What is test knitting?
Test Knitting is one of the behind the scenes actions that a knitting or crochet designer takes to make sure that the pattern they have constructed will turn out for others as it did for them. One of these actions is to hire a tech editor. A tech editor is someone who will proof read the pattern to make sure the math is correct and that the “technical” items of the pattern will do what they say they will.
Another way to have your pattern double checked is to have a group of knitters or crocheters test knit it. This is when the designer selects a group of people depending on skill level and other requirements. The designer will then send this group the pattern and set an amount of time to create a finished object, based on the pattern they designed.
The job of test knitters is to do the following:
- Proof the pattern for grammatical errors
- Proof the pattern for mathematical errors
- Make sure the pattern reads clearly and can be understood by the level of knitter or crocheter the designer is targeting. For example, if the pattern states it’s for beginners, would a beginner be able to follow along.
- Give feedback on how things could be written clearer
- Use the specified yarn selected to make sure the finished project turns out the same as the designers sample
- Take measurements of the finished object so the designer has an idea of how each size may turn out for different people
- Track the amount of time it takes to complete the project
- Note how much yardage of yarn is used for each particular size so the designer can double check their yardage requirements
- Send photos of the finished object to the designer. This can be used for marketing of the pattern and so the designer can see the finished object on your body. This helps them to see how it may fit different body shapes, so they can create something that flatters many shapes and sizes as we are all built differently.
- Some designers will require you to publish photos of your finished objects on a public instagram account or a Ravelry account. Both of these help market the design to other knitters.
Why I Test Knit
1. Become a Stronger Knitter
The main reason I test knit is to become a stronger knitter myself. Each pattern I knit teaches me new techniques. When I test knit I look at the pattern with a more detailed eye and analyze how a particular stitch is creating the design. This in turn teaches me more about how I am shaping the fabric. As a test knitter you are tasked with finding possible mistakes or errors and in searching for these you learn more about how different knit or crochet stitches work.
2. Support other Designers
The knitting and crochet community is amazing! The people are supportive, encouraging and engaged. One of my favorite reasons for test knitting is to support other designers. When I test knit I get to encourage other designers in their designs and help make their designs great. Posting photos of my work to Instagram and Ravelry also helps promote the design and the designer. Many designers use an instagram group message or Ravelry group board to communicate with their test group. These boards are a great place to give the designer feedback and encouragement.
Creating a knitting or crochet design and publishing it can be intimidating. This is something you created that is a reflection on you. It can be scary to put yourself out there for criticism. I love being able to help designers feel confident about their art.
3. Meet other Knitters
The Instagram group chats and Ravelry boards are an awesome way to meet other knitters / crocheters. Many groups introduce themselves and tell personal accounts of their day while knitting the pattern. I follow all of the other test knitters on Instagram to encourage them as well. It’s a fun group atmosphere. You all have a secret that you share in working on a pattern that hasn’t been published yet. You are all working together to help the designer and it becomes a fun community.
I have met many other knitters that I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for being in a test knit group with them.
4. Learn what others require of their Test Knitters
Now that I am creating my own designs I like to see what other designers do to prepare their designs for sale. Each designer is a little different as to what they require of their test knitters. I enjoy being able to see different aspects of the behind the scenes for when I put a call out for my own pattern testers.
5. Gain Exposure
When you post a photo of your work in progress or finished project on Instagram the designer many times will share your photo on their feed. This puts you in front of all of their followers as someone to possibly follow. If their followers like what they see you could grow your following or engagement through this.
Same thing goes for posting your project to Ravelry. Each design on Ravelry has a section for completed projects. If you post your test knit project to this section then others on Ravelry may see it and may check out your Ravelry account.
6. Get Free Patterns
This is not a top reason why I test knit but it’s a nice perk. Knitting and crochet patterns can range in price from $3 – $10 typically. The average price being around $5.00. Each pattern I test knit I get to add to my library for free. Sometimes designers even gift you with another pattern from their library as a thank you for test knitting for them. That makes two new patterns for free just for the time you spent knitting and giving feedback.
7. It’s Fun!
The last reason why I test knit for designers is it’s a lot of fun! I love being the first to see a new pattern and have that behind the scenes look. Talking with other knitters about the pattern makes me feel like I’m part of the community. Showing off my finished object on social media and getting the opportunity to talk up and encourage others is one of the things I love the most about knitting. Working with yarn that the designer specifies has also lead me to try using something I normally wouldn’t have chosen on my own.
How you can Test Knit
1. You don’t have to be an expert
Many people can be intimidated by test knitting because they feel that they need to be an advanced knitter in order to do it. I know I felt that way in the beginning. That is not the case. There are many designers creating patterns for beginners that want a true beginner to try it out. A beginner will give different feedback on how the pattern reads then an advanced knitter would. Don’t let your experience hold you back!
2. Follow the designers you like on Instagram
Instagram is one of the main places knitters hang out. With knitting and Instagram both being very visual I can see why. Many times designers will post on their Instagram feed when they are doing a “testing call” or “call for testers” In these posts they will specify what the design is, how to apply to be a test knitter and what the timeline for completion is.
3. Join a test knitting group on Ravelry
Many designers have their own Ravelry groups where they call for test knitters. Join their groups and check back for post updates on their newest designs. One of my favorite designers is Andrea Mowry with Drea Renee Knits. Her Ravelry group is where she posts about test knitters.
4. Follow #testknit on Instagram
Some designers will put this hashtag or others similar in their call for testers post. If you follow a few of these hashtags you will find new designers and designs that need to be tested.
5. Read the requirements and follow them
Designers will post their requirements either on Instagram or their Ravelry group. Make sure to read through all of them and decide whether you can complete them as instructed. This is very important as you are being hired to do a job for the designer and they are counting on you to deliver. If you are a new knitter you may not want to try and knit an entire sweater in 3 weeks if you’ve never knit a sweater before. Starting with a small accessory project can be a good way to get your foot in the door.
Some designers like you to post photos to social media while you are knitting to hype up the design. Others want all photos to be confidential until the pattern is actually released. Be sure to check what your designer would like so that you don’t go posting a photo when you shouldn’t be.
6. Have Fun!
Although test knitting is like doing a contract job there are many aspects of it that should be fun. You are in control of what projects you choose to test. Make sure they are ones you will enjoy and you will enjoy it more and do a better job for the designer.
If you have any questions regarding test knitting please reach out! I would love to help!