How do you choose a pattern?

I really, really want to know. There are plenty of patterns I like but when I look at them they aren't always right. Too hard, too easy, a method I'm not familiar wtih. I'm probably an intermediate knitter I suppose? I've made socks and scarves and blankets. But I'm intimidated by lace and cables. I only know how to knit socks cuff down and on dp needles. Charts intimidate the pants off me.

So how do you choose patterns? Is there a trick to it aside from spending hours on ravelry going, "Hmm that's pretty. Oh I don't know how to do that. Oops, a chart. Charts are scary. Oh look, that's nice. Oh nuts, that's toe up. Cables...cables are scary."

Because that's what I did for two hours last night looking for a sock patterns for my mother and mother-in-law.

I cast on a scarf instead. ;-)

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