For many crochet and knit designers, pattern testing is a must when they plan on publishing. Pattern testing helps the designer tremendously by helping them find any issues before the pattern is released and give them the opportunity to correct it. It is also a way for the designer to also start a buzz around their pattern and also get more photos to publish on their blog, social media, and test the market.
What do you get out of it?
It is customary for the tester to receive the final pattern for free once they have completed all the steps of testing. Some designers, if time and funds permit, also send small gifts to each tester as a thank you for their time and effort. Pattern testing is a great way to practice your crochet skills and get your name out in the crochet and knitting world from the exposure you get to the designer’s audience when they share your photos.
For a test to be considered complete all the requirements set by the designer must be met. Each designer will have their own requirements, so be sure to follow them all. The pattern must be done, photos, surveys, and detailed notes must be submitted, any Ravelry or social media posts must be completed by the deadline set by the designer.
Apply to be a tester
There are many Facebook and Ravelry groups which you can join to apply to test patterns. Check the knit and crochet night at your local yarn shops. Follow the blog and social media accounts of designers you may be interested in testing for. Look for hashtags such as #patterntesting and patterntesters on Instagram for tester calls.
How to get chosen to pattern test?
Each designer pattern test for their own reason. When I ask my fellow designers, I have found that the number of followers you have on Instagram is not in the top five reasons for why they choose a tester. These are the 5 repeated reasons given.
1. Have a public Instagram account
Many makers want to be testers but have their Instagram page as private. To be a tester, a public social media platform is a MUST! Designers need to have exposure around their pattern so a private account will not help them. Even if you were to turn your account public during the testing, it would not create the exposure needed once you revert back to private. Designers will need to check your account before they choose you and will not go through the trouble of requesting to follow your account, so a private account makes it hard for them to see the quality of your work and photos. It also disqualifies you from testing.
I recommend having an Instagram page where you only share your work and make public. That way you keep your private page where you share family photos, your interests, life etc but also have a place to showcase your work.
Having a Ravelry account will also boost your chances tremendously. Many designers are looking to have their patterns on as many platforms as possible. Most designers will ask for you to create a project on your page to raise more awareness of their design and also track your progress during the testing. It is not as important as your Instagram but it is definitely a plus to have.
2. The quality of your work
Quality of work does not mean using expensive yarns. It means making sure you are showing your best work. Designers will look at the work in progress and finished projects you are posting for the quality of your stitches; are they consistent? do you show attention to details? Do your finished projects look wonky or polished?
3. The quality of your photos
This is the number one reason I was given over and over. Designers often test because they need new or better photographies of their projects to share on social media, blog, or for marketing. Understand that the designers will need your permission to use the photos you have taken, so do not apply to test if the designer specified that photography is required and you’re not willing to give them permission to use your photos.
Be sure to post your best photos on your social media platforms as designers will visit your page to see the quality of your photos. The biggest tip I can give anyone is to use natural lights in all your photos. Do not use your indoor lights as they create an unappealing yellowish tint. Go outdoor during overcast days or an hour or so before sunset or sunrise for photography. Those are the best time to take photos. If you get excited and feel like you must share your project fresh from the hook at 9 PM, share it in your stories. Keep your feed as clean, clear and organized as possible.
Remember designers will 100 percent of the time choose the applicants with the best project photography or local testers where they can photograph their samples themselves.
4. Your answers to the application questions
The way you answer the questions in the application forms (if the designer has one) is very critical. You may not have any experience testing but get chosen over someone else because of your attention to details. Many independent designers cannot afford tech editors, so they rely on their testers to be detailed oriented enough to catch anything they may have missed. They are looking for someone who can provide proofreading feedback, so be as detailed as you can in your answers. If you have a very technical day job or are excellent at math, tell the designer about it!
Designers are relying on you so they need testers who are consistent and reliable. They will check your consistency on your social media; do you post consistently? How long does it take for you to reply to their emails? If you have tested before, they may check with other designers you have tested for if you shared their work on your social media. They may check your Etsy shop if you have one for reviews.
Sell and ship your best work in your shops. Always finish all the pattern tests you sign up for and provide constructive and detailed feedbacks on or before the deadline set by the designer. DO NOT GHOST your designer. The fiber community is pretty small, so designers will communicate with others and reduce your chances of ever testing again dramatically. Do not alter the design in any way without the explicit consent of the designer. Do not reproduce the pattern as your own and respect the time, work and creativity of the designer. Take the testing process seriously and communicate with your designer. It is best to over communicate.
“Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”
– Doctor Who (Episode: Planet of the Daleks)