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Designer tips - Third party pattern submissions

So you have decided to submit your pattern for third party publication (check out this post for some pros and cons), what next?

First up is to look at some pattern calls. You might have already done this, and the pattern call inspired your design, in which case skip ahead. If you are looking to submit a pattern you have thought up without design call inspiration, you will need to match it with a suitable one.

Check through the current pattern calls (sign up to publication and yarn company designer newsletters to have them arrive in your inbox, check websites) and see what would suit your design. You might have to make some tweaks to your pattern to make it fit. Shoehorning your pattern into the inspiration is less likely to be successful!

Once you have found a pattern call that you are interested in, and have worked on a design idea to match, it is time to write up that submission.

Next job - read the pattern call details carefully, there might be specific items that you need to include; for example, a sketch on a body, a write up about your inspiration, maximum one page submission. If they ask for it, include it, or your submission will hit the floor at the first review [true story - not reading carefully led to my submission of a knit item to a crochet publication, don't be like me, read the submission!].

Sometimes you will see a sample pattern submission included, take a look for an idea of what they are looking for, you can see a Knitpicks one here.

Make a note of the submission deadline and plan ahead for making your submission, avoid leaving it to the last minute [taking pictures on the morning of the submission deadline is not ideal, again - don't be like me].

You will need to make a swatch of any stitch patterns you intend to use in the design. Some publications like you to include samples of basic stitches such as stocking stitch/garter as well as stitches like lace and cables - check the pattern call. Usually the swatch does not need to be in a specific yarn, but choose one that is similar to the pattern call to get the best effect, again, check the pattern call (see a recurring theme?!).

Then it is on to the write up. In addition to specific items you have noted above elements that are usually needed include:

  • A photo or scan of your swatch.

  • A sketch of the design, you don't need to be great at drawing for this. Drawing onto a croquis (body shape sketch) can be a good idea as it can make sketching easier and show how the design will fit. If you have already made a sample of your design you can use a clear photo instead.

  • Some text about your inspiration and how the design will fit the pattern call.

  • A brief description of the construction, including any special techniques that will be required.

  • Sizes offered, some calls will specify this, check you are offering the range they have requested.

  • Details of the yarn required - yarn weight, fibre content, amount needed for the sample and range for all sizes, colour suggestions. If you are submitting to a yarn company they might want you to choose from a particular range of yarn.

  • Your details, including contact details and places previous work can be seen if applicable.

Try to keep your submission brief, a single page is great, remember they will be reviewing a lot of submissions and anything very long may get skipped. All images should be included in the submission document, not sent as separate files unless the pattern call states otherwise.

Check through a final time to make sure everything is covered and there are no mistakes, a final review of the pattern call to compare is a good idea!

Check you have the correct email details for the submission and hit send!

Now we wait....... it can take a while and if your submission is unsuccessful you might not get a reply. Check for the cut off date for successful replies so you can submit your pattern elsewhere once it has passed - avoid having the same pattern on multiple live submissions.

Receiving a rejection can be disheartening, remember it does not mean your pattern is no good, just that it doesn't fit the company's vision for their publication. Consider submitting your pattern to a different design call, or self-publishing instead.

Looking for more tips and examples - search "Knitting pattern submissions" for more information and helpful suggestions.

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