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.