Why am I changing needles in this pattern?

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/na_knitting/article/0,2025,DIY_14141_3478784,00.html

For this shrug, it’s telling me to change needles after I have 8 inches until I have 23 inches and then change back to do another 8. Why, for a shrug?

I should say that I’ve changed the needle size, because of my gauge. I’ve only got 2 pairs of circs (still knitting flat), so I’m using size 8s and because I got 3sts/inch I’m casting on 48 sts instead of what the pattern calls for.

How necessary is it to change the needle size, do you think?

Thx,
dEEdE

Since it’s listed as a beginner pattern, they probably have you change your needles to increase the size of that part rather than deal with increases and decreases. Maybe you could increase a few stitches for that middle section and then decrease after it.

Ahhh that figures.

I made this shrug. When you change the needles, it widens the back part of the shrug and kind of defines the sleeves for easier stitching