Thursday, January 22, 2015

Combining Two Loves: The HSF and Data

I have a fondness for data.  Spreadsheets, databases, charts, pretty much all of it.

Combine that with my being a member of the Historical Sew Fortnightly, and I start to get curious about things like how many of our members are actually participating in the challenges, and which challenges are the most popular.  So I turned those questions into a giant spreadsheet, and then made that data easier to read through two charts:

Despite the fact that we almost doubled our membership in 2014, about the same number of people participated.  Although, we did almost double our numbers of those who completed all challenges in the year (26 in 2013 (plus the bonus #0 for a total of 27) and 24 in 2014): 4 "full-marathoners" in 2013 and 7 in 2014, and only two people did all challenges both years.

As far as I could tell, 389 people participated in at least one challenge.  If you're a member of that group, you did better than about 80% of our members! (At the end of 2014, we had about 2000 members.)

My second chart only asks how many people did each challenge, but it also shows some interesting trends, most notably how interest drops off as the year goes on (this being especially pronounced in 2014). But you can also see which types of challenges were more interesting to people.  Both years, the "Under It All" (13.3 and 14.3) challenge was one of the most popular, and it was joined by other concrete themes like "Bodice" (14.4) and "Accessorize" (13.7).  Less popular were the challenges with more fluid themes like "Pretty Pretty Princess" (13.12) and "The Politics of Fashion" (14.11), though I often found these more enjoyable due to the added challenge of interpreting the theme.  If you'd like to compare the numbers to their challenge names, the Dreamstress' site has them all listed on the respective HSF pages: 2013 and 2014.

And if you have any desire to see the full set of data, visit here.

Hope you enjoy!  And feel free to leave a comment about what you've been wondering about the HSF, and maybe I'll continue with my figuring!


  1. Oh my goodness! I'm one of the participants of many of the challenges. Hats off to you and numbers!

  2. Thanks for working up all of this data! I love this type of analysis. I managed to do over half the challenges in '13 and '14 so I felt really good about that. It's been great seeing everyone's projects.

  3. How fascinating! Thanks for sharing your results!

  4. Now I wish I had joined in. I would have done at least one item each of those years. :/ Never mind you're all going to get to see them as UFO's this year anyway.

  5. Rachel DixieHeartless TurnerJanuary 22, 2015 at 11:25 PM

    Love this! And love to be able to see where I fell on your other sheet. Due to a computer crash, my last few challenges of 2014 were only posted a week or so ago, so we actually had 8 complete the marathon! :) :) :) and what a marathon it was, but very satisfying! Now on to my next projects!

  6. This is really fascinating, especially the findings on what type of challenges are most popular! And it makes me feel better about my participation, because I did manage to finish at least one thing for both years, actually more last year.