  7. I’m totally a category three knitter. Always late to the game.
    And as knitters, don’t we all *like* sheep?

  8. Yes!
    Something that needed to be said.
    I occasionally cringe before leaping on a bandwagon, but it is just silly to try to maintain one’s independence by eschewing popular things!

  9. I also think that to some extent, the people you are talking about are not, in fact, taking their own advice. People who reject something purely on the basis of its popularity without considering WHY something is popular are actually doing the same thing they accuse the “sheep” of doing: making judgements based solely on the status of a thing instead of its real worth.
    I don’t think knitting patterns become hyper-popular if they are ultimately ill-fitting or badly designed (unlike food or weird handbags). Even the 10% of North American knitters who are on Ravelry is a good cross-section of taste, and a pattern that slowly gains popularity does so because of its good qualities. Negatively judging such a thing on the fact that lots of people have done it before is refusing to think past the blind disgust for Popularity itself, and that’s just silly.
    So I say, think for yourself, you Haters of Popularity! If you don’t like it, of COURSE don’t do it, but spend half a minute considering the potential merits of a thing first.

  10. Well, I actually go out of my way to look for patterns that are popular — not because I want to be a sheep and can’t think for myself. I do it because I haven’t been knitting that long, and I think if a lot of people are knitting something, then it must be a really good pattern. Or, if not, then at least I know there are a lot of people who can answer my questions when I get stuck. (And, yes, I only knit things I like — no matter how popular it is.)

  11. I think it’s a lovely jacket. My knitting competence (speed?) is not excellent so my project choice is limited to ‘things that might be finished within the next year’. So hats are popular! Though I’m embarking on a skill stretching project soon and knitting a cardigan for a 2 year old πŸ™‚
    I love the way your yarn is knitting up. It looks lovely and cozy and warm.

  12. I like that jacket; I think it’s very pretty. (I had never seen it before I clicked your link). I typically will knit popular things only if I like them, and always long after everyone else has finished them. I won’t be knitting this one, because it’s not a style that would be flattering on me (I need waist-shaping), but I’ll enjoy seeing how yours comes out. I’m planning a BSJ, for a bundle of joy due in early May. πŸ™‚ I love sheep.

  13. Hmmm – well I think that is just a fine damn jacket regardless of how many have been knit previously. I don’t knit popular things just because – heck I don’t knit anything, unless I love it, popular or not!
    Go for it Stephanie – looking forward to seeing WIPs and FO along the way.
    Knitterly love,
    Crystal Belle

  14. I LOVE that jacket, it’s been in my list forever and yet…I might be in the #6 category, see what’s popular, have knitting fantasy, never knit it due to the fact that it is not EZ’s seamless raglan, which is all I ever knit…

  15. I also fall somewhere in categories 1-3. Why does it matter to anyone what someone else knits? It shouldn’t matter. If you like the jacket, by all means knit it! No one has the right to tell you or anyone else what to knit or not to knit. I say you should do what you want! πŸ™‚
    bio

  16. Excellent choice! I believe that is perfect for your yarn. I will anxiously await progress pictures on the way to a wonderful finished project. There are times when I am sheep-like and follow the herd; however, right now, I will just plod along on using up some sock yarn and working on a couple of lace shawls. Still struggling through the lace process! πŸ™‚

  17. They think if they baah-mouth they’ll thereby block sheep, but have they any wooly good arguments? No. Drops is beautiful. Enjoy!

  18. I find the idea that anyone who knits, even if they don’t use wool as a rule, using an argument to illustrate something negative with SHEEP as the negative example to be incredibly funny. I mean, isn’t that kind of…well…I mean, the craft exists because of sheep (and other fleece bearing animals)!
    Ok, maybe I’m reading too much into it but the image amuses me.
    In my own knitting I’m a combination of 3 and 5. I knit so slowly that sometimes I’m making what was popular years ago, but I just as often don’t even notice.

  19. This reminds me of a time I was in a bar and ordered a Perrier. The server looked at me with disdain and said, “You do know that that is no longer the ‘in’ drink, don’t you?” “Great!” I replied, “all the more for me!” This is the obverse of your comments – the thought that I might change my order once I became aware of current trends. Make it because you love it, regardless of the sheep or the objecters. It don’t concern ’em!
    Looks great so far! And yes, thanks on behalf of Vancouver for your kind thoughts our way!

  20. never seen it before – love it – might even knit it one day!
    i am usually a late knitter to the knitting the popular scene. tend to like the basics + classics with a twist.
    knit on!

  21. who cares how many people have knit something? (i like it when others find mistakes and make cool mods before i have to reinvent the wheel!)
    and besides, no one has ever or will ever knit the drops jacket in THAT yarn! totally unique therefore! rock it stephanie!
    and by the looks of it, you may need it on the coast in a few days, so giddy up! hehe

  22. I’m one who “has” to knit things mosttimes, because I “need” to try the pattern, technique or yarn. Not necessarily in that order. πŸ™‚ Yup. Severe statitis here.
    The pattern you chose is beautiful! I think it will do your yarn justice. Or the other way around… both!
    Knit on, Stephanie!

  23. I agree with you completely. That being said, I took a look at the pattern and said… But I’d like it a bit longer and with full sleeves rather than the 3/4 length. Guess it’s that personal sense of style thing. Now I just need to learn how to adapt a pattern to do just that. =) Knit on!

  24. It’s a lovely jacket, why not do it? I’d knit it in a minute (or a few months) if it came in my plus plus size. Generally, I’m a category 3 knitter, usually late to the game but I still have fun with the projects, and by the time I knit them, the fad has passed and often I can start it up again in a new constituency. That’s fun!

  25. I’m definitely category 3 although I have already knit a Damson and think I’m all that because of it.

  26. I think that jacket pattern is lovely. One aspect of the popular/unique comparisons that I find really interesting, is that in my experience, simply wearing any handknit (regardless of how popular the pattern might be amongst your peer group of knitters) is very unique amongst the muggles.

  27. Why anyone would care what anyone else makes is beyond me. And even more so, why he/she feels compelled to bring this ‘information’ to your attention. It is, after all, a free world! Doing what makes us happy is the goal, after all!

  28. Stephanie,
    If it helps any: I’ve never heard of this pattern, never saw anyone make it (and I hang out with a knit group alot), never have seen anyone wear it; but it is lovely and would look great with your handspun and I would definately make it if I didn’t have too many projects going now.

  29. I am a lone knitter here. I go into the city 2 hrs away to buy what I need/want or get it when I go on trips. I buy what I like and love to see what other people are doing. Being on dial up, I can’t always access Ravelry but I do read a few blogs and trust the judgement of the writers. I check out selective links…Love this jacket, not sure its for me, but think that people should knit what they love.
    Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. The opinions others offer amazes me..especially when I don’t remember asking what they think…if you are willing to share the pattern for the mittens tho, that would be lovely…

  30. Glad you decided to use your handspun for the jacket. My imagination thinks it’s a perfect pairing of yarn and design.

  31. Hear! Hear! I actually mean to do a few of those projects you mentioned at the beginning, but haven’t gotten to them due to, um, well, I distract easily and rarely stay true to my Ravelry queue. And I like doing popular stuff, ’cause it means lots of people have posted info on the project, put up alterations you may want to consider, errata are sussed out and taken care of, and so on. Being a sheep is great! Still, I am squarely in group 3. I’m always late on the trends!
    Good luck with your Drops Jacket, doing it up in your handspun must be great!
    Baaa!

  32. One thing that I enjoy about knitting is seeing the same pattern knit by different people. The end result is seldom uniform. Most people don’t even use the same yarn let alone the same color. Knitters can be quite indivdual even when they are “sheep.”

  33. I don’t get the #4 attitude at all. I knit what I like. Then again, I didn’t realize that Monkey socks were a big thing when I made them, my usual knitting community is about a half-dozen people.

  34. I prefer to spend my time knitting things I like-as I grow older I realize my knitting time is limited-why waste it? I have found projects “late” (as I only just joined Ravelry last year) and enjoyed knitting them up as thousands of others have done, and I have found joy knitting a pair of socks for an “under-appreciated pattern” challenge that had been knitted up for less than 10 projects. Fellow knitters open my eyes to new projects-I always take a look at a popular one, but I choose to knit what speaks to my taste and interest at the time.
    Knit on, Harlot! (that jacket does look like a great project-I may just have to investigate it further-thanks!)

  35. I like to think that making use of the knitting community to find patterns is a good thing. Witness the bazillion patterns that only look good on a model because of the way the photo shoot was staged and the fact that there are 200Trillion pins in the back that can’t be seen.
    Seeing a sweater/sock/shawl/whatever either on another person or looking at the pattern online helps me to see the possibilities of the pattern and make an *educated* decision as to whether or not it’ll fit me. It also helps me choose yarns in a more educated manner and think constructively about alterations.
    Using other people’s knowledge isn’t necessarily being a “sheep”. It’s being efficient. Why reinvent the wheel?
    You sweater will be lovely – but I’d do it in a different yarn and probably rethink the buttons. πŸ™‚

  36. Valerie 7:48 pm – I’d want to say to that server(who clearly was not a good server – should have waited till in back to disparage your choice, not to your face) “neither am I.” Not that I would have thought of it until days later…
    Sheep are good. And not as good at following as one might think.
    (I admit it. I’ve never see the movie Titanic. But then, it’s not a great knitting pattern either. I have made several Baby Surprise Jackets. There’s my bandwagon!)

  37. I’d think I’d fit into both scales. I like something because I like it, and I don’t like it because I don’t like it. For instance, I like clapotis, but I hate Twilight (the books/movie). I think that people who can think for themselves decide what they like, not what others like, and they don’t care if something’s popular or not. They can think for themselves what they like or what they don’t like. They can decide for themselves what’s good and what’s not. Now that’s thinking for yourself.

  38. This made my laugh my ass off. I went to high school with a lot of people who sounded exactly like #4. Most of them grew up…
    I like the jacket. It looks like a fun knit. Are you going 3/4 sleeve, or preparing for Canadian winter with full-length?

  39. I think with knitting, patterns are popular because they are 1)fun, 2)easy and/or 3) turn out nice.
    Why does everyone think the fun fur scarves were so popular? They were easy to knit, so anyone could make them. They turned out looking all funky and colourful and fun. They felt nice along the skin (depending on which fun fur you used). Has nothing to do with following the crowd. It was someone saw a fun furn scarf. They said, “that is so cool! Where did you get it? You made it?!? That’s awsome! Can you make me one? No? But you’ll teach me? And it’s such an easy project that a beginner can do it? Even more awsome!!”
    If a knitting pattern isn’t cool, knitters won’t make it. To much work for something you won’t like.

  40. I’m also solidly in the 1-3 camp. The clapotis had been out for a very long time before I finally got around to it (after hearing about it from many different places), and loved it.
    Usually something is popular because it has merit in some way. Not *always*, but there has to be a reason so many people like it, right?
    As for this sweater, knit on. It’s not my style, and I don’t plan on knitting it, but I did click the link and consider it.
    FWIW, I like that Drops generally shows their designs in neutral colors. Color has a way of influencing my snap judgment in ways that their neutrals don’t trigger.

  41. One thing I kinda like, and they are very popular, but I would never knit: fingerless mitts. They are so cute, so little commitment of yarn and time, one can dress them up or down… But who ever needs mittens that let your fingertips stick out?
    I was thinking of knitting my first real Clapotis soon, though! (I have made a bias-knit scarf with dropped stitches, but I’d like to more or less follow the pattern this time!)

  42. I think there might be a sixth category. There have been a few things people have knit that I couldn’t understand at first, like socks, the BSJ, and dishcloths.
    Socks were a mystery because I kept hearing how there was nothing like a handknit sock, they were the most comfortable thing ever, etc., and I couldn’t understand it, because I have never found commercial socks to be *uncomfortable.* I think it took a particularly fetching ball of self-striping yarn to get me to knit a pair and once I tried the sock on I understood. I’ve made, I don’t know, 40 or 50 pairs since then, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
    The BSJ drove me nuts, because I didn’t like the way it looked and yet there was something about it that was terribly appealing to a great many knitters. Finally, I made one just so I could understand what the fuss was about. From a knitting geek standpoint, it’s a fascinating project, structurally, but since I’m still not enamored with the way it looks, and I can’t imagine any gift recipient caring about how it was constructed, I doubt I’ll knit another, but I’m glad I knit the one.
    Finally, I can’t tell you how many times I disparaged dishcloths. I was sure there was nothing about them I would like, starting with the cotton yarn and the non-garment nature of them, and ending with the fact that they would be too thick for my dishwashing taste. I finally decided I shouldn’t keep knocking them until I tried one, and once I did, I finally understood their appeal, in much the same way I finally understood the hand knit sock once I tried it. I don’t use them to wash dishes (I have a dishwasher), but I do use them to wipe counters, and now I am sold.
    What I have learned is that I shouldn’t knock a *type* of project until I’ve tried it, but in general, if I don’t like a *specific* project before I knit it, I won’t likely change my mind about it after I knit it.

