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How to do a Test Knit or in fact,What is a Test Knit?

There have been quite a few discussions on Ravelry with regards to what is required for test knitting, and how designers work in different ways but need help at different stages. Also, those people who are from the test pool on Ravelry are not always as experienced as we assume, it is not their fault, it is up to us to clarify what we require. It can be difficult as well, making demands if the person is volunteering for us but in order to be truly useful, it pays to let the knitter know up front exactly what is required and getting them to agree to it before they commit.

Therefore I have put together an info sheet about test knitting, then for each pattern they get this along with a sheet of specific requirements and a rough working pattern. This is for people knitting a test knit at a distance, perhaps trying out one of the sizes of the pattern and keep the garments themselves, it does not cover knitting samples for photographic work which I do not call test knitting, and refer to their jobs as 'makers'.

Thought you might find it useful. So have a look below


Test Knitting

Test knitting can cover a variety of activities, so always check with your designer to clarify why they need a test knit and the duties expected of you. E.g. is it for a sample for photography? Is it the final check on a pattern, or is it the initial check on newly written rough pattern? Do they want you to knit all noting errors and then contact them at the very end of the knit, or do they wish to be told bit by bit as and when errors occur?

Erssie Knits uses 3 types of testers

A: A test knitter to try out a particular graded size and to test the pattern in its rough early stages. This is explained in more detail below. This can be done from a distance Worldwide.

B: A sample knitter to knit up a sample for photography and at the same time gives feedback on the pattern. If they spot errors they are expected to contact the designer immediately rather than guess and continue or if changes are needed they need to seek permission. This is done from the UK

C: A technical pattern checker. This is a person with expertise in pattern writing and reading and can check a pattern by eye for errors in the copy, instruction or maths and corrects it usually just before final publication.

Qualities I expect to find in A: Test Knitters

1. Ability to knit up to intermediate level with knowledge of most techniques without the use of a pattern or tutorial nor the need to contact the designer for too much help.

2. Ability to spot simple errors, fill in the gaps and to continue knitting without being tripped up. For example, the pattern might miss out a very simple instruction like K2, or it could have the wrong number K3 instead of K2, but a good tester would be able to spot it as a typo or maths error and realise it doesn't work and make their own adjustment without having to go back and forth to the designer with small queries. Work from the photo of a swatch or garment if necessary to solve problems

3. Ability to remain calm even if it means ripping out their knit and starting again because an unexpected error has thrown them out. Also they need a total acceptance that this is a rough pattern and that they are being employed for their expertise and experience in being able to spot errors. Most patterns will contain at least one error and as I said before, it may be small but frustrating. A love of puzzles is a must!

4. Willingness to not only knit the item, but to mark out errors in red on the original pattern (without obscuring any black text) and to fill out a small questionnaire at the back of the pattern.

5. Willingness to work professionally and to a deadline even though they have volunteered for the job. Many people who work as unpaid test workers get references to go on to get better paid work and the experience even leads a lot of testers to become designers themselves so treating it as a real job even though it is unpaid is to your advantage.

6. Total confidentiality is required and you may not post pictures or information on your blog or any other website page until you have been given permission to do so. You may not share the pattern with any other party either before or after publication.

If you feel you would like to take part these are the specific needs of this test knit are attached

Test Knit Form

Name of Design:



Skills Level of Pattern: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Stage of Written Pattern: Very Rough/Rough Working/Final

Size to be tested:

Sizes to be pattern checked::


Requirements of Test Knit

1. Use the attached pattern to knit the garment in the size instructed or size of your choice (let me know straight away which size you are going to do)

2. Whilst using the pattern, if there are any small errors or amendments you feel you would like to make to either the knitting instructions or the text, then do so in red next to the parts you wish to correct, do not obscure or delete any of the black/green/purple text on the original pattern although you may put a line through it to cross it out if you think it is wrong.

3. Do not contact me with each individual error until the very end of the pattern, then send everything back in one go.

4. Complete the short questionnaire at the back of the pattern and return at the end of a test knit. Once I have received your amended pattern and questionnaire I will close your test knit.

5.If you find you cannot continue because you are not able to spot the errors and amend them and yet an error has lead you to a standstill, then stop at that point, note errors and amendments up to that point and send back with questionnaire.

6. Finally, on your questionnaire if you wish you may put your name as you wish to be credited and your website/blog address* in certain instances I can publish the names and contacts of knitters that helped me to prepare the pattern for publication. Otherwise you have the right to remain anonymous and the information you provide is just as useful.

Specific instructions for this pattern:

E.g. any extra info, photos, requirements?

*Any information held by Erssie Knits will meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act (s) and we will not be using the information for marketing purposes nor will we pass the information to any other parties.

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