How to Re-Purpose Swatches
Most of us hate knitting swatches for projects. We know we have to do it but hate spending the time and yarn before we get to the real project. These clever ideas for re-using your swatches will get you excited about trying out new stitches and testing yarn for your large projects, as well as get some of those leftover swatches out of your yarn stash.
To get the ideas, scroll down the page to the individual pattern or idea you want and click on the link for that pattern.
Free Knitting Patterns
Clever instructions to turn your swatches in baskets or bowls using Mod Podge and jars or cups to mold the swatch. Kid-friendly activity!
Stitch Sampler Swatch Baby Blocks
Make baby blocks out of stitch swatches! In the pattern and class, Melanie Falick covers basic stitch sampler patterns. Then she shows how to seam the swatches around a foam cube for a fun quick baby gift. Pattern and instructional video class available for free with a free trial at Creativebug. Also a great idea for re-purposing swatches from other projects. Great quick baby shower gift!
Use wool or cotton swatches to stack your pans and protect them from scratches. Life Beyond the Kitchen came up with this clever stash busting set of patterns but you can use your own swatches or stitches.
Lace Jewelry Holder
Laylock designed this quick project that only requires a small frame, some thumbtacks, and some lace in the pattern she provides or your own. Then hang your earrings on the lace or use s-hooks to hang other jewelry. Great quick gift! Also great for leftover swatches!
Tiny Pouch or Gift Card Holder
Another great idea — turn your swatch into a tiny pouch to hold gift cards or whatever you want. Knit your swatch a little wider to about 5.3 inches then fold and seam along the side and bottom. Attach an i-cord (see video) or crochet chain loop to the top and a button to the front for closure. The pictured project for the Aran Gift Card Holder by Knit Picks is not specifically a swatch pattern but I chose it because it showed the effect I wanted.
Swatch Shelf Art
Meg Kealey’s idea is to frame your lace swatch with a fabric background and display it as a work of art.
Another great idea for cotton swatches. Just fold and seam 3 edges, insert sponge, and then seam closed. Pictured project is Lily Sugar n Cream’s Sponge Cozy. Great gift!
Look closely at this pic! dagmar.li1275397 created a necklace using a swatch that looks like it is still attached to knitting needles, adorned with decorative beads. She actually used bamboo picks and nylon cord. Brilliant idea for knitter jewelry!
Use your swatches to keep your hands warm with iced drinks. You’ll need to knit your swatches a little wider to about 7 inches or to the circumference of your cup. Then just seam the swatch to slip over the cup or add buttons for closure. The pictured project for Try-a-Stitch Cup Cozies from Red Heart UK uses specific stitches but you can substitute your own.
Or you can use your swatches for cans. You’ll need to knit your swatches a little wider to about 7 inches. Then just seam the swatch to slip over the can. The pictured project for Vickie Howell’s Drinkie Poos uses specific stitches but you can substitute your own.
When you’re casting off your washable swatch, leave some stitches at the end and knit a long strip to go around a baby’s neck and button to the front. You have a bib! You can also knit i-cord ties to attach to swatches instead. Pictured pattern is Colleen Kadleck’s Simple Baby Bib.
Toddler Sewing Toy
Sara Norine James came up with this brilliant idea for a safe and easy way to play at sewing. A piece of knitting is easier for little ones to work with than fabric, especially with plastic needles. Just put a large swatch in an embroidery hoop, thread yarn through a plastic needle and then let them play. Also a great stashbuster if you don’t have a suitable swatch – just knit up a garter stitch square.
Patterns for Purchase
Learn to Knit Afghan
Barbara Walker, famous for her stitch collections, created this afghan pattern book that combine all kinds of knitting techniques in a single project.
This ingenious design by Clara Parkes shows you how to swatch so you wind up with fingerless mitts, either knit flat or in the round.
Deb Buckingham’s great idea for cotton swatches is to knit a border and use them for wash and dish cloths. This particular pattern is only available in Love of Knitting Spring 2015 but you can probably make this without a pattern.
Gansey Swatch Pin Cushion
This is one of the patterns in Elizabeth Lovick’s Gansey Workbook. It’s not available as a single pattern.
Swatch Christmas Ornaments
Interweave Knits came up with this inspiration to take your swatches and wrap around a glass or plastic ball ornament. Thin, drapey swatches work best.
Another clever idea from Interweave Knits to use swatches on a styrofoam wreath base to create a unique decoration.
Stitch Sampler Boho Tote
This customizable tote is one of the projects included in the Mix and Match Sampler Class where you’ll learn 12 different stitch patterns and how to join them together for an afghan or a tote.