  43. I don’t really have a knitting community yet, and I love to see what other people are knitting; they’re a great source of inspiration. I love some popular patterns and am totally indifferent to others.
    I just recently started my second Noro striped scarf, that’s how far “behind the curve” I am! But I’m loving it – seem to have found a perfect pairing with 282 and 272 – these two colorways just seem to dance together; every time a perfect pair of colors changes, it moves into a different perfect pair.
    Enjoy your Drops; I think the jacket will be wonderful on you.

  44. You forgot the category wherein knitters cast on for a very popular pattern, and never finish. Or finish 12 years later. Or look at an UFO four years later and say to themselves, “Clapotis in spotty-colored bamboo? What was I thinking?” and promptly frog it. (You wouldn’t want some spotty-colored bamboo, would you?)
    Not that I know anyone like that, of course.

  45. I admit sometimes I avoid things because they’re popular and I like finding undiscovered gems instead. For instance, I did an exhaustive search of fingerless glove patterns because I thought just automatically knitting Fetchings was the easy way out.
    HOWEVER, after reading at least half a dozen “I hate Clapotis” threads on Ravelry, I took a good long hard look at the Clapotis pattern… and decided to knit it anyway. Cause I kind of like it even if it IS popular. And I just happened to have some hot pink yarn I kinda wanted to use.

  46. Yay, sheep! Oftentimes a popular pattern *is* a good pattern, as you say. I’ve also found that a pattern I might not have liked when it first hit the interwebs eventually becomes my passionate must-knit, either because my tastes and/or skills have evolved or so many purty ones have been knit and displayed that I am compelled to have my own. And this may be my favorite blog post title of yours ever.

  47. That jacket is in my favorites queue. Baaa…
    Actually, I just think it’s great that you found a good match for your beautiful handspun yarn.
    Looking forward to seeing your version of the jacket.

  48. um, the sheep comment in general should not apply to knitters. We LIKE sheep. sheep = wool = good. enough said.

  49. I mostly don’t knit things that other people design. I like to imagine a garment and then figure out how to make it and I like to play with yarn and let the yarn tell me how it wants to be knit up. Knitting someone else’s design is like having sex with someone else’s husband — it gets in the way of the intimate connection between me and my yarn.
    I very very rarely make an exception to this, and then only for very clever patterns that seduce me despite my best intentions — things like the Sidewinder socks and the Morgan cap.

  50. Point #1: i think, as knitters, none of us would take offense at being labeled “sheep” (as we all know it is the noblest of creatures!)
    Point #2: the same pattern knit by 100 different knitters will look 100 different ways of unique and individual! so where’s the blind conformity in that? hmmmmmmm

  51. This week I am firmly in camp #3, and am now halfway through my first Clapotis. I have to say, I never saw the appeal and couldn’t understand why it was so popular, until I vacationed in Paris last year and Got It. I am enthralled. I will knit more.

  52. Eetzzz all trooooo! Nice jacket, and if I knit faster and had more time, I’d make one too. BUT, I have a cedar chest full of 80’s oversized handknits. I consider frogging them and knitting up something more traditional.
    That’s it! I’m a Trad Knitter – like a trad musician. Woolz for me, as are guernseys. I plan on spending my winter hours on kilt socks and a true, felted scots blue bonnet!

  53. ps: on a totally inrelated point, does anyone know what ever became of the 1000 knitters project? i was in attendance last june 08 for the WWKIP day at Lettuce Knit and i am eagerly awaiting to see the final outcome….

  54. I definitely fall into group one. I knit what I like, regardless of how many other people also like it.
    That said, I somehow had not seen that pattern before, it’s lovely, and it might need to be added to my queue. =)

  55. I’m also in Category 3. A few years ago when I had taken up knitting again, I’d heard a couple of people who used the “I won’t knit it because everyone else is” argument (about one of your patterns) and I got the distinct impression from the way they said it that they were jealous everyone wasn’t knitting their pattern. Jealousy is an ugly thing and I decided I wouldn’t play into that game. Knit what makes you happy – isn’t that one of the reasons we enjoy it?

  56. Considering how sheep are where wool come from, how can being called a sheep be a bad thing?
    Seriously, though, I don’t think anything in knitting is such instant gratification that it could be compared with McDonalds the way some insist on doing. I guess, maybe, pom poms could be the McDonalds of yarn and knitting.
    Popular patterns are popular because they are good, in my opinion, not because knitters who knit them are sheep. If the pattern or the yarn or the finished garment were crap, then it would be popular to knit half of the pattern and then complain about it.
    In short, BAAAAAAAAA! You BE the sheep!

  57. …and then there are those of us who say, “Hmmm, let’s see what the Yarn Harlot is working on today/has worked on within the past few years. Oooh, that Shawl That Jazz came out nice. Hey, this Blue Moon BFL Sport is on sale, and I wear a lot of jeans, and that shawl would look great on me as I wear my jeans. Also, I’ve been wanting to try that Jabberwocky colorway…”
    And then it’s all over but the knitting. πŸ™‚

  58. There’s another category of people who see something they like, it becomes popular, they decide to knit it because they love it,they know that it’s too warm wear they live and they’ll hardly ever wear it, but they knit it anyway because they love it. I’m in this situation with Ysolda’s Vivian. It’s probably a 3 times a year cardi for me, but I don’t care.

  59. Baaaa …. I’m knitting it too. And you know, I picked it BEFORE I knew it was popular or cared at all. (um, Category #1, I suppose?) When I saw a lot of people had made it, I said – “Oh look, I guess for once in my life I picked the fashionable thing. Huh, neat, maybe my daughter won’t laugh at me this time.”
    It’s a super-cute coat and I can’t wait to see how yours turns out.

  60. It’s possible to take a great pattern–one that has been knit hundreds of times–and take it in a new and creative direction with color, texture, fit, or a special, hand-crafted yarn that is unique unto itself because it was made with your own hands. No one can buy that yarn, it can’t be procured from any vendor for any amount of money (though, arguably, you would sell it for the right amount, I’d guess). Isn’t that part of what handkitting is about? Standing against the machine of industry? Making something that is individual and the result of the work of human hands?
    I’m not sure it’s possible to be a “sheep” and still be a hand knitter. Now even with a ball of Debbie Bliss in one hand and a copy of Fetching in another.

  61. There are people like this in relation to anything. Music, art, movies, books; you name it, there are those that hate on “popular.”
    This is my mantra: “I like what I like, even if it’s popular.”

  62. I guess I fall into more than one category. One thing I like about starting a widely knitted pattern is that it is often well documented. Problems, mistakes and modifications are out there to read and view. A great pattern is generally recognized by more than me. I’m glad of it. I can still make it my own.

  63. These mittens are just beautiful — the Bach and Michaelangelo kind of beautiful! I’m sure they’ll be the good kind of popular sometime soon!

  64. Thanks for saying this, because I’ve definitely thought it. I don’t get 4s at all. Why wouldn’t you knit something if you liked it, just because other people agree with you??? Personally, I’m a 3 (see the Feb Lady Sweater I just finished!) and knit with a group of 5s — older women who definitely know the internet exists (they’re mostly librarians) but don’t seem to know there’s knitting on it!

  65. It’s all just personal taste really, I love both popular and obscure patterns. And I hate both popular and obscure patterns. What I prefer to knit is just my personal preference. I would never question a knitter who is knitting a pattern I don’t care for very much. They obviously do, that is all that matters.
    As long as people enjoy what they do and it excites them and makes them happy, what could be better?

  66. Oh! I like that jacket, saw it the other day and printed it and put it in my someday notebook. It’s popular? Well, aren’t I behind the times πŸ™‚

  67. I usually fall into group 3. I am not a fast knitter and, I guess, more of a process knitter, although I like to have a finished product with a purpose. If there is a popular pattern that I think I will knit later, I get the pattern (or mark it as a favorite on Ravelry) so I don’t forget about it. This summer I bought some lovely Dream in Color Classy and buttons that will be a February lady sweater before the end of the year (I hope). And I’m hoping to finish my Clapotis out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts sock yarn before a trip in late October.
    I love the Drops sweater and I think your handspun will be lovely knit up into it.

  68. Funny you should mention this pattern . . . . I’ve had my eye on it for some time & had already printed it off.

  69. Fabulous. I love the commentary and your handspun looks positively luscious knit up! I am one who is always behind the curve and I don’t care. It comes from working on dying, spinning, and knitting waaaay too many things at one (hence the jaywalkers I finished this week). I think what I love best about this post is the irony that every time you knit something it just becomes that much more popular. *grin* thanks for the continued inspiration…

  70. First of all, I want to one day be one of your readers who can say, “I knit two of those last month”. I knit one sock last year and the other one this year.
    BUT anyway, what number are you if you always want to knit whatever the Yarn Harlot makes look so cool with her narrative?
    Anyway, I love 3/4 sleeves, my wee little arms need them.
    Thanks for sharing –
    Sarah

  71. Le sigh… you are a mere 40 miles north of where I learned to knit, at my grandmother’s in Tillamook. (I’m now 3000 miles away.)
    I’m a 3 with a dash of 1, yet my constraints have more to do with time and $ for yarn, than trends, my ability to follow them, etc.

  72. I agree with you. My theory has always been that it takes a true individual to do what she likes without paying attention to whether it is popular. Striving so hard to be “individual” can make people conform to being “non-conformist” which is something of an oxy-moron. Enjoy the knit! It looks fun.

  73. C’mon, Steph, you neglected to include a sixth category. It is often found as a subtype to the fourth. They are the knitters who proclaim that they never use commercial patterns. They have a highly developed, sophisticated sense of style coupled with superior math skills. Their unique individualism makes it impossible to knit something designed by another. They seem to not knit much of anything. I suppose they could be extreme process people, but I usually come to a different conclusion. I just continue with my knitting while they finish their rants. I used to be annoyed, and then I was mildly entertained, before finally moving on to being bored by it.
    I’m sure you will enjoy knitting and wearing your new sweater. I was not aware of it before clicking the link. While it is not for me, I think it will be a spectacular match for you. I can just about picture you wearing it.

  74. I dunno. I agree with you about those types of knitters. I like to look at the trendy patterns one at a time, and if I like one in particular, I’ll knit it. Or if I have yarn yearning to become one in particular, I’ll knit it. Simple. πŸ™‚

  75. I’ve never been quite sure how I can look at so many patterns online on a daily basis and still be shocked when I find a new-to-me pattern that already has 2000+ projects listed on Ravelry.
    When you did the Noro scarf last year, believe it or not, I had never heard of one, much less seen one.
    It didn’t matter when the LYS people asked if my four yarns of Noro were for the “Noro-scarf.” It was a good idea and a damn good one at that. Mine is somewhere buried in the 218 pages of Noro scarfs. Oh well.
    What I don’t get about the people who are simply being contrary for the sake of contrariness is that, the odds that I’m going to run across another person wearing the same knitted pattern as me in the entire city is near zero. I did see someone wearing a Caliometry once, but I hadn’t even made one myself!

  76. #1,2,3,& 5. I’m still at the thrummed mittens, fairly plain socks, and reversible scarves stage. You blogged about these years ago so I’m following a trend a little late. Actually, I discovered the Yarn Harlot only last year. However, don’t give up hope. I’ve ordered yarn from all over the continent and some extremely interesting sock pattern books. I’m in love with sock yarn-can’t get enough of it. I’m also in love with addi turbo lace needles-the better with which to knit Cat Bordhi socks. Someone needs to take away my computer or remove the “buy with one click” button from it. Back to knitting-Christmas is coming faster than I knit. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  77. I fall into 1, 2 or 3, but mostly I fall into number 1. When I knit something that’s trendy I’m usually late to the party. Most of the time when lots of people are knitting the same pattern, there’s enough difference to make it interesting. I almost knit that pattern but the yarn I wanted to used didn’t work, so I’m knitting another pattern. I would still like to knit it sometime.

  78. I’m with you! Knit what we like and if lots of other people are knitting it too, then let the sheep unite! (Makes more fiber more accessible!) By the way, what ARE they knitting? I really like the jacket, but with my figure, I would have to do buttons all the way down. In fact, I like a lot of the Drops designs! Baaaa

  79. Now I am usually a 3#, and only a #2 if it can be made in an hour. πŸ™‚ Recently finished an FLS for DD (see ravelry for “geminiknitter”). I love the Drops Jacket. If I made it, however, it would be for DD, who is a teeny gal and who would adore it. Not for myself – my size 44EEEEE bazookas would really destroy the style!! LMAO πŸ™‚

  80. Several times I have knitted something that was very popular before I found it, having been an isolated knitter for years before joining Ravelry.I still haven’t finished the second Monkey sock but boy could I see why some of the others became popular. They were fun for example, the Silk Garden scarf.

