Swatching is not a dirty word. It's absolutely essential if you want to give yourself the best chance having your variegations work out the way you planned.
You must make your swatches the same width as your intended project to be certain of success.Stitches:
Firstly, this means using the correct number of stitches as called for in your pattern. Making a 30 stitch wide swatch will rarely show you what a 130 stitch wide project section will look like.
Also, what looks nice and colourful in a 4 by 4 inch swatch may be headache inducing when it spans 20 by 30 inches.Swatch for All Widths:
Ensure you make a swatch for all widths called for so you'll have an idea of how they will work up. If they don't look right to you, it's better to find out sooner rather than later. Then you can find solutions, and decide whether it's worth the effort for this particular project.
You must use the same hook or needle you'll use for the project. Not just the same size, but the same hook or needle. Whether it's aluminum, wood, etc. can make a difference in how much yarn is used per stitch, which directly affects where the colour changes will fall in your yarn.Back and Forth or In the Round:
Working back and forth or in the round can also make a difference.
Knitting in the round often uses up a different amount of yarn per stitch than working back and forth.
When crocheting in the round, you often encounter a slight slanting which becomes more pronounced the further you work. This may have a negtive or positive impact on the appearance of your chosen project.
If you have any tips or ideas you'd like to share, please send them to me.