Tension Squares, do you use them?

I’m new to knitting and am a little lost when it comes to their use. I get them impression through some of my readings that they can be imperative. Yet at the same time, it seems that many seasoned knitters have a rather causal attitude to them and might not use them at all.

How often do you use them and how important do you think they are?

Seasoned knitter? I’m not sure I am but…it depends. I don’t often try to match gauge on a pattern, I find the needles and yarn that produce the fabric I like and adjust the item I’m making to work with my gauge. I can follow a pattern. I recently did and worked with yarn and needles until I made gauge. Most of my knitting doesn’t have to be to exact measurements. I also use whatever yarn I have or like and can’t say I’ve ever used the yarn that the pattern recommends. If you’re making a fitted garment, gauge is extremely important. If you’re making a blanket, close enough would typically be good enough.

I just about never start a project without a gauge swatch. It’s well worth the extra time. I mostly knit sweaters and I want them to fit the intended recipient.

I only swatch where size matters, like a garment, or if I’ve really changed the yarn weight in a pattern which rarely happens. Once I’ve make a swatch I hang on to it in case I need the yarn later in the project.

I don’t for shawls and afghans, but will for wearables. If it’s a sweater with a pocket, I knit the pocket first and use that as a swatch.

Thanks for the input, it makes more sense to me now