05 October 2012

Test knitting?

So, I spent my summer knitting up shawls and sweaters, and right now they are sitting in a pretty stack in my bedroom. Some have been photographed already, and there are more to do once I find a good location and figure out when we can do it (Nick is my photographer, usually, and we either have to bring the kids or find a time when they are all at school and he's not trapped in endless meetings). I've been busy writing up the patterns between the volunteer work I do at Penelope's preschool and at Isobel and Stephen's school, which has taken up a lot of time and mental space for the past month. Plus, doing Penelope's application to go to the big kids' school (can you believe she'll be in Kindergarten next fall?), which has been stressful. Now that the two shawls are written up (love them! they turned out just the way I wanted and only one required reknitting :) , along with one of the sweaters (stripey goodness graded for seven sizes), while the other three sweaters (cables and interesting hood construction, a little lace, alternative construction) are in various stages of notes, instructions, and spreadsheets (ah, grading for seven sizes - I love spreadsheets!), I'm looking for a new tech editor, which takes up more time.

The question for me is do I also add test knitters into the process? I know a lot of self-publishing designers do, but if I'm waiting until a pattern has been tech edited, what do test knitters add to the proposition? By the time I've knit a sample, usually from a bare-bones pattern, refined then graded it, photographed it, and sent it to a tech editor, I'm ready to release it to the world! I'm excited and dying to share what I've been working on. When I create patterns for publications, there aren't any test knitters, just me. But the reach of a publication provides its own publicity, right? So, test knitters are not just helping a designer figure out if the pattern is clearly written and correctly sized/graded/proportioned, especially since that is the tech editor's job, but they are also part of your publicity team.

Plus, I like the big reveal. It's sort of frustrating to see a great new pattern on Ravelry only to discover that you won't be able to buy it immediately. Some designers offer a specs page in that case that gives yarn and gauge information so knitters can get started. But I'm into that instant gratification.

What do you think?

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what do you think?