  81. I’m definitely with the majority here, either 1, 2 or 3, depending. I generally go with putting a popular pattern in my queue if it’s going to look good on me or be perfect for someone on my gift list. I can always use part of a pattern to create my own design that suits me.

  82. Oh, good. That’s what I was hoping that yarn would become! And I know no one else who has knit that pattern (personally). But I’m considering knitting a pattern that looks a heck of a lot like it!
    Happy knitting!
    :O)

  83. My only real problem with “popular patterns” is that I don’t have much time to spend on-line so I tend to feel slightly stupid when people talk about them as if everyone should know what they are talking about! That’s just me being sensitive though.
    Kudos to everyone who pointed out that as knitters we should be fully supportive of the sheep species. One should not use group names–whether sheep or gay or girly or lame or…– as pejorative terms. Sheep (and gay people and girls and differently-abled people) rock!

  84. Truth be told, most of the people I’m around on a daily basis don’t knit, so if I knit something that’s extremely popular (Monkeys, whatever) it’s *all* amazing to them because they can’t do it *at all*! My knitting group has a habit of queueing/making the same things at about the same time, but I like to think that it is because we’re just good friends who think that we have great taste! Now, I’ve purposely not made something that was wildly popular (ie. clapotis) but that was because I simply don’t like the look of it, and after listening to knitting friends moan about how long it took, how boring it was, etc. I know myself well enough to know that if I start something like that, no matter how much I like the yarn I’ll never finish it. Knitter, know thyself. And BAAAA right back to ya! πŸ˜‰

  85. I think those Category 4 knitters don’t realize that their utter close-mindedness makes them look like bigger idiots than if they “were like sheep” and knit the most popular thing on the planet.

  86. The world is full of fringe people who make black and white judgements about what other people are doing, because it makes them feel powerful in some tiny-minded way. Just look at American politics right now.
    I don’t give a rip what anybody thinks of what I’m knitting, and nobody else should either. I knit because it makes me feel good. Plain and simple.
    Are you in Manzanita? How lovely. Love the Oregon Coast in a storm. Be sure to hike up Neakhanie Mountain if the weather clears.

  87. My personal opinion, and I do have one, is that “popular” equals “trendy”. I am not going to spend a week/month/year working on the knitted equivalent of a red zipper jacket or parachute pants. I would rather spend my time on a classic project that I know I will use (therefore no shawls or clapotis for me) and that I know I won’t be ashamed of in two years (therefore no fun fur or neon glittery yarn). Everyone else’s milage may vary of course.

  88. This is really nice. Thank you. I’ve heard people criticizing things like the New World Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth as “trite” or “overplayed”, and I’ve got to tell you it kills me. They’re played a lot because they appeal to something in so many people, and that’s not always a bad thing. Knit away, my friend, knit away.

  89. Excellent points, as always. I like to think that I knit what I like, regardless of if it’s popular or not. When cruising Ravelry, looking for inspiration, it helps if there are a lot of projects so that I can learn from the mistakes and successes of others, but that’s not a necessity.
    I didn’t realize that “LOTS” of people had knit that pattern…I love it! Very cool regardless of who has or hasn’t knit it. πŸ™‚

  90. Heinlein’s “Time Enough for Love”, Lamb Curry and Gewurztraminer, Cheryl Oberle’s “wool peddler shawl”, Stravinsky Firebird Suite, and Shawshank Redmemption. Tears of joy, always.

  91. If everyone is knitting, then why haven’t I seen it before your blog. It’s a beautiful jacket and one I am considering knitting myself. I’ll be interested in your progress on this jacket, which I think is a perfect match for you. Enjoy it!
    Sue

  92. Knitting, spinning or weaving something I enjoy is a good way to explain this birth defect I have.
    It would seem I was born without that gene that makes you car what other people think. So I tend to knit, spin, weave or just plain create something becaus I like it. If it happens to be trnedy, well thats cool and if it isn’t trendy and someone thinks it’s dorky, but I like it anyway that is twice as cool!

  93. yes.
    I’ve got a clapotis and a pair of monkey socks on the needles and I couldn’t care less if I’m the first person to knit them or the 9 millionth. A good pattern is a good pattern

  94. Perhaps what the naysayers are really saying is that they’d like something “new” from you and not the same old they’ve seen elsewhere. I think they are just selfish. Knit whatever you like. We’ll be more than happy to see it again.

  95. Well I’m on Ravelry and regularly troll the patterns to see if anything new catches my eye. When you first posted a link the the Drops jacket I thought it was gorgeous and ‘how I’d like to knit that for myself!’…. meaning I’d never seen it before, didn’t know it was popular, and I think it looks like a nice staple to have in any wardrobe! Go get ’em!

  96. When I went to look at the pattern I said to myself “Perfect for Stephanie!” It looks similar but not identical to many other sweaters you have knit and enjoyed wearing. What difference does it make who else is knitting it? Me, it’s not my style and at this time I could care less what’s “popular”.
    I am however going to knit a “Mystery Sweater” but that’s because it will give me knitting time with some friends I don’t get to see often. It may or may not be the right sweater for me but that’s okay.
    Knit your sweater Stephanie. Let the nay say-ers knit their own sweaters.

  97. The Drops Jacket is beautiful. If alot of people have made it – super! That means it looks good on lots of people, like you :). I have decided that, for that reason, I’m going to knit from the most popular Ravelry patterns. They look great, the patterns have been knit enough to be perfect, and there are lots of pics to be sure that the project might actually work (and some to save me from some really bad choices!). Good luck with your jacket, and happy independent thinking.

  98. Nice jacket. You’ll look good in it.
    I respect Michelanglo; I adore Bach. I knit half a dozen of those striped Noro scarves you were pushing over the holidays last year. Beyond that, I have no idea what’s popular. I knit by ear, whatever I like, to my own design. I’m currently finishing a sock with a motif of bacon and eggs.

  99. Ummm, have they noticed that by way of insult they are calling knitters who make “popular” patterns one of the animals we love most? The source of our precious wool?? It just seems such an odd choice of insults to hurl at knitters of all people.
    Baaaaa.

  100. it seems to me that people who have “rules” like the ones you are talking about (don’t like/use anything popular, etc) are the ultimate in “sheepy” behaviour because they are not thinking for themselves…my teenagers used to use that reasoning, but fortunately they evolved to where they can approach a decision without using crutches like the “popularity rule” maybe some of your readers might eventually mature also?

  101. Mary de B
    “But who ever needs mittens that let your fingertips stick out?”
    Us geek girls of course! πŸ™‚ I work in an unheated warehouse in northern Alberta. Fingerless gloves allow me to type 12 hours a day without my fingers cramping up from the cold. Oh the weather is mild now but alas… the Canadian prairie winter is on it’s way.
    Close crop hats (for wearing under my hard hat) and fingerless gloves are my weapons of choice for battling the winter.

  102. Yay!!! Couldn’t agree more! I say this as a Jaywalker/Ishbel knitting sheep, and proud of it. Sometimes a large number of people reference something because it works . . . and works well! If you like something enough to put time and love into it then it should stand alone. The quality of something does not depend on however many ‘others’ there are.

  103. Knit on!!! Three baaa’s for Stephanie! Hip, hip, baa, hip, hip, baa, hip, hip, baaaa! Can’t wait to see how the jacket looks, by the way.

  104. Baa.
    Also, you missed a category. The knitters who think that pattern is great, love the result and wish they could follow a pattern well enough to make the sweater. I would fit that one perfectly.

  105. Do it! I knitted that jacket, and I love it, and it has proved my best sweater yet. (Which is admittedly out of like three and a half.) I used a wool/soy combo, and it’s been great.

  106. Okay. I’ve been called a periscope and a submarine (don’t ask!!), and now I’m a sheep. Okay. Baaaaa!
    Like you, I get behinder and behinder on stuff I want to knit just because life happens. But, also like you, I WILL knit what I like even if it’s trendy, and maybe even because it IS trendy. On that wise, I am getting ready to cast on for a Shawl That Jazz and can hardly wait. (See what I mean about being behind?!?)
    So you go, girl! And I just LOVE that Drops Sweater! It will be really pretty in your homespun. Can’t wait for pictures when you are done.

  107. Okaaaaay people in the 4th group, that is why we have patterns. That way more.than.one.person. can knit the same item. I love having access to the advice and/or interesting variations knitters have made on a popular garment. All part of the ancient continuum and wonderful creative process that is knitting. I have had that same jacket qued for a while now and had never realized that it is popular. Something about the creators vision and execution must speak to many. Now ain’t that grand! I know yours will be lovely.

  108. Well said, Stephanie. (Baaaa.) I just finished an Irish Hiking Scarf and wow, that’s a great pattern. No wonder it’s popular!
    I remember a few years ago when it was fashionable to say that American symphony orchestras were suffering from something called “masterpiece syndrome”–that is, they were playing too many of the big crowd-pleasers like Beethoven’s Fifth, and not enough new or cutting-edge work. My feeling was that we could all use a case of Masterpiece Syndrome.

  109. The thing is (and this may have been said before, apologies if so), if you’re making it in your own handspun, it is totally unique, isn’t it? NO-ONE will have a jacket like it anywhere.

  110. 1. I belong to group #1, so obviously I don’t have a problem with you knitting whatever you like. I knitted Clapotis late, because I found it late, and I liked it. In fact, I found it not through Knitty but through Cari Luna’s poem about it. I knitted it narrow because that suited my needs (and yarn availability) best, and because I hadn’t the patience to knit it in its original width.
    2. I like the whole Bach-chocolate-Mona-Lisa analogy.
    3. I feel that I have to point this out, even though it’s partly in jest and even though someone else may have mentioned it: why should knitters be so down on SHEEP? I thought we loved sheep.

  111. I tend to be late to the game. I started knitting calorimetries, for example, a year or so after the pattern was published. Right now everyone is making a Baktus scarf (some of the Finnish knitters jokingly call it “pakkobaktus”, that is “the-baktus-you-are-obliged-to-knit”), but I predict I’ll get on that bandwagon sometime next winter.
    Maybe I’m just slow. πŸ™‚

  112. I think there is also a 6th category – ‘I admire that pattern but its not my taste – style/ technique/ garment wise’so i am not going to knit it ( with the proviso that if someone else really loved it i would be happy to knit it for them – I may be burned at the stake for heresey because whilst I love EZ stuff, and think the Baby Surprise Jacket is really amazing and clever- I don’t like it- I would knit it just for the technical experience but I don’t connect to it aethetically- sorry.

  113. 1. I’m Category 3.
    2. We just talked about this VERY thing at Knit Night last Thursday when folks saw the Clapotis I am knitting (my second).
    3. Never heard of Drops. Really great website! (told you I was Category 3)

  114. Yet another #3 chiming in — I haven’t even cast on my Clapotis (though I do have the yarn) and there is a reason (besides the molasses/rum cookies of the same name, which I do ~very~ well) that I’m “Jo Frogger.” That said: I fall in love with the yarn, and if what the yarn wants to be happens to be popular, who am I to argue? Then again, sometimes it demands wild heights of mathematizing and innovation, and drags me along with it.
    Note also that Aldus Dumbledore collects knitting patterns… and he ain’t no sheep.

  115. I’m a 1, 3, and some other category! Usually, I’m sort of clueless about what is popular or not, and discover it long after everyone else has made one. Since I’m the World’s Slowest Knitter, this usually means that by the time I knit something that was popular, it’s usually several years after the trend before I get to it. There are definitely advantages to knitting a popular or well established pattern. The errata is usually very easy to find and other, more experienced knitters, can give me some guidance if I get stuck. One of the things I like best about knitting is that even if I knit something that a million other knitters have already made, chances are mine is going to look a quite a bit different. My choice of fiber, color, yarn structure, and how I knit will still allow me to make a unique garment, even though so many others have made it before me. I’m also a spinner so that means that even though a particular pattern is seen constantly at Rhinebeck, my knitted garment will be unique because I made the yarn, and possibly altered the pattern slightly to reflex my body and my tastes. I am fortunate enough to have very talented knitter friends who are always amazing me by choosing a pattern that they mostly like, and then changing all the things about it that they don’t. They like this sweater a lot but they don’t like that collar or neckline, so they take it off and add a new one. If they can’t find a collar that fits that they like they design a new one. I think that’s so cool. Someday I hope to be that kind of knitter!
    The one thing I’ve often wondered about the 4’s of the world is where do they get their clothes? Let’s face it, most of us buy the vast majority of our clothes off a rack. The decision of what our clothes are going to look like are made entirely by others. Yes we can choose to buy something so therefore we have some control, but we can only pick from what’s offered. If your particular style isn’t offered at the moment, what do you do? You either look for something that’s as close as possible, buy something trendy and totally abandon your style, don’t buy any clothes this year except for bras, underwear and socks and live out of your closet, or you have to make your own clothes. So, do all the 4’s of the world sew or make all of their own clothes? I’m not trying to be a wise guy, I’m just curious. (I know lots of people who sew their own clothes and admire them for it!) I try very hard not to be snobby about these things because I think that it’s all our differences and similarities that make the world a wonderful place. It’s what makes the world go round. I often say to my son, “Could you imagine how awful the world would be if we all looked, dressed and thought the exact same way? Boring!!!” It would remind me of high school LOL! So have a great time making your sweater. That type of pattern doesn’t look very good on me but I still think it’s beautiful. I’m sure that it will look great on you, especially since it’s made with your unique hand spun yarn! Happy knitting!

