Elitist knitters? 

You bet!  Sometimes it seems like a competition, or one-upmanship.  This was a very interesting article in the New York Times (thanks for pointing this out Sofia), by a very insightful young woman, reviewing the difficulty rating system for Ravelry patterns.  After reading the article, I did my own mini recognizance.  Looking at the knitting patterns with a difficulty rating of 10, I had to chuckle at many if not most of them.  Patterns rated 9 were actually a bit harder and perhaps more accurate.  I then decided to go and look at my own rating system of my projects that I have knit or am in the process of knitting.  A 6-7 was the hardest rating that I gave for elaborate Fair Isle projects.  And many socks I gave a 1-3.  The issue with their rating system is that each person rates a pattern based on their own abilities at the time that they are knitting it.  As we know, knitting abilities vary widely across the spectrum, and we all improve.  New knitters tend to see their improvement curve rise quicker, and as you become a better crafts(wo)man, new skills are not acquired as readily.  I love taking knitting classes and seminars, but am to the point that I have to be happy if I leave with more than one new skill.  That doesn’t stop me, just makes the choices less available, and me more discerning.

Here are my two nominations for a true number 10 difficulty rating.  And, they are on my list to tackle one day.

Kaffe Fassett Lonely Virgins sweater.  An Intarsia sweater with 14 colors and 26 skeins of yarn.  Rows with dozens of mini balls of different colors to be managed.  That is a 10.

And Gossamer Webs, Orenburg Lace Shawls.  I need to take a class in this one, as I am mystified how you keep track of the pattern it is so fine.  The guage is such that a 60″ square shawl could be pulled through a wedding ring.