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Amy Solovay

What Do You Do With Your Gauge Swatches When You're Finished With Them?

By October 22, 2013

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Gauge swatches take time and effort to crochet. If you add them all up, you might even come to the conclusion that swatches account for a not-insignificant chunk of your yarn stash (and yarn budget,) depending on how much you crochet and how many of them you make. In a sense, they're also like an investment. You invest the yarn, the time and the effort in hopes of making a project that will turn out useable and the right size.

But once the projects are finished, the investment has paid off (so to speak) and you still have the gauge swatches hanging around. What do you do with them?

I'm a prolific crocheter, and I do a LOT of swatching. As y'all can probably imagine, I end up with piles of random odd swatches, squares, and other bits and pieces of crochet work.

Lately, I've been shipping a lot of my squares off to folks who finish them into blankets and then donate them to charity. But I've done any and all of the options suggested on the list above -- except for the choice to "toss them in the trash" of course. (If any of y'all have done that, I hope you'll consider some of the other options on the list in the future.)

If you'd like to donate some of your swatches but you have no idea where to send them, our readers have suggested some ideas. This is what I've been doing with mine: sending them to be made into afghans for Pine Ridge Reservation.

Another reader suggested the knit-a-square charity. Don't let the name fool you; apparently they accept crocheted squares also. I haven't worked with them, but wanted to pass the info along for your consideration.

Another reader suggested the Granny Squares of Love group. I haven't donated anything to them yet either, but wanted to let you know about them.

Have you donated squares to charity? If so, and if it's one you'd want to recommend working with, you are invited to share your experiences. Please let us know what you did and what others can do to get involved if they are so inclined.

Comments

November 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm
(1) Amy in TX says:

My gauge swatches often end up as blankets for my daughters’ dolls and stuffed animals. My girls also like little purses created by crocheting two swatches together around three edges with a crocheted strap. Kids can always think of something to do with a swatch.

November 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm
(2) Heidi says:

What Gauge Swatches??? I do not gauge swatch….

November 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm
(3) crafty grandma says:

Swatches what to do with them…when my mom passed away she left tons of swatches, some were so pretty I put them in a photo album which was about all the things she accomplished after emigrating to Canada. They made pretty backgrounds and I am sure they all told a story. Unfortunately for me, I never knew how many she had…others I made into doll blankets for her great-grand-daughter and namesake. Some I made into pillow covers for my daughter. My own swatches, well I have put them into a pile and one day will add them to a photo album for the grand-children.

November 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm
(4) Shelley says:

I take a photo and store it on my computer for future reference, then. Depending on how expensive the yarn is, I’ll unravel it to use in my project or, I’ll save it it make a blanket for my dog or cats…yep, they love being covered and know which one belongs to who lol.

November 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm
(5) dhj says:

I’ve been know to use them as pockets, added after certain style Afghans I make. Can be a fun idea.

Try it maybe you’ll like it, or as the recipient if they might nice a tissue pocket, etc.
dhj

November 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm
(6) marrinb123 says:

I have a snap-lock key ring that I slide through a loop I create. I mark each swatch with the size hook used to make the swatch and check back with these occasionally when I’m designing a new item. It’s important to double check these gauge swatches periodically, as we get older or more experienced in crocheting, our gauge changes. I also do a new gauge swatch for a new stitch pattern I’m trying out to make sure. Usually only do gauge swatches for clothing or something size-critical.

November 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(7) Kathy Vecchio says:

I practice new stitches in swatches large enough to use as hot pads on my table… worsted yarn is thick enough to absorb the heat and the acrylic ones show no signs of heat damage. Assorted sizes and shapes fit all my pots and platters and add whimsical splashes of uncoordinated color. And if someone spots something they like I know exactly what it is. I made a 12″ pattern square last year that my sister liked so much I just finished a full size spread for her bed in the colors she picked. And it’s therapeutic therapy too for me… relaxes me when I am stressed and have no pending projects and keeps my arthritic fingers limber!

November 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm
(8) pldrake says:

I use them for Yarn Bombing projects, along with parts of projects I’ve started and did not use for whatever reason — an afghan square that just didn’t turn out right for some reason. They’ve gone on a fence around a local library and on parking meters. I just don’t like taking part work I’ve done for any reason. Yarn bombing is a perfect use. I have used swatches for coasters, in other afghans, or even turned them into something else — one became the basis for a headband.

May 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm
(9) Jessica-Jean says:

Recently I saw a pattern that I’ve claimed as my Swatch-Catcher Blanket. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/JessicaJean/whimsey-blanket

Until now, I’d just been saving (read: squirrelled away in assorted corners of the wool room, NOT organized at all!) my swatches with no idea what to do with them, but no great desire to rip out the effort taken in creating them.

Now, as I come across them, I stitch them onto my basic mesh. It’s two pounds of Red Heart in the dreariest Tan ever seen, but my colourful swatches will change that. It fits a single bed.

October 27, 2013 at 11:44 pm
(10) Lilygirl says:

With the finer thread swatches, I use them as china nestles…..i.e. I place them between fine china cups and saucers and plates etc. That way it adds a bit of protection for the good china and I don’t have to panic so much when putting back into the cabinet. If need be, and the swatch needs to be a little larger, I just add a simple edge all the way around.
Ends up looking rather decorative actually! :)

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