I recently finished test knitting a sweater pattern, which might seem out of character for me if you know how much I hate having a deadline on my projects. But then I met the Water Bearer sweater.
But here’s the deal: more important to me than a maintaining a lack of deadlines is supporting designers that are truly size inclusive.
So when Jacqueline Cieslak put out a call for test knitters for a new pattern, I had to throw my hat in the ring. I’ve made one of her sweaters before, and it was an enjoyable knit with so many well-thought-out sizing options that I knew she would be a designer I had to support.
Test Knit For Size Inclusivity!
Too many knitwear designers cite a lack of testing as an excuse when confronted about their lack of size inclusivity, or for when they try but don’t get the larger sizes right. Here’s the deal: we are out here, willing and ready to test. But we need some things from you.
- Enough time. A 3XL is going to take longer to knit than a M. That’s just a fact. Make sure you allow plenty of time for larger test knitters to complete their projects. You may even want to start the larger sizes sooner or give them a couple extra weeks.
- Yarn! We require more of it. If you have relationships with any yarn companies or indie brands, try to work with them to offer discounts. I’d even go so far as to say you should see if they’ll do a deeper discount on larger quantities, though I’m sure the thins would complain about that one.
- Safe discussion spaces: the Water Bearer testers had a group chat going on Instagram, and luckily Jacqueline moderated out the one instance of fatphobic talk that happened. Not every designer would do that. Make sure any groups or chats or wherever are free of fatphobia, INCLUDING talk of weight loss.
- Our own spaces — you might want to consider going one further and making a separate place for the plus size testers to chat (in addition to the main one, not instead of it). We might have more to deal with when it comes to shaping and sizing, plus it may be good for us to see that we’re not the slowest when the XS finished projects start popping up in the main one.
The Water Bearer
There’s not a lot to say about the Water Bearer. Except to tell you it’s great. I love it. If you want to try brioche, and like a challenge, give it a go. The construction is interesting, and it’s a fun knit. And look how cute! It looks great on everyone, and is very versatile.
So let’s sum things up. First — the sweater I test knit is extremely rad. Second, plus size testers are out there! You just have to work with us and our needs.
It’s not too hard, and little help goes a long way for inclusiveness.