Fickleknitter's Guide to Pattern Submissions for Knit Picks Independent Designer Program and Yarn Support
I've decided to write up a tutorial on pattern submissions for Knit Picks because I get so many questions about it. I'm going to answer the most frequently asked questions below.
If you're wondering about my qualifications for writing this tutorial, I've just had my 7th pattern published by Knit Picks IDP and had my very first appearance in the Fall Knit Picks Catalog as an Independent Designer.
So let's start with the basics.
*The best place to brush up on the requirements are the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program FAQ.
*For Knit Picks yarn support email email@example.com.
*For Knit Picks submissions email firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I do to get Knit Picks Yarn support?
The first thing you need to do to start your journey into the Independent Designer Program is request yarn support. When I'm requesting yarn I put together a small list of links from my shop of items I've already published to give Knit Picks an idea of my design aesthetic. The links show a few photos of the projects with detailed information on the patterns such as gauge, needle size and a brief description of the item and it's construction.
Some designers submit items that have already been self published, if that is the case you already have a design ready and simply email photos and a description of the finished object to the Knit Picks team. Your submission will be evaluated and you'll receive an email either accepting or rejecting your request for yarn support.
Since I am designing from scratch I must decide on which yarn will work for my request. For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere designing new knitting patterns for winter happens in summer, and summer in winter. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere the schedule is reversed. It's summer now so that means I want to work with winter yarns and pattern submissions. Also keep in mind that you want to pick a yarn that will work with your intended item. (Alpaca Lace weight is great for lace projects but maybe not a great fit for colorwork mittens knit at 5 stitches per inch). Finally when choosing your yarn, pick something that has consistent dye lots. If you choose something like Felici with limited edition colorways your design will have a shelf life because once the particular sample color is gone the design becomes obsolete.
So let's go with Knit Pick's Shamrock yarn. It's got some fresh new colors, and is a hearty winter yarn.
The first thing you do after deciding on a yarn is to come up with a suitable project. Since I am designing for a winter cycle I'll go with a pair of mittens. And in order to get the yarn I have to submit a sketch. While I can draw well enough with a ruler and a little patience, expressing a general idea can be enough. I used a simple sketch program (Penultimate available for iPad) to sketch out the basic idea of my yarn support submission. I won't be winning any awards for my sketch in this case but it shows the item, the cable detail, and the type of yarn I intend to use for the project.
Once you have a sketch and description ready it is time to send in the request.
I've found that Knit Picks is generous with yarn support. But they may not say yes to every request. One reason is your design may not be accepted it resembles something being made or already published by the Knit Picks Design Team. Another is you may be competing with too many other knit or crocheted items they've already published. There are a lot of hat and cowl patterns out there already so why not dream up some triangle shawls or a special sweater instead?
At any rate the best thing you can do in this situation is not get discouraged if the answer for yarn support at first is no.
So in review for a Knit Picks yarn support request you need to send
1. A brief summary of previous design work. Links to places like ravelry, etsy and pattern shops are okay so long as they show photos and give some detail on the projects.
2. Specific yarn for your request.
3. A sketch that outlines the general idea of the intended project. Make sure everything prints out on one page to make the best presentation for the review board.
If your project is accepted and the yarn sent, congratulations! You are ready to move on to the designing/knitting stage of your submission.
When the yarn arrives it is appropriate to email the Knit Picks team to thank them. It is also necessary to make sure there are no restrictions on posting public photos of the yarn. Before I received my latest batch of Knit Picks yarn I had to agree not to post photos of the new colorways online. I took that request very seriously and was careful to abide by that request.
Once your yarn has arrived you are ready to start your design process. When designing keep in mind that the sample will be photographed. That means you want to show off your knitting to its best advantage. As much as I am loathe to rip out my knitting if there is a visible mistake it's got to go. Try to limit how much you have to rip and reknit the yarn because it does eventually show wear and tear. In some cases it might be smart to practice the more difficult elements of your design in another yarn so that when it's time to knit the Knit Picks sample you are in top form.
