Pattern Surfing

My local HEB grocery store has a wall of lettuce. There is lettuce in bags, boxes, and heads. It’s mixed with other stuff like croutons, or on its own. Some is organic, some is pre-washed, some needs washing (to get rid of that organic material that we don’t want to eat). Some is identified as “baby,” which means the rest must be full-grown. Shoppers must stand a few feet away from the wall, in order to see all the choices. I watch as they consider the display like a bad painting, then hone in on something, put it in their carts and wheel away.

When did this happen? And, more importantly, how did we come to expect it? It used to be that the most confusing purchase I made was panty hose. Now it seems that my life is full of small, unimportant decisions. It’s exhausting.

Take selecting a knitting pattern. Before the Internet, knitters chose patterns from books or pattern companies, or they shared private designs with other knitters in their guild or knitting circle. Or they made them up. Today, there are patterns everywhere. In addition to the great patterns on sites like Knitty or The Twist Collection, yarn companies have patterns, Interweave Knits has an online pattern store, designers like Stephanie Japel sell patterns on their personal websites. And those are just the name brands. Every other knit blogger has a pattern, most are free. On Ravelry, the most popular scarf pattern is My So Called Scarf, and it is a free pattern designed by a yarn store owner in San Francisco.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to make a cardigan. I had my eye on the Mr. Greenjeans pattern from Knitty. But then I started pattern surfing on Ravelry. I looked a hundreds of cardigan patterns. It took hours. But I came back to Mr. Greenjeans.

While in theory, I love the choices, in practice, it’s exhausting, and takes time away from knitting. I did however, finish Mr. Greenjeans. I need to block it and get a button. But I like it very much. It’s just in time too, as it appears that Summer is Finally Over. When we open the back door, our Cody cat can enjoy sitting in the sun.



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