Ok, so I'm usually naughty in this way. Every so often I'll do a semi-proper swatch, and by a semi-proper swatch I mean I'll knit more than an inch long on a 3 to 4 inch piece before casting off. Very rarely, I'll have sufficient motivation or time to knit a proper swatch. This is usually when I'm designing, but I'll do it for other major projects where getting the size wrong is really going to ruin things. More commonly, however, I knit a small 2" x 1" swatch, get an idea of gauge, wash it to make sure it doesn't disintegrate or grow too much, and start the project.
Of course, by half-assing it this way, you would think what bit me in the ass was the gauge. Not so; actually the gauge is working out better than I thought it would. No, the problem was that the colors I chose for the project didn't work:
You see, in my love of dark colors, I was thinking these contrasted sufficiently enough to allow for some colorwork to be done. I explicitly bought the purple skein so that I had a color to contrast with the black. I was so confident, I barely did any colorwork in my swatch:
Which is why I ignored the fact that you can barely see that I did any colorwork in the swatch, and went on my merry way of casting on.
By the time I finished the first colorwork segment, however, it became obvious. You couldn't see the pattern at all. If I was just making a striped sock, it would have worked ok enough, but that first colorwork section wasn't even the biggest and therefore I said screw it and ripped the sock back out to the toe section. I then went statch diving and found this fingering weight yarn:
I was hoping to use this for something like a Hitchhiker, but I was already committed to the sock pattern and this was the only yarn I found light enough to work with the black for the colorwork. To be fair, it is coming out nicely (despite the fact that I had to pretty much write the heel directions myself since they didn't exist in the pattern):
|Pattern is Vellamo by Taina Anttila|