Become A Tester

September 19, 2017



Why Do I Need Pattern Testers?  Put simply: To make sure all of my pattern instructions are clear, easy to follow, and free of all mistakes (including grammatical errors).
I am always on the hunt for talented crocheters, of all shapes and sizes, to add to my testing group! I also like to have testers with kiddos of all ages in their lives. If you’re interested read on to get the nitty gritty of what I need from you and how to get added to my group!
The Pattern Testing Process
First, I start out making the item. I write the pattern out and size it (if it’s a wearable) and try to make it as accurate as possible, so I can hopefully remove any mistakes before I send it to testers.  
Tester Call
I post the item in my tester group and ask for volunteers.  I include what yarn size is needed and any special notions. I also include deadline; the testing period usually runs about 1 week, unless we find there are major issues and it needs to be extended by a few days (this doesn’t happen often).  It is crucial to be sure that the deadlines are  met, so testing should begin the day the pattern is received.  I rely heavily on testers to come back to me with any errors they find in the patterns, so they can be corrected before the pattern goes up for sale. If a tester falls behind, that delays my publishing date. I really need my testers to be on time.
Testers are to provide feedback about the the overall pattern. Here is a list of information I need;
What materials were used and how much? It is especially important for garment patterns that I get the amount of yarn in ounces or yards that was used.
Was gauge met? Extremely crucial! Always check your gauge before starting!
Are all of the stitch abbreviations included and correct?
Typos/grammatical errors
Row counts
Stitch counts
And the most important piece of information I need is SIZING. Did the item come out to be the intended size? Do garments/accessories fit well? I strongly recommend trying garments on several times throughout the testing process, to make sure everything is working out correctly. Keep a notepad and pencil/pen right next to you the whole testing process, so you can write down EVERY ERROR you find, no matter how small it is.
Testers should not make any corrections or changes to the pattern or work-in-progress without consent. Sometimes my mind is on a track that a tester doesn’t quite realize, so they may not know what changes would be appropriate. Never make changes without a discussion.
Also needed is photos. Garments and wearables/accessories need to be modeled. In some cases, using a mannequin or flat lay is ok, but that is something that needs to be approved first. Other items, such as  handbags, can be done by styled photos or flat lay.   
I will need several photos of the finished piece: Front/Back/Side of garments, and different angles for other items. These do not have to be done by a professional photographer or taken with a high end camera, but clear photos of the item and model are a must. I also need clean editing, so no over the top filters or photoshopping.  Have fun with it, get creative with appropriate props or backgrounds, but definitely make sure there is no clutter or trash. Beautiful tree lined backgrounds always work well (but watch out for chain link fences and telephone poles) ;)
Pattern Release
I have a set date to release the pattern when I first send it out to testers. It’s typically the Friday following the due date. I really need testers to be on time with notes and photos, so that I can meet this deadline that I have promised to the community.  
A new release is usually on sale for the weekend (Friday-Sunday).  If testers have their own blogs, they can write up a “review” of the pattern! Also, I need testers to post their pics in the Blackstone Designs Crochet Community Facebook group, as well as (1 or more) other crochet groups, and add it to "projects" on Ravelry. This helps get the word out about the pattern, allows the crochet community to see it in different colors & sizes, plus it let's you brag about what an awesome crocheter you are!
Final photos will be posted in an album in the Blackstone Designs Crochet Community Facebook group for inspiration and promotional purposes.  These will be open, so all members can access them at any time and add their own finished photos. Here is what an album will look like: Sunshine and Lace Tank - Child.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  I wouldn’t be where I am without all of you awesome testers!  Testing is voluntary and not a paid position, I know that it takes a lot of time and money, and I very much appreciate you helping me! Upon completion of the test, the tester will receive the final pattern (and sometimes other fun surprises).
So now that you know what testing is all about...
Do you want to join the team? If so, here’s how it works:
When a new pattern is ready to be tested, I post in my private tester group first. If I cannot find enough available testers in there, I will post a testing call in the Blackstone Designs Crochet Community group.
How I choose new testers
Active group members who are familiar with my patterns and the crochet community.
Members who help out in the group by answering questions (Why? Testers are often asked a lot of questions about the new release and we love for the testers to be available and active in the group!)
Posting pics of their completed Blackstone Designs projects

And mostly, I look over the testing application to see if the information provided feels like we would make a great team!
Here’s some quotes about testing from some of my current testers
What do you like about testing?
“It’s a fantastic way to meet more of ‘our kind’...haha”
“One of my favorite things about testing is how it pushes me out of my comfort zone and how much I have learned.”
“I love seeing the amazing talent you and other designers have and I love helping to see those designs come to life…”
“I love testing because it allows me to try new stitches, projects, and become familiar with different pattern writing styles.”
What would you tell soon-to-be testers?
“I find to not be afraid to ask the designer about whatever you may think needs clarification. This helps them make a pattern more user friendly for every type of crocheted from beginning to experienced”
“Testing is very rewarding in many ways; however, first and foremost it is work”
“Be prepared to do things as a designer wants them done. Sometimes this may mean that you have to step away from ‘how you would do it.’ Be prepare to frog, lol. Often times even though a pattern may work as originally written the designer will choose to ‘change’ either a small or large portion of the pattern. When this happens, as a tester you need to be prepared to frog and redo.”
“The only downside (if you want to call it that) is the cost of the yarn if you don’t have it but the other side of that is that you can usually sell or give the item away that you make.”
“As a tester you need to pay careful attention to the pattern. It’s not just about making sure the stitches work out properly, it’s also about making sure everything is up to professional standards. A tester is supposed to test the design and provide proofreading for the entire pattern”
“Testing for a designer is a privilege, and an honour, it also challenges me to learn more, be more aware of what I am doing and be specific about information I am passing back to the designer. Being a tester means you dedicate the time allotted to that specific project and make sure it’s finished on time, it also means discretion and respect for the fact that we as testers get a head start on the pattern and that it’s not for sharing in any way shape or form.”
What it’s like testing for Blackstone Designs?.
“Working with Sonya has been such a delight! She is the first designer that I applied for and she has helped me build testing and picture taking skills. I have tested almost all of her patterns and she has always been available to help, no matter how ditzy the question I might have for her. She is always open to suggestions to help make the pattern better or more user friendly.”
“I find testing for Sonya to be very rewarding!!! That is not to say that it is always ‘smooth sailing’, lol. There are many things that cause frustration while testing, this is just par for the course. Sonya is very easy to work with and willing to ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure her designs can easily be followed! This commitment from her makes any frustrating episodes worthwhile. I have tested for many designers and Sonya is among a handful that I always try to clear my schedule for so that I can test for her.”
“Testing for [Blackstone Designs] has been my privilege and honour and I am grateful to be able to assist!”
So there you have it!  Are you ready to join the testing team?  Show us what you got and share your creations in the Blackstone Designs Crochet Community. You can also follow the link below and fill out the application. It’s just a few questions that helps me to understand our fit. :) You might just be the next member on our team. Happy Hooking!

To apply click HERE

**Note: upon acceptance, you will be required to fill out a confidentiality agreement. This agreement is vital, as all of my designs, design ideas, and other plans need to be kept strictly confidential. 

If you're interested in becoming a tester for me, please fill out the application at the link above. If you are accepted I will let you know within a week. Otherwise, please feel free to reapply at a future date (please wait at least 3 months before reapplying). Do not be discouraged if you are not accepted right away!

Please note, I will not accept testers that have not filled out this application. The information collected in the application is important! Any requests put into the group directly without invitation will be rejected.

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