I hate swatching because I'm impatient, so I tried to just jump in, even though I've never knitted anything that is not a rectangle or a hat--it was OK that it took me several hours to knit the first 13 rows because I was waiting for my 11th grader to finish a research paper. I basically got 2/3 of every row right, and sometimes the stitch count was just what it said it should be. I intended to persist, until I saw I would have to count hundreds of rows-- at that point I despaired of making anything more than a huge tangle, ripped it all out and embarked upon a one row pattern with the same yarn, thinking I would just make a basic striped thing. But these posts make me want to try one more time. With swatching. I'll go up to size 7s and do it at my knitting group tomorrow, where more advanced knitters will egg me on and save me from flailing. If I can do that swatch in an hour then I'll be back for the shawl.