In looking for candidates for the Socks from everywhere posts (next week it's red socks), I've made extensive use of the advanced search features on Ravelry. On a whim, I wondered which were the most popular colours for socks.
Of course a simple question always lacks a simple answer. While you can search for single colours, there is the option, for somewhere-inbetween colours such as yellow-orange. For simplicity's sake, I counted these as both yellow and orange.
Far and away the top two colours are blue (roughly 124,000 projects), followed by green (102,000). Red is third, with a little over half the number of green projects (56,000), with purple just behind (55,000) and, perhaps surprisingly, pink in fifth (38,000), closely followed by orange (35,000).
I would take these numbers with a slight pinch of salt since when I went back later on and performed what I had thought was the same search, the numbers had shifted slightly. however, the pattern was pretty constant.
So should this be anything more than passing curiosity? Certainly it leads to even more questions. Are knitters predisposed to buying blue or green yarn over more muted browns or greys? Or is it the case that the photographs of the samples on the patterns sway yarn purchasers? Do designers influence yarn choices that strongly?
All and none of these could be factors, but there is another angle. My house is full of yarn purchased, sometimes without even a vague notion of a project, so it lies in storage. It may be that pretty colours sell, but just never make it as far as the needles.
Maybe I'm better spending my time on more useful pursuits. I fancy some nice new socks, blue perhaps.......