Let’s shift gears this week and talk about Yarn Support.

Yarn support is one of those “perks” of the designer. I say perk, but is it really? Some people think of it that way. In essence you are asking for and getting “free” yarn. But is it free and what are you giving in return? Let’s talk about these things and more.

First, how do you get yarn support. You ask, nicely. Most companies are more than willing to offer support but they want you to have a plan. Don’t just ask for yarn. You want to have a proposal, the more professional, the better. Does this mean you have to submit like you would a magazine? No, not necessarily, but you should know what you’re going to make, and probably have at least a sketch. I wouldn’t just ask for a bag of yarn without knowing if I was going to make a sweater or a shawl for example. That’s not professional.

You should also have a rough timeline on when you are planning on releasing your pattern so that the company can plan on seeing some return on their investment. It’s free yarn for you, but it’s not free for them. That’s inventory and money out of their pocket. Advertising dollars they are investing in your designing brand. They want to see something come of it.

Which brings us to the second point, is this really free yarn? When you get yarn support, it’s like a contract. You are now responsible for helping to advertise for the yarn company. You’ve agreed to help promote this yarn through your design. The yarn company has invested in you and your name. If you don’t publish a design then they’ve thrown away that money.┬áSo taking their yarn comes with pressure to publish.

I know some designers who don’t like to take yarn support due to this pressure. They would rather buy yarn and be free to publish what they want when they want, whatever their whim desires. And other designers, like myself do a mix of support and buying.

And speaking of promotion, you really should try to promote the yarn and the yarn company. Give them a shout out on social media. Perhaps post teaser photos and tag them. Comment about how great their yarn is. And of course when the pattern comes out, makes sure you list them as the suggested yarn and again give them props. You want to thank them for their support, and talking them up is the best way to do this. Tell everyone you know that this is the best yarn to use for this design.

Stitch Sprouts designer and author Jen Lucas has written about her experiences with yarn support on her blog. Check it out for her perspective!

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Heather Zoppetti

Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, instructor, author and owner of Stitch Sprouts. She spends her days filling orders, knitting, and rambling on this blog. She can also be found at Heather Zoppetti Designs.

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