Are you suffering from DPO (Dreaded Pattern Overload)?

It’s all Ravelry’s fault, I suppose. Between “Friends’ Activity” and the “Recently Added Patterns”, there are more patterns being thrown at us daily than I can count. I try to only queue items that I am really planning to knit in the next year (or two…), and favorite everything else. Some things in my favorites are things I may want to make, some are things I’ve favorited for inspiration, and some are just things I like – so I don’t plan on knitting everything in that list.

But still… between my favorites and my queue, I have over 1000 patterns and projects listed. If I never saw another pattern again in my life, I already have more than enough to knit for the rest of my life.

At first, I embraced all of the new patterns eagerly. But now, I feel like my eyes are glazing over. I’m more critical of new patterns. I think “well, it’s nice, but it looks a lot like ____, which I already have the pattern for”. In the past, if I saw a pattern that I sort of liked, but there was something about it that I didn’t like, I might favorite it anyway, figuring that I could just modify it. Now I’m more likely to just pass it by. Or with certain types of items, I might not bother favoriting them, figuring that if I ever want to make that type of item, I can just do a Ravelry search for it if and when I want to make one. The advanced search is awesome.

But really, how different are the next 100 lace sock patterns going to be from the 100 lace sock patterns I already have? And for clothing, how unique can you really be? A pullover, for example, needs to have a certain basic shape. You need sleeves, and a place for your head and body. Some designs are very creative in using different angles and wraps, but mostly there’s a fairly basic shape with differences being in neckline/collar, body shaping, and sleeve type. Beyond that the differences are mostly cosmetic – lace, cables, ribbing or not, etc.

While those cosmetic changes can certainly make a big difference, there’s only so many ways you can make it unique enough to really stand out from all of the other similar patterns. I can think of lots of sweaters where there are multiple patterns that look extremely similar. Some may be knock-offs, but I’m sure most of them are just coincidence.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and was amused when the last Doubleknit podcast (#12) talked about the very same things I’d been thinking. If you haven’t listened to it, you might want to check it out.

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13 Responses to Overload

  1. margene says:

    I’ve become much more discriminating, too and I don’t look for patterns as often as I did in the past. It helps to know what looks good and what you will REALLY knit.

  2. Anne B. says:

    Those are very good points. With such overload, I find myself being picky about what I really, really want to make. A good pattern, which may be #5 or #6 down on the list probably won’t get made as I don’t like it more than #1 or #2. But when those patterns come along that kind of blow your socks (ha!) off, then you know its good!

  3. Lani says:

    I tend to go ahead and queue anything I MAY want to knit… and I do tend to go through it every few months and if there are similar patterns I get rid of one. (But yes, I do agree it’s incredibly overwhelming at times!!) Thank God for Ravelry’s advanced pattern search! (Then you can sorta keep the blinders on) 🙂

  4. Cayenne says:

    I know. I’m not that interested in buying knitting books anymore because there is so much available online, especially on ravelry. What an incredible resource, but when there is so much to choose from you have to learn to be really picky. It’s also why I’m not that interested in learning to design, except occasionally for myself, because there are so many patterns out there already. It’s an exciting era for fiber arts, but tricky too. It’s how I feel about all the tons of different yarns out there too. How do you choose? I just end up using the usuals from my LYS most of the time.

  5. Cayenne says:

    PS That’s one of the reasons I read Margene’s and Susan’s and your blogs. You do a lot of the weeding out for me and I get to be inspired by your great knits. So, thanks!

  6. Amy says:

    I’ve been deliberately staying off Ravelry for a while for that very reason. At least when I stockpile yarn, I can play with it and pet it. Not so much with patterns.

  7. Carrie K says:

    Bloglines over load, pattern overload, these darn computers!! I know exactly what you mean. My books and magazines alone would provide me with more patterns than I could ever knit in a single lifetime.

    OTOH, pretty. 🙂

  8. Nora says:

    Yep – I totally agree. I’m starting to find it exhausting, and I haven’t been doing this very long. I feel like I’m finally developing somewhat of an eye for a good pattern, though. This “too much of everything” syndrome is why I want to knit an EPS!

  9. Cookie says:

    That is one of the reasons that I avoid Ravelry. I don’t need to be distracted by every pretty pattern out there. I need to knit through my list of projects. Just from reading blogs, I find out about new great patterns and get to see them knit up. Too many options and all I do is dither and that doesn’t help the knitting at all.

  10. Chris says:

    Interesting – I’ve found myself avoiding Ravelry (byond putting some project info in) recently, too – and part of it’s the overload of patterns/choices. The rest of it is that I find I enjoy blogs more than the forums.

  11. Heather Joins The Round says:

    We’re spoiled for choice, aren’t we?

  12. ozlorna says:

    Every so often, I go through my favourites and UNfavourite the ones I don’t want to access any more (eg I’ve made my i own version and no longer need them for reference). Then time to go through my queue, and delete those I’m no longer interested in making. THEN assign stash to projects I want to do in the near future, and put them on the first queue page. I love my Rav time, I’ve made things I’d never had known about – win-win.

  13. Laurie says:

    YES. My queue is ridiculous. My notebooks at home are bulging with patterns. Then there are so many, I forget which ones I have. Some good that does, eh?

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