Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Great Crochet Pattern Tester
Whether you’re new to the crochet world or a seasoned crocheter, it’s likely you’ve heard about pattern testing. Like a lot of things in crochet, everyone has their own style whether they’re running the pattern test or contributing as a tester. There’s lot to remember and sometimes it’s hard to know what to expect. But don’t worry! This is your ultimate guide to becoming a great crochet pattern tester!
Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Great Crochet Pattern Tester
There’s actually a LOT that goes into pattern testing, from both the designer’s perspective and the tester’s. I know when I first got into pattern testing, I wasn’t sure what was expected of me and it was daunting being in a group of people who all seemed to know what they were doing.
I don’t want that feeling for you!
That’s why we’re going to cover all the basics. This way you can apply for that next test with confidence!
What the heck is pattern testing?
To put simply, it’s exactly what it sounds like–you’re testing out a pattern. Designers are people too and they make mistakes, so testers help them edit and polish their patterns so they’re perfect for release. Remember in school when you had to pass your paper to your neighbor and grade each other? It’s kind of like that.
For you (the tester), you get to try a brand new pattern for free, be creative and make some new crochet friends! It’s also an awesome way to broaden your skills and learn new techniques.
When you sign up to test a pattern, each designer will run their test a little different, but here’s some general things you’ll be asked to look for:
- Typos, general mistakes
- Incorrect stitch counts/multiples/etc…
- Consistency (ex. does the pattern read ‘ch 1, 5sc’ in one section and ‘ch1, SC 5’ in another?)
- Checking photos or video tutorials (do they make sense/need more/need less?)
- Gauge (some patterns, like amigurumi don’t use gauge, but if you’re testing a garment this is super important.)
Sometimes a designer will have something specific they need help with on their pattern. For example, when I was gathering testers for Olive the Orca, I specified needing right and left-handed crocheters because I had a colorwork chart for each that I wanted them to check.
In exchange for helping the designer test their pattern, you (as the tester) get the final version of the pattern for free and sometimes even a little bonus depending on the designer. This can be extra free patterns, coupons, etc…
So what’s the process of testing?
As a disclaimer, this process will look a little different for every designer, especially depending on the type of pattern you’re testing. For example, testing a blanket pattern will take months and look a lot different than an amigurumi test which would maybe only take 2 weeks.
So here’s a general timeline of what to expect:
- You apply for a pattern test
- Designers put out ‘Tester Calls’ on social media, in Facebook groups, and even through emails. If there’s a designer you’d like to test for, be sure to follow them and keep an eye out for these calls.
- You’re chosen for the test!
- NOTE: sometimes you won’t get picked. There’s all sorts of reasons. Sometimes hundreds of people apply and the designer can only pick like 6. Don’t let it bother you. There’s always other opportunities.
- Group chat time and testing starts!
- Once chosen, you’ll be added to some sort of group chat depending on the platform where the designer is hosting the test.
- You’ll be sent the pattern and the designer will outline their expectations.
- Make the project
- As you follow the pattern, take notes on things you notice. (Are the abbreviations consistent, stitch counts correct, etc…) This is the longest part of the test.
- IMPORTANT: If you come across a major error or have a question, don’t hesitate to ask or bring it up. The designer should be there to answer questions and troubleshoot. Here’s some examples:
- When testing the Wavy Pumpkin, a tester commented that my repeat didn’t make sense with the given stitch count. Turns out I had just made a silly typo. It should have read ‘repeat 4 times,’ not ‘repeat 8 times.’
- When testing Nico the Narwhal, a tester pointed out that I didn’t specify which sides of the head were which and that led to them accidentally putting the eyes in the wrong place. Together we figured out the best spot in the pattern to add a note about directionality and eye placement.
- Take photos and submit your feedback
- Generally the designer will require at least 2 well-lit photos, preferably with a clean background, and your notes on the pattern.
- For the notes, this is your opportunity to mention other minor things or suggestions.
- Ex. suggesting ‘starting in the second ch from the hook, sc across’ instead of ‘sc in the second ch from the hook, sc across’ (Both are correct, but the former reads a bit smoother.)
- IMPORTANT: When it comes to suggestions, it’s at the designer’s discretion whether or not to follow your advice. Sometimes, something suits a designer’s style even though it may not always suit the tester.
- Ex. If you’ve seen any of my patterns, you’ll notice I always count the starting MR or ch as Rnd or Row 0, rather than Rnd or Row 1. This is my personal preference and is honestly an ingrained habit.
- Releasing the pattern
- Every designer has a different release process, but generally you’ll share your photos of the project and tag the designer.
- You’ll receive the final, edited copy of the pattern for free and sometimes a bonus.
