Test Knitters and their value

The value of test knitters to designers, Tech Editors and the end knitter of the pattern, how they help and what they add.

I’m running a couple of design tests at the moment for some baby knitting patterns. It’s always an anxious time as a designer as you’ve tried hard to make the pattern correct. You know that there will be some errors, however hard you try and avoid them and that some things might need to be explained more clearly or have a little note to make sure the knitter understands what you are trying to tell them.

Is it necessary to have test knitters?

I think it is an essential part of my design process. Everything goes to the TE before a test, but the Tech Editor is a human being like me and just as likely to miss an error as I am. They are amazing at condensing text and waffle into something readable, clear and concise. But, having that extra group of people to preview the pattern and test knit it, adds so much more.

Examples of how Test Knitters improve a pattern during the testing

Just because my TE understand the phrase “Then , dec 1 st at neck edge on foll 2 4th rows.” doesn’t mean that all knitters will instantly know what we mean. Not everyone spotted the 4th rows part of the instruction and the two numbers are very close together if you read it quickly.

The pattern was much improved by a test knitter who suggested Then, Dec 1 st at neck edge every 4 rows, two times (total of 2 sts decreased). which everyone found much easier to follow.

The TE didn’t pick up on that or make an alternative suggestion as the instruction was correct, but a couple of knitters found it confusing and they worked together to make it clearer for everyone.

That’s not a criticism of the TE, they are working to a style sheet or how I like to word my patterns, it fits within my style but it could be clearer and testers help to achieve that.

The changes made by the test knitters always help me, both to improve the pattern I’m working on, but also for future patterns as I have a library of comments, suggestions and questions I need to bear in mind with every new pattern.

Test knitters helped with the neckline of this little dress.
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If you’re new to designing and can’t afford to work with a Tech Editor, then test knitting can help you improve your patterns quickly and at very little cost. Usually the cost to you is to gift them the final published version of the pattern and I always gift them one other pattern of their choice from my self published ranged by way of a thank you. They provide the yarn and the time and it’s the least I can do to show my appreciation.

I know some users have had issues with Ravelry.com after a redesign and the team there are working hard to resolve them all. I am adding our digital pdf patterns to this site and we also have a Payhip Store where you can purchase our patterns.

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