Should I write pattern proposals for yarn suppliers?
Yes! If you want to partner with yarn suppliers, it’s good practice (and often a requirement) to prepare a pattern proposal. This not only communicates information about your intended design, but it also gives your potential partner a chance to get a feel for your style, communication, photography, and professionalism.
What Should my Proposal Include?
The five main elements of a pattern proposal should be in place for any audience you’re writing to:
How is this Different from Writing to a Publisher?
When writing to a yarn supplier, you’ll want to make sure the yarn section has a little more emphasis. One way to do this is to recommend a particular base that this supplier offers, rather than just specifying a yarn weight. For example, MakerMoran has a base they call ‘Soft Sock Yarn’, Jadawoo Designs offers a really lovely merino/bamboo/silk fingering weight base, and Rocky Mountain Yarn Co stocks a unique merino/linen blend they call ‘Prairie Sock.’ Be sure you also list a colourway suggestion, from a list of the yarn supplier’s current offerings. Making a yarn recommendation with this level of specificity will show you’ve done your homework, and will communicate that you’re serious about wanting to partner with this supplier.
One note here – it’s often helpful to recommend a colourway but be open to suggestions. Yarn suppliers, especially independent dyers, often have a good feel for which colours are connecting well with people at the moment, and may suggest an alternate, similar colourway.
As always, the yarn section should include how much yarn the design will require, and whether yarn support is requested (it probably is, if you’re writing to a yarn supplier, but it’s always best to be clear!).
How Do I Approach a Yarn Supplier?
Getting your proposal into the hands of a yarn supplier can be a little different from applying to a publisher. Magazines and other publishers will often put out submission calls, with instructions on when and where to send your pattern proposal. Some larger yarn suppliers do this as well (for example, Knit Picks puts out open submission calls several times a year). Smaller yarn suppliers may not have dedicated submission calls, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in working with you! My advice when you find a yarn supplier you love and would like to work with is to connect first via email, to express your interest and ask if they would be open to receiving a pattern proposal from you. Mention what you love about their yarn, include a sentence or two about your design style and experience, and offer links to where they can find your previous designs. If you’re brand new to designing, consider linking to a social media account or blog where you highlight designs that you appreciate and that communicate a design style similar to what you want to develop for yourself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on writing pattern proposals for yarn suppliers! If this article piqued your interest, make sure you’re on my mailing list to catch all my latest design news, and stay tuned for the upcoming release of my masterclass: Pattern Proposals that Impress.