  116. Very good point. As always.
    I’ve been contemplating the same thing on my blog a while ago (In jabuary, I guess), but you put it down much better.
    I live in Hungary, where knitting is not as popular as west from here, and speaking English is not somethinge veryone does. Except from our tiny knitting group, there is no chance anyone walking up to me asking “Oh, is that a Clapotis?” Or “OMG, a NORO scarf”… Usually I am the category who doesn’t do what most people. If everone uses Nokia set for cell-phone,I will have something else, if everyone would all black I would wear white.
    Knitting is different though… I mean, just look through all the Clapotis, or knucks, or what-not in Ravelry. All of them is so different. (BTW I knitted teh Clapotis, because I think it is kind of a knitter’s badge… If you have one, it means you knit. Or know someone who knits close enough to get a present from her/him. Then I found I like it enough to knit an other one). Even if two person use the same yarn, they could knit at different gauges (I for one knit very loose), or start a NORO ball at a different color-section. In your case with the drops, Stephanie, you spun teh yarn yourself, how could be whatever you knit anything like something else?

  117. I’m not much of a knitter, but I looked at the pattern, agreed that it’s very nice, stylish, etc, and then giggled at the disclaimer that read “This pattern is written in British English”. Erm, Peeps, that’s just “English”…
    Happy Knitting.

  118. Wouldn’t February Lady sweater fall under that, “been knit too many times/is too popular” category? I personally think it looked fabulous on you, so I wouldn’t let popularity, or lack there of, stop you. πŸ™‚ The drops sweater is going to be amazing on your size and it’ll be a great wear for the Canadian winter! Besides, I think a major bonus to knitting a popular pattern is you’re letting everyone else work out all the kinks first, so yours will be a smoother, quicker, and more gorgeous knit. Happy Knitting!

  119. Nice jacket, didn’t know that one (and there I was, thinking that I’m fairy well connected to the knitweb). I personally have doubts about that type of shoulder/sleeve. For me I would mod’ it to raglan and keep the rest of the design. Very pretty collar indeed.
    I guess I’m a 3 a lot (because of my 4 who wants to be sure I really like the thing regardless of the fact that too many people own if already). For instance: saw quite a few february ladies, liked her but had doubts on account of the ‘mass movement’. Saw your FL and just gave in. Made it long sleeved, lace bits in cream, garter bits in sand out of linnen/cotton yarn, finished this spring, worn it all summer long to rave reviews. Oh, and I fess up to a clapotis as well (albeit somewhat narrow and very long).

  120. Go for it, Stephanie!!! I am a Group 1 knitter, and think that to bow to a slavish principle of ‘I won’t knit anything that’s popular’ betrays a sad lack of individuality and independence. We knit because we enjoy it, not to prove anything. I’ve knitted arcane stuff, I’ve knitted popular stuff, and I’ve had fun with it all (bar the sad Maine Fisherman’s Mitten that appears to be designed to fit a small whale — my fault, not the pattern, I’m sure). ‘Absolute Freedom for Knitters’ is the battlecry!!!

  121. Call me out of touch, but I love the look of that jacket and don’t think I have seen it before. I want one too. Not because it’s popular, not because you’re knitting it but because it looks great. What the…?
    Sue, Australia

  122. There are lots and lots of people out there who wouldn’t read Harry Potter because of “the hype” — as if the hype produced the popularity, instead of the hype trailing the kid-powered popularity.
    Yet another form of frustration is watching one pattern achieve huge popularity despite a universally acknowledged flaw — “I couldn’t get that sock on over my heel,” or the handsome cables produce a scarf with a less-attractive backside — when a similar but superior pattern — oh, say “Broadripple” socks or the amazing “Palindrom” scarf and — languishe in relative obscurity.
    (And while I love and admire the BSJ? — the sleeves are too damn short.)

  123. I would like to add a group to your list–those who won’t knit the same thing twice. Imagine a world without your basic sock recipe! It would be terrible. There’s a Drops shrug that I’ve made three times in the past three months (gifts all of them) and a wrist warmer pattern that I think I must have made dozens of. Why? Because I enjoy making them and when I get bored of them, I’ll move on to something else. I just finished the Gillian scarf for the second time and it is actually in the exact same yarn I made it the first time around. It’s delicious so why not.

  124. The up front statement is I knit what I hope will look good on me (we all know that does not always work out) I went and looked at the jkt. out of curiosity. No it’s not for me and I agree with the “I’d do long sleeves crowd Why would you have a nice high cozy collar & 3/4 sleeves (I’m petite and I’m a huge fan of 3/4 sleeves) Or maybe I’d knit a pair of nice long gauntlet gloves to work with it. It’s like turtlenecks on sleeveless garments, are you hot or are you cold. The big deal was ACK! the buttons come to the edge (drives me nuts).Here’s the garment trade button placement rules. The extension past the centre front should be the diameter of your button (alternate rule 1/2 button diameter + 1/4″) so when you sew the button on (at centre front)and do it up you should see fabric between the edge of your button and the edge of the garment. Vertical buttonholes are on the centre front, horizontal buttonholes should start 1/8” back into the extension before centre front and work into the garment. Sorry I had to get that out I’ll go away now

  125. PS yes it is an asymmetrical closing but you can still apply the thought. If that’s a 1″ button you should see 1/2″ of garment between it and the edge Now I’ll really go away, promise.

  126. Er, having seen the pattern (obviously I haven’t been following trends closely enough!) I think I might be about to knit that next. I’ve got some Rowan Polar I’d been wondering what to do with! Baa, indeed!

  127. Hello again Stephanie,
    Great piece this, it’s something I’ve noticed since I joined Rav. I’m quite happy to knit something lots of people before me have knit – one of the reasons, as a relatively new knitter, is that it reassures me that it’s a ‘doable’ pattern. It’s worked for lots of other people so hopefully it’ll work for me too!
    Interestingly, almost all of your points translate to the world of books. It applies to other things cultural too, I guess, like movies, but I think book readers are particular prone to the ‘popular = automatically bad’ concept, and I think it’s a flawed one.
    To be honest, there are so many damn patterns out there that it makes ABSOLUTELY no sense to knit anything other than what you like, regardless of how many other people have knit it before you. (Unless you’re doing a favour for a very much loved one.) I’ve knit everything from the obscure (new patterns where there are no other projects on Rav yet, or patterns from old knitting books I’ve come across) to the unbelievably popular (I’m on my third Noro striped scarf – well, it’s a great pattern/idea, no?!?). I’m about to knit myself a pair of Fetching mittens. Why? Not because they’re popular or unpopular (although admittedly it was their ubiquitousness that first drew my attention to them), but because they have a technique I haven’t tried yet, they look just right for wearing on cold days in work while I try to type at the same time, and I have lots of leftover DB yarn, so it’ll be stashbusting. Once again … it would be foolish not to.
    Plus, no matter how many Noro scarves there are out there, each one is unique. (My latest one uses solid black against a Noro Silk Garden skein.) Isn’t that the whole joy of handknitting? No handknit jumper is ever the same. We all put our individual stamp on something the moment we pick up our needles.
    Enjoy knitting that Drops – I know you’ll do something special with it.

  128. I have had this sweater pattern in my queue for awhile. My catagory has a lot to do with the yarn fairies! If I find a great yarn on sale or spin something that inspires me I will use ravelry to find the perfect pattern. Popular or not there are only so many patterns that will look good on certain body types, etc. It is apparent to me that you are a true artist!Look at all of the beautiful things you have made and each of them has your own personal twist. Knit on!!!

  129. It’s a gorgeous jacket and I’m sure it will be magnificent in your handspun. This post makes me think that there are a lot of people who don’t outgrow highschool, which is sad (both in the “pathetic” way and in the “it makes me weep for society” way).

  130. The reason a pattern is popular is because it resonates with so many people. How can that be wrong? It’s like the opening night of the latest Harry Potter flick. When you have to tink and frog as much as I do, it’s always nice to have collective wisdom to draw on when I encounter the inevitable problems which confront me.
    Do what you want and who cares what other people think.
    If I wanted to knit something different from everyone else every time I picked up the sticks, I’d be a designer. But I’m not. I’m okay with that. In the same way I’m okay with knowing I only run about a 10-minute mile.
    The most flattering comment to a designer is to create the very thing which has been designed. Be proud and knit. ‘Nuff said.

  131. I agree with you, and I’ve often thought the very same thing. I suspect, however, that if you regularly hang out with lots of knitbloggers, wearing a February Lady Sweater will be different than it is to me, who doesn’t know or hang out with any other Ravelers, let alone knitbloggers. Even at my many LYSes, no one ever recognises any of my Internet bandwagon handknits. Here in Norway, we knit a lot, we just don’t seem to do it on the Internet very much πŸ™‚
    I look forward to seeing your DROPS jacket!

  132. I think you left out one, which could be a variation on #5. There are knitters who belong to a very strong knitting community who are going to knit what they want, even going so far as to design their own patterns, with not a care in the world about what the others around them are knitting.
    I fall into this category. I look at some random yarn(s) that I have, think what I can do with it(them), knit a couple of swatches, go through a few stitch dictionaries, put it all together in Sweater Wizard and create something I like and that I would wear. I see what others are knitting, even admire them, but I’m always dreaming up new designs that I would rather try instead. It is rare that I follow someone else’s patterns (except with socks), because I love creating my own look.
    So, maybe this would be 5A?

  133. I think I fall into category 6a-either I am WAY ahead of the curve-knit things that become popular shortly before they wear out from my wearing it, or wait until after all the broohahaha has ceased and can knit in peace about my choice.
    Question, though-is this for you, Stephanie?
    Reason I ask is I am the epitome of the A-line girl-on a good day 34x25x42-but you have always spoken of how much upper frontals you have-so just wondering what the plan is.

  134. Great blog post today! However we choose what we knit, we’re knitters. There will always be non-knitters who look at us strangely no matter what type of pattern we’re knitting, popular or not.

  135. Ok. That jacket? Love it. Will we see you wearing it at Rhinebeck? I didn’t even know lots of people had knit it, but I think I may want one now that I’ve seen the pattern. Baaa.
    Let’s not forget that these patterns in particular are also really well written. Swallowtail was my first lace, and it took me a couple months when others were able to knit it in a week. BUT- I had no trouble at all with the pattern. Evelyn Clark is a lace writing genius, I will always stand by that. I have a friend whose first socks EVER were Monkeys. These patterns have taken the writers so much time and effort to get it right, the first time, and their popularity shows that. Maybe the assumption is that they are too easy and watered down because they are so clearly written? I don’t know, but have a problem with the idea that my Swallowtail is somehow of less value than another lace shawl, just because a ton of people knit it. My friend’s Monkey socks are too cool, and she should be really proud of them, not hide them because someone thinks that the pattern is overused.
    Anyway, on with your awesome jacket, and I think my fiber purchase at Rhinebeck will be for spinning for this pattern in particular, if that’s okay with you.

  136. I agree, I knit what I like,I like what I knit, otherwise, what’s the point? BTW, how is the daughter in Australia doing?

  137. Something may be popular but that doesn’t mean you see them everywhere. Maybe it’s because I’m not in a regular knitting group or real life community but I rarely see handknits in the wild.
    If you look at the most popular patterns on Ravelry (in terms of most projects), there are a million and ten of those things out there and yet I’ve never seen one in real life. Again, I’m a bit removed but still…surely you can knit something popular and still be unique. As you say, sometimes a thing becomes popular because it’s awesome.

  138. BAA! I LOVE that pattern. It’s been in my queue for ages.
    It’s funny, I was thinking about this very thing but in the context of the Beatles. Someone in my knitting group was saying how she didn’t like them at all and why did we have to suffer through their music being popular again b/c of the newly released remastered albums?
    I think the Beatles can be polarizing in that same way. People either love them or hate them. And some people just hate them b/c they are popular. But really, even the people who hate them have to admit that the band did well for themselves.
    (And for those of us who love them, well, they are the Clapotis of songwriting, aren’t they?)

  139. I’m usually late to the party, but I’d like to think the popularity of a pattern often depends on how well it’s written, how well it fits, and how good it looks on other fellow knitters.
    I’ve knit countless pairs of ‘monkeys’ – not because I’m following a trend, but because I find they fly off the needles and are a perfect fit for my little feet – not because I’m following a trend or hoping to impress another knitter (no blog and no knitting friends)…I’m now starting a pair of Fiddlehead Mittens, about 18 months after everyone else did, but I’ve been inspired by how lovely everyone else’s looked.

