Ok, I am trying to develop good habits and will start swatching from now on. That said, I made a swatch for my shawl project, the Domovi Shawl from the Folk Shawls pattern book. It also gave me an excuse to practice the crochet on invisible cast on method which I had never done before. I used the recommended needle size and got this:
I got more than the recommended 12 sts per row, so I decided that the smart thing to do would be to try the next size needle up, right? Here's the comparison:
Although the number of stitches is about right, the length of the rows is off by almost an inch. Looks like I should stick with the recommended needle size and just make sure to block the finished product. Like with swatching, I had never really bothered to block anything before. Now, as I've been reading up on proper procedures for blocking, I have realized that I am lacking some important accessories: wool wash (I know there are those of you cringing in horror right now that I have never owned any wool wash) and rustproof straight pins. The one time I blocked a finished object, I used my ironing board (which I have been told was acceptable) and safety pins from the clothes I got back from the dry cleaners. I know, I know, I'm working on changing my ways.
If anyone can provide a way to avoid having the yarn get all twisted as in the picture below, I would greatly appreciate it!