Getting Featured or Popular should increase the rate of pageviews in a distinct way. Also getting onto a major blog would show up as a bump in the rate of pageviews.
To satisfy my own curiosity I slapped together a website that keeps track of the statistics of a set of instructables. Once every 15 minutes it gets the current statistics and stores it in a database. It can then on demand plot graphs of that data.
If you want to keep track you your (or any other) instructables just go to InstruGraph.com and register by just supplying your email address. You can then add the URL's of the instrutables that you're interested in.
It will of course take a while before any data shows up in the graphs since it can only get the current data and not any historical values from the Instrutables site. So add your instructables as soon as possible after you published them.
The InstruGraph site is using some "undocumented tricks" to get the data from Instrutables, so it might stop working any anytime if the Instructables team decides to change their coding in a non-compatible way. But until then, please make use of the service. It's free to use and doesn't have any obnoxious affiliate programs or ads.
It's in early beta so please report any bugs, errors, improvements, suggestions to me. Either on the site or as a comment or PM here.
Step 1: How to Add a New Instructable to Graph
To add a new instructable to be graphed you first go to the instructable and copy its URL. Then click on the "Add new graph" -link on the InstruGraph site and paste the URL in the form and click Add.
That's it. Now you just wait for 15 minutes and the graph begins to get built. Come back a day or two later and watch you statistics in amazement or horror... :-)