Have you ever thought about designing a knitting pattern? Or have you designed your own knitting patterns? Wondered what it takes to publish a knitting pattern with Knitscene? If you answered yes to any of the above, keep reading! (If you didn't answer yes, I'll try to keep this interesting to you as well.)
Every issue of Knitscene starts with a call for submissions. The call includes a general idea of themes that I'm considering for the upcoming issue, and we post our call online under the Contributor Guidelines link. You can see the call for Knitscene Fall 2014.
Many designers find inspiration from a magazine's call for submission, but there are a lot of questions that come up from the calls. And each magazine editor has different ideas of what she wants in a submission. Alex Tinsley has created an excellent eBook, So You Want To Be a Knitting Designer, and part of it covers the various ins and outs of submitting a pattern proposal to different magazines.
Here are some of the questions I'm most frequently asked about submitting a knitting pattern proposal to Knitscene—I hope you'll ask more, either in the comments or on Twitter!
- What should my submission include?
Submissions should include basic contact information: your name, mailing address, email address, phone number. They should also include a written description of your design, construction notes (are you using a specific cast-on or bind-off? Is a garment knit side-to-side? Any special techniques?) a sketch of your design (especially if you're submitting a garment; I have a general idea of what a scarf looks like, but a replica of your vision is always helpful), and most importantly a swatch that shows off your intended fabric in the best light.
- How big should a swatch be/what color/what yarn/etc?
These are tricky questions to answer. A swatch should be big enough to show off at least one repeat of a pattern, if you're using a pattern stitch. I would say that at least 4" in one direction is probably the minimum I would recommend, but I've been sold on a pattern by much larger swatches, and even a few smaller swatches. Color and yarn should a) reflect your understanding of what I'm looking for—if I am considering a linen-yarn story, submitting a swatch to that particular story in a wool yarn is probably not going to yield the result you want—and b) fit with the story. Sometimes I have thought enough ahead to have color schemes planned out, but many times I assign colors based on a gut reaction to the project at hand, and sometimes the swatch is a great influence as well.
- Do you accept email submissions?
No, sorry. Two reasons: 1, because of the emphasis I place on swatches—I like to play with the swatches to get a good feel for the intended fabric, as it helps me visualize the overall design idea, and there's stil no way to email a swatch; 2, all the submissions (for Knitscene, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Jane Austen Knits, and I haven't even started listing all the beading titles that we publish in Loveland) are logged in to a central database by our administrative staff, and having to keep track of both physical and electronic submissions would be too much.
- Do you work with international designers?
We love to work with international designers! Ruth Garcia-Alcantud is a British designer and the feature designer in Knitscene Winter 2013.
Some other things to consider:
- Print legibly, or type up a description whenever possible.
- You can most definitely submit more than one thing at a time.
- We ask that you only submit swatches with your proposals, and not finished samples. This is mostly because we're paranoid things might get waylaid in the mail, but also because a swatch is much easier to mail.
- Please label all of your swatches—especially if you're submitting multiple project proposals. Ensuring that a label with your name and the name of your proposal (the name can be as simple as "hooded cardigan" or it can be a "real" name) will help us make sure everything stays together throughout the whole process.
- The time frame for hearing back on an accepted proposal is usually two to four weeks after the deadline. Things do happen and sometimes I'm not as prompt as I would like to be, but three issues in and that seems to be the most accurate time frame I can give people right now. Proposals for projects I cannot use are returned to the designers.
- Be familiar with the magazine to which you are submitting. You can easily see the types of projects that Knitscene and Interweave Knits publish on this website and on Ravelry.
If you've ever thought about submitting a design to Knitscene for a knitting pattern, I hope this helps!