Dearest Beginners, Beware!

My lil baby beginner.
My lil baby beginner.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you a pattern is beginner friendly unless you know that person has taught a a beginner to crochet. I have taught countless people to crochet who have never held a hook in their hand… so believe me when I say, “Beginner Beware!”

According to the Yarn and Craft Council (CYC) there are four levels for knit and crochet: beginner, easy, intermediate, and advanced.

And while it is ultimately up to the designer of the pattern to choose a level, the CYC gives standards for each skill level:

Beginner – Projects for first-time crocheters using basic stitches. Minimal shaping.

Easy – Projects using yarn with basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing.

Intermediate – Projects using a variety of techniques, such as basic lace patterns or color patterns, mid-level shaping and finishing.

Experienced – Projects with intricate stitch patterns, techniques and dimension such as non-repeating patterns, multi-color techniques, fine threads, small hooks, detailed shaping and refined finishing.

Don’t believe anyone who says their pattern is for beginners if they have never taught beginners to crochet in person.

Beginner = first time crocheter. Just so we’re clear – I teach beginners to crochet in person.

I am working on a shawl from a pattern that is labeled “beginner friendly.” It should be labeled “beginners will cry and give up and throw their project out the window and eat chocolate and never crochet again.”

Not happy.
Not happy.

The pattern is a challenge and I am enjoying it – but I am an experienced crocheter with 24 years of experience (I learned when I was 8… now you know my age…). A beginner would honestly be very frustrated. Simply because the pattern uses two colors of yarn, it falls in the Easy skill level. And since it is a basic lace pattern it should be bumped to Intermediate. Beginner friendly? I think not.

If you are a first time (or just learning) crocheter, please look for this one thing in a pattern as a good indication it is appropriate for a beginner: a short abbreviation list.

Check the abbreviation list or you might cry. I don't want you to cry.
Check the abbreviation list or you might cry.
I don’t want you to cry.

Here’s a sample from our Coffee Cozy:

chain (ch), single crochet (sc), each (ea), slip stitch (sl st).

Coffee Cozy: the best project for beginners.
Coffee Cozy: the best project for beginners.
Photo by: Monika Rae Photography

The shawl pattern I’m working on doesn’t even have an abbreviation list!

If you have a question about a pattern, are wondering how to do a stitch, or want to know if a project is at the right skill level for you, feel free to visit our Ask Abbey page.

Be well, readers. Crochet often. Create always!

~ Abbey

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