  140. Well, that’s one more pattern to add to the long, long list of “want to knit” patterns I have skulking around. First I have to finish my first ever sweater-for-me. I’m sticking to this rule…my sweater first…no really, stop all that laughing out there. And the socks don’t count.
    Knitter Type 3 (sigh)

  141. I’ve been thinking about making that for over a year now – it’s a nice pattern. Now that it has become very popular, should I not make it? Even if lots of people make the same thing they still aren’t the same. Different yarn, different colors, different buttons and the sweater can be completly different than anyone else’s.
    Don’t follow the herd just for sake of following. But if the herd happens to be going someplace you’d like to go why not enjoy the company?

  142. I was reading along and agreeing and nodding my head, the usual “right on” things that we do. Then I realized that for years, I refused to knit dishcloths even though most of the women in my brick and mortar knitting group extolled the virtues of knitted dishcloths. I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. Seriously, I don’t like knitting with cotton and a dishcloth? Why oh why would I waste my time. Ha! Double HA! Then I knitted to do a quick knit for a secret pal thing that had a specific holiday theme (like Halloween) and decided that I could do a dishcloth (simple, quick and easily mailed). Now, I love doing dishcloths, but still limit myself to what kind I will do. I love those that have intricate patterns and if they are graphs . . . woo hoo. The bottom line is that I am improving my skills, it feeds my knitters ADHD and the dishcloths are useful and I won’t find them on my kids floor unless they are wiping something up!

  143. Hmmm… this makes me feel guilty for my I-won’t-read-anything-Oprah-recommends policy because I dislike her so much.
    On the other hand, I love knitting what everyone else has knit since I have a huge problem deciding on projects so it’s often easier to do what everyone else is. 2000 knitters can’t ALL be wrong, can they? Baaa

  144. Goodness gracious. The things people will say. I find the #4-type criticisms of your choice especially ironic because I think of you as very much an original individual. That’s why your writing and blog are so popular; you’re always putting original thought (and activities, e.g. Sock Summit!) out there. In many ways people follow YOU.
    I’ve honestly never thought much about whether something is popular or not. It’s just about whether I feel like knitting something and/or what’s going to work with the yarn I want to use.
    It’s a lovely jacket!

  145. OH!!! I have been wanting to knit that for a long time. I don’t know why i am so excited that you are knitting this. I mean, I am always exciting about each of your project … but i am very excited about this one. I can’t wait to see the end product. I have actually ordered 3 skeins of Cascade Eco in a shade darker than your yarn and it will be either this jacket or the Owl sweater, depending on the gauge i get.

  146. I’m in the category of seeing a pattern, popular or unpopular, then losing interest and going on to something else *sigh*

  147. So, according to Ravelry, the Clapotis has been knit 12770 and the Jaywalker socks have been knit 6674 times. Your lovely Drops 103-1 jacket has only been done 1088 times. In comparison, it’s like being the least popular kid in school. Knit on! Each and every project is unique.

  148. I just wanted to say how perfect your handspun looks in the photo. It just says “I am a ball of wool” as if it wants to represent every ball in the world! Beautiful pictures.

  149. I love the drops jacket!! Your blog is wonderful – I have been reading for years. Becaues of you and your humor I have gotten out of my fear of knitting socks, fair isle, and lace and enjoy those a ton. Cheers

  150. I definitely fall into categories 1 and 3, with a bit of 2 thrown in for good measure. I don’t have enough knitting time to not knit what I don’t love the looks of or that which I would not enjoy simply for the sake of knitting. And I LOVE the drops jacket. Actually, it’s in my queue too…and I’ll get to it as soon as I’m done with my baby girl’s sweater and my husband’s aran sweater.

  151. It’s been a theory of mine, ever since high school when it seems the idea of popularity and ‘cool’ first became important to people, that the faction of folks who refuse to do/wear/knit something ‘just because it’s popular’ are IN FACT not thinking for themselves at all. I mean, if they really were thinking for themselves, it wouldn’t matter how popular it is, they’d make their choice independently. By insisting that they always go in the opposite direction to what’s popular they are no different than the ‘sheep’ they chastise. They are allowing popular opinion to dictate their choices and decisions. No?

  152. I’m with you girl. I generally fall into the 3rd group. I have knit monkey socks (that I called Monkey Goes Hunting because the yarn looks like camouflage) & a couple of clapoti (?) clapotises (?) which can look very unique depending on the yarn you use. My fave is Blue Heron rayon metallic (to die for!) – but all well after they were so popular. Usually because my queue is so long. But I like Monet, Bach & the Beatles too. Knit what you like – it’s all about the joy. And no one will be knitting a Drops 103-1 out of your very own, very special handspun. You go, girl!

  153. I just knit what I like, when I like and whereever I like – even if I’ve knit the same pattern over and over again.

  154. I wasn’t even aware that jacket was popular and I waste way too much time on Ravelry and the knitblogosphere πŸ˜‰ It’s lovely and you should have fun knitting it.
    I am like Monica in that I see a pattern and get very excited about it and then my little pea brain drifts away and I get distracted by a different pattern. Hello, Tangled Yoke Cardigan that has been sitting in the in-progress pile for the last 10 months….

  155. I’m a mix of 1 and 4. I knit what I like regardless of whether or not it’s popular. That being said, the more popular a thing is, the less likely I am to try it (books, movies, music, whatever), because my tastes seem to be at odds with 95% of the population. Instead what I’ll do is absorb everything that is being said about Popular Thing A, both pro and con, and then after people stop pressuring me to read/watch/listen/create Popular Thing A, I’ll make my own decision.

  156. I have knitted a popular pattern before(clapotis – love it!). And I have not knit others of equal popularity (anything mitten – I live in the Southern US. It is never mitten weather here). I think my choices are wgat express my individualism, not the popularity of the pattern.
    I have never understood the mindset of rejecting something soley based upon popularity. If you don’t like it, don’t knit it. But if you do like it, but don’t knit it because it is popular…isn’t that just another way of limiting your own individual expression?
    Also…indoor plumbing is pretty popular. I don’t see anyone digging an outhouse just so they can stand out from the crowd.

  157. Great choice!!! Love the picture at the top of the entry. Would love some yarn died in those colors.

  158. I especially like your point about Bach. It brings how the disrespect that often surrounds the craft of knitting.
    Sometimes I find popularity a good way of bringing certain designers or techniques to my attention. In the same way that I would search a best sellers list to find a new author, or go read a classic just because it’s stood the test of time. E.Z. patterns fit the latter analogy.

  159. This is why you read ALL the comments before you make a “snap” judgement! My first gut reaction to the picture was “What was the designer thinking, 3/4 sleeves with such a high, warm neck?” I could certainly improve this jacket with full length sleeves. Then I read on and find that, no, I don’t really have the right instincts at all! What an excuse to buy gorgeous LONG leather gloves! Especially seeing as how now I’d be saving $$ on the extra yarn to lengthen the sleeves. Thanks, ladies. But really, what was the photographer thinking? I’m sorry, but that jacket looks weird with short sleeves. This is not the first time I’ve rejected a pattern because of the way it was photographed. My bad.

  160. Is it just me that doesn’t like the drops jacket? I’m not going to knit it as having a chest measurement 8″ larger than my waist it will flap about and make me look pregnant!
    I think I fall into the knit what I like/friends request category…..

  161. So according to Ravelry, 3284 projects are posted for the One Row Handspun Scarf by one Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. And I am one of the people who made that scarf which I consider to be just like warm brownies right out of the oven. Easy to make and totally irresistible to the recipients. So if that makes me a sheep, baa. (Although I do prefer to hum like an alpaca.)
    PS. Late to the party again, am making that Noro scarf after all the Christmas gifts are done.

  162. Thank you for this post, Stephanie.
    It applies way beyond knitting – I know a few muggles who need to read it πŸ™‚

  163. You gotta listen to the wool, baby. I don’t really care if something is popular or not popular, if it’s cute, it’s cute. And if the wool tells you what it wants to be, you gotta go with it.
    I’ve had yarn I bought specifically for a pattern that it just did not want to be and it just wouldn’t be. But more than a year later sometimes and, BAM, I get the message of what the yarn wants to be and it works every time.

  164. What I love most about a pattern being really popular is that you get to see it finished on so many different body types and in totally different yarns. Helps make the decision easier whether to make it or not. And realistically? Even if 30 000 people knit the same sweater, the chances of being seen next to one the same as yours are really really slim.
    Love that Drops jacket!

  165. To echo Presbytera, Happy Anniversary, Joe and Stephanie!! Also, I too wish that beautiful jacket was going to a color other than grey. Although maybe it will look good next to Joe’s gansey (hint, hint, HINT) as you enjoy a night out. Enjoy today!

  166. I sometimes feel like something has gotten too popular. Not that I won’t knit it (or read it, what have you), but I want to wait until the huge first flush has died off. This is probably part of the reason that every time I have signed up for a knitalong where everyone does the same pattern, I end up doing nothing at all. I just don’t find myself in the right headspace for making something that might look virtually identical to someone elses.
    I don’t bother saying that people who want to knit these patterns are sheep, because I like the patterns and will probably knit them. You know, next year when I am finally through my current batch of projects.

  167. I’m with Linda Meuse and Sarah at 9:22 PM, one of the coolest things about popular patterns is seeing how different they look done by different knitters in their own choice of yarn.
    I probably fit several of those categories, but what I enjoy is doing a variety of projects. I knit some patterns exactly as written (and usually learn something new by observing the tricks the designer used), I knit my own versions of a lot of things making modifications to use a different yarn or change the size or use a preferred technique or style. I knit some stuff to an algorithm rather than a pattern- Presbytera’s brilliant post here (on doing toe up socks without a swatch) was a huge inspiration to me!, top down raglans and seamless sweaters a la EZ are other projects I like. I’m not sure that ‘popular’ is a factor- I’m more likely to notice something that’s around a lot, and therefore more likely to knit it, but the real decider is do I like it and will it suit the person it’s for.
    The Drops jacket is beautiful. I’m sure it will be gorgeous on you. And I loved the post- I’ve got a sweater’s amount of a similar weight yarn looking for a project right now, and several of the sweaters mentioned by commenters are on my list of finalists!

  168. You know what though, I had a friend once who was an artist/art student, and she really did think that some very famous artists were crap, purely b/c they were popular as far as I could tell. Either that or she really didn’t like their art even though everyone else did, but it seemed like the former. It came across as really insulting to anyone who wasn’t knowledgeable about obscure art and liked mainstream, commonly known artists. So it’s not just the yarn world.

  169. I’m pretty firmly in group A. There’s a KAL for the Central Park Hoodie that I opted not to join. Why? Because while I really like look of the sweater, I don’t wear hoodies. Same thing with Drops – it’s pretty, but all that bulk around my neck would drive me crazy. But I’m funny that way. πŸ™‚
    Your yarn is beautiful, so make something with it that makes you happy. Who cares how many other people are knitting it?

  170. I love the Drops cardigan – gorgeous and can’t wait to see your handspun in this project. Thanks for once again speaking out for those of us who are occasionally so called ‘sheep’ – I just think we all have great taste in design – like minded sistahs! I am a #1 and #3 – can’t knit fast enough to be a #2 I can’t knit fast enough – makes being in a KAL something I’ve not attempted ;-> Never had seen the Drops site before – love it. Thank you for speaking up for following your own path no matter what other say. You rock Stephanie.

  171. You go, girl! Knit what you like and boo to the nay-sayers.
    I love the jacket too, and am jealous that with my short neck, I could never wear it.

  172. I think that your pattern choice is an excellent one. It shouldn’t matter if it is popular because it is a good pattern regardless. Besides, just like sheep fleece varies from sheep to sheep, so does a knitter’s interpretation of the pattern. Unless you use the exact yarn that is called for, it will still be your own. Can’t wait to see it in handspun. Baa!

  173. Can’t wait to see the jacket!!!
    I just knit what I like, popular or not. πŸ™‚ After all, knitting is supposed to be fun, right?
    I laughed at the Bach comment because both my husband and I are classical music buffs, and I love Bach, but my husband hates it! LOL! He claims that there isn’t enough feeling in it. πŸ˜‰ It just really made me laugh when you used that as an illustration!

  174. It looks like you are right down from my house. Sorry about the tsunami warning but hope you are enjoying your stay. Great jacket.

  175. I too fall into the first three categories. I knit what I want. Enough people around me (non-knitters) don’t get why I knit, or like what I knit. I don’t care. To me, the knitting itself is the individuality I’m portraying. So if I like something, I’m knitting it, regardless of what anyone else thinks. If it’s popular, it just means that I’ve picked a pattern that a lot of people have done, which also means that I can find errata if there are any, that I can get help from someone who has gone before me if I need to, and that I can browse pictures of other peoples’ work to see if I’m on the right track. I can learn from others, which only makes my knitting better.
    Fie on the trend buckers who buck the trend because it’s simply a trend. I do what I want. Baa.

