What is test knitting? If you haven’t done a test knit before, and are curious what’s involved and how it works, here’s a quick run down of what test knitting is and some key questions to ask before you decide on a test knitting project.
What is Test Knitting?
Test knitting is a way to check a new pattern for any errors or opportunities to improve clarity or ease of use. As a test knitter, you play a key role in helping to fine-tune new patterns, and you get first dibs at knitting new designs in development!
When a knitting designer creates a new pattern, they will have it checked in two ways: tech editing, and test knitting. I’ll talk about tech editing in another post, so let’s focus on test knitting for today.
Test knitting (or running a test knit) involves having a group of knitters work through the new pattern, reading the pattern and knitting the design. As they work, the test knitters will look for an errors or issues with the pattern, or anything they think could be improved. They’ll provide this feedback to the designer, so the pattern can be updated. Depending on the particulars of the test knit, the testers may also be expected to share photos of their finished knits.
Which brings us to the next point….
Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Test Knit
There are a few key questions to ask before you accept a test knit. Some (or all) of this information might be provided by the designer when they announce the test knit. If it’s not, go ahead and ask – these are things you need to know to decide if the test knit is right for you.
- What is the timeline? When will the test knit start and end? Some test knits are fast and some are slower. Knowing the timeline will help you decide if you can reasonably complete the project in the assigned timeframe.
- What will I be provided, and what will I supply myself? Often the pattern is provided by the designer, at no cost. Sometimes, yarn is also provided, to complete the project. Often the tester will supply their own yarn, so make sure you know what yarn is required, and check that you have it on hand, or are interested in purchasing it.
- What feedback/output is expected from me? A designer will be looking for some form of feedback on their pattern – make sure you know what specifically they want. For my designs, I have a feedback form, which asks questions such as how much yarn was used and what the final dimensions are. I also always ask if the test knitter has any suggestions for improvement. Be sure you also ask about photos of the finished pattern. Are they expected, and how will they be shared? Make sure you understand and are comfortable with how your photos will be used.
Where Can I Find Test Knitting Opportunities?
So, if all of this sounds interesting, and you’re curious to give it a go, where can you find test knitting opportunities?
The best bet if to find a few designers you like, and connect to see how they share their test knitting opportunities. I used to share mine through a newsletter, and at the moment I announce my test knits on my instagram page. Each designer will have their own approach, so connect and ask how you can get involved.
I hope you’ve learned a little about test knitting today; let me know if you have any questions!