By definition, a novice knitter has learned a limited number of knitting skills, which also limits the variety of suitable knitting projects. So it can be tricky to find patterns that help a novice knitter to learn new skills, yet are easy enough that knitting progress isn't frustratingly slow.
The Craft Yarn Council has published definitions of different levels of pattern difficulty, designed to help knitters choose projects that are appropriate for their skill level. According to the Craft Yarn Council's definitions, an Easy level knitting project uses basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing. Basic cables and lace, simple intarsia, knitting in the round, and mid-level shaping and finishing are all defined as Intermediate level skills, and short rows and more complicated lace, cable or fair isle stitch patterns are defined as skills that belong in Experienced-level patterns.
By these definitions, most of my patterns are either Intermediate or Experienced difficulty: they usually include a cable, lace or texture stitch pattern, they are often worked in the round, and they often include short rows.
While I think the CYC's definitions are very helpful, I feel that a simple lace or cable stitch pattern can fall under the "repetitive stitch pattern" classification. In addition, many simple cable or lace stitch patterns look much harder to work than they really are-- which is always a nice boost to the confidence of a novice knitter. I also feel that knitting in the round on a circular needle can be easier (and faster) in some ways than knitting flat: the right side (as opposed to the wrong side, not the left side) of your work is always facing you, which means that Stockinette stitch is worked by knitting every stitch, rather than alternating rows of knit and purl. It also makes it much easier to keep your place if working a texture, cable, lace or fair isle stitch pattern, and it decreases the amount of seaming required when finishing a project.
So while I've recently been trying to create more Easy level projects, I haven't avoided simple cable, lace, or texture stitch patterns, nor working in the round; to me, including these has the important advantage of making projects more fun to knit.
Some of these Easy level designs will be coming out in a book of patterns that I recently completed; it isn't scheduled to be released until spring of 2018, but working on these got me thinking about how to hit that sweet spot of interesting enough/easy enough to keep knitters going! So when Skillshare.com approached me about doing a video knitting class on their website, I quickly decided that I wanted to teach classes that would help novice knitters learn new skills, thus expanding their project choices from Easy to Intermediate level patterns. And that is why I'm calling these classes "Next-Level Knitting."
My first class teaches cable knitting, using the Cabled Sampler Cowl* (photos) as the class project. I teach knitters how to do simple cable crosses, and also review a few other basic skills: the long-tail cast-on, working in the round, seed stitch, and binding off. Use this link to find out more; the first 25 users can also try the class for free!
*Last photo shows the "wrong side' of the cowl, which is also very attractive. Already know how to knit cables, or want to give this project a shot on your own? The Cabled Sampler Cowl pattern is also available as a free PDF download.