A Testing Perspective

I have been meaning to write a post about this for a long time but struggled to find the right words. There are many posts out there about how to get into test knitting, how to be a good tester, and what designers generally look for. What most of those posts do not address are the “unspoken” guidelines. Whether you're a designer or a tester—and I have been on both sides of the coin— the responsibilities are different. Very. Different. 

Pattern testing can be a fun process, but a test knit is a real responsibility. When I apply for a test and am chosen, I consider it a privilege. Many independent designers are not able to compensate for yarns used in a test knit, but we are there every step of the way to answer any questions that may come up within the pattern. You’ll never have more support and direct contact with the designer than during a test knit. It is a job in return to provide the necessary feedback to the designer.  

So, let's rip the band-aid off and get to those unspoken rules. I realize that some of these points are things I have zero control over, and that is where I rely on the integrity and honesty of the tester.  


What I look for in testers:

* A public profile on Instagram to share your work.

* The ability to complete the project in a timely manner (before the due date) and submit notes/ feedback ASAP. Use the questions and format that was given. (Please don’t send back a simple statement saying everything is good.)

* Keep the designer informed about progress. (In other words, don't take on a test and disappear until release day. If you're having trouble, we want to know! If you can’t finish, we also NEED to know.)

* Have good photography (bright, clear, and visible details). Can be flat lays, although modeled photos are very welcomed.

* Preferably, you do not have more than 2-3 tests at any one time. 

* Preferably not have more than one release in a day. (I always put the release date in my tester calls and I believe every designer should do the same!)

* Ideally, the person has previously made one of my patterns successfully. (I have a free one through The Dizzy Knitter here.)

* Will read instructions thoroughly, within the pattern and also email communications.

* Will follow said instructions  

* Will not change the pattern in any way unless approved by the designer prior. The goal is to give feedback on the current pattern, not to change it to a tester’s liking.

* Know how to use hashtags appropriately and also use the right one for the pattern.

* Consistently tag designers and products on photos posted on social media.

* Be respectful to the designer and other testers by showing support for fellow testers (means liking their post, being encouraging and kind).

* Must have been following me on social media for a while. If I recognize your name, the likelihood of being chosen increases because I know you engage. (I do not choose brand new followers who just followed to test the pattern - been there, done that, fail.)

What testing is NOT:

* Not a time to try something brand new and super challenging for you.

* Not a time to rate and review the pattern yet.

* Not a time to share other patterns, whether it's something you've made or currently testing in the test group/ chat.


Please know that all of the above is meant to help us publish the best possible pattern for other knitters out there! You’re helping to do a service and it is a volunteer job. We know that and we appreciate you. 

Testing is also a way to build community, find new friends, discuss and learn alternative ways to do something, learn more about yarns and fibers, and best of all WHY something is done. It is an excellent way to improve your knitting game. All games have rules, and I am grateful to you for wanting to get in the testing game! Happy knitting!

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I love this. I really appreciate the call out around testing to the pattern. I treat every test as if I’m a new knitter and need to read each and every line of the pattern. So many issues get missed when testers fly through the pattern applying what they know (fixing a mistake as they go by instinct) rather than taking the time to knit as written. The approach of just flying through can also have the effect of other testers keeping quiet about what they’ve found because they think, “Well, goodness X person had not trouble and they’re done. It must be me and not the pattern.” I’d always rather ask/point something out then be ok with it being my error than not bringing up something that could cause a problem for others when the pattern goes live.


This is super helpful and a wonderful gift of insight! Your post makes me realize that test knitting is as much about overall marketing as it is testing the pattern itself. I’ve been knitting for years and I teach knitting, so I’ve sometimes considered applying as a test knitter. That being said, however, your perspective makes me realize I’m probably not qualified (and frankly, I’m happy to discover this so I don’t potentially embarrass myself!). I’m not social media savvy, my Insta account has languished unposted for probably five years, I don’t know how to hashtag, and I’m as terrible at following folks on social media as I am about keeping up with my own friends in person. It’s sad, really. But that’s okay, because your look-for list is honest and real. Now I understand exactly what I need to get better at doing if I want to test knitting patterns, which is significantly more valuable information than the experience of applying for a test and either being rejected outright or not receiving a response at all. Seriously, thank you for this. May you be blessed with amazing testers from now on!


Absolutely so true, testing is a privilege that comes with responsibility

Heather Scott

Well said Jenny. Testing is a privilege and a responsibility. I also have enjoyed meeting new friends through testing


Well said my friend!

Amanda Murray

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