I know to most knitters that "swatch" is a four letter word. It seems like no one wants to do them but really if you don't you might end up with a sweater that fits a linebacker or a lace pattern that looks great on paper and doesn't work in yarn.
I swatch a lot. I like to try out new ideas so making swatches or mini versions of the finished product is something I do.
Here is one of the recent ones. I used 2 different beads to see which looked best and I also tried out and idea for starting the yarn overs on different rows. It really helped to decide and saved me tons of knitting time. The yarn I am using is so great I can not wait to buy more. It is Hazel Knits Filigree. It has all of the great features of her sock yarn but in laceweight. Win, win in my book. The full size version of this one is moving right along.