Pattern selection is a major decision in a knitter’s life. You spend a small fortune on the yarn and countless hours knitting. What if you choose the wrong pattern? Nothing is more frustrating than being overwhelmed or bored halfway through the design. Increase your odds of selecting the perfect pattern by understanding the different skills levels assigned to patterns by designers.
The Craft Yarn Council of America offers four designations for knitting pattern skill levels – Beginner, Easy, Intermediate, and Experienced. Most knitting patterns follow these standards or some similar variation.
Beginner indicates projects for first-time knitters using basic knit and purl stitches with minimal shaping involved. These knitting patterns are never mentally taxing and are perfect for knitting on the go or with distractions. Knitting for therapy projects also typically fall into this category.
Easy patterns are projects using basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing. There are no rectangles here. You will find basic sweater patterns with straightforward shaping in this category, plus beginner-type designs with more complex stitch patterns and color changes.
Patterns designated Intermediate are projects with a variety of stitches, such as basic cables and lace, simple intarsia, double-pointed needles and knitting in the round needle techniques, mid-level shaping and finishing. Designs in this category are for seasoned knitters desiring a challenge and a chance to improve their skills.
Experienced projects use advanced techniques and stitches, such as short rows, fair isles, more intricate intarsia, cables, lace patterns, and numerous color changes. These patterns require concentration and always keeping track of where you are in the instructions. Often, each row of the pattern is different. Patience is also a necessity.
When choosing a skill level, don’t forget to make sure the selection is appropriate for your needs at the time. Many expert knitters complete a beginner pattern now and then. Sometimes a bit of “Mindless Knitting” is just what the doctor ordered.