As you might guess, I end up with MANY swatches! I really should have an efficient system for filing or keeping them organized, but I don't. I know some designers arrange them by brand, or fiber content or yarn weight. (How organized is that?) Some designers tag every swatch with all the pertinent information (yarn, hook, stitch pattern reference, if it was blocked, washed, etc, measurements, gauge...) I don't do this, I should do this. Some designers hang the swatches like leaves on a tree so that they cascade down in an organized chaos. Not me! Really, I have two bins, one for "sold swatches" and one for "swatches".
Because I often make motifs, the gauge on them can't really be applied to other motif projects. When I am designing an afghan, I'll often put 4 motifs together, design the edging on this placemat sized piece, and submit that to the buyer. These "swatches" are like mini-projects. I also call these 'swatches' and I keep them. These come in handy for when I'm teaching or speaking, you can get a feel for the project without lugging in a big heavy afghan! (Remind me to tell you about the Crochet & Chat I'm doing at the library in Sept, Oct, Nov, and Dec).
Other, stitch pattern swatches, I really just use to remind me of stitch patterns I'm developing. If I do any identification at all, I'll usually tie knots in the tail yarn, if I used an H/8 hook, I tie 8 knots, G/6 hook, I tie 6 knots, etc. So I can know the hook (although that doesn't tell me the hook brand, which can make a difference). I usually can recognize the yarn by looking at it.
Ideally, I would make the swatch, tag it with all the info, create a gauge "worksheet" (Remember that from a previous post?) and put it into a sleeve in a binder? In lots of binders? Where would I keep them all? I could wallpaper my office with them like a scene out of A Beautiful Mind, but then, someone might commit me.
The photo is where I am sitting on the floor next to the couch working, and Charlie is hitting me in the head with his paws. Crazy cat.