Yarn support is common in the knitting and crochet industry, but it’s not just free yarn. As a new designer receiving yarn support sounds amazing! But it can also seem impossible to get. So, what goes into yarn support?
First off, as I already stated above, it’s not free yarn. As a designer you have to give something back. The obvious answer would be a pattern, and yes, that is part of it. But just giving someone a skein of yarn and they create a pattern isn’t enough. Yarn support is a mutually beneficial deal and both the yarn company and the designer need to both put some effort in, and benefit from it. The designer wants to sell patterns and the yarn company wants to sell yarn, but that’s not all. Let’s have a look a few goals with yarn support
- Sell more yarn! Everyone need sales, and to sell you need to have something to show. A skein of yarn doesn’t show you how it knits up, a garment knitted in the yarn is a great way of showing off the yarn and sell more of the yarn
- Sell more patterns! Same as above. A knitted sample in a suitable yarn enables the customers to see how the finished pattern will look and drape.
- Extend the audience - both the yarn company and the designer will have an existing audience, but combine the two and it will be even bigger. The designer will be gain new audience from the yarn company, and vice versa. This is a big part of yarn support, to show the pattern/yarn to new audiences and grow your visibility.
- Building relationships - a successful collaboration will open doors for the future. There’s so much in this world that depends on having contacts, and it’s true for our business too, you will find that having contacts will help you grow.
How to get yarn support
The basic answer to this question is: ask! It doesn’t hurt to ask and worst case you’ll get no for an answer.
If you’re a new designer and unknown, you can still ask for yarn support, you may be asked to show sketches and swatches before you receive a response, but a serious yarn company will still consider your question even if you are unknown to the general market.
You don’t need to write a fancy essay about your work and the pattern you want to make, a simple email asking if yarn support is available from the company and how to receive it will do. The company/dyer may have a template for yarn support, but not everyone does.
Be prepared to offer something in return for the yarn, for example exclusivity or promotional deals for the pattern, both parts need to benefit on the deal.
If the company says no, that doesn’t mean that you’ll never receive yarn support, it only means ‘not this time’. It could be that the timing isn’t good with their other activities, or that this particular idea doesn’t fit their brand identity. If you are very new and have a limited presence on social media you may get a ‘no’, but don’t let that stop you. Keep working on new designs and build up your social media following, next time you might be luckier in your search for yarn support.
Consider project costs
Be considerate of the yarn cost, if you ask for yarn support because you can’t really motivate the cost of the yarn you may receive a no because the cost to make the pattern is too high and very few customers would be able to afford to buy the yarn for the pattern, that also needs to be taken into account.
You can find out what types of patterns we’re looking for here https://www.loveknitting.com/design-submission