14 July 2011

Testing, testing... 1, 2, 3...

Test knits are the best win-win that I know.
During the course of this test knit sweater project, I've been approached on more than one occasion about what it is to be a test knitter.  These fellow crafty folk have asked all sorts of questions but always in the same vein - is it hard, a lot of responsibility or time consuming.  So I said to myself, "Self, we should do a post about this so everyone would know what it is like to be a test knitter" and I agreed.

I'll start by simply saying this ~ being a test knitter isn't hard at all.  It's actually a lot of fun.  There are designers out there who need a hand in making sure that all of their sizing work is correct - that is where test knitters come in handy.  We also check for errors in the patterns, ease of understanding, etc.  It's basically a sneak preview of some wonderful items and helping to put the final touches on them before the rest of the world gets a shot at them.

The only real responsibility that a test knitter has is that you are honest with your time.  The designers put in a time frame for when they need it done and they list how many testers for each size.  They outline roughly how many hours they think a person will need in order to finish their project so you can see if the time required meshes with your time available.  For example, the sweater that I am working on has a time allocation of 30 - 40 hours and a deadline of 8/30.  I have spoken to the designer and let her know that I am not the fastest knitter but I really wanted to participate.  She said she isn't the fastest either and had no issue with me testing the size that I requested.  So basically, if you can't dedicate the time then don't make the offer because it isn't fair to the designers and it will earn you a bad reputation around the testing pool area.

I became a test knitter through the groups on Ravelry.  I participate in two groups and usually only offer my services for one project at a time.  I have a friend who can knit like the wind and handles multiple projects - there are limits set forth by the groups but they are generous.  The end reward for the tester is a pretty new item and free pattern - for the designers, it is help with the final details and validation that their pattern is perfect and ready for the world.

So there is a brief overview of my life as a test knitter.  It is fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who knits.  As a tester and designer, the value of test knitting is priceless.


  1. and I discovered another great benefit...there's a couple designers that I've done several test knits for, and the other day, one of them contacted me personally and asked if I'd test knit something for her. Not through the Ravelry group as she's got lots going on right now and couldn't keep up, but just between her and I. VERY cool to become known as a good tester!!

    I told you it was fun!!!!! LOL

  2. Thank you for this post, it gave me all the information I was looking for.

  3. Test knitting is indeed fun! Love the looks of that little white number!:) Have a great weekend.

  4. I totally agree, it's an excellent way to build your stash too, if you test knit for a yarn company!


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