I’m a bit of a slave to patterns. Part of it is not being quite confident enough to go completely patternless, but part of it is that I see so many amazing, innovative patterns already out there and I want to knit them all. There’s not enough knitting time to knit through all my favourites on ravelry, let alone knit things that I pull out of my head.
I also find patterns teaching me so much. A new sock pattern has a nice tubular cast on or a new heel to try. A lace shawl might have a new suggestion for making nupps. It’s interesting to see all the ways different designers approach the thumb in gloves. A funky new sock construction can make me giddy and excited to cast on, even if the reality doesn’t quite fit me right (I’m looking at you, Skew).
I do occasionally venture a little off pattern. I modified my Catriona vest a bit, and most socks get a standard slip stitch heel unless they’re offering something particularly interesting. I guess the more I knit of a certain type of thing, the more likely I am to alter it to my moods.
Since I’ve only ever made three actual full garments, I guess I’m not quite as comfortable with sweaters as I am with socks. Luckily I have lovely books like Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweaters and Fit to Flatter to draw from. And even if I don’t have the lifetime of the universe to knit all the patterns, there’s nothing to stop me drooling over them for fun anyway.