Melanie Shee's reply:
You do not say which specific area of the design sector you are looking to work in. However regardless of that I would suggest that the main thing you need to do is to remember that the portfolio you are developing is aimed at showing a prospective employer that you have the right skills and competencies to do the job they require of you. So therefore, just as you would target your CV to what a specific employer is looking for, I suggest you then need to target your portfolio in the same way.
You always need to consider who your audience is. Remember that when you are pulling together your portfolio for a creative agency you need to look at exactly what they are looking for in a designer, so all examples of your work should reflect this. It is worth doing your research too. For instance, you need to find out if the company has a specific `style’?
Whenever you are going to submit your work I would suggest you look at their website for examples of their previous work and clients. Is your portfolio showing them your style would easily fit into the companies’ style and design ethos? Does it show you can do the job they require? Also, remember that is it about quality and not quantity so be selective with the work you include in your portfolio.
If your application is not a speculative one then I would also suggest you look closely at the job description / design specification. Does your portfolio show the skills and competencies they are looking for? Consider how your portfolio will demonstrate to them that you will meet the creative agency's needs and add value to their work? The work you select should make it very clear that is does and the company does not have to seek it out.
So, in answer to your question my advice would be yes, by all means do show variety in your work. But only consider adding `craft projects’ such as knitting to your portfolio if you are specifically asked to demonstrate this and it enhances your portfolio as whole.
Good luck back into the design world!