Hello! I am just starting out. I have a question…for some of the simpler patterns (like dish clothes, socks, purses), do you have to use the size of needle stated in the pattern? The couple patterns I was looking at on this site say #9 and some say #8 or #11, etc…I currently have a size #10 since I had read that was a good “starter” size. I know if I keep this up some day I will buy more needles but I just wondered what I should do at this point in time. Thanks for your help!
Welcome! For dishcloths it wouldn’t really matter the size of your needles. You might use fewer stitches than called for or it might end up big enough to be a towel! For socks though you will definitely want to use smaller needles (according to the gauge). Whenever you make something that has to fit your body or be a particular size you really need to use the right size needles.
If you use a larger than called for needle, you will end up with a larger finished product and vice versa with a smaller needle. For dishcloths, and things of that nature it doesn’t matter one bit, unless you’re aiming for a particular size, so just go ahead and practise away with your size 10 needles. Good luck and welcome to the world of knitting!
For items such as dishcloths… where gauge really doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t hesitate to use needles that were a size or two off what is called for in the pattern. Especially when it would call for smaller needles… since I knitted very tightly when I first started out.
Items like socks need to be a particular size, so correct needles is essential… even if that means you need to use a different size than the pattern calls for to get the correct gauge. The same goes for purses and such where size isn’t hyper-critical, but you still need the correct gauge.