I’ve resisted (it's something I do). Ever since I first saw the four levels of official knitting skill levels outlined by the Craft Yarn Council (CYC) I’ve been dissatisfied. Four levels? Really? Just four? I’ve always thought there should be at least five skill levels, and that seven would be even better. But the CYC has been working hard to create some standards within the industry, and it’s been catching hold. Though on rare occasion I see someone using five difficulty levels, it’s nearly always the four. I figure I might as well stop beating that particular dead horse, and try to include this four-level standard in my patterns (I’ve been more successful on some occasions than others, as you’ll notice when you see a difficulty rating from me of “easy-intermediate”). By these standards, nearly everything I design is intermediate, and quite a few things could arguably be referred to as requiring an experienced knitting skill set. But please don’t let these labels get in your way. If you really like something, get the pattern, give it a try. You’ll never grow as a knitter if you don’t try new things. And you never know. It might be easier than you thought it would be. Quite a few people have knit my Garden Party shawl or Lalique sweater as their first ever lace project. Not only did they successfully complete their shawls and sweaters, but they found they really enjoyed knitting lace, and went on to try their hand at other lace projects.
With all that in mind, the following are the CYC’s definitions of the four knitting skill levels:
Projects for first-time knitters using basic knit and purl stitches. Minimal shaping. None of my designs currently fall into this category, and most likely never will.
Projects using basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing.
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.
Projects using advanced techniques and stitches, such as short rows, fair isle, more intricate intarsia, cables, lace patterns, and numerous color changes.
So, if you have any of my "newer" patterns, you'll notice that I have graded them sort of within this system. I say "sort of," because I found that I simply cannot do it. I have a lot of designs that I consider to be easy-intermediate, or intermediate-experienced. Apparently I've taken the four level grading system, and made it into a seven level system. Take that CYC!