I’d already been thinking about knitting difficulty classifications when the LoveKnitting blog post went up highlighting 10 challenging patterns. They included my Gingham Style scarf (on LoveKnitting and Ravelry) because it is a double knit intarsia pattern.
The blog post and other comments about knitting difficulty have had me thinking about what a difficult knitting pattern is. I think the perception of difficulty depends on the knitter and their experience. Here are just some of the reasons that I’ve heard people call a knitting pattern difficult:
- it only has charts
- it only has written instructions
- it includes a technique they’ve never tried
- it includes a technique they find tedious (purling, cabling, intarsia, darning in tons of ends)
- it calls for a yarn weight they don’t like to use
- it’s time-consuming
In my description for Gingham Style I called it challenging because it can be. If you’re familiar with both double knitting and intarsia and willing to put up with handling multiple balls of yarn, it’s fine. I enjoyed working on it when I knew I had uninterrupted time and my setup of the balls in order beside me wouldn’t be disrupted.
These days when I’m writing pattern proposals I tend to list the techniques needed instead of giving some kind of difficulty rating. I’m trying to do that in my patterns on Ravelry too.
When I’m writing patterns, my goal is to make them knittable. If I don’t think something is a generic enough knitting technique that people will figure it out with Google, I include either a tutorial or a link to one.
Frequently, difficulty is temporary. Something is difficult until you’ve done it enough times that it is just another skill in your repertoire. It may take a bit of pain to break through that barrier, but it’s often worth it. Sometimes it takes the right desired end goal (your dream project) to get you to persist.
Here are some projects that I found difficult as I was making them. I know I could make them again now with more happiness and confidence:
A christening dress – the seaming was painful for me because it wasn’t something I had done properly before.
A double knit scarf: started, but never finished.
Anemoi Mittens by Eunny Jang – my first stranded colourwork knitting. It was also the first pattern I ever bought online! I did bail on the tubular cast on…
La Traviata stole – this was reasonably logical, but I needed to closely follow the charts. It was also just acres of knitting (or so it seemed at the time).
What do you find difficult in knitting? Has your idea of what is difficult changed?