6 Things to Do With Gauge Swatches When You Are Finished With Them

Your gauge swatches serve an important function in knitting or crochet. They help you to create projects that will end up being the size you expect them to, and to ensure that projects will be usable.

However, when your projects are finished, your gauge swatches are no longer needed for their original purpose. You can then re-purpose them in other ways. Here are ideas for 6 things to do with gauge swatches when you are finished with them:

1. Keep Your Swatches in a Knitting or Crochet Diary

It’s smart to preserve a record of your knitting and crochet projects. You might think you’ll remember the details of all your projects — but if you keep knitting and crocheting for many years, the odds are good that you will eventually forget. If you keep each of your swatches and store it along with a record all the information about the pattern, stitches and yarn you used, you’ll always be able to refer to the details when you want to remember them. It’s also helpful to keep photos of your finished projects in your knitting or crochet diary.

2. Unravel Your Gauge Swatches and Re-Use the Yarn.

Usually, you can reclaim the yarn from your gauge swatches simply by unraveling each swatch. There are exceptions; eyelash yarn sometimes doesn’t unravel nicely, and sometimes if you’ve knitted or crocheted a small swatch of a striped pattern, the short bits and pieces of yarn are not worth reclaiming. But if your gauge swatch was made using a smooth yarn and it’s all one color, you can get back quite a bit of yarn just by unraveling the swatch.

There are plenty of scrap yarn patterns available; these patterns enable you to utilize even small bits and pieces of yarn — perfect for reclaiming the yarn you get when you unravel a gauge swatch. We hope you’ll take advantage of these (mostly) free patterns.

3. Make Gauge Swatches Into Larger Projects When Enough of Them Accumulate.

You can use your gauge swatches to create scrap afghans (AKA “scrapghans,”) scrap bags, and all kinds of other projects if you apply a little creativity. The challenge is to do a good job with joining a mishmash of squares together. It’s sort of like putting a puzzle together. But once you get going, you’re likely to find that it’s an enjoyable process, and the results can be really satisfying.

4. Use the Swatch in a Smaller Project Such as a Coaster, Dishcloth, Washcloth or Scrubbie.

Learn how to make a scrubbie out of a gauge swatch using these free instructions
Learn how to make a scrubbie out of a gauge swatch using these free instructions

Is your gauge swatch made of cotton yarn? If so, it could probably be used as a scrubbie, coaster, dishcloth or washcloth. If it’s large and thick enough, it could also be used as a potholder. If not, you could add some more rows or rounds to it to enlarge it to the size you need for one of these items.

Is your gauge swatch made of wool? If it is large and thick enough, it could be used as a hot pad or potholder. If it isn’t thick enough on its own, you could consider “fulling” it — some people refer to this as “felting it — by tossing it in the washing machine, then in the dryer, to stiffen, thicken and shrink it.

Is your gauge swatch made of acrylic? If so, it won’t make a good potholder or washcloth, but you might be able to use it as a dishcloth or coaster, depending on the stitch pattern.

5. Gauge Swatches Make Great Doll Blankets.

You can give your squares to your kids / grandkids or any children who enjoy playing with dolls; the swatches can be used for doll blankets and rugs.

6. Donate Your Gauge Swatches to Charity.

Believe it or not, there are charities that accept donations of squares and swatches. Often, they turn these bits and pieces into useful items, typically blankets, and give them to people who need them. Here are some ideas for how to help others by simply mailing off your swatches and squares:

Love Afghans for Pine Ridge Reservation — Winters on this reservation are cold and harsh, and the residents can benefit from every single swatch you send their way. If you send loose swatches, there is a kindhearted lady who combines them into warm afghans to give to the elders at the Pine Ridge Reservation. If you prefer to give completed blankets or warm clothing, the group can usually use those types of items as well.

The Knit-A-Square Group — These people ask that you send them 8″ squares for use in projects that will be given to orphaned children.

So there you have a list of 6 fantastic things to do with gauge swatches when you are finished with them. We encourage you to choose one of these creative solutions rather than throwing your gauge swatches in the trash when you’re finished using them for their intended purpose.

More Essential Knitting and Crochet Pages

Scrappy Afghans Book by Leisure Arts
Scrappy Afghans Book by Leisure Arts — Click the photo to check out my book review of this title.

This page was last updated on 1-9-2020.

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