  176. I think if a pattern appeals to you (like the Drops Jacket) then go ahead and knit it! You could listen to the group of knitters who wrote and said it had been knit by too many others and you should think for yourself. But, if you were swayed by that argument, then aren’t you just following a different “herd of sheep”?

  177. Go for it, Steph! Knit what you like and like what you knit. So what if it is a popular pattern. If you find it appealing and suitable for your lifestyle, taste in knitwear, and yarn you want to use, knit it, enjoy it, and don’t look back.

  178. Amen sista…do yo own thang…after all, think of all the sheep that shop at The Gap!
    The sweater will be unique because YOU knitted it…

  179. I really like the Drops Jacket—I’ve never seen it before and I’m “in the knitting community.” The thing with knitting is that even though a pattern is popular,seldom do two knitters have the same take. Yarn selections, gauge and pattern tweaks make a good pattern individual. As for late-coming, I’m usually late to the game. I knitted Clapotis well after the rush, but as far as I see on Ravelry, I’m the only one to add a fringe. See?

  180. I have not knit Monkey socks because they are top down and I prefer Toe-up (and to be honest I prefer stokinet socks).
    I have’t knit Jaywalkers for the same reason.
    I haven’t knit Clapotis because I want a more interesting knit when I knit a stole or scarf.
    I WILL knit February Lady Sweater, eventually, when I get around to it. I love that little sweater. I may modify it a bit, but hey, we all do that. I love your hand spun version of it.
    I agree, knit what makes you happy and don’t worry about the herd or the lone wolves out there.

  181. It took me a long time to learn that books, music, and movies were not crap just because they were popular. The opposite is true of my knitting. When I see a popular pattern, I thank the knitters who have gone before me and worked out the kinks. I can’t believe anyone would tell you what to knit!

  182. Good choice, as far as the sweater. I tend to make things I know I’ll like for a long time, because it takes me a LONG time to complete them. I’m not going to waste time on something I won’t like in 6 months.

  183. Pretty handspun. It’ll be a pretty jacket. If it fits, wear it.
    Lots of my friends did the February Lady jacket but I don’t like how it looks on me, so I’m not knitting it. But I liked Clapotis and the BSJ is simply a classic. Sheep? Baaaaa.
    Mmm. Chocolate cake….

  184. Maybe its a game of find the differences between the two posts…like the knitting needle is blue in one and periwinkle in the other

  185. I really like that pattern, and frankly I’d have to say that I didn’t even know it was a popular knit! I guess I was falling into #5 on that one! Do what you like and like what you do is a good rule of thumb here.

  186. Does this mean I get to post my comment twice too? I hope your jacket makes you very happy. That’s the only thing that matters.

  187. Its a beautiful jacket and should be appreciated on its own merits. I think it will look lovely on you. And to all those category4/mcdonalds theory activists out there, The pattern may be the same but the color and care is all done by hand making each piece (even if popular) a singular work of art. appreciate the item not the pattern. Its like saying “I saw a cowl neck sweater at three different stores, its too popular, I can’t wear it!” even if it would look fabulous on you and the details and materials of a sweater made by hand could make the cowl neck sweater beautiful and fabulous and unique. Not to mention each persons own individuality in style, face, hair, accessories. Man I got fired up there, didn’t I? what I meant to say is:
    That is a lovely sweater.

  188. “To each their own” This old phrase seems applicable here. We are all individuals and as such, free “to choose” whatever we want to do, be it popular, trendy, or not. And anyone that cannot respect an individuals right to choose basically can “go fly a kite”, so to speak πŸ˜‰

  189. “The idea that something is a crappy knit just because lots of people knit it, or that those people are somehow brainless minions who are only following a trend annoys me.”
    I completely agree with you, and the attitude baffles and annoys me, too. Maybe a lot of people like something because it’s GOOD.

  190. This is hysterically funny but sadly true.
    I have to admit that I’d never heard of it until you mentioned it. It’s not my speed but I know knitters that it would look great on and who will probably knit it for that reason.
    Because I don’t know a loads of knitters, if there weren’t the buzz of the sheep, I never would have tried socks, or gloves, or Annie M’s corset T. All of which I liked tremendously – once I actually knew about them. The baa-ing of the sheep is what got me beyond scarfs and I am forever greatful.

  191. This jacket, knitted 1000 times would look different each time – yard, guage, color, body type, length, etc. What’s so sheepish about that? That’s the beauty of fiber or cloth – you can make anything you want – trendy, unique or even dull – yahoo.

  192. I, also, fit into a couple of the catagories. I neither knit nor not knit something just because of it’s popularity, my only concern is whether or not I like the pattern.
    But I, sadly, don’t get to socialize with many knitters. If I did, not wanting to look like a twin convention might cause me to decide not to knit patterns that they were all knitting. Or at least to be careful not to wear them to group gatherings or to personalize them out of all recognition.
    I think that jacket is lovely and would knit it myself but for one thing. It’s too darn warm here! In the last few years, I can count on one hand the times I could wear any of my sweaters more than once. And most years there weren’t enough cold days to wear all of them even once. So I have decided to limit myself to knitting scarves, socks, fingerless or light weight mittens and shawls. All of these look wintery when worn with a light weight, rib knit, cotton turtle or mock necked top and a light vest but don’t make me too warm. If it wasn’t for my only grandchild living ten minutes away and no chance of talking my daughter into moving (she hates cold weather and has to stay close enough to Disneyland for day trips) I would so move to the Seattle area. My son lives there, it’s cold enough to wear winter clothes without being such bad weather that you feel trapped all winter, and they have a lot of really great yarn stores.
    Oh well, as great as that would be, my lovely granddaughter is much more precious than any sweater.

  193. No wonder you want to make that jacket – it’s cute! I don’t care how many people have made it, if you like it, make it. I also think it would look very good on you, you go girl. The hell with the detractors.

  194. …and you’re at Cannon Beach!!!! My second favorite place in the entire world!!!!
    (oh, the subject at hand? I like what I like and I don’t care what others think about it- which is why I recap American Idol on my blog. Declaring a love for something a large portion of the world thinks is responsible for the downfall of civilization. shrug.)

  195. I guess if you knit a popular pattern, you’re such a “sheep” (in some folks’ opinions) that people who tell you that you shouldn’t be knitting it are expecting you to follow their opinion(s) sheeplike…..and become less of a sheep.
    I’m pretty sure this makes sense to someone in a very bizarre kind of way.
    Unless every iteration of a piece looks like Mao jacket, individuality in a pattern (due to knitting style and fiber), is a given.

  196. I think most of us drift from category to category now and then. I’m mostly a 3 with a little of 1.
    But there is usually a reason a pattern breaks over knitters like a tidal wave. Usually a combination of a genius idea and good result. I’m thinking Monkey and Koolhaas here. Those are the ones I’ve made multiple times.
    OTOH, that Drops jacket would not look good on me. However, I do know someone it would look really good on.

  197. If they eschew the popular, why are they reading your blog?
    Great post. Very thought provoking. We are all unique and have our own way of approching life and knitting. I fall into the third category, simply because I have to really be in love with a pattern before I start it. And it has to be a lasting love, not that flash in the pan, one night stand kind of love. I am now knitting a pattern from a 1998 magazine. I’ll knit a February Ladies Sweater sometime in 2020, if I still feel the love.

  198. I knit what appeals to me. If “everyone” else has already knit it, too, so be it. I’m one of those people who don’t belong to a knitting community as there isn’t a LYS close enough by, nor family, either. I get my knitting mojo from reading knitting sites online.

  199. Don’t forget about “knitters who are not confident that their skill level is at that of the suggestion on the pattern and or the yarn suggested is way out of our personal price to skill ratio and therefore add the popular pattern to their “Like” & “queue” but will probably wait til they see someone make it in a less pricy yarn on rav first, and read comments forever to see if it really was that hard”

  200. There’s a good reason for the saying “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Many patterns become popular because they work well for many knitters. Then again, not everyone needs a mousetrap.

  201. If someone feels so strongly about not being a sheep, I don’t know why they wold knit ANY pattern written by someone else.

  202. It is a super awesome jacket. I love DROPS designs, and it’s wonderful that so many of them are free. I just wish that they would give their designs better names! Such an awesome jacket deserves a name, not a number! Maybe we could start making up names. This one could be “Strawberry Picker’s Jacket,” perhaps?

  203. I looked at the jacket and I don’t really like it and wouldn’t knit it. but that is a really good example of just what you are talking about. you like it, so you would knit it. I think that is the only reason TOO knit anything, if you like it. if you are knitting something for yourself, there should be no other reason.

  204. AMEN. exactly.
    I fall into the first group most often. I’m not a trend follower nor do I reject something outright because it is a current trend. I knit what I knit because it intrigues me or appeals to me or fills a certain need for me at that time. This also explains why I currently have more projects cast on than I have needles in certain sizes.

  205. This highlights two of the reasons why I like you so much. First, you still respect people who have different opinions than your own. Second, you do want you want and don’t let others bully you into ‘their way’.

  206. Two things:
    1. That is a fabulous jacket, it will be both lovely and appropriate for your Canadian winters. AND I think you should wear it with a Turn a Square hat, some Monkey Socks and a Clapotis…
    2. Some one above me noted that “Sheep” are loved by knitters. So maybe those non-conformist types you mentioned would be “moths…” or maybe “squirrels”.

  207. You missed another group – those of us who choose what to knit based on preference and then deeply value if an item is popular (especially if we’re slightly behind “the pack”) because then we can see what others have done, how they’ve changed things, where they’ve had problems and what solutions they’ve come up with.
    When I was looking for knits for your lovely handspun, I came across that Drops jacket and thought it really quite lovely. I can’t wait to see how it looks on you!

  208. I think there may be a 6th Category – the I admire that pattern for its excellence/ design/ whatever but it is not to my taste so I will not knit it until asked to do so- this is my viewpoint on the EZ Baby Surprise Jacket- sorry heresey I know but although I think it and her both incredible and I enjoy and revere its cleverness unless someone really wanted me too I would not choose to knit it- not even as a technical experiemnt – which i do a lot- knit to learn new techniques I mean. Popularity means nothing to me- if I love it – i’ll knit it. The Drops Jacket is very you methinks.

  209. Well, first of all, we’re knitters and therefore sheep should be respected. I’d love to be a wool sheep. Seems like they have a pretty sweet deal.
    I don’t know i made a conscious effort at some point, but I tend not to like lots of things that are very popular. I’d really like to, but they somehow don’t usually appeal to me. I don’t know what it is. I try. Maybe I should try harder.
    Oh yea, and I don’t follow patterns often. I usually want to just get on with the knitting already. I’m impatient. Again, maybe I should try harder.

  210. Well said! I won’t knit something just because it is popular…for instance the Baby Surprise jacket…I have no babies in my life right now so it would be silly. However, when the time comes that I do have babies in my life, then that is one of the first things I will knit because I think it is sheer genius. And not because it is popular (although I agree that it is popular because it is good).

  211. Happiest of Anniversaries! (But where is Joe to help you celebrate?? Please tell me the Honeymoon isn’t over yet!)

  212. I am soon to be 61 (lucky to be here)! I decided a long time ago after reading about Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mead ,Abigail Scott Duniway and others that I would rather make my own choices ,use the brain that I was given and learn to be a strong and independent woman than win a popularity contest.In addition, If by now I can’t decide for mysel,f I wonder when that would occur? So I say knit what you want to and enjoy it and if some criticize you over what you knit (even if you are the Michael Jordan of knitting) they really need to take up jogging and get a grip.

  213. I’m not sure about Bach, but I know plenty of people who think Mozart is far too “pop” and accessible. Really, it’s snobbery: they want to be part of a small in-group that is culturally superior, so anything appeals to a wider group must be belittled.

  214. Knit whatever. I’m just wistful – looking N toward Haystack Rock, weren’t you? How I love the beach!

  215. Great pattern! Each garment is unique because of the yarn that is used. And the person that wears it has her own unique style. The only opinion that matters is your own.

  216. I think I fall into the #5 category for this pattern – but am so glad I read your post today, because that pattern is awesome. It’s beautiful. And I appreciate your population breakdown. Gonna be thinking about that for a while.

  217. I’m with you! If its pretty and I want to knit it, then I do… so what? If 90 million other knitters want to do it too, then good for the patternwriter for being able to put out something we all fell in love with. We make it unique by our yarn choices and our own style of knitting… if they don’t like it, then fine.

