What is pattern testing and how can you get involved?
Pattern testing varies by designer, but for me it originally started as a way to get projects up for my patterns on Ravelry and as a way to look for errors. As about 90% of my tests now run with no errors found (and are always done with tech-edited patterns) I now think of them more as “review knits” just to make sure that there are no problems, and to get projects knitted up in different sizes and yarns.
As I am currently moving away from Ravelry, it’s now becoming more important for me to be able to showcase those projects in a way that is accessible to everyone, so I will no longer be requiring my knitters put up Ravelry project pages. Instead I will be asking for permission to post one photo on social media, and in a blog post on my website, along with the size knitted and the yarn used, which will be credited to their social media, Ravelry account, or be posted anonymously, as the copyright holder chooses. This is important to me as I am finding accessible ways to provide this information to people who can no longer use Ravelry due to the harm caused by the new site.
I currently run my tests on Yarnpond. This is a platform designed to help designers to find testers, sample knitters and tech editors and to manage their tests. It has space to manage test applications, a private chat room for each test, space for corrections and for feedback. I find it incredibly useful to help me keep everything in order! While designers pay to run tests, it is free for testers to use.
I enjoy running tests because they are a great way for me to interact with those knitting my pattern. I love to see my pattern being knitted up in different yarns, and it lets me test my sizing. I ask my testers to:
Take a finished photo of their project, that is in focus and well lit (preferably in daylight). The item can be modelled or displayed another way.
To allow me to use the photo on my social media and blog (see this example), with credit given to them.
To let me know if they find any mistakes or if anything is unclear.
As well as getting to see the pattern before anyone else, my testers get:
A corrected copy of the pattern after testing is complete
Their choice of any other single pattern from my pattern store.
I’m currently unable to provide monetary compensation or yarn support for my testers, but I highly encourage testers to use whatever yarn they have on hand of the appropriate thickness. Providing better compensation is something I am working towards as my business grows.
There are two ways to sign up as a tester. You can join my Pattern Testing newsletter. This will allow you to choose to only be notified for the types of tests (for example, socks and cowls) you are interested in. You can pick one, three or all of them, whatever you like, and as soon as a test is available you will receive an email from me with photos, details, deadline and the sign up link on Yarnpond.
The other way is to join my Tester Pool on Yarnpond. You will get email notifications when I put up a new test according to your personal settings on Yarnpond.
I try to select a range of testers, both those who have tested for me before, and those who are new to me. Testers will generally be picked on a first come, first served basis provided that I can see examples of their knitting (either through Ravelry or Instagram, both can be linked in your Yarnpond profile) and I do not see any examples of hate speech in their Ravelry or IG account. It is very important to me that my tests are inclusive and safe spaces for all, regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender identity or sexuality and any breaking of this rule will result in a ban from my tests.
Some spaces in my tests fill up very quickly – like medium sized socks – so if you’d like one of those spaces you will have to be fast. I also require that my testers speak at least basic English – enough to communicate during the test, and to read the pattern. I have many testers from around the world take part in my tests and it’s always so much fun to have you, and see what different yarns you have available to you!