Since I’ve only ever tested a few patterns myself, I never thought this would be a topic for a blog post… BUT seeing as I now have a wonderful group of crocheters that work with me regularly to test out my designs, I figure it is the perfect topic for me to touch on!
I am not a SUPER picky designer and I make it my goals to take chances on people who really want to break into the pattern testing arena. This being said, there are definitely things I look for in potential new testers and things that give some people a leg up over others. In this post I will be covering a few things that you can do to help improve your chances of being chosen to test a pattern for a designer!
What IS a Crochet Pattern Tester?
In short, a crochet pattern tester is a crocheter who is sent the unpublished draft of a crochet pattern to create and then provide feedback to the designer and confirm that the pattern actually makes what it set out to make, fits properly and is free from errors. Testers are meant to help the designer spot things like grammatical errors, mistakes in stitch counts, issues with fit/sizing, and really anything else that the tester feels might not be quite right. A good tester will be able to ask questions if something seems “off”, give constructive feedback to the designer when they feel it is needed and never “assume” anything when it comes to the patterns they are testing–for example, I once forgot to clarify to join using a slip stitch (I just said “join”) and only one of my testers caught this mistake. Testers may also be required to provide photos of their projects (in progress and/or completed) and spread the word about the design on social media. Good, reliable testers can truly be the difference between a pattern that is “okay” and a pattern that you truly enjoy following as a maker!
So, now that we have clarified what a crochet pattern tester IS, let’s talk about some of the ways to become a tester and ways you can improve your chances of being chosen by a designer.
Follow the Designer on Social
This is probably the first thing and the easiest thing you can do to help improve your chances of being chosen as a tester. By following and interacting with the designer on their social channel(s) BEFORE you apply to test for them, you are letting them know that you are truly interested in them and their work!
Have a Public Social Presence (…with samples of your work)
This is HUGE. You want to make it EASY for designers to see that you are, in fact, qualified to test their design. Designers may need anywhere from 6-20 testers for a single pattern, depending on the number of variations and sizes–this means they won’t have time to go seeking out samples of your work or sending you direct messages to find out if you have experience making similar items. One of the easiest platforms to create a “portfolio” of your work is Instagram due to its focus on imagery.
Not all designers will require you to have a public instagram account or an online portfolio, but it can be the easiest way to show a designer that you have the experience necessary to complete their design. I have had people apply to test for me and have little to no crochet work on their feed. The only reason I will follow up with these applicants is if they are applying for a size that I still need tested. In this case, I will reach out to them and ask if they have had experience making similar designs and will request that they send me photos of past work. I have had some people get upset about these requirements in the past but you have to see it from the designer’s perspective. It can take weeks, even months, to get a design tested and if they don’t pick the “right” testers, they might have to do a second round of testing, pushing them back and keeping them from moving forward with new designs. I have had to do multiple rounds of testing for this reason and I can promise you, it’s no fun. 🙁
Be Qualified to Test the Item in Question
Piggybacking off of the last tip, this is something that comes up a lot when I’m calling for testers. In short, if you’ve never made a sweater, it’s best not to apply to test a sweater. Start by applying to test something you’ve already had experience making, like a hat, scarf or gloves! There are SO many designers just starting out and making beginner friendly patterns and this is a way to get your feet wet! If you HAVE made sweaters and are applying to test a sweater, be sure that your past work is public and visible to make it easy on the designer to review it–and easier for them to say “Yes!! I would love for you to test!!”
Complete Some of that Designers Patterns (not as a tester).
This is another great way to show a designer that you are familiar with their style of pattern writing and also show that you support them. This doesn’t mean to you have to buy all of their patterns! They may have a few free patterns available on their blog, or as a crochet-a-long on their IGTV or Youtube channel that you can create, photograph, post to IG, and tag the designer! This is also a great way to get you on their radar, especially if they get 100’s of applications to test their designs!
Focus on your photography.
This is actually a BIG one. Most designers will be looking for testers who can submit high quality photos of the finished items for them to share on social media, marketing and even in the final pattern listing on Etsy, Ravelry, their blog, etc. You can check out some of my top photography tips here! It is also important for some designers to pick testers who’s style is similar to theirs. If the designer you really want to test for has an IG feed filled with earth tones and you tend to wokrk with neon rainbow colors, they might not be as willing to pick you as a tester becauseyou are so far off from their aesthetic. Consider creating, photographing and sharing some projects that more closely align with that designers “look and style”OR look for designers who have a similar aesthetic to YOU!
You might be saying “well, DUH Evelyn!” But I am serious! You have no idea how many times I have had testers either not submit things on time or just completely ghost me after receiving the pattern. This kind of thing causes designers to be even picker about who they choose to work with and tends to lead them to take on less and less “newbies” as their pool of reliable testers grows. So, how do you ensure you can be reliable??
- Pay attention to the details. Make sure that you have all of the materials available to you (or can get them quickly) so that you don’t end up waiting weeks for your yarn or the right size hook to come in for the project and then falling behind and having to rush through the testing process.
- Really LOOK at your calendar. Make sure that you don’t already have too much on your plate to be able to meet the deadline without being stressed out or rushed. If you rush through a pattern you are less likely to be able to take the detailed notes the designer will need to ensure that the final pattern is free of mistakes or errors.
- Understand exactly what is expected of you. I try to be very clear as a designer and in my initial email I breakdown exactly what I need from my testers and the deadline I need it all by. I ask my testers to submit the total yardage for the project, specific measurements, grammatical corrections, etc. and there are still times that I will get a final email from a tester that says “thanks for the chance to test, the pattern was great” and that is it. Even if they provide STELLAR photos, it is still not what I asked for and means I am missing crucial information that helps me ensure a well written and detailed final pattern.
Apply the RIGHT way
All designers have different “systems” for applying to test so make sure you pay attention to HOW to apply. I used to ask people to send me a direct message on Instagram if they wanted to test along with the size they wanted to test and their email address. I cannot tell you how many people would comment on the post saying they wanted to apply but never sent me a message. Now I have a quick form for applicants to fill out that helps me keep all of my applicants in one place and I will still have people comment on the post instead of selling out the form. This is the easiest way to NOT get picked to test a design, so be sure you pay attention to exactly what the designer needs from you to apply when they do a call for testers!
I truly hope this helps! If you re a designer and have any other advice to add, drop it in the comments! I would love to add to this post and really make it a nice guide for crocheters looking to become regular pattern testers! 🙂
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