What to Do with All Those Swatches? The Interweave Team Has Some Ideas!

You’ve heard our advice over and over again: Always swatch before launching into a project! Swatching will help you learn how to work with the yarn and figure out whether you need to go up or down a needle size to match gauge. (Nobody wants a sweater that ends up two sizes too small!) But what do you do when you’re finished with the project and you have all these swatches cluttering up your craft room? Members of the Interweave team are here to share how they tackle their leftover swatches. Read on!

Knit swatches used as coasters. | Photo Credit: Sarah Rothberg

Joni Coniglio, Knitting Project Editor

I often knit swatches to test stitch patterns or to try out unfamiliar knitting techniques. For these swatches, I usually use scrap yarn and throw away the swatches afterward. If I’m knitting a garment where gauge is important (for a sweater, for example), I’ll save the swatch until the garment is complete. If I need more yarn to complete the project or if I have enough yarn left over for another project, I’ll undo the swatch and reuse the yarn.

Hannah Baker, Editor for Interweave Knits

I don’t throw swatches away until after I’m finished with the project they were associated with, in case I need to reference them while I’m still knitting the project. Then I toss them. My reason: Life is too short to hold onto things I’ll never reference again (although I tell myself I will).

Some swatches you might need to toss. Photo Credit: Sara Dudek

Sarah Rothberg, Editor for knitscene

One idea for all those swatches sitting around the house is to make bowls! You can make a new swatch or use one that’s lying around. This idea works with both knitted and crocheted swatches, and it’s a great kid-friendly activity (it’s nontoxic and easy to wash off of hands). Depending on the size of your swatch, you can make a notions bowl, a catch-all for your keys, or even planter covers to upscale your plants! All you need is a swatch, Mod Podge, and some basic household supplies!

Have you been scouring the internet for a small notions bag? Well, you can stop the search! I made my own notions pouch by knitting a couple swatches and handsewing them together. It took me an hour (at most), and now I have a small, soft notions pouch that’s perfect for carrying around my tape measure, folding scissors, and emergency stitch markers.

I like to showcase my swatches throughout my home. I use small ones for beverage coasters, larger ones to rest hot serving dishes, and textured cotton ones as dish rags. It’s a great way to add that cozy, homemade touch without spending a lot of money or time.

Technically speaking, this isn’t a project straight from a swatch, but I took some leftover yarn that was lying around and made myself a sunglasses case! All you need to do is knit a swatch, sew it together on three sides, crochet a chain or knit an i-cord loop, and add a button. Get the free pattern here!

Swatches that Sarah Rothberg turned into bowls. | Photo Credit: Sarah Rothberg

Sara Dudek, Editor for Wool Studio

I always struggle with what to do with my swatches. I have a hard time holding onto them and letting them clutter up my house. After I finish the project for which I made the swatch, I decide what to do. If it is a simple swatch just to test gauge, I throw it away. If it’s a beautiful lace or cable pattern, or if it uses fun colorwork, I save it and pin it to a corkboard in my craft room. In the Interweave offices, we frame our favorites and hang them on the wall. I’m going to keep an eye out for some small, vintage frames at the thrift store so I can start doing this at my house as well.

Swatches on the wall at Interweave. | Photo Credit: Sara Dudek

What do you do with your swatches? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy swatching!
The Interweave team

(Featured Image: Crochet swatches are used as décor when pinned to a corkboard with mandalas. | Photo Credit: Sara Dudek)

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