A Guide to Knitting Skill Levels

November 24, 2022 3 min read 0 Comments

A Guide to Knitting Skill Levels

We all start out as beginner knitters. We learn the basic stitches and knit a scarf or two. Then we learn a few new stitches and are ready for a more advanced project. But, how do you know when you have advanced in knitting skill level? This simple guide will help you to decide which patterns are perfect for you and which may be too advanced. 

What Are Knitting Skill Levels?

When you are shopping for knitting patterns, you will notice that they are ranked from difficulty levels 1 to 4. The Craft Yarn Council has set some basic difficulty guidelines.

  • Basic. Patterns that require basic stitches and possibly basic increases and decreases.
  • Easy. Patters that require basic stitch patterns and some simple color work and shaping.
  • Intermediate. Patters that require involved stitch patterns, color work, and shaping.
  • Complex. Patterns include complex stitch patterns, color work, and shaping, all using a variety of techniques and stitches within the pattern.

These guidelines are very general and still may leave knitters confused about what skill level they are and whether they have the skill to complete a particular project.

Basic/Beginner Knitting Level

If you have never knitted a stitch before and are learning terms like garter stitch, knit stitch, stockinette stitch, purl, cast on, and cast off, this is your knitting skill level. While at this level, you will learn to weave in ends, bind-off, fix a dropped stitch, and a simple seaming technique. Projects for beginner knitters are scarves, hats, and maybe a small blanket. A basic knitting pattern should specify that it is knitted flat using two standard knitting needles. 

Before advancing from a beginner knitting level, you should learn these seven stitches first. 

Advanced Beginner Knitting Level

If you have knitted a few simple projects and feel like you may be ready to move on, you may be an advanced beginner knitter. At this level, you will be able to read simple patterns, knit neater edges, knit simple cables, work with a two-colored technique, and start to knit in the round. You begin to feel more pride in your work.

Intermediate Knitting Level

Graduating to the immediate knitter skill level means that you have no problem following patterns and you are learning advanced stitches. You can knit in the round with ease and are starting to introduce colorwork into your projects. You understand why gauge matters and can create swatches that are consistent. You are working more advanced stitches at this skill level and are experimenting with new cast-on and bind-off methods. When you make a mistake, you can fix it with a lifeline and you know how to reverse knit. You may be venturing into lace patterns and more complex cables and you are diving into colorwork methods like intarsia, and mosaic knitting.

Experienced Knitting Level

By the time you reach this level, you have been knitting for quite a while. You are proficient with several knitting techniques, and your projects are neat and professional looking. Your stitching is consistent and even, and you have made socks, sweaters, toys, blankets, and hats of varying difficulty levels. At this level, you understand how to choose the right yarn for your project and have an understanding of color theory and how to pair yarns. Your knitting speed has increased and you can likely knit while watching TV or multi-tasking in other ways. If you come across a stitch you haven't used before, you can easily navigate it.

Advanced Knitting Level

When a knitter reaches an advanced level of knitting, they are able to design complex patterns, and their execution of any pattern is flawless. Constructing fitted garments and altering patterns is no issue at this level. You have likely taken some advanced knitting classes and masterfully complete most any project quickly and without any mistakes.

Master Knitting Level

Master knitters have certifications, have completed several knitting courses, and have tested their skills. At this level, you will not require a pattern because you understand the principles of advanced knitting and are able to invent new stitches and construct patterns. A master knitter understands that knitting is nothing more than math and can develop equations to construct original projects. The Knitting Guild Association has only assigned the master knitter designation to 350 knitters worldwide. 

Knitting is a lovely hobby meant to bring joy and inspire creativity. There is no need to push yourself to achieve higher knitting skill levels. If you are comfortable knitting at an Intermediate level and you are happily creating projects that you enjoy, it is perfectly fine for you to remain at this level. This is your hobby! The skill level system is simply a way to understand whether a project is right for you or not.

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