How to Be a Great Test Knitter

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I started test knitting and crocheting last year and I someday would like to engage testers for my own projects. I’ve learned some things about how to be a great test knitter (or crocheter, or sewist) that I think will help if you’re getting into test knitting or you need test knitters for a project.

My History as a Test Knitter

(Note: links below go to Ravelry.)

I did my first test knit in whenever because I really just wanted to knit the sweater in question. The Consider This My Olive Branch sweater by Charisma Henderson is a David Rose inspired sweater and I definitely wanted to knit it so I messaged her when I saw she was looking for testers.

I got selected and I had so much fun stitching the pattern that I decided I wanted to do more testing.

Next was the Malone Leggings from Knitorious SHE. Her patterns are great because they use spreadsheets so all you have to do is knit a gauge swatch, take your measurements and input them into a spreadsheet, which gives you all the measurements and stitch counts you need to add into the pattern.

Also, she promised these leggings would make me look like I have an ass.

I was definitely in.

(I have admittedly only knit shorts so far, not full leggings. Do you know how long legs are? Plus finishing the full project wasn’t required for the test. But I will get them done one of these days.)

When the new year started and I decided I wanted to knit from my stash (of yarn and patterns) I quickly decided test projects were my loophole for both. I could get new patterns if I test knit them, and I could get new yarn if I needed it for a test knit project.

I applied for two projects — a knitting one and a crochet one — on the same day and got accepted to both. Luckily the timing was such that I could do both. And then Knitorious SHE had another test of a sweater pattern I wanted to participate in. So now the crochet one is done and I have two knitting projects on the go.

How to Apply to Be a Test Knitter

If you have a designer you like that you want to test knit or crochet for, check to see if they have a group on Ravelry if that is accessible to you.

Designers sometimes will have a general link to apply to test for them that you can find in their Instagram bio. If you follow designers you like you will see when they put out test calls on Instagram. You can also follow accounts like Fat Test Knits (which focuses on size inclusive patterns) or visit YarnPond to search for open calls by due date, skill level, type of project and more.

All of the tests I have applied to have been because I saw the designer post them on Instagram.

Each designer has their own way of having people apply to test for them. Some ask for Instagram DMs or emails. Others have Google forms for you to fill out. YarnPond includes a way to apply through their website.

The main key when it comes to applying to test is contacting them the right way and giving them all the information they ask for.

What they want to know about you can also vary, but usually includes your name, Instagram and/or Ravelry handle, skill level, whether you have test knit in the past and for whom, and your size for the project in question. They may ask what size of the project you want to knit or actual body measurements. This is to ensure they have testers of all sizes to make sure the pattern works as written for everyone.

Sometimes there is also an acknowledgement that you are able to complete the test on time if selected and will provide the requested information about the pattern by the deadline.

During Test Knitting

Once you’ve been selected for a test knitting project, you’ll be emailed or messaged by the designer that you are in. They may have the pattern information ready for you or they may just tell you what size they have you down for and the approximate amount of yarn you will need so you can go hunting in your stash or purchase yarn if needed.

Once you get the pattern you will receive all the information about their requirements and expectations for the test. The designer will indicate how and how often they’d like you to check in, what notes they need, what kinds of pictures, etc.

I’ve had tests use Facebook groups, Instagram chats and Slack channels to communicate, as well as email. Some designers ask for regular check-ins while others just want to know if you have questions or problems.

As you are knitting you need to keep notes of everything you do — what your gauge is and the size of needles you use, how much yarn you use, if you changed anything in the pattern (making a sweater longer, for example, will cause you to use more yarn than the pattern suggests) or if you had questions or problems.

It should go without saying but the best test knitters finish their projects on time or early and provide all the feedback and photos the designer asks for in they way they request. Again this might be an email or a form.

The designer will probably ask you to share your project on Ravelry if you are able to use it. They can actually set it up so that you can enter a code instead of the pattern name and it automatically updates and links to the pattern for sale when it is live.

This is for a test I’m doing now. I will add photos and notes when I’m done and it will automatically link to her pattern once it’s live.

(I for some reason thought this would be hard to do, but it’s really simple. The designer gives you to test code, you enter it in the pattern name block on your pattern page, and it does the rest for you.)

After Test Knitting

Once the test is done, there’s one thing left to do to be a great test knitter. And that’s help promote the pattern once it goes live. Designers will usually ask you to post on Instagram on release day as well as having a project on Ravelry.

I like to share a few times during the test if the designer is OK with that (sometimes tests are secret and they don’t want the pattern revealed until release day) and then at least on release day. When I wear the finished project and am sharing a photo I will also name the pattern and the designer as knitters normally want to know what you’re wearing.

It’s also nice, if you liked working with that designer, to support their other projects, like their photos, share when appropriate and, of course, sign up for future tests if you like.

Have you ever done test knitting? I’d love to hear your tips!

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