When buying yarns from WAHM how do you know the gage (I think that is the word) it is. And how it will work with a pattern. I have lots of patterns that call for 5 bulky yarn.

How would I know if that is what I am getting from a WAHM?
And if I get something that is say a 4 how do I use that in a pattern saying I need 5 wight?
Do you always make a swatch before you knit a project? Even if I did this I don't know how to translate that into something I can work with.
And if a pattern calls for so many yards I am sure that is effected if you don't use the gage they suggest?
But also when buying from WAHM most things are listed as oz how do you know how many yards that is if they are all different weights?

I am so excited I am starting to make socks on my loom for x-mas gifts but I am unsure how the bulk of the yarn will effect the size of the sock if I use something thinner then the 5 it calls for. Now I just need to figure out if the pattern is telling me what is used to make both or only one of the socks. I am so tired of making only hats.

LOL now that I have that all out of the way. SPAM me with your fave yarn WAHM sites. HC, and others if you have them.