Knitting Skill Levels Explained


In this post, you will learn about the different knitting skill levels.

Most knitting patterns will come attached to a skill level.

This is for you to know as a knitter if you think that your skillset can be matched with the pattern you are interested in.

This is a really quick and easy way to determine whether you will be able to complete the project.

knitting needles and yarn

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Understanding Knitting Skill Levels

The skill levels are ranked from 1 to 4 with 1 being the beginner knitting patterns and 4 being the most advanced (think brioche or intricate cabled sweater designs).

Some patterns and books may use different terms to assess the skill levels of those particular patterns.

But there are general standards that are used, set out by the Craft Yarn Council.

knitted ribbing swatch

#1 Basic / Beginner

If you have never picked up the needles before and are looking to give knitting a try – then this patterned level is for you.

The projects listed in this category are normally scarves, hats and cowls knit flat with two needles.

The stitches will be basic like garter stitch or stockinette stitch.

#2 Easy / Beginner

These projects are for people who already know how to cast on, cast off, knit garter stitch and other basic knitting stitches.

They will include simple stitch patterns, colour work and some shaping.

#3 Intermediate

The intermediate level is for those of you who have the basics down and want to move on to something that is a little more challenging.

These types of projects include colourwork – like intarsia or stranded knitting.

There will also be basic cables, lacework, knitting in the round and more advanced shaping.

#4 Complex / Advanced

This is the level that gives you intricate and complex stitch patterns, colourwork and shaping using a variety of skilled techniques.

Including short rows, intricate designs and complicated charts (either for cables or colourwork).

Complex cable stitch pattern

Some patterns also combine some of the skill levels – for example, advanced beginner.

This is a step higher than the easy/beginner level but not quite intermediate.

However, looking through a pattern you will see if you are able to understand the techniques used and if it will prove too difficult or not.

Knitting patterns skill levels

Why Do Some Patterns Have No Skill Level?

Some patterns may not have a skill level so that people are not put off by the label.

No matter what your skill level is, you can read through the pattern and see if you will be able to do it or not.

If it lists a couple of techniques or stitch patterns you are not familiar with, you can get plenty of tutorials online through Youtube.

How to Improve Your Knitting Skills

Through practising the craft and choosing projects that not only interest you but have different stitch patterns and designs.

If you get stuck, you can always gather up your latest project and visit your local yarn store.

Most people who work there will help a new knitter out and of course, there are many websites and tutorials to be found online.

You can also join knitting groups, as you can learn loads from other knitters.

knitting skills at knitting club

Choosing A Knitting Pattern

If you are a total newbie and have never picked up the needles before, then starting with the first level – Basic/Beginner will be best.

But if you have more experience it all depends on what you want to make and how much effort you want to put into learning new skills and techniques along the way.

The skill levels set ut above are helpful, but when you read through a pattern, you will be able to judge whether you can do it or not.

Here are a few tips to think about when you choose your next pattern:

  • Read through the pattern and see if you understand the terms and abbreviations, can you follow what it is asking you to do?
  • Look up anything you don’t recognise and see if you know how to do them before you start.
  • You can ask for help from the pattern designer (if you are able to), other knitters, in online forums, check out Youtube tutorials or on Ravelry.

beginner knitting

Knitting can always be pulled out and started again if you run into trouble or get confused with the pattern.

You can also choose more advanced patterns to develop your skills and keep notes of what you are learning.

Keeping a pad of sticky notes is a great way to put notes into the pattern you are working from and can help you to focus on the text you are trying to understand.

knitted sweaters

To be able to develop your skills as a knitter you should try new projects that look a little more complicated than what you have made before.

Once your confidence grows you will be able to select projects with ease, knowing that you have many resources available to you for help online if you need them.

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