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How to Submit a Design for Publication

Posted By TNNA Editor, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Submit a Design for Publication

 By Anita M. Wheeless

No matter what your needleart, you’ve probably looked through many books and magazines geared toward your craft. At some point, you’ll find yourself coming up with your own designs. Once you do, you’ll want your projects to take their rightful place in the published world! 

Fortunately, there are many craft publishers today, both in print and online, that are seeking submissions all the time. Submission guidelines for individual publications are often available online, as well. 

Submitting a project for publication, however, isn’t as easy as coming up with the original design. Just because you made something incredible doesn’t necessarily mean you can help someone else recreate it.


Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Start with a notebook. Detailed note taking while you’re working on a project is essential. Every piece of information, including precise measurements, specific colors and exact names of the materials you’ve used are vital. Be sure to write everything down. Here’s an example of just how detailed Handwoven magazine expects your submission: “Give complete information about each yarn (yd/lb, color numbers, manufacturer’s name, etc.) and exact amounts required. To calculate warp yardage, multiply the number of warp ends by the warp length. To calculate weft yardage, multiply the number of picks per inch by the woven length in inches, multiply the result by the width in the reed, and add 10% for weft take-up. Include with your article a 6” sample of each yarn used. Include floating selvedges in the total warp ends required by the project.”

Poorly written patterns can be extremely frustrating. In fact, this has become such an issue that the Craft Yarn Council actually established basic guidelines for project submissions. And, while these guidelines (available on the Craft Yarn Council’s website) were compiled specifically for knit and crochet designers, many of the suggestions are best practices for all needle-art project submissions. The Craft Yarn Council also has a list of designer pitfalls, which is a must-read!

Other points to keep in mind:

Follow the submission guidelines closely. If the editors only want one page, make sure your submission is only one page, and make sure that it contains all the elements they are seeking. 

Check for an editorial calendar. Many publications have editorial calendars that provide deadlines for future issues. Some offer themes and mood boards to help you visualize exactly what they want. Take the time to study these. If a publisher is looking for fall colors, don’t be disappointed if your beautiful, spring-garden motif gets rejected.

Don’t use discontinued colors or unidentifiable scraps from your stash for your project. How can your exact project be duplicated if the materials are not available?

Take clear, vivid photographs. This is critical. Set up a simple photo shoot. Find a clean, uncluttered place with great lighting. Avoid shadows. The best light is often found outside in the early morning or early evening hours. Add props that show off your piece to its greatest advantage. For instance, a beautifully textured sock looks best on a foot form (or real foot), rather than lying on a table. 

Do not post your project photos on social media. After all the hard work you’ve put into your project, you might be tempted to post the photographs all over, but don’t do it! Publications, in general, want an exclusive, never-before-seen-anywhere design. So don’t share your piece in public! 

Be professional. Read over your work before you send it off. Make sure to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. 

Submit your project to one publisher at a time. It takes patience, but most publishers frown on simultaneous submissions. After all, how can your project be exclusive if you’ve sent it out to different editors at the same time? Wait until you get a negative response before you send it off again. And here’s hoping it won’t be negative!

Don’t get discouraged. Craft publishers need designs! Leisure Arts, Inc., a major craft publisher, has this to say, “We currently publish books and leaflets in virtually all craft categories. Since our beginning in 1971, we have depended on free-lance designers to create designs for these publications. If you have original, fresh, and trendy designs, patterns, or ideas, we would be interested in hearing from you “

Sources and Further Reading:


About Anita M. Wheeless

Anita Mumm Wheeless has been a member of TNNA since 2012, and has been certified as a knitting instructor by the Craft Yarn Council. A former newspaper writer/editor, she designs knitting patterns for toys and novelties. Leisure Arts published her book, “Storybook Dolls to Knit” in 2011. Her patterns are also featured on, and You can find her on and Love Knitting. She maintains a website: and a blog: Connect with Anita on Twitter @AnitaPatternBox or by email:

Tags:  business  business tips  publishing  TNNANews 

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