Whew, I know that’s a lot of information. But after participating in a few tests, you’ll get into a groove with it.
Below are some of the patterns I’ve personally tested for other designers.
Important things to keep in mind as a tester
The way I outlined the process above makes it sound super smooth and easy, but sometimes tests can be a disaster. I’m not trying to scare you away from testing or anything, but realistically, they won’t all be great.
There’s a ton of reasons a test can go wrong. Let’s talk about a couple and what to do if this happens to you.
You sign up for a test, an unexpected life event happens, and you can’t complete the test.
Life happens. Whether that’s an emergency, a last second trip, or some other personal issue. It’s OKAY. Your health and well being is more important.
What to do: contact the designer as soon an possible. You don’t have to explain in detail, but let them know you won’t be able to finish. Communication is everything. This same principle applies if something happens and you need just a little bit more time to work on the test.
NOTE: Having said all this, it’s NOT OKAY, to apply to a test, receive the pattern and then disappear on the designer with no intention of finishing the test. It’s essentially stealing. Please don’t be this person.
You sign up for a test, but it’s outside your skill level.
In this case, skill level can refer to specific techniques OR types of projects.
For example, I specialize in amigurumi and I love testing other designer’s ami patterns. However, I won’t apply to test garment patterns because I’m nowhere near confident enough in those types of projects to offer helpful advice.
The same principle applies if you’ve only ever completed simple projects like headbands and scarves, it’s not a good idea to apply to test an intermediate level amigurumi pattern.
What to do: always read the tester call carefully and don’t hesitate to ask the designer questions. Please don’t apply for tests that you aren’t confident in your ability to offer advice. However, if you are confident and you find mid-test that the project is outside your skill level, let the designer know as soon as possible.
Then you and the designer can work out where to go from there.
There’s conflict within the test.
It totally sucks, but this happens. It could be another tester being rude or even the designer reacting badly.
If the problem is another tester, especially if they’re broadcasting negativity in the group chat, mute the chat and contact the designer privately to complete the test. It’s likely the designer won’t use that tester again.
The really crummy thing is when the designer is the problem…
Unfortunately, this can take on many forms, such as not responding at all to questions, reacting defensively when mistakes are pointed out, or being outright rude.
The point of testing, of volunteering your own time, is to help them test their pattern.
What to do: don’t test for that designer again. If the situation is really toxic, leave the test. You don’t deserve to be treated like that.
NOTE: There’s a difference and a line between frustration and being rude. Sometimes there will be a kink in the pattern and it’s frustrating for both sides to figure out a solution. However, everyone should always be treated with respect and grace.
Tips for being an amazing tester
Now that we’ve covered what to do when things go wrong, let’s talk about some positives! If you find that you love testing, here’s some tips to stand out as an amazing tester:
- Provide thorough and helpful feedback
- This means going above and beyond and paying attention to minute details. Like noticing an inconsistency in punctuation. (’10in.’ vs ’10in’)
- This can also mean offering suggestions and solutions instead of just pointing out mistakes.
- Taking amazing photos
- Not everyone has a knack for photography and that’s OKAY! However, if you do and you take beautiful photos, this will set you apart.
- Helping others
- If you notice a question in the chat and you know the answer, go ahead and help them! While I can’t speak for other designers, I LOVE when my testers help each other. I’m just one person with a million things going on and it really helps me out when this happens since I can’t always answer instantly.
- Social media
- If you like making TikToks, Reels, or just posting on social media in general, making content about the project for the pattern release is wonderful! By posting and tagging the designer, you’re helping them reach more people and make more sales. Every post and share is very much appreciated!
- Have a public crochet account
- Kind of in the vein of social media, if you plan to do a lot of testing, I absolutely recommend having a public platform where you post your crochet projects. This will act as a portfolio of sorts, so when the designer is picking people, they can see your work easily.
You don’t have to do all of this, by any means. I know social media is the bane of some people’s existence. If you don’t like making videos, for example, don’t feel obligated to. But these are some easy ways to stand out as a great and memorable tester!
That way, when your name pops up on a designer’s tester call application, they’ll instantly remember your awesome work and be more likely to pick you!
We went over what pattern testing is, what the process looks like, what to do when things go wrong, and how to stand out as an amazing tester. Are you ready to jump into your first test? Or, if you’re a seasoned tester, maybe some of this resonated with you?
Do you have any tips or tricks for being a tester? Leave a comment and share them below!
If you loved this article, be sure to Pin it for later and share it with your crochet-friends! AND, if you’re interested in testing for me, make sure you’re following me on Instragram: @cbfiberworks or you can join my free Facebook Group: cbfiberworks Crochet Club. I generally hold one tester call per month!
Have a lovely day and I’ll see ya next time!