Use the Gradient tool (not the Gradient Feather tool). With object selected that is filled with the gradient, drag across the object in the direction you want the gradient to go. You can choose different starting and ending points to get different effects.
that's al;l fine, but if I save that particular gradient as a swatch, the direction I have set for the gradient
is not saved as part of the swatch. This is my problem.
I don't think you can do that.
It isn't much of an issue, really. Once you have the gradient swatch saved, select it and using the gradient tool to "draw" it out in the direction you need it on any partcular selected object.
Take care, Mike
I think it is an issue if consistency is required.
But it appears saving the the gradient as an Object Style keeps it's orientation etc.