I hate swatching. I'm so damn impatient and I feel like I'm wasting valuable yarn (even though I know that having my sweater come out wrong because I didn't search is a much bigger waste in many ways.) So I swatched (and washed!) with the recommended needle size, and boy am I glad I did! My stitch gauge was an inch too big, and the weave of the fabric was a bit more airy than I like. I decided to go down two needle sizes since an inch seemed like a lot to me. Well, now my swatch was way to small. ( do you sense a Three Bears story unfolding?) So I went with the needle size in between and it was juuuust right. The row gauge is a bit short but that's easier to adapt your pattern to than stitch gauge.
It's late, so I'll be casting on tomorrow. I feel like I already have too many wips but I don't care, I'm so excited about this sweater! I'll just have to make sure I don't completely neglect my other wips.
So glad I swatched!