Choosing a knitting needle

Do I have to use the recommended needle size for a project? I like to use a size 14 needle for scarves. But on the directions, it said for that certain yarn im suppose to use a size 9.

Let me start by saying…NO…

You use whatever yarn tickles your fabric fancy…meaning, you knit some and if you like it …use it…

Unless, of course, you have a gauge to go by for a fitted item…then you need to hit gauge with the yarn and whatever needle will do the trick.

The yarn ball label gives you a jumping off point to start with. It is the needle that is [I]recomended[/I] to use with that yarn. It is not the needle that you HAVE to use with that yarn.

Same goes with the patterns, they give you a [I]recomended[/I] needle, the one that the pattern writer used. Not neccesarily the one that YOU will use.

I started a pattern yesterday and started swatching with my usual 2 needle sizes up and was shocked to find that I actually hit gauge with the recomended needle size! This is a rare occation.


No, you don’t have to use the recommended needle, but you should try to be close to the recommended needle on the label of your yarn.

I’ve never heard of a size 14 needle. The US sizing jumps from US13 to a US15.
Are you using a 14mm needle? Is that it?

Regardless, if you use your large needle with this yarn, your outcome could be holey and loose. A
nd, the scarf could end up being a mile too wide.

Holey and loose can be a nice look for a scarf, don’t get me wrong. I’ve knit certain scarves with a US17 using a yarn that says US9…but these scarves are garter stitch, and the outcome is what I desired. Holey and loose!

If you’re using a pattern for this scarf, with a certain yarn, try to use a needle that’s smaller IF you want your scarf to turn out like the picture of it.

Go ahead and see what it looks like when you knit it with the larger needles. You might like it, you might not. You should be able to see after 10-20" and decide if you like and if not, you can rip it out and used the yarn doubled or on smaller needles. The needle on the label is generally the size used to classify the yarn into a weight range (sport, worsted, bulky) and is used for knitting sweaters where you want a denser knit. But for scarves, they can be a lot looser knit and still be nice and warm.

As I always say, swatch it first, to see if you like the look. Also be aware of any design in the pattern that may be affected by changing the number of stitches.

Scarves are easy - you don’t need to worry too much about gauge - you just use whatever looks good to you.

But, as someone else said, once you move on to more fitted garments, you’ll want to make sure you are knitting to gauge. Usually, I start with whatever needle is recommended and see if I like it and/or it matches the gauge. Then I adjust from there.