I'm new to this and I'm getting a late start on my sweater here. I have my yarn picked out and here - basalt gray with cumulus shimmer. I've started my swatch and having been reading many of the treads in this group. I read a bunch about swatches and have a couple of questions: Some of you wash and block your swatch and then measure for gauge. It seems to me that the pattern would assume gauge for an unwashed piece. Can anybody tell me if there is a "right" way? I have never steeked before and I read that someone else used their swatch to pracitice this! I think that is a great idea! But that goes back to this washed thing for me - I assume that the sweater is not washed before being steeked - so I would not want to wash the swatch either, right??? Any help here would be great. I'm terrified of the steek and am trying to prepare myself for the idea of cutting all that work...... Thanks.