Once an idea for one of our designs has sparked it doesn't take long for our design team to create something remarkable. Each piece cycles through many edits, revisions, sampling, and sizing before it launches as a style for you to make or wear!
A newer step in our design process has been the development of our Pattern Testing Program.
Third Piece introduced their first Pattern Test, shortly after going into lockdowns in the Spring of 2020 when we our retail shop in Boston's South End was put on hold. It was a way for us to showcase new designs while staying connected with our customers that we could no longer share with in the store. Soon after we realized it had the potential to connect with knitters from all over!
Pattern Testing is an interim step in between designing a new pattern and launching a new product. It has become an exciting and collaborative way for us to connect, share our designs with a select group of experienced knitters and get feedback in the process.
Now with almost a dozen pattern tests under our belt, the program has become an integral step that we look forward to with each new design!
How Our Pattern Tests Work
The Call Out
Once the final samples have been reviewed and approved we kick things off with sharing our new test design through social media and our newsletter along with a pattern test ‘Call Out’. We invite experienced knitters interested in being a pattern tester to complete a short form with their contact info and experience level that helps us determine the best fit of participants to join the program.
Test groups are capped based on test size needs, knitters experience level and ability to commit the timeline noted.
The Acceptance Process
Once we receive the listing of applicants, we review to confirm if your experience level and understanding of the prerequisites match the needs of the upcoming test program. In addition, we confirm that you are comfortable with meeting the timing deadlines noted in the application process. Knitters accepted into the testing program will receive an acceptance letter to confirm their participation.
The Knitting & Testing Phase
Our design team kicks things off with a virtual welcome meeting where you will learn a little bit more about us, the design process, inspiration behind the design, expectations of the testing program and a review of the techniques featured in the test.
Once you're ready to get started you are invited to join a private virtual group chat. We highly encourage you to make the most of the experience by joining not only us but the other testers on this very easy to use platform.
The virtual chat platform is where the magic happens! Knitters come together on the platform and share their progress, thoughts, yarns, color selections and more. It is also where they share what works…and what doesn’t. All of this happens in real time and you're able to get quick updates from us and other knitters in the group.
We love to see your pictures and progress throughout this phase in the group chat and on Instagram!
Feedback Wrap Up
Once your piece is knit, we have a short feedback survey form that we share for you to enter your results and anything to note from the process. This helps us consolidate all of the responses in an efficient way for us to review, make any changes, and quickly move the design into the ‘product launch’ phase!
Once a pattern test is complete, our team then takes the feedback and makes revisions to create the final knit kit & pattern, which then is ready to be launched on our site! You will also receive the final revised pattern for future projects.
If you feel like you have been searching for a way to become more involved with the knitting community, and you are up for a dedicated project, consider applying to be a test knitter for us!
What to keep in mind before you apply to become a pattern tester:
Skills: With each design, we specify the skills required to make the piece. Please be sure you are comfortable with the general foundations of knitting and the specific skills noted for the new design.
Supplies: At Third Piece, we often source our designs with a mix of our own brand of yarns + specially curated yarns. With each design we specify the yarn type, weight and yardage estimates. While not required, we do recommend testing with the yarn the pattern was designed with*; however it is not required and you are always welcome to pull from your own stash. We will not provide the supplies to test knit but will list materials suggested.
*As a pattern tester, a primary perk of the program is receiving a special discount on the yarn and tools noted in the pattern test.
Timing & Schedule: With each test there is a defined start and end time for the testing period. We do our best to provide an estimate of the time to knit, but please be mindful of your own knitting speed and capacity in being able to complete the project within the noted time frame.
Expectations - As a tester, here’s what we’re looking for from you:
- spelling mistakes and typos
- size and fit
- yardage/yarn requirements & final weight of the garment
- time to execute
- images of the finished product/process
- honesty with details and ease of pattern interpretation
Program Perks - Here’s what’s in it for you:
- first access + free patterns for the items you commit to testing
- A special discount off test yarn/materials.
- access to our virtual community group to connect with other knitters
- A beautiful new Third Piece design made by you!
❝ Baby Chunky yarn that I ordered should to arrive today. But I couldn't wait to start, so I grabbed this yarn and just went with it. The pattern is not hard, but not boring. Easy to memorize. Knits up pretty quickly. The texture is very nice. It's rich with clean lines. Adding a pompom will be perfect (I'm gonna get one). Can't wait to start knitting this again with Baby Chunky. ❞ - T. Musy
❝ Thank you for including me in this test knit. I have really enjoyed being part of this community. ❞ - T. Wendy
Can’t wait for the next pattern test!
Thank you so much for giving knitters an opportunity to test new designs from Third Piece. It was a real privilege testing the Vail beanie! I love my new hat so much and your baby chunky yarn is like heaven to knit with. The alpaca pom-poms that are dyed to match the beautiful yarn colors compliment the hats so perfectly and are so luxe! Love your store. I hope to have future opportunities to test your gorgeous patterns. Thanks!
I have enjoyed being a knitting tester and making hats, mittens, bathing suit coverups, sweaters, vests, and the mini me collection .
I would love to make a fair isle sweater, or do some exploring with crocheting too. I always enjoy watching you grow and creating something new.