22 Jan

Submission tips for designers

We're currently looking for the best new patterns to feature in our summer issues. If you're thinking of submitting an idea, take a look at Kate's top tips for submissions.

I love receiving submissions from all over the world for Knit Now. Designers never cease to amaze and interest me with their ideas - but I know that it can be tricky for new designers to navigate the process. I'm currently inviting submissions for our summer issues, so these are my top tips for making sure your design has the best possible chance of being commissioned.

1. Be original and creative

This is the most important thing. Make sure your idea is strong, original and you’re showing me something different from the crowd. I want to know why it's better and why my readers will love it more. Your submission should be able to convey everything about your design in 1 or 2 pages so really think about distilling your ideas - what's the key point about the design? Who will want to knit it? What was your inspiration? The pattern should be something that knitters will enjoy knitting. Remember that our focus is on quick, simple, stylish knits so that should be your starting point - but don't be afraid to surprise and delight! Take a look at our past issues for an idea of our style. 

2. Think about style

We'd love to know how you see your item being worn - what colours do you think would work, is it a dressy or casual piece, could it be unisex? Why not use something like Polyvore to pull together an outfit? If it's inspired by a catwalk piece, include a photo of that. The more you can do to help us visualise your idea the better. 

3. Think about presentation.

Look on this like a (friendly!) job interview. Present yourself as you wish to be seen, particularly if we've not worked together before. This might mean taking a little while to make your submission document look smart. Clear presentation will help me see how great your design will be. Keep it clean and stylish. Messy layout won’t be a dealbreaker but I won’t lie, good layout does inspire confidence and it can tip the balance in your favour. One or two sides of A4, with everything included (no seperate pictures) is all I need to see. These Ravelry threads might be useful for you: Samples of submissions // Winning submissions

4. Sketches and swatches.

Yes, both ARE necessary! I’m really not judging you on the quality of your drawing, but I need to see something. If in doubt, keep is simple - draw or find a very basic outline of a person (or just head and shoulders or whatever), do some photocopies of that and sketch over it. If you truly cannot draw a sketch then the only way I’m going to be able to commission the piece is to see a finished (or nearly-finished) sample. A sketch isn’t sounding like such a bad idea now, is it?! Block your swatch and photograph it in good light. The light is far more important than the quality of the camera - even a snapshot with your phone camera will be fine if you take it outside in daylight. If you’re taking a close-up, switch to macro mode (that’s the one with the little flower), and check your white balance. Oh, and try to swatch in a good quality, representative yarn. A swatch in 4-ply cotton isn't going to properly convey the properties of your chunky wool jumper!

5. Read the call for submissions.

This may sound obvious but somehow a lot of people miss this stage! A big part of becoming a designer is being able to deliver a design to strict specifications. You'll need to produce the pattern and submit the sample on time and in keeping with our requirements. Think of the submission as the test run for that - is your submission in a PDF? Have you included your name and email address on every page? Have you included a sketch and a swatch? Make sure you read the full document before you send in your submission.

And that's it! The deadline for this round of submissions will be 9 am UK time on Monday 28th January. Good luck, and if you have any questions at all, feel free to drop me an email or send me a message on Ravelry.

Kate x

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