How to Choose a Knitting Pattern


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As a beginner, you need to choose a knitting pattern very carefully. Although it is relatively easy to learn to knit, your first few projects need to be something simple or you will find yourself getting frustrated (and probably annoyed) to the point that you just give up.

Most patterns that are published these days have a rating system which allows you to select a pattern suitable for your level of experience.

Knitting Pattern and a ball of woolGetting Started by Choosing a Knitting Pattern | © Deborah Mason & Knitting Naturally

Choose a Knitting Pattern by Skill Level

Most of the rating systems consist of a rating from one to four, with one being for beginners and four being patterns only for experienced knitters. The rating for each pattern in a pattern book has a graphic at the top of the page. The graphic will either bars, balls of wool or stars.

The number of bars or balls of wool that are dark indicates the rating for that particular pattern.

Beginner Rating

A pattern with this rating is suitable for a first time knitter. Generally there is very little shaping in the garment and the knitting only uses basic stitches like stocking stitch or garter stitch.

Easy Rating

These patterns also predominately use basic stitches, but they may include simple repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes and a bit more shaping than patterns with the beginner rating.

Intermediate Rating

Intermediate projects offer the knitter a bit more variety and may include basic cables, lace stitch patterns or simple intarsia. You might need to learn how to use double pointed needles for knitting in the round.

These patterns usually require you to do some mid-level shaping and finishing.

Experienced Rating

Patterns for experienced knitters are not for the faint hearted!

They generally use more advanced knitting techniques, like fair isle, complex Arans, true lace patterns and numerous colour changes.  You can also expect complex shaping and finishing to make these garments.

Check out the Difference between Ratings...

The Australian Yarn Company has a number of free patterns available on their website, so I grabbed one in each rating so that you can see the kind of differences between patterns in each group.  If you could like one of these patterns click the image to go through to the pattern or visit The Australian Yarn Company to view their collection of free patterns to pick on suitable for your level of experience.

Choose a Knitting Pattern that Appeals

Even though the pattern you choose as a beginner needs to be fairly simple (or easy) the end result needs to be something that is either appealing to you or useful in some way.

Learning how to knit is not difficult intellectually, it is actually quite easy to understand as there are only a couple of stitches that you need to learn and master, but it can be hard to master the movement aspect of knitting.

You will be asking your fingers to move in ways that they have not moved before. The movements will need to be repeated over and over again until you can knit without thinking about it.   But until that point, it will be uncomfortable and your fingers will feel clumsy and uncoordinated.  

Making something that is useful or appealing will help keep you on track.  You are more likely to keep going until you have finished your project.  Like they say "Practice makes perfect" and believe me, to master the skill required for knitting, you need a lot of practice! 

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