Have you test knitted before? I’ve always heard YouTube knitters mention this phrase and always thought how exclusive that must feel; to have a hand in a patterns creation. Some people I follow on Instagram and YouTube are always making some of the most GORGEOUS knits before they are released and I wanted in on this process. Then I found out, it’s not necessarily the pattern creation that test knitting involves, it’s more of an assisting in making sure the pattern is error free, worded correctly, size counts are accurate and instructions are detailed or easily understood etc.
I put it on my personal growth list to test knit a couple of patterns because I normally gravitate towards my already known and favorite designers and that just had to change. I strive to support a wide variety of people, especially those who have stories similar to mine. Scrolling through Ravelry, at times I get a little defeated when looking for the perfect pattern just to find its not sized to fit me (store size 2X to 3X). Or, on a few occasions, the pattern SAYS it fits up to a 60″ bust only to find they just made more increases but not necessarily shaping it in a way that’s flattering. This is a major problem for me, but more on that in a later post.
So how do jump into test knitting? It’s easier than you might think. I did a quick search on Instagram for #testknitter and what do ya know, post after post came up. You see posts that say “Looking for test knitters” “Wanna test knit, get on my mailing list” then I stumbled on #yarnpond. This was where I landed with sooo many questions, so many inspiring photos I jumped head first into the site. Take a look HERE and let me know what your impressions are in the comments below.
At first glance it’s easy enough, sign up to receive emails with any new test knit requests out there. Two days in I received an email each day with 3 to 4 requests and the excitement began. They show you the picture of the item, give a detailed description of the pattern, the required materials, and the designers requirements: completion date, secret or public posts, sizes needed etc.
There’s a chat section where you can post questions about the pattern, offer suggestions and read comments from others. In this section you also see the designers response to the above and they make their corrections, update the pattern and provide that updated copy via the app.
Since YarnPond is free to join and these patterns are free to test, the options are endless. I will caution however, choose wisely. You don’t want to be known as the tester who never completes items on time, or the unhelpful type. From what I can tell after talking with a few testers; designers fall into one of two categories:
1. My pattern is ready, test the sizes to make sure item fits and provide me yardages based on a variety of yarns.
2. My pattern is ready but I need another set of eyes to proofread my editing.
I would encourage you to work the pattern as written, since most cases the designers also need a good knowledge of yarn yardages based on the types of yarn chosen, but also so that their vision is fulfilled as they wanted. As I’m working on this current pattern, there are several things I would modify if I made it again, but modifying anything other than length I feel is doing a disservice to the designer and their future patrons. I have found that designers are quite thrilled with color choices and creativity in the execution of their patterns, so don’t be shy to throw a little personality into your knitwear. Afterall, you are keeping this item and would like to wear it right?
Speaking just of the test knit process via YarnPond, they have a few features that make this process user friendly. One thing however, I’m not too thrilled with is the chat section. I would prefer an open chat like a fb group style but this is more like forum posts. I do like getting the emails in the morning and it includes how many new messages were received since you last logged in. Since we all work at different speeds, it’s nice to not have to check in every single day but to also be aware of any potential changes/updates others have found.
There’s a feature that the designer can implement where you reach certain milestones at certain times and check them off, for me though, my data wouldn’t stick. I entered when I casted on, joined I’m the round but when I came back it didn’t save. I’m not sure if that’s an app issue or a designer issue since I also had issues downloading the pattern and saving to my tablet, usually GoodNotes or KnitCompanion but I had to print it instead (yes on actual paper lol, thank goodness for HP Instant ink).
Overall, if you are looking to get involved in this process but don’t want to track down designers on Instagram, or if you’re looking to branch out of your safe designer list I’d suggest YarnPond for sure. Just remember: Deadlines are important whether fixed or flexible. Each designer may expect different things from you so read the details carefully. Lastly, COMMUNICATE with the designer and the other testers. This is a small opportunity where you can build knitting relationships you might have never had and you get to increase your knitting knowledge along the way.
Was this synopsis helpful? Have you had a different experience? Let me know below.