One of the requirements for Knit Picks IDP patterns is creating a schematic. You don't have to be Da Vinci to make a schematic. I use Power Point's shape tools. The schematic for Zig Zag Mittens was created by using only straight lines in Power Point. There are a million and one ways to create a schematic, pick one and get it done. Youtube has free video tutorials on just about every digital drawing/editing program on the market today. Lynda.com has a small monthly fee and gives access to the professional products out there such as photoshop, gimp (my personal favorite), and likely even Microsoft paint.
After your sample is knit you need to prepare the written design for submission. At a minimum the design needs to be test knit and tech edited. In all of my designs I try to have both done to reduce as many errors and confusing language as possible. For test knitting I frequent the Testing Pool ravelry group. After my test knitters finish their projects and provide me with photos I give them two existing patterns as a thank you for their work. It's an important aspect of my testing process. The pattern for knitting exchange shows my testers that I appreciate the value of their work and provides motivation for finishing the project and taking photos. Not every tester will complete the project because sometimes life gets in the way. Be respectful and generous with your testers and they will stand by you and help you when you need it.
Tech Knitting is something that is actually quite accessible. I was intimidated by the process for a long time. But I've found that it is very affordable and it is so helpful to have another seasoned pair of eyes go over a pattern. You really want to eliminate every possible error because typos are so discouraging to people who knit your patterns. Be warned though that even with test knitting and tech editing mistakes can sometimes still remain in the pattern. I've had a few copy and paste errors that much like the horror show are like Night of the Living Dead Zombies. But when you find that inevitable error, fix it straight away. Send in the errata to knit picks and if you're selling on other venues like Ravelry you can notify your buyers to update their version. You can also make a special post on your blog or website for people who use Dr. Google to search for Errata. Here is an example of an errata page for one of my published patterns.
If you aren't a professional photographer Knit Picks will take care of the final photography but it's important to take one or two photos before you mail the submission. I take my photos by setting up my white background near a sunny window. Avoid direct sunlight and if the project is something like a pair of mittens enlist someone else to snap the photo for you. If you don't have any shutterbugs in residence you can set up most cameras on an inexpensive tripod and photograph using the self timing feature. If you'd like your photography to be featured by Knit Picks be sure to submit a hi res, high quality photos for their consideration.
Once your pattern is written, tech edited, test knit, photographed and put into the knit picks layout you are ready to mail your to submissions to knit picks at:
Attn: Pattern Sample Manager
13118 NE 4th Street
Vancouver, WA 98687
Make sure you print out and sign the Knit Picks Terms and Conditions and include it in the package.
The Knit Picks design team will review your submission and get back to you with an answer. Sometimes the process takes a few weeks. If your submission is rejected it could be due to a few reasons:
1. The Sample doesn't fit the model. The requisite measurements for samples are
* Men's: 38-40.
* Teen/Small Men's: 30-32
* Misses: 32-34
* Women's (plus sized): 48-50
* Kids: any size appropriate to the pattern style
* Babies: 6 month size or larger
2. The sample is knit poorly and won't photograph well.
3. The item resembles an already existing Knit Picks pattern.
If the answer is no do not get discouraged. It is inevitable that people will tell you no but don’t let it stop you. During my last yarn request submission cycle I sent in 5 sketches and fleshed out ideas for potential Knit Picks projects. Three were accepted and from that batch three have been published so far.
If the answer is yes, Congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming a Knit Picks Independent Designer.
If you enjoyed my tutorial helped and it you on your way I'd love to hear back from you. You can use the contact form for comments, follow me on twitter or join my ravelry group for a more interactive experience.
If you would like to enjoy more Fickle Knitter How To articles in the future, please consider purchasing a pattern or two in my pattern or ravelry shop because your business keeps me in business and the wolf from the front door (or me in iced tea and chocolate cake.)
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