I'm starting to do some of the things that wise knitters who write books recommend, and I'm pleased with the results.
Although it has taken more than a year to get up and running, I now have a knitting journal that contains all the labels of the yarns that I use with a sample strand of the yarn wrapped around the label. That way I not only know what I've used for projects, but the care instructions and fiber contents. I use transparent tape to stick the label to the page, or a stapler.
And now I've begun to make swatches, but that's still a rough practice and I wouldn't call it a habit yet. I've swatched a few yarns and put them on the pages of the journal with the labels, just to see what they look like worked up into fabrics, not much writing. Over the past few days I swatched a cotton and silk blend, then figured out from the swatch how to create a nightgown by using measurements to figure out how many stitches to cast on and approximately how many rows it's going to take.
The swatch is stapled onto the journal page along with sketches of the garment and measurements as well as a record of the guage and which needles I'm using. Tape will eventually let go, so I'll probably start to use the stapler to fasten things to the pages or sew them in, which I have also tried successfully.
It's not a complicated garment, but it was very cool to design it using a plan rather than something in my head that has no rational basis for completion, just a hunch. Once I'm done with the gown, I'm going to make a hip length kimono with short sleeves from the same yarn, same guage. I'm diggin' it. And I also need the gown and kimono.
Photos to come when I get in the mood with the camera.