We've found the perfect yarn, the needles are ready, and all we want to do is start on that pattern we love so much. Lurking in the back of our minds,however, is that nagging thought, "To swatch or not to swatch." We know we should, but it takes so long and is tedious. We decide to be good and make that swatch. Doesn't come to gauge. We try again, casting on and knitting with a smaller needle. Still not gauge. There is an easier way.
Start with a needle one or two sizes smaller than the needle called for. Cast on the required number of stitches. On the second row use YO, K 2 tog to make a number of holes equal to the size needle you are currently using. That is if you are knitting with a size 4, you will have 4 holes. Knit the required number of inches. Change to the next size needle and repeat. Don't forget the holes. Go on in this way until you are using a needle one or two sizes bigger than those called for. Bind off. Lay your swatch down to relax overnight. You may even wish to wash it. Then start measuring. You have all your information right there. Number of stitches, number of rows and needle size.