This week I opened test knitting for a new cowl pattern called Meet Me Inside. I will be talking more about the pattern itself in an upcoming blog post. But it got me thinking about the whole process of getting a pattern ready and released.
How many of you have ever taken part in a test knit before? Do you even know how to take part in test knitting? And do you know how fun it can be?
It’s How I Got Started!
I have been designing my own knitting patterns since 2013 and I love doing it. As far as I am concerned it is the best job in the world. But before I was writing my own patterns I spent a lot of time test knitting and sample knitting for other designers. One of them being Marie Wallin.
Sample Knitting Isn’t Test Knitting
There is a difference between sample and test knitting and you might not realise the distinction. Sample knitting is where a designer sends you the yarn and pattern, you make the sample and then send it back. When I did this for Marie Wallin I would be making the first sample, so there wouldn’t be a photo of the finished item for me to look at. I loved doing this, it was almost like taking part in a MKAL.
One of the advantages of taking on sample knitting is the fact that you are usually being paid to knit. And who hasn’t wanted to be able to earn money from doing your favourite hobby. You get to see patterns before anyone else, and it is fun to see a new sample taking shape.
But there are down sides too. You don’t really have much choice about your knitting. You are told which yarn to use with which patterns and, of course, you don’t get to keep the sample after all that hard work you have put in.
So What is Test Knitting?
When you take part in test knitting you don’t get paid. But you do have a lot more control. You can pick which yarn you want to use. Some designers may ask you to use a particular fibre or company, but most are very flexible. I like test knitters to choose the yarn they would have if they had bought my pattern.
You will usually get a choice in the size you make. As many patterns come in more than one size designers like to try and get as many of those sizes tested as possible. So if you want to make something for your 4 year old granddaughter it is likely you can find a test that will allow you to do that.
You choose which patterns you want to make. If you are interested there are groups on Ravelry and Facebook where you can see tests that are open. You can also get in touch with designers that you like and ask if they have a list of knitters that they contact when they open a test. I know that I keep a list and I have a thread in my Ravelry group where anyone can ask to be added to that list of Test Knitters. I always earburn those people on it when I am looking to fill up spots so they get to learn about it first.
Best of all, when you take part in test knitting you get to keep the finished item. Many knitters who are on a budget find that test knitting helps their pattern budget go further. In exchange for a bit of your time to read a pattern for sense and to see if the instructions accurately help you to make a thing, you will get the pattern in your Ravelry library on release. And many designers offer codes for other patterns by way of a thank you for good project pages and feedback.
One of the reasons knitters get involved in test knitting is that not only do you get to have a sneak peek at new patterns coming out, but you will be involved in the design process. Some knitters find it quite addictive!
If you would like to give it a try but have never been involved in a test before then have no fear! Designers are a friendly bunch and will guide you through the process. If you would like to be involved in the test knitting phase of my Meet Me Inside cowl pattern then please sign up! I would love to have you join in. The Test Thread is running on Ravelry or you can send me an email.
If you enjoyed this post then please take a look at my others – Emma’s Blog
And if you are making one of my designs please don’t forget to share photos with me on! I am @allneedles on all social media places.