Pattern Testing: Is it for You?
This week I came across a designer who was looking for pattern testers. It just happened I scrolled past the request at just the right time. The first three to post with an email address would be sent the pattern to test. Several responded to the post, but only two others had left emails, so I quickly added mine and was excited to get the email from Kara Gunza, Petals to Picots, with the test pattern for this adorable Teether Lovey. Here’s my test project.
Edited to add: Pattern Now Available
Have you ever thought about testing patterns? You will need to understand how to read a pattern and be willing to give feedback. Reliability and communication are musts. I spoke with both Kara Gunza from Petals to Picots and Sonya Blackstone from Beautiful Ducklings about what designers expect from testers.
What do you look for in pattern testers?
Kara: Mostly dependability and someone who can clearly communicate any errors or problems.
Sonya: Someone with experience reading patterns, that is reliable and can meet the deadline. The testers definitely need to be able count stitches so they can tell me if my count is off.
Do you have a group of testers you use regularly, or do you post as needed?
Kara: I do not. I usually put a post on Facebook and choose the testers on a “first come, first chosen” basis.
Sonya: I post as needed, gives everyone a chance to offer, although I have had a few bad apples, so I have considered just doing a group
What would make you use a tester more than once?
Kara: Sometimes I will ask a tester to test if I think they would have a particular interest in a pattern I am working on. For instance, if I remember someone recently had a new baby and I have a baby item to test, I might ask them first.
Sonya: I would use a tester more than once if they were reliable! Easy to communicate with!
What would make you never use a tester again?
Kara: I would never use a tester again if they were unreliable. I do understand that sometimes life gets in the way of deadlines, but if they don’t communicate with me about the delay, then I probably wouldn’t use them again.
Sonya: I have a few testers I would never use again because they received my pattern and then the next day they would message me with some thing like “Oh sorry my kids are sick” “something came up” or they would test halfway and get bored with the project and quit and just stop communicating.
Any advice you would give someone who is testing out a pattern for you or any other designer?
Kara: Just be yourself … trust your skills and instincts. And keep the designer in the loop with any problems.
Sonya: Don’t sign up to test if you can’t actually get it done! Most patterns only take a couple of hours in total to complete…most testers give 48 hours..that’s plenty of time to sneak in time to complete it! Don’t offer if you’re not 100% sure that you can get it done and provide feedback! BE RELIABLE!! COMMUNICATE!
Testing patterns can be fun, and can benefit both the designer and you. Before you sign up, be sure you will have the time to follow through, the supplies needed, and the skills for the pattern level. And most importantly, remember the designer is trusting you with their design. You should never publish or share the pattern or details of the pattern.