Welcome to KR, daisychainply! Since your topic was posted in several places, I've narrowed it down to this one to make it easier for Forum members to see and respond to your questions.
I'm interested to know what's led you to ask your questions. Are you doing personal research, or gathering information for an article or book? Most of us here at KR (myself included) are hand knitters, so we may not have much to contribute, but we're all interested in where knitting is going and what the trends are.
I hope you'll post again, and let us know a little more about you—what do you knit, by hand or machine, and are you a designer as well?