Not-So-Lovin’ the skill level thing

I’m a firm believer in knitting what you’re comfortable knitting, or perhaps, are willing to knit. Some designers feel that it’s necessary to label a pattern on how “easy” or how “hard it is. 

My Monday night knitsters and I had a discussion about how we felt about those patterns that were labeled with beginner, easy, intermediate or experienced/advanced. (Chart below, and other charts can be found at http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/skill.html)

Skill levels for knitting
1 beginner Beginner Projects for first-time knitters using basic knit and purl stitches.
Minimal shaping.
2 easy Easy Projects using basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing.
3 intermediate Intermediate 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.
4 experienced Experienced Projects using advanced techniques and stitches, such as short rows, fair isle, more intricate intarsia, cables, lace patterns, and numerous color changes.

I, for one, told them you would never see a skill level listed in my patterns. (though, early on, you may have. This was before I knew better, and was going by what the industry recommended). And here’s why…

Example 1: Nadia is a beginner knitter, but sees the skill level listed as “intermediate”, and goes right by. Nadia would love to make this pattern, but feels if the designer wrote intermediate it was for a reason, and she wasn’t willing to try. Rather than read through the pattern to see if there is anything she may, in fact, be comfortable with, she chooses not to.

These to some, are hard to make, others dive in and try…

Example 2: Hannah is a beginner knitter, and sees the same skill level listed on the pattern. She decides to read through the pattern to see why the designer may have listed this one as intermediate. After scanning the page, she felt she was capable of doing this pattern.

Now, yes, there are two distinct different examples, one isn’t willing to venture into the “intermediate” territory because of the label, while the other one is. My point is that having this label listed on a given pattern, may scare away some knitters who aren’t willing to tackle just because of what the label read, when in fact, they could have possibly handled this pattern very well.

It’s a subjective thing, in my opinion. Meaning it’s the subjects personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, or desires. And how the knitter interprets the pattern. An ambitious beginner will attempt it despite the label, while the not-so-ambitious knitter will not, even though normally they may just have tried it.

I suppose, it could go a totally different way, in which the experienced/advanced knitter may not even want to knit a pattern labeled “easy” due to it not being challenging enough. 

So, why put it on the pattern in the first place? In my book, Dishcloth Diva, you won’t find the patterns labeled with a skill level. Hypothetically, I don’t want to scare away the beginner knitter, just because I felt the pattern was for the experienced knitter. That was my opinion alone. Though, some patterns in my book have more challenging stitches, any knitter who is willing to learn the stitch will be able to knit the pattern. And visa-versa. Any experienced knitter needing a reprieve from the more challenging patterns, will find great solace in knitting one. 


I’d love to hear your thoughts. Oh, and by the way, the Hexipuff picture wasn’t a mistake. Stay tuned to future blog posts where I share my adventure with the whole hexipuff craze…


So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb

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2 thoughts on “Not-So-Lovin’ the skill level thing

  1. I haven't put the CYC skill labels on most of my patterns just because of laziness. But I'm finding that when submitting patterns to publishers, it is required so I'm trying to be better about it all.

    I don't think there is any one solution that will work for everyone's style – I've had customers purchase my patterns who didn't have the skills needed and then they wanted me to teach them and hold their hand through the project.

    If a knitter or crocheter wants to try a pattern that is a bit above their skill level AND they have someone to help them (or they are comfortable using on-line videos to learn) then more power to them. But I sell patterns – not teach folks how to crochet. 🙂

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