Proper Project Level Definitions

UPDATE 4/27: I heard from Craft Yarn Council, Downloadable symbols are Basic, Easy, Intermediate, & Complex.

In this first edition of the Tips from a Tech Editor series, learn the truth to Project Level definitions.  It’s about stitches, not skill.

The article previously published by Novella titled What’s in a Skill Level? written by yours truly was intended for the stitcher who is not 100% confident in his or her own stitching ability.  

All crochet is based on chains, slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet and treble crochet (US terminology).  All stitches are variations of those stitches. If you can do those stitches, you’re probably capable of trying anything, with proper instruction.  

Most stitchers, certainly myself included, see the skill levels as some arbitrarily defined term attributed to patterns based on the designer’s criteria.  It is completely reasonable to assume that this is true for many patterns out there in the crochet world. However, there IS a standard definition for these terms and it’s not even about SKILL at all!  They are “PROJECT” levels, referring to the stitches within the project.  They are not predicting the skill required to accomplish the pattern.

The craft yarn council has established definitions for four project levels and they are:

BASIC: Projects using basic stitches. May include basic increases or decreases.

EASY:  Projects may include simple stitch patterns, color work, and/ or shaping.

INTERMEDIATE: Projects may include involved stitch patterns, color work, and/ or shaping.

COMPLEX:  Projects may include complex stitch patterns, color work, and/ or shaping using a variety of techniques and stitches simultaneously.

That’s it!  If the designer of the pattern you are looking at has followed these definitions and you see intermediate as the skill level, you now know that it may have an involved stitch pattern.  Or, it could have simple stitches but more involved color work. Or, it might have simple stitches but involve more shaping. Or any combination of those features.

Notice, there is no project level labeled “beginner” or “experienced” because the amount of time you have been stitching means nothing.  It’s all about the type of stitches involved in the pattern, the arrangement of those stitches (in patterns), the amount of color work involved, or the shaping of the thing you’re making (are you making a flat piece, a bag, attaching sleeves, etc.).  

But, as I am writing this article, I have discovered that on the “downloadable images” page generously provided by the CYC, the levels of “basic” and “complex” are still labeled as “beginner” and “experienced.”  Please know that if you see this

It may only mean that it is a Basic level project.

4/27: Craft Yarn Council has updated the downloads page and the symbols are Basic and Complex!

I have been stitching crochet for nearly 30 years.  Quite enthusiastically for the last 6-10 years. I didn’t even hear about the craft yarn council until about 1-2 years ago.  If you are interested, I encourage you to jump around their site. It is a wealth of information.

As a technical editor, I strongly urge designers and pattern writers to study the site and incorporate the language and definitions as they are described by the CYC.  Using universal language across patterns will minimize errors and maximize enjoyment of your consumer.

Happy Stitching.

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