For anyone who's just starting out to knit and wants to practice stitches but not make swatches that can't be used for anything or don't really want a scarf then why not try potholders or dishcloths. You can use acrylics for potholders and ww cotton for dishcloths. For potholders I'd recommend you make 2 just alike then sew them together wrong sides facing.
Another tip: If you aren't doing any fancy patterns but just basic stitches then try slipping the first stitch of each row without working it
For instance: If you're working stockinette stitch then on the knit row slip the first stitch like you're about to knit it but slip it to the right-hand needle without working it, on the purl row slip the first stitch like you're about to purl it but slip it to the right-hand needle without working it.
For garter stitch simply slip the first stitch of each row as if you're going to knit it.
Some suggested dishcloths:
Stockinette stitch: Cast on the appropriate number of stitches for how wide you would like your dishcloth to be, work in stockinette st (k 1 row, p 1 row) until the dishcloth is a big square. Bind off
Garter stitch: Cast on the appropriate number of stiches for how wide you would like your dishcloth to be, work in Garter st (k every row) until dishcloth is a big square, bind off.
Seed stitch: Cast on an odd number of stitches. Work in seed st (k 1, p 1) every row until dishcloth is a big square, bind off in k 1, p 1. The odd number of sts cast on lets you start with k 1 each time, if you have an even number of sts cast on then you would work the first row k 1, p 1 and the second row p 1, k 1. Work these 2 rows until dishcloth is a big square then bind off either in k 1, p 1 or p 1, k 1- whichever row you happen to be on at the time, just keep to the pattern.
Personally, I like the seed st for dishcloths for the texture. Seed st gives a good texture for scrubbing.
I think dishcloths and potholders are better for stitch practicing because they're small and don't take long to make, plus they're usable after you're finished.
Of course you could always make smaller squares of practice sts and sew them together into an afghan or even a poncho. Sampler squares can be used in any number of ways, just like in crochet.
Tata for now, just thought I'd throw my 2¢ into the tips bucket