It is such a good thing that I read The Knitter's Book of Yarn before yesterday. In the section on single-ply yarn, Clara Parkes discusses the potential for the stitches to go trailing off on an angle as though you were actually cabling in that direction - something that can look pretty neat, but is a disaster for fit, as I learned to my cost during my many years of sewing.
Apparently you might not even know until after you've washed your swatch that a yarn will bias! I've already resolved that all my test swatches will be both ample and wet blocked (more on that another day) but this adds weight to the argument.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I was working on a swatch for a class I'm hoping to take tomorrow. I got about 8 rows of stockinette before I realized the yarn was leaning farther than the Tower of Pisa.* I did pause to think, "What the..." and double check the yarn to ensure I am not crazy. Yes, the yarn is 3-ply*.
But then I moved on, not stopping to take a picture which would have been helpful today, and simply gave thanks to Clara Parkes. She shares the fix: throw in some purl stitches on the right side of the work. I also gave thanks to Jackie Pawlowski, who doesn't just share stitches in the Field Guide to Knitting, but consumption details. In no time I was able to settle on Dot Stitch as an option that wouldn't need more yardage than stockinette, since I'm short on yarn for this project.
And voila! 8 rows into the dots, I'm in fine shape. I just hope the yarn softens a great deal in the wet blocking because it's knitting up like string.
* I think the problem emerged when I was winding it from the skein; I've noticed it's twisting all over itself as I tug it from the ball. I so need a swift.