A quick observation on diversity in knitting

I am very stressed, and this evening I took a short period to zone out, and as I often do, I looked through Ravelry’s index of “Hot Right Now”, defined as “designs with the most visits in the last 24 hours”. I have commented here before about the need for more diversity in knitting, and have occasionally pointed out companies and designers who are using more diverse models. Very slowly, we are seeing an increasing use of models of colour, and also an increase in age and size diversity. Today, however, I was really struck by the lack of black models in the patterns that are hot right now. Not all of these patterns have models, by the way, but I think the facts still speak for themselves.

The first black model was on the 144th most popular pattern (patterns change position constantly). Of the top 500 patterns, there were 9 with black models (3 of them the same model, with the designs all from the current issue of Pom Pom magazine, as pictured below).

© Laura Morsman

Of the top 1000 patterns on Hot Right Now, there were 23 with black models (6 of them from Pom Pom Issue 36, featuring the lovely model above).

Of the top 2000 patterns on Hot Right Now, there were 34 with black models. That’s 1.7%. If we discount that one issue of Pom Pom, it’s 1.4%.

Food for thought, no?

6 thoughts on “A quick observation on diversity in knitting

    • Very few, as you can imagine. I do notice older models – I am almost 60 myself, and like to see my demographic represented. There are some designers and publications who recognise the need for size and age diversity in models, but todays’ short experiment showed it still has a long way to go. And of course, we also need to promote more diversity in designers, and producers, and across the knitting community.

    • That’s a really excellent point, Bonny, and thank you for raising it. I have no idea what the answer would be. I avoid Facebook and IG for ideological reasons, and I know there are many who are avoiding Ravelry. Of course, diversity in medium is also a good thing for the community; having everything in one place is more convenient but can also lead to stagnation.

      • Oh yeah, I have no idea either, just made me wonder, since I’ve seen so many designers on social media talking about taking their patterns elsewhere. I’d like to think there are still plenty of designers left on Rav who do value diversity but maybe haven’t done the work to really show that yet. I have noticed more POC and different body types showing up in my non-Rav feeds, and I love seeing it, so it would be cool to see it on Rav too!

  1. I agree more diversity is needed. Slightly off topic but have you checked out the latest copy of Pom Pom? I absolutely love it! I’ve already ordered yarn for one of the patterns. The photo you chose to feature is just one of many beautiful images in the current issue.

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