How to be a crochet pattern tester

Help Wanted, Crochet Pattern Testers


Spiffy Tuxedo bib tested by Donna. Donna has tested a number of my patterns. She’s very sweet and an awesome tester! She’s fast, thorough and does great stitch work.

Have you ever thought about what crochet designers do to finalize their patterns before self-publication?  Besides editing, it is important to have patterns test “knit”.  (FYI-Test knit is a saying often used for both testing a crochet pattern and a knit pattern.)

Why?  What’s so great about pattern testing?

For pattern users:

#1 Pattern testing ensures the instructions can be followed by an individual other than the designer.  When I’m shopping for a pattern, I often look at either reviews of the pattern (Etsy) or on Ravelry, if there are projects linked to the pattern.  I know many people don’t bother with reviews or project/pattern linking.  A fantastic pattern that has been crocheted 1,000 times may not have a single review or a single pattern linked to it.  BUT when it does, I’m able to confirm that at least some crocheters were able to make sense of the pattern and able to recreate what the designer intended.

#2 Pattern testing can offer other interpretations of a design for others to enjoy. For example, when I had my Jester hat tested, one tester made her hat super Halloweenie with hanging spiders and other creepy crawlies.

For designers:

See #1 and #2 above AND pattern testers often see things that editing may have missed.  Things like what yarns will or won’t work with a design.  They may come up with questions that weren’t thought of and need to be addressed or have tips/suggestions on how to improve a pattern.

For testers:

#1 Pattern testing is an important and much appreciated aspect of designing.  By pattern testing you are helping to make crochet patterns better-This benefits the entire crochet community.

#2 Opportunity to get patterns for FREE and before they are released to the general public!

Currently, I run all my pattern testing through Ravelry in the Testing Pool group.  This is a very laid back group with limited rules.  However, I do have requirements that I ask of all my testers.  Each test will have test specifics requirements provided but in general I ask the following:

  1. Work the pattern as written.  This is the number one requirement as the object of the pattern test is to ensure the pattern is doable as it is written.  Minor substitutions may be allowed, for example, foundation single crochet my be substituted for a long starting chain and row 1 of single crochet.  Just please confirm any adjustments prior.
  2. Make gauge.  If gauge isn’t important, I’ll state it but if it is important, then please take the time to match the stated gauge.  Gauge is important for proper fit.
  3. Keep in touch.  Either post in the test thread or email me and let me know you are still working on it. Usually no news is good news but I like to hear you are still working on the project.
  4. Keep details out of the test thread.  Minor typos can be posted in the thread but if you have a question on an entire line, please send me an email or private message.
  5. Respect copyright.  The draft pattern is still protected by copyright.  I’ve never had an issue of testers sharing my patterns, thank you!!
  6. Start right away and finish on time.  If you need a couple days to order/pick up yarn, that’s fine but please let me know.  In the meantime while waiting for your yarn, peruse the pattern and see if any adjustments or errors jump out at you.

Please don’t volunteer if you can’t make the deadline.  My number one testing pet-peeve is testers who don’t finish, ever.  Obviously, life happens.  Let me know if you have an issue and I’ll work with you.  In the past I had a tester get hit with Hurricane Sandy and a tester who ran over a bear in an ATV resulting in a hurt arm.  Usually it’s normal stuff like an unexpected illness that can cause a delay and that is fine.  The excuse of “I was working on another project” isn’t fine so please, if you commit to the test, finish it.  If real life gets in the way and you need an extension, please finish it ASAP. Testers who do not finish are not asked to test again.

So what makes a great tester?

Experience? NOPE!  I’ve had great testers that were beginning level crocheters and first time testers.  If my pattern is geared to that level, then yes! I’d love some beginner crochet testers.  Occasionally I’ll ask for intermediate to advanced crocheters only, but not always.

Attention to detail? YES! I always ask my testers to check for typos.  Did I type year instead of yarn?  Does it makes sense? Was a comma overlooked? Were numbers transposed?

Exactly the same yarn? NOPE!  Usually I want equivalent yarn i.e. yarn that is the same weight and density so that the final result is similar to my sample.  Same weight yarns can behave differently as some are squishy and some are fuller.  I try to state what will or will not be acceptable substitutes.  Ask if you aren’t sure.  Sometimes I want to see the design worked in different weights.  I had a lace-weight shawl tested in worsted and it came out great!

Check stitch counts? YES! Please and thank you.

Able to read a crochet pattern? YES!  Again, all levels are welcome but you must have knowledge of how a crochet pattern is written.

Ability to communicate? YES! I welcome all comments and suggestions.  I have often incorporated my testers suggestions (with acknowledgement of course).  Usually a pattern is written a certain way for a reason but if you think it could be constructed in another, easier way, let me know.

Active on Ravelry? YES!  I will look at your completed projects prior to selection so if you haven’t jumped on the Ravelry bandwagon yet, now is the time.  (Seriously, what are you waiting for?  Ravelry is an amazing crochet source that is FREE to use!)

Photos? YES! A Ravelry project page with photos linked to the pattern will be required.  I prefer clear, in focus, natural light photos and often feature project photos (with permission) on my Facebook page.

And don’t forget…Finish on time!  Thank you!

I find my testers to be invaluable.  Running a pattern test is both fun and educational for me and one of my favorite aspects of designing.  After all, my greatest joy in designing is being able to see others duplicate and use my designs/ideas in their everyday life.

If you are interested in joining my Ravelry earburn list for future tests, please send me PM via Ravelry.  When a new test is posted in the Testing Pool, I will earburn all those who have asked to be notified.  Be sure to read all the stated testing requirements.  An earburn is not a guarantee of testing.  I will review all volunteers’ Ravelry projects prior to selection.  If you are selected to test, your email will be necessary so I may send the pattern to you!  Thank you!!




3 thoughts on “How to be a crochet pattern tester

  1. hi I have been crocheting for years and just learned about pattern editing and am very much interested in participating. Can u provide me with direction on how to join on Ralvery?

  2. Pingback: New Pattern Alert! The Modern Tote | Crochet By Darleen Hopkins

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