Yarn Support – how to make them say yes! (part 2)

yarn supp2

Why am I rambling on about Yarn Support?

You want to be a knitwear designer, you have some work in your portfolio, and you want to submit your first proposal for yarn support. Here’s the first 4 steps:

yarn supp2

1- Sketch

Essential part of the design progress. I hear ya. Sure, you can’t draw. Neither can I. I do what I can. I trace model shapes from magazines, I study textures on their pages, think of colours… Do your best. You don’t need to have faces (most of my sketches don’t, or they’d look like Picasso pieces) or a very super-realistic wind-swept hairdo. You need a human shape of sorts and the shape of your garment, showing ease, some drape and a general idea on the fabric – is it plain stockinette, does it have cables, lace??

Once your sketch is ready, scan it at a high resolution.

2- Swatch in a similar yarn

You can learn a lot about the qualities of the yarn from the photos and fiber content. If you are in the presence of a plied superwash merino, chances are it’s rounded, bouncy and will block slightly larger than the pre-blocked dimensions.

If it’s a single ply tweed with a blend of fibers, these blends can tell you lots too! If you have alpaca or mohair in it, there’ll be hairiness. If you have silk you will have drape and shine.

Research the yarn you want to request. Look at what other people have made with it. See if it’s good for cables, if it’s great for blocking lace, if the texture is lost because of the thick/thin nature…. Also, see which colours are new. Yarn companies change shades all the time, and they are likely to discontinue some shades. Get up to speed with their current line-up so you don’t find yourself having to re-do your whole proposal.

Swatch with a yarn of similar qualities, in a shade that doesn’t obscure the details of the patterning. Take a good hi-res photo of it, maybe even from a couple of angles.

3- Prepare the idea as if you already had the yarn

You’ve sketched, you’ve swatched. You know what kind of features your idea will have. Think of the sizing range, how it fits in with your range of patterns, how you will release it, how your market perceives the yarn. This will all come in handy for the next steps.

An important thing to note is that once you have yarn support, the people on the other end, who’ve provided this generous possibility to you, are expecting a result. You’ve to make sure you can execute your idea and not let people down.

4- Details, details

Write. Write down what the idea is (garment, shawl, socks?), what the sample size will be (size xxx bust to be modeled with xxx ease), which features the piece has (v-neck, long sleeves and ribbing, triangular shawl with textured body…), and flesh out your idea as much as possible.


In next week’s post we’ll look the physical components of the proposal! If you’re preparing your own submission I’d LOVE to see it: use the #rockingsupport on social media so I can stalk it!!

Have questions? Comments? A Horror Story of your own? Leave a comment below, drop me a line on this contact form, or DM me through social media (TwitterInstagram).