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 skill levels explained

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.

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knitting skill levels - needles and yarn

#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 knitting needles.

In a beginner pattern, you will be using basic stitches like garter stitch (how to knit garter stitch) or stockinette stitch (how to knit stockinette stitch (for beginners)).

While repetitive stitch patterns can be boring, they are essential at the beginning of your knitting journey as they help you get used to the stitches and the hand movements. 

Check out the knitting lessons to find all of the important tutorials beginner knitters will need. 

This set of dishcloth knitting patterns is an excellent example of a basic knit pattern: Dishcloth Knitting Patterns (To Practice Basic Knitting Stitches).

Or this hat pattern that will teach you how to make your first hat; How To Knit A Hat For Complete Beginners (+ Video Tutorial)

knitted ribbing swatch knitting skill level beginner

#2 Easy / Beginner

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

They will include simple stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping.

Easy patterns are great to get past your beginner level and teach you new techniques like minimal shaping, basic increases, and new stitches like the moss stitch and the seed stitch (how to knit seed stitch for beginners).

This baby blanket is an excellent project to practice your skills; Easy Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern (Broken Rib Stitch).

This simple knit arm warmers pattern will allow you to practice knitting stockinette stitch and the finished arm warmers will look great made with any medium-weight yarn in any color; Simple Knit Arm Warmers Pattern (Je Suis Prest)

#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 color work – like simple intarsia stranded knitting or fair isle.

There will also be basic cables, lacework, knitting in the round with double-pointed needles or circulars, and more advanced shaping. 

This Irish Moss Stitch cardigan is a perfect pattern for an intermediate knitter to try a variety of techniques; Irish Moss Stitch Cardigan Knitting Pattern.

This blanket is ideal for experienced knitters who love cables; Chunky Cable Knit Blanket Pattern.

Related Post: How to join knitting in the round with circular knitting needles

#4 Complex / Advanced

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

Including short rows (how to knit short rows (wrap and turn)), intricate designs, intricate stitch patterns, multi-color techniques, detailed shaping, intricate cables, and complicated charts (either for cables, lacework, or colorwork).

This pattern is a perfect example of an advanced pattern with cable stitches; Regency Red Cable Knit Fingerless Mittens Pattern.

Another example of a complex pattern would be The Herb Garden Cable Knit Mittens Pattern.

Complex cable stitch pattern for knitting skill level intermediate

What If My Pattern Combines Skill Levels?

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.

This chunky cardigan knitting pattern is an easy knit for anyone who is looking to make their first garment – Chunky Cardigan Knitting Pattern.

This oversized sweater is a perfect pattern for an advanced beginner who wants to experiment with different skill levels – Oversized Chunky Knit Sweater Pattern.

Chunky knit sweater

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 practicing the craft and choose projects that not only interest you but have different stitch patterns and designs. 

Once you get through the basics challenging yourself with more advanced techniques and difficulty levels will only be to your benefit.

The most important thing you need to remember is your can always frog your knitting project and use your yarn in the next project.

Making mistakes is how you learn.

Check out this post to find my best tips for a beginning knitter. – Knitting Tips For Beginners

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.

Join The Handy Little Me Knitting Crochet Community Here!

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 out above are helpful, but when you read through a pattern, you will be able to judge whether you can do it or not.

Tips To Help You Choose Your Next Pattern…

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? Check out the abbreviations here – Knitting Abbreviations And Terms (US And UK)
  • Look up anything you don’t recognize 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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