When starting a project, it is advisable do a proper swatch, sized 20 cm x 20 cm, so you can measure the gauge, really feel the texture and all that. You can even wash it to see how the finished piece will look after washing.

Last night, I just had to start my beaded mittens. I wound the yarn (that took way too long for impatient me!), and then I just made a tiny swatch, to see whether the hook size works nicely with the yarn and to see how the beads look. And then I started my mitt... Sometimes, mini swatches are all that you need.