After reading about process versus product knitters, I felt well neither fish nor fowl. But I have finally come up with terminology to describe my knitting that makes me happy. I am a rogue knitter. I knit past errors more often than I rip back. I substitute yarn way more often than I use the suggested yarn. I substitute wool for cotton and cotton for wool with little thought for the consequences. (In my defense, it is only recently that I realized there were consequences beyond the changes in washability.)
I hardly ever swatch. Yes, everyone says, it's better if you do. I rely on the gauge listed on the yarn band. Which for someone who knits a bit tight, is heresy I know. And I am sure as I experience more yarns and more patterns I may have to reform my ways. I do know that I am nuts. I have heard the stories of sweaters too big, too small, or totally deformed because the substituted yarn did not have the necessary drape. And at first, when I thought I was only going to knit square things, it didn't matter. And now that I am on a clothing streak, I should reconsider my ways. I'm sure that I should. But much like a child who understands that the advice given is well meaning, I still forge ahead.
However, perhaps influenced by the lovely talk about Geeky Things in No Sheep For You I knit a swatch. Now I didn't keep it, or mark it or do any of the things that would help me next time I try to substitute this yarn.
But I bought some TLC Cotton to make the Cables & O's cardigan. And then realized that the pattern calls for DK weight. So, I swatched. And the needle size went down, down, down. Until I had an epiphany that - checking with a little knitty math (no pun intended) - I could knit one size smaller on the fives and be at the right gauge. So there. I finally made a swatch. But I didn't save it, so I'm still a rogue.