I did figure out that somewhere along the way my Purl stitch was weirdly backwards. Once I started to doing it correctly, the swatches for my lessons started looking more normal.
I have a couple of bad habits I've developed over the years, and the habits have gotten worse now that I end up felting so many of my items, perfectly even stitches aren't that crucial. Felting covers up a multitude of errors.
I've done the first swatch with cotton, acrylic, and wool. The wool makes more even stitches. I started with a size 8 straight needles, but now I'm using 9's and Cascade 220 wool. The first swatch is complete, it has garter stitch for 4 inches, and is about as even as I can get it. I believe I did this swatch at least 7 times before I was happy with it. Swatch 2 was only re-done 4 times. Swatch 3 twice. And Swatch 14 which uses the same needle and yarn as 1, 2 and 3 I've had to re-do 3 times. Today I knit it in one setting. I'm still doing something wrong, but I think my instructors will be able to tell me what I'm doing wrong.
This isn't a picture of my swatches, it's a picture of my Felted Fedora before I felted it.
There are decreases to start shaping the top of the hat.
So, I'm 1/4 of the way there on my swatches and ready to start writing answers to the many questions topics about what I've learned and what research I've done, documentation ... fun stuff. I'm really enjoying this, I know it will improve my work.