Monday, February 12, 2007

Swatch Management

This new Swatch Bank, founded in 2007, yields high interest and I can make speedier withdrawals than with other Swatch Banks I've tried.
I suppose this might look like a heap o' mess but this madness has a careful method. Not only that, despite how it looks the tags do not get tangled. Maybe I should try to take a better photo.
The gist of the system is, I have a huge closed metal ring, and smaller metal rings that click open and closed hang from the big ring. Each small ring holds swatches of a certain type. For example, 1 ring holds all variations of single crochet, another is for all variations for hdc, etc.; more swatch categories that work for me:
- trebles and beyond
- colorwork
- aran
- lace
Most swatches have hang tags (on very short leashes) that tell me the hook size, the stitch pattern or what pg. in which book I found it, maybe the yarn.

What do other people do?
- Some Victorians used to baste swatches to fabric pages bound into a kind of scrapbook. I find I need my swatches to be free agents--I need to compare drape, stretch, loft, etc. I also hate basting.

- Other Victorians made one long continuous strip and rolled it up. I like the look but it's even less usable as a swatch bank than the scrapbook method, and my swatches are not uniform in size or color.

- Some people join them into afghans. If I stop designing someday, I'll probably do that.

- Many probably do what I used to: store some with the design proposals or completed patterns and stash the rest of them into a big box. Sad--the swatches can't show off this way. It's a swatch account that yields zero interest with no easy withdrawals.

- Is there a method I've left out? At one time I toyed with mounting each swatch on a large index card then filing them. One time I experimented with covering big stiff felt pages with elastic bands so that I could slip the swatches under the bands and remove as necessary (like how some people informally display photos on the wall). The hang tags got all tangled in that system and it took up too much room anyway.


  1. Anonymous9:08 PM

    Hi Vashti,
    This is a good idea for storing all those swatches. I have some with tags, some without, some are in groups of proposals, some are just in yarn groups, some are still with the description of the projects I proposed for them, and I try to keep them all in plastic boxes and plastic bags. There are a lot of them! I was also thinking of making afghans with some of them - but not now. I need them separate. What I need is a "swatch tree", where I can hang them, and take them off when I need them. But it would have to be a BIG tree! I love playing with yarn and making swatches. Thanks for the ideas to organize them a little better!

  2. Anonymous3:17 PM

    I incorporate my swatches into freeform projects. :)

  3. Hi Marty, I like the "Swatch Tree" idea. I could hang the swatches that are grouped on metal rings from branches of the tree (I'm picturing a standing coat rack type of thing), instead of from big metal hoops. The big hoop isn't bad for carrying a heap o' swatches to another room but the tree can hold a far greater # of swatches with minimum pile-up and max visibility.
    Now Drew....this 'Swatch Bank' system makes it all sound so tidy but I neglected to mention the scraps of swatches I have that don't really merit a metal ring, but I'm certainly not going to rip them out! Some of them were supposed to be flowers and other random lumpy things--i.e. scrumbles....duh....I never thought of them as the beginning of freeform projects!


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