Several of the test knitters have commented that they don’t normally swatch, but are finding it most useful for the Snowflake Baby Bonnet: for technique practice as well as gauge determination.
Of late, where possible, I have been writing complete-in-themselves swatches. Complete in the sense that the swatch has a sample of the cast-on method, a couple of pattern repeats, its own small chart and a set of full written directions. My idea behind this is that it both gives gauge and puts the knitter through their paces for each technique required to complete the project. My hope is that doing the swatch will instill confidence, illustrate how to use the charts, and improve the knitter’s technique, all before embarking on the real thing.
These swatches also make great class material for in-store classes. Because of my obsession with technique, I am trying to develop a way to market my patterns to stores as teaching material for mini-classes. (Your suggestions on how to best proceed are welcomed.)