I hate swatching, so I only ever do it when it is absolutely necessary.
I know what my guage is, based on previous projects, with my favorite yarns and my most-used needles, so I just make an educated guess and go for it.
Oh, and if all else fails, use size 6 needles for anything except socks.
recent FOs: Shedir cap, Bricks of Atlantis, Pirates Hat, Citrine Socklets, Teddy bears, 1 entrelac sock
OTN: scraps blanket, Shedir for Teenie, Ice Serpent Hat
NIL: Qiviuk tam re-visited; weatherproof gloves; sweaters
My knitting blog: http://emilai333.wordpress.com/