  218. This post made me incredibly thoughtful. For the most part, I don’t knit popular things because there’s something about them that just doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve never knit Clapotis, because I don’t wear things around my neck often, for example, and I don’t wear Jaywalkers because I’m a complete retard when it comes to chevrons.
    My theory is that if a knit is popular, it’s because the pattern is written very well, it allows for individuality in the work itself and well… it’s pretty. I have given into pretty things that are immensely popular and certainly my individuality isn’t tarnished.
    I don’t think I follow the sheep theory exactly, either, because a pattern is popular doesn’t mean ones own self is lost because you knit it. We all have different types of yarns, ways of knitting, ways of altering the pattern (Patterns are suggestions, aren’t they?). If someone truly is that concerned about saving their sense of self, it seems misplaced. It seems as if they’re doing it just to stand out, beat their chests with pride and say, “I will not follow the crowd.”
    It’s a bunch of silliness to me.

  219. I’m probably a 1-2-3-er. I knit Swallowtail (for the first time) right after it wsa out. But then I only recently finished my first pair of Monkeys, but I’ve been *thinking* about making them for a while. Sometimes what I’m looking for in a pattern happens to match what everyone else is knitting.

  220. great stuff! Hope it unites with your beautiful spun yarn to make destiny.
    still glad I’m not knitting it and that my friend has started it before the trend you’re setting. what number does that make me?

  221. You do not need to justify yourself, or what you knit. Tell anyone who thinks your sheepy to stuff it. (But not with your wool. That’s wasteful)

  222. i tend to be one who will knit something popular if i like it. i think the february lady sweater is gorgeous, and magnificent, and just another example of EZ’s brilliance. i won’t be knitting it, however. it’s not my style. i knit a clapotis, and then frogged it, cuz it wasn’t my style. i’m not knitting monkeys, i don’t like them. however, i LIKE the drops sweater. admittedly, i’m not a big fan of 3/4 sleeves, but i can change that. i may just knit it.
    i’m with you. people who have mcdonald’s-hater syndrome are not my type (and, btw, i can’t stand mcdonald’s, but it’s got nothing to do with its popularity. i just can’t stand the stuff. burger king all the way!)

  223. I have always loved that pattern – popular or not. The only thing keeping me from making it is the translation of the measurements to inches. I admit – I’m a mathophobe. But I do love that jacket!

  224. What an awesome post…thanks! I have definitely heard that condescension (sp?) before and felt like what I was knitting wasn’t good enough. And that’s not true. Thank you for putting to words what I was thinking, but could never express with a fraction of your eloquence.
    Good luck with the jacket. I can’t wait to see it finished.

  225. Hmm. I thought that I flipped between those first 3 categories as well, but I have not seen the drop(s?) jacket. And I like it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  226. Can’t wait to see the jacket! It looks awesome. I like a lot of those patterns. For some reason I haven’t knit any – it seems like such a hassle to re-format it so I can read it easily and print out multiple copies (since I always lose them)
    Also, even those who refuse to knit something BECAUSE it is popular are the same as those who DO knit for the same reason – they both allow the crowd to determine what they will do. Which is ironically the opposite of their self-perceived Defiant Individualism.

  227. You need to add a 6th group to your list that I would fit into. I knit what looks good on me.And after 25 years of knitting I know exactly what those styles are. It doesn’t matter if it’s popular now, last year or in 1963.

  228. Great jacket! Have fun! It will look fab on you!
    I also hail from category 3 land. But really, no one in my circle understands the concept of popular knitting. Most of my group is simply amazed I knit and spin. They tell others about my talents as though I were some kind of super-hero. Sadly this is just more fuel for my ADD Muse.

  229. Hehe got derailed by the idea of chocolate cake…
    Meant to add that I really like this jacket but have never tried anything “in pieces” like this, only down top-down cardi’s and just not sure I could manage bits. Too afraid I would lose track of sleeves and such lol…

  230. I’ve wanted to knit this pattern because it is, indeed, a bad ass sweater.
    you’ve reminded me of this. Maybe I’ll start it this week sometime.

  231. Hmm, I fall into the “It’s a gorgeous sweater/coat, and it’s going to look lovely in the handspun, and I bet it’s going to look awesome on Stephanie, but I don’t think I can pull it off.” And the “pulling it off,” for me, comes strictly from the fact that some of these sweaters/coats make me look like I’m a little kid playing dress up in my mom’s good clothes. I have some store bought sweaters that I only wear when I’m in work clothes because the suit throws off the “little kid” look. Or at least I hope it does.
    There are 4 questions I ask myself about patterns before I knit them:
    Do I love the pattern? Here are my answers for this sweater . . .
    Yes. Would I like to knit it? Absolutely.
    Does it bother me that it’s so popular?(Or am I bothered that no one else has knit it?) No.
    Will I knit it for myself? Probbaly not.
    Knit on Stephanie — I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  232. Hell, I’m knitting Cobblestone. And I am wholly unrepentant. A lemming, that’s me. I hadn’t stumbled across this DROPS jacket before — it’s good-looking.

  233. i just wanted to say that this is the first time that i have seen this jacket. i think it is really cute. i added it to my ravelry.

  234. I love sheep. Thanks for bringing that pattern to my attention! (Clearly a category 3/5 knitter here!)
    By the way, I have followed your trends and knit Hey Teach and the Peacock Feathers Shawl thanks to your inspiring posts!

  235. Wow. Just, wow. If I were there, I’d be thinking, “Nice beach, nice cloud, I’m going to crawl around and look at anemones, and sea stars…” and then I’d hope I’d heed the tsunami warning for the west coast. Actually, it’s a great place to take pictures of knitting- done that. So, when you’ve finished the drops sweater, return for a commemorative photo at twighlight. I think the sweater would like seeing its birthplace.

  236. Wow. Just, wow. If I were there, I’d be thinking, “Nice beach, nice cloud, I’m going to crawl around and look at anemones, and sea stars…” and then I’d hope I’d heed the tsunami warning for the west coast. Actually, it’s a great place to take pictures of knitting- done that. So, when you’ve finished the drops sweater, return for a commemorative photo at twilight. I think the sweater would like seeing its birthplace.

  237. Bah humbug to the people emailing you not to knit that beautiful coat. I think they’re missing the point. I could see if you were picking a pattern based on a sweater that is widely available in stores and weren’t planning on making alteration sure there they’d have a point. However just the act of picking a pleasing design popular or not is still in it’s own special way counter to the widely availabe culture. Besides you’re using a yarn unique to yourself and are likely to make pattern alterations. I can’t believe anyone could argue that you aren’t thinking for yourself. Way to be like that sheep 3,000 miles away you’re such a follower makes a very poor arguement in my opinion.

  238. Knit what you want to knit, but I am shocked about how many “popular” sweaters look bad on most people. The drops jacket is pretty much universally flattering though, so I think it is an excellent “popular” choice.
    I love raverly if for nothing else the chance to see what patterns look like on a variety of body shapes and sizes, it really helps me chose patterns wisely!

  239. I am so happy!!! I was voting for the Drops Jacket!! I cannot wait to see it. I would love to make it for myself some day.
    I never really thought about the issues you wrote about today. I have made plenty of patterns that I’m sure TONS of people made as well. And then I’ve made a lot of random patters found gosh-only-knows where…. seems silly to knit or not to knit something for any other reasons than loving it or not. (or of course, knitting something because someone YOU love, loves it!)

  240. I think you left out category 6, which might be me: a knitter who didn’t really notice a pattern until the Yarnharlot made it and it looked better than when I saw it in the book/magazine/website or else I wasn’t in the right mood the first time around, but now I cast on. That just happened to me with the Sideways socks. Which were totally going to be green Niagara socks, but then it looked like Niagara might need more frontal cortex than I expected to have on the 10 hour plane flight. Sideways it is! This also applied when I knit Manon (and yes, Nora Gaughan is a genius). On occasion I do make my own choices tho.
    BTW – since when do sheep have a negative connotation to knitters?

  241. I guess I knit what I like whether it’s popular or not. I definitely won’t invest time and yarn in something just because all the other kids are knitting it if I don’t like it.
    Nice pattern, it should go quick in your scientific homespun. πŸ™‚

  242. I do love that jacket. Why do I think you’ve already made it? Do I live in the future? If I do, you look GREAT in it. 103 has been on my to-do list for awhile – I have some Eco Wool perfect for it – and I love it because in all the versions I’ve seen, it changes depending on the knitter. Sometimes I see pictures and I’m like, woah, 103? Never would have guessed it. Happy knitting!

  243. Stephanie, this is what I think is cool about knitting. I am currently knitting the moderne log cabin baby blanket for a new family member (can’t think of how I caught the moderne log cabin fever). Last week I went on Ravelry to see what others had knit with this pattern. Even though hundreds of people had knit this pattern, not one of them had done it quite like I did. As a knitter you can take something that is quite popular, yet still make it completely your own and unique.

  244. I just knit what I like, popular or not. I’m sure there would be people horrified that I’m knitting a second Clapotis, but heck with them — I wanted a nice drapey lightweight scarf/shawl thing to wear when it’s not cold enough for a jacket, but too cold for just a shirt, and after poking around loads of patterns, decided the Clapotis was exactly what I was wanting.

  245. Preach on Sister!!! If I like it, I knit it. If it’s popular it might pique my interest and I might check out the pattern, but I’m not going to knit something I don’t like because it’s popular. You like the DROPS jacket, please, make yourself happy ^_^

  246. People say sheep like it’s a bad thing! I have to say that I’m less likely to knit a project if it’s very popular, but that’s usually an issue of practicality or style. I’ve tried to knit Jaywalkers about a billion times because I love how they look in variegated yarn – however, the fit is just not to my taste (and it takes three failed socks to figure this out. D’oh). Does that mean I’ll never knit a Hemlock Ring, or that I haven’t knit several pairs of Fetching, purely on principle? Heck no!

  247. I think you may be missing one point about knitters staying away from a super-popular pattern: What I love about knitting is that it allows me to make something unique or nearly unique, with my own hands, my choice of yarn, my variations on the pattern, sleeve-length, whatever. That’s where your analogy on loving famous, world-popular works of art doesn’t apply. I like the look of the Clapotis scarf, but I am not terribly motivated to knit it after having seen it done, and worn, by so many others. If I am going to make a garment with my own hands, sometimes, not always, mind you, but sometimes, the very trendiness is enough to make me prefer to stay away. I do like “trendy” but that’s the job of ready-to-wear stuff for me.

  248. So, this thought came to me as I was driving from grocery store to grocery store.
    I remembered an article in a photography magazine about how a guy and his buddy went on a photography trip together. At times, they thought their photos might turn out identically. They even tried at one point to take the exact same pictures, putting their tripods in the indents of the previous person’s.
    No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t take the same picture.
    I’m thinking sweaters are the same way. Sure, everyone might be knitting that pattern, but everyone’s knitting comes out a bit different, never mind yarn and button choices. So it doesn’t much matter if you pick a popular pattern, because everyone’s created something unique anyway.
    There’s my thought! Happy knitting πŸ™‚

  249. I’m mostly a group 3 for pretty much the same reason as yourself. I’m usually busy in the middle of a different and there’s already another waiting before I can get to the “popular” patterns. I’m just now getting around to making the Wicked sweater from Zephyr Style. I’m OK with that. I will only knit a style if I think it will look on ME! And I’m not going to knit a shawl (though I think they are so very, very lovely) because I don’t have the patience for lace. And, I don’t know how to wear shawls…embarrasing but true.
    I knit to make myself happy, to keep my family’s feet and hands warm and toasty, and to amaze myself that I can actually wear something I knit!

  250. Oh goodness – I couldn’t agree more.
    I have run into this mindset in book clubs, with regard to movies, education etc.
    I can’t really get it personally – who doesn’t make up their own mind??
    The worst was as a teen this guy I liked was anti-Shakespeare because Shakespeare was an elitist alienated from the people.
    Really? Ever seen Shakespeare live? Ever looked up some of those olde English words?
    Shakespeare was definitely in touch with the base!
    Well…rant ending. Before I really get carried away.
    Your Drops Jacket will be lovely with the wool – it’s perfect for the drape!

  251. OMG, I attend college at a liberal arts school and I know SO MANY people like this and it kills me! At some point they aren’t even thinking for themselves. Its like they are useing others to tell them what NOT to think. Which is just conformity in a different sense. I LOVE this jacket. If I had the skills and the yarn I would knit it in a lovely dark green or burgandy.

  252. Great choice (the jacket). I’ve always liked DROPS designs and thought I was the only one. And I’m probably most often in group 3: always late to the party. Oh well.

  253. Have at it! It is a gorgeous jacket. I have made a pair of monkeys, want to knit a clapotis, and even want to knit a february lady sweater. I don’t care when, I just love the patterns. And I really don’t care what everyone else is doing. Except, there is so much around, if they aren’t knitting it and telling everyone about it, I would probably never find it!

  254. oh, I hadn’t seen that pattern before (I don’t pay a lot of attention… which # was that?) but I can sure see the appeal.
    You sure do have a keen eye for human nature!

  255. Okay, so I fall into category 3, most of the time. If I’m not knitting something that’s popular it’s because I haven’t gotten around to it and by the time I do it is no longer popular. Oh well. There is a jacket that I have in mind to knit someday, It’s Teva Durhams Riding jacket from Loop-de-loop. The style will probably be all wrong for me and not look anything on me like I see it in my head. I don’t care. I will love it anyway, and I will knit it someday when all the stars align and I find just the right yarn in just the right color…aaand I have some extra free time. Okay, so not anytime in this decade or probably the next, but it will happen…someday.
    In other news guess who is this close to casting on for a certain stripey scarf that she said she would not be tempted into knitting, no matter how many lovely stripey scarfs everyone was knitting? Damn.

  256. Good grief. People need more to worry about, ya know? There are far better things in this world to be concerned with. I totally agree with you. Good for you!

  257. You know, I just knit whatever looks like something I might like or wear or be proud to give away. The thought that it might be popular never really occurs to me. I am, however, a teensy bit of a music snob in that way – popular music that is flooding the radio these days is just such garbage! Anyway, that drops jacket is beautiful and intimidates the hell out of me. Someday I’ll be able to step out and try something that looks really challenging like that!

  258. It’s popular? Really? Hadn’t noticed. It’s really not my cup of tea, but more power to you if you like it. Hooray for sheep who can spin their own yarn and use it to knit a jacket they like! May you have many good days wearing it.

  259. I recognise myself in your descriptions, like many of your readers do. And I have rejected patterns because they have become “viral” because I didn’t want to have the same sweater/etc as everyone else (saw a LOT of FLSs at Rhinebeck last year and though they were all lovely it made my want for one wane)OR because once seeing it on different bodies I decided it didn’t flatter my build.
    That or my lust for the same pattern wore off in the wait for my needles to be cleared and a new lust took its place. LOL (this happens A LOT)
    I think a PLUS of a super popular aka “viral” pattern is the amazing amount of support for any problems. You are confused or stuck and there is someone out there that had the same issue and maybe noted their solution. That is so wonderful!! I value this and the fact that if it IS so very popular it MUST be a good pattern for the general knitting populace, not just a good looking garment for master craftspeople.
    As for your choice of the Drops sweater, I think it will look gorgeous. It has a classic style about it that will make it timeless in your wardrobe. Great choice.

  260. Good for you! IWhat is great about knitting a popular pattern is that it is so neat to see everyone’s different outcome for the same pattern. Of course I am the person who knit the February Lady Sweater for Rhinebeck last year.

  261. The knitting community critics always bring back such “fond” memories of my all girl high school!

  262. I used to be in the ‘ignore if it is popular’ camp about tourist attractions. Someone dragged me off to one and I had an epiphany: some tourist attractions are popular because they are totally worth it! From this long span of time and events between me then and now, I would say that my if-everyone-likes-it,-it-must-be-dreck stance came from fear and lack of self knowledge. Not everyone is the same of course.
    Knitting? I love the monkey. I haven’t been attracted to the clapotis. But then I am a knitter – no pretensions to Knitting at this point. lol
    Thanks for thinking about these things.

  263. well, i must be part of the flock, i checked your link and downloaded the pattern. love it! thanks.

  264. sorry this is late; things are absolutely mental at work at the moment so catching up on favourite blogs, knitting and stuff went by the board.
    Anyhoo.
    1.I think this particular jacket in your handspun will look tres chic.
    2. sheep flock – cows, buffalo & elephants make herds πŸ™‚
    3. I think I’m group 6 or at best 3b; I really like some patterns and often intend to knit them. eventually. sometimes. when work (see above) allows. but mostly I get round to them so late that they’re retro…
    PS. a drunk complained that I was shouting at him tonight; I pointed out that whilst I was raising my voice to make myself heard, I at least wasn’t swearing at him as he was at me. That was 3 hours ago and I’m finally home to relax. I wish people didn’t think NHS = be as rude as you want and still get what you want.
    sorry for moaning

  265. “Lots of people have knitted it” probably means a few thousand floating around. I bet that wouldn’t be a drop in the bucket in terms of numbers of sweaters sold by H&M in a month.
    I’m pretty sure all these “Not A Sheep” types don’t shun all Levi’s, or Nikes, or every last thing they can buy in large Department and Grocery stores.
    Can you imagine, “I would NEVER eat a chocolate bar. Chocolate is just SOOOOOO trendy.”

  266. A long, long time ago, I was discussing the far-off possibility of raising children with some grad school classmates of mine. I mentioned I wanted mine to be independent and not follow the crowd or the popular things. I was bowled over (and affected by) my friend saying he wanted his kid to, when seeing a really long line for something, to think maybe I should be in that line. Chances are, it’s for something good.

  267. Right on, sister. IMHO, one of the best things about knitting (or crochet) is that you can take any pattern and make it using whatever yarn and in whatever color YOU want….DUH! You don’t HAVE to look like anyone else! (from one of those women who admittedly HATES to see herself coming and going!)

  268. I had to laugh. This reminded me of a friend who parodied those-who-refuse-to-like-anything-popular-whatsoever: “I used to like Jane Austen a lot before she started writing all that *popular* stuff.”

  269. Drops 103-1 is popular because it’s adorable. Well, not on an extreme hourglass figure in my personal experience–but on nearly everyone. And it will be gorgeous in that handspun. The haters can stuff it! πŸ™‚

  270. I have often had the same problem with the knee-jerk “I don’t like it because it’s popular” response. I run into it most often in music. If it made it big it must be crap. If it’s a struggling Indie artist nobody listens to, it’s cool. That sort of thing. So I really appreciate your take on this. The McDonald’s theory vs. the Mona Lisa theory. Very thoughtful and helpful. BTW, I’d never heard of the Drops jacket, so I guess that makes me category 5? Although usually, I’m a #1.

  271. See, and I probably won’t ever knit that pattern b/c it’s not my style. I can tell it’s a good pattern, just not for me. I’m considering knitting Clapotis, though, b/c it’s pretty and I love a good shawl/wrap/scarf.
    Baa! Knit on!

  272. You forgot my kind of knitter. I know how and I’ve knit lots of socks. I love reading knit bloggers and I browse Knitty and I’m on Ravelry. I read Treasure Forest. But I don’t knit now because my head is so mixed up I can’t focus on knitting and I wnt let myself just knit garterstitch scarves.
    That’s probably really mean and self destructive of me.

  273. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!
    Actually, you inspire a lot of these “popular” knits. You’ve made me want to knit a lot of things I never thought I would, but I think that’s more a function of breaking down the process and making it seem really, really cool.
    I watched an art show one time many years ago. They went into detail about the technique and representations and meanings behind the paintings of a *very* popular “moulin rouge” artist that I never remotely even liked (actually disliked). After watching that show and understanding more about the artist and the artwork (even on that superficial level), I certainly appreciated it much, much more. Even ended up liking some of it.
    My long-winded way of saying – That’s what you do. You expose us to various things and that understanding makes them more appealing. So, hey – thanks.

  274. So….. I’ve never seen that before. Where do I fall? I’m not a 5 because I read every knitting blog I can and I ravel far too much to be healthy. I think you need a category 6 for “happily ignorant.”

  275. It IS a great pattern. And I am going to knit it a second time, because I choose bad yarn in the first and mine looks like I wore it to dead – which is totally the truth.
    And now I am happy to be so “in” that I knit something before you did! lol
    I am balancing between a 1 and a 3. And I love Mozart, Bach, Offenbahc, Leonardo Da Vinci, Giacometti and Paul Klee. Oh, and the Beetles too! Why did you forgot the Beetles? And there is Brassens, and Gilles Vigneault, chocolate, wine and beer…………
    Life is too short to cut off those marvels because it is unoriginal.
    XOs from far away, as always,

  276. I loved this post – I’m definitely in group 5 and love the time I can steal away for knitting. Have a beautiful day at the beach!!

  277. Sometimes you have to wait until something has “aged” properly in your queue! I am going to get around to knitting that Drops jacket sometime this winter.

  278. There’s also the pleasure I get seeing a popular pattern on a knitter, recognizing the pattern and seeing what he or she has done with it. There aren’t so many knitters that even the biggest trend is really big, in the world at large; to me, a popular pattern is like a secret handshake, to identify one as a knitter, and a knitter who is tuned in to other knitters. It’s like seeing a quote from a poem tossed casually into writing–I enjoy feeling part of the group that’s in the know, no matter how cliched the quote is. This is not to say that it doesn’t get tedious, sometimes–anyone who was on the KnitList years ago (anyone?) will remember how, at one point, Joan Hamel’s sock pattern went viral, and not only was everyone making it, but they were posting about the availability of the yarn for making it–daily posts about Wool-ease, etc., got old very fast.

  279. I have been known to dislike things just because they’re popular, but I’ve also been known to like things just because they’re popular. I never would have knit entrelac or argyle socks or a ring shawl if it wasn’t for the cool factor.
    I think that if I dislike popular pattern, then my first reaction is to think that there’s something wrong with me, because I don’t like the pattern (I have Asperger’s, and so I learned as a very little kid to put a lot of effort into pretending to be normal). Instead of something being wrong with me, it’s clearly something wrong with the pattern. At this point logic comes in – there isn’t anything actually wrong with the pattern itself. It must be the fact that it’s popular that’s a problem. None of this happens at a conscious level of course, and this is just a theory for how my process works.
    I tend to have very different opinions on knitting than the majority – I like my socks plain vanilla. Yes, self-striping yarn is cool, but so is solid colours. While I am interested in doing Jaywalkers, it doesn’t suit how I knit. Profs get upset (with some reason) if I’m spending the lecture consulting a chart, counting stitches or otherwise paying more attention to my knitting than to the lecture. This results in me frequently disliking the popular patterns.

  280. I’m late to this post, but I just need to say this:
    I was really curious about how the reader tells you NOT to knit DROPS 103-1.
    So I read all the comments on that post (on my Blackberry, at that–my thumb got sore from scrolling) and I couldn’t find it!
    Which is good, I guess, because I’m sure the poster will get a lot of talking-to from your other readers.
    So I just want to say that I admire your tact and sensibility in leaving out details about the poster πŸ™‚
    Groove on, Steph!

  281. I cannot wait to see how your DROPS jacket turns out! I have that pattern in my Rav queue for quite some time, but I have been too “chicken” to actually knit it up. Now I need to go back to your post and figure out what kind of knitter I am! πŸ™‚

  282. Hmmm, I think I am a little of all 5 groups, but I am only fleetingly, a 4. Sometimes it takes a long time for me to want to do something that EVERYONE else is doing … this is because I like to sit back and watch all of the variations that arise. Then, after the trend has past, I can agglomerate all of the variations and make the “old” thing, in a new way. I LOVE looking at all of the variations that arise within a single pattern on Ravelry! So cool and inspiring to see the creativity that can arise from the hands of knitters!

  283. I’ve fallen way behind on my blog reading and commenting, so I’m way late to the party here, but I still want to respond because not knitting something because it’s popular is so totally me.
    I will say right up front that I almost never knit other people’s patterns, popular or not, and I think that’s because of the creative-expression thing: knitting for me is highly personal, and there’s absolutely nothing like the rush that comes from “hey, that really can be done!” — even if I later find that I am only the 90 millionth knitter to make this awesome discovery. And I will stay with something that fascinates me and ring changes on it long after everyone else has moved on, because I am not ready to move on yet. (Whatever you do, do not ask me about reversible cables.)
    It is true, however, that I have a contrarian streak a mile wide, and it is possible that I’ve missed a good thing or six along the way because Everyone Was Doing It. It’s also true that I’ll occasionally work from a pattern, or at least use elements of one, in order to learn something, and I’d probably be a better knitter if I did more of that.
    There is an element of envy here — why couldn’t I have thought of that?!? — and an unmistakable echo of a time when I was much shorter — wanna do it myFELF! But (please Goddess) I don’t think that’s all of it, or even half. Doing it myfelf, er, myself, gets my mind all the way around it, and from there I can venture into terra incognita, to me anyway.
    I hadn’t ever given it this much thought before, and I’m not done yet.

  284. I knit what I want, who cares what other people knit? If they knit it first then I have the benefit of seeing how it came out and if there were mistakes and now since we have the benefit of Ravelry and the internet, we can check the notes and progress of these knits! Baaaaa

  285. Damn. I was just thinking of casting that jacket on (no, really, I was). But now you’ve gone and blogged about it so everyone else is going to knit it and now I can’t. Thanks a lot!

  286. Your point about #4 is how I feel about Dan Brown’s books. Just because they’re popular, doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading. I don’t read them because they’re great literature (they’re not); I read them because I find the stories in them page-turning and interesting.
    I tend to be in group #3 myself, mostly because having an 18-month-old sucks up a lot of time I might have been knitting. I made my first BSJ last winter, 40 years after the pattern was published, but the danged kid promptly grew out of it.

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