Updated: Jun 14
One of my favorite things about the design process is working with my test knitters. It's one thing to make my sample and think, "hey, this looks pretty good!" But when you get to see what other knitters do with your pattern... it's, well, magical! I love it when I'm so inspired by my test knitter's color palette that it makes me want to knit my own pattern again!
What's my test knit process? I'll typically put out a test knit call on Instagram (and send out an email). This will link to an online form for that specific pattern. While filling out the application does not guarantee a spot, as there are often more applications that positions open, please don't take it personally and continue to apply! Next, selected test knitters will be notified and sent the pattern to begin knitting. During the process, I use IG group chat to create a community of knitters to answer questions, share yarn choices, and gush over progress photos! Overall, I really just want my testers to have fun with the experience.
If you'd like to see what test knits are coming up next, check out Test Knits on my website!
So, you want to be a test knitter? Whether it's for me, or another amazing knitwear designer, here are a few tips to help get you started!
1. Start a Knitting Focused Instagram Account
I like to have a larger group of test knitters. One of the benefits of this is how many people can share out images of the pattern both leading up to and on release day. Especially in color palettes that differ from the sample. It's all about inspiration and excitement!
Because of the social and sharing aspect, many designers prefer that their testers have a public-facing account. This is because it enables knitters to share their own work, as well as it allows designers to share their test knits in their IG Stories to promote the pattern.
If you want to keep your personal account private, I highly recommend starting a Knitting-focused account, especially if you plan to test knit for a lot of designers. It can help build out your portfolio of work, and over time, you begin to create a following of fellow knitters too!
2. Always Read All of the Requirements
The testing call will usually include basic information you will need to now, such as yarn weight, gauge, yardage, sizes, etc. This will give you an idea if the project is aligned to your style and ability.
Often, there will also be notes about any special techniques that are required. This is intended to help you know if you're ready for this level of knitting. For example, while I classify most of my knit designs as "adventurous beginner," you may not yet feel comfortable using a Kitchener Stitch or making a bobble.
Typically, test knitting deadlines can vary from designer to designer, and may differ depending on the garment. A hat could be as little as 2 weeks, while a sweater is often 6-8 weeks. You'll want to feel comfortable with this timeline before committing to a test knit.
That being said, you should also only apply if you can fully commit. While life sometimes happens, it's a good idea to only apply for those test knits that you can fully commit to completing. If you have any issues that arise, just reach out (please don't ghost designers!).
3. Be Open to Providing Feedback
While test knitting patterns are typically tech edited already, even the best written pattern could have something that's unclear. That's the point of test knitting! Making sure that knitters of various skill levels, or even languages, can still properly interpret and knit the pattern is why we do this.
Improving the accessibility of knit patterns to a broader group of makers is an important aspect of knit design today. Talk to the designer if there are ways that the accessibility or inclusiveness of a pattern can be improved, such as larger font size, color-blind friendly graphics, or higher contrast charts!
Whether it's a typo or a technique that doesn't make sense, don't struggle - reach out to the designer and make it better together!
4. Develop your Photography Skills
Great finished photos are key to promoting a new design. You'll want to think about how to stage both in-progress photos, as well as finished ones. The more you are able to share during the test knit, the more excited both the designer and the knit community will be! (and honestly, I'm still a little giddy every time I see someone post my design!)
The two most important things are to learn how to take good selfies and flat lay photos of your knitting.
For selfies, it helps to have a tri-pod, so that you can properly get your torso in the shot. If you feel a little self-conscious, that's normal. Remember that what you're really trying to photograph is the knitting, not your face! Style your knit in such a way that it becomes the focus, and you are just there to... give it something to sit on.
For flay-lays, it helps to have a flat, bright space, with consistent lighting. It's also fun to add props or stylize your images with leftover yarn balls or seasonal greenery. Find a few props that tell the story of your knit, whether that's a favorite stitch marker, or your project bag. Have fun and try different arrangements until you get something you love!
If you're stuck, you could always browse some of your favorite knit designers feeds and see how they do it!
5. Engage in the Community
For this tip, just engage! Knitting is likely a large part of your life, and especially in this remote/digital world, sometimes you can feel a little disconnected. Engage with your fellow test knitters, comments on the designer's post, tag designers/dyers/makers in your posts. Just engage. And have fun!
Thanks for reading this long! I'm glad you're here!
Pacific Knit Co.