I think doll house or Barbie blankets or shawls is a great idea!
When I was knitting about 30-35 yrs ago, I started sewing them together thinking they would make a nice crazy quilt/patchwork type blanket. I think that project is still stuffed in the back of my closet somewhere, totally abandoned when I stopped knitting.
When I started knitting again about 5 years ago, I don't do so many projects that I need to swatch. I knit mostly socks, purses, dishclothes, mostly small things that I don't swatch for.