Best Practices for Submitting Designs to Interweave Knitting

Interweave publishes knitting patterns under three distinct brands: Interweave Knits, knitscene, and Wool Studio. This means the knitting team creates 11 issues annually—that’s more than 150 patterns! You can imagine that with numbers like that, we get many amazing design submissions that unfortunately don’t get to be published. So, what gets a pattern idea accepted into an Interweave knitting title to be published? If you’re a knitwear designer trying to break into the scene, we’ve got some submission tips for you.

Tip #1: An Idea, a Plan

Okay, so you just saw a fresh call for submissions, and you’ve been struck by inspiration. Your instinct might be to draw up a sketch, knit a quick swatch, fill out the paperwork, and send it off as soon as you can. Resist the urge to rush your design plan because you are excited—we want to see that you have fully planned the entire design and that if it gets accepted that you’ll be able to deliver a technically accurate pattern and impeccably knit sample.

So, start by taking a step back. Pretend for a moment that your design has already been accepted and you have to start writing out the pattern. Draw sketches, do the math, make multiple swatches, plan the construction, and even plan and the grade the measurements if you’re designing something in multiple sizes. Make sure that what you are planning to submit will be achievable if your pattern is accepted. You will thank yourself later for doing this step first. Trust us.

Tip #2: Smart Swatching

We look very closely at swatches (and swatch photos), which we expect to be of publishing quality. Therefore, make sure your swatch reflects how beautifully your final sample will be knitted. While we don’t want to see the world’s largest swatch, we want to see the various stitch patterns you plan on using as well any other visually interesting or technically important pieces you plan for the project.

Your swatch should show up clearly in your photograph, which can be achieved by using adequate lighting and a lighter color of yarn. A good yarn shows the stitch pattern well and makes sense with the theme. Avoid bouclé or variegated yarns in your submission unless they are key to the design.

submitting designs

An example of a well-knit swatch that shows multiple elements of a design. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

Tip #3: Follow the Guidelines

All the necessary submission forms and guidelines are always accessible on the Interweave website. Take some time and read through them carefully, and note a few key points such as:

  • We are only taking digital submissions currently, so please do not mail physical submissions at this time. All knitting submissions (for projects and articles alike) should be emailed to
  • Include all of your contact information (email and physical addresses) and your legal name on your paperwork. We are happy to publish your design under your chosen name should your design be accepted.
  • Respect the deadline. We usually review submissions shortly after the deadline, so sending your submission late means we may not look at it. (Also, it sets a bad tone—if you’re late responding to the sub call, it doesn’t make us confident that you’ll turn your project in on time.)

Tip #4: Be Concise, But Give Necessary Detail

Tell us in your own words about the design! A brief couple of sentences about the inspiration for the design is welcome, but the most important information is the construction description. Is the project worked top-down or bottom up? In the round or back and forth? What shoulder shape, stitch pattern, or special techniques are you using in your design? Walk the reader through the steps of the pattern so we can fully understand how the project will be made.

List the suggested yarns that you think work best with the design, taking into the consideration the fiber content, weight, needle size, gauge, retail cost, etc. Submit your designs in yarns that are widely distributed and accessible. If your project is accepted, the yarn you suggested might not be picked for the final pattern and sample, but your suggestions inform the final decision and thus deserve consideration.

Tip #5: Sketches and Schematics for the Win!

You don’t have to be a talented sketch artist to provide a great drawing. You can draw something by hand or digitally and it does NOT have to be perfect—just make sure that every part of the project is represented in the drawing. Sketches paired with schematics that list the measurements give a big-picture view of the design in full, so do not be shy about providing visuals.

When designing a sized project like a sweater, plan your design to include eight sizes that range from at least 32–60″ in body circumference, and list out each size you are planning to include in the design, for example: 34 (38, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62)”. Also specify approximately how many inches of positive or negative ease the design is meant to have on the wearer.

Tip #6: We Love Accessories!

If you are new to knitwear design and submitting to publications, it’s never a bad idea to start with something simpler than, say, a top-down raglan pullover with five different cables and a high-low hem. Extreme example aside, Interweave readers love to knit accessories. Hat, mitten, cowl, and scarf patterns are just as in demand as sweater patterns and are lower risk for first-time submitters. If we haven’t published your work before, we want to get to know your design style before we commit to a more complicated project.

submitting designs

Clockwise from left: Arrows Shawl, knitscene Spring 2020; Winding Path Cowl, Interweave Knits Winter 2020; Firefall Toque, Interweave Knits Fall 2020. Photos by Harper Point Photography.

Tip #7: Quality Over Quantity

Last but not least, let’s talk about how many ideas you should submit to one call. There is no limit, but we cannot stress enough that more is not necessarily better. One really solid design submission is potentially much better than 10 quickly thrown-together submissions. The same level of thought that is going to go into your design should go into your submission, and that should be clear in the materials you send to present your idea.

One small housekeeping thing that helps the entire process go smoothly and quickly is sending each of your submissions in a separate file. There is no need to send them in separate email messages, but each submission idea should be its own file.

So, there you have it—some special tips from the Interweave knitting team to help you become a successful submitter. We love seeing designs come in from both established and brand-new designers, and we enjoy seeing new designers grow in their work. If you have been thinking about submitting, do it! We want to empower you to turn in your best work possible.

If and when your pattern submission is accepted, we will expect the same level of attention to detail and planning to go into your design. If you feel like you need some more education around designing, we have courses by expert designers and knitters that can help you build and strengthen your skills.

Oh! One final, final thing. If you haven’t heard back from the team and it’s six weeks past the submission due date, check your spam folder.

Happy submitting!
Interweave Knitting Team

Get the courses and patterns mentioned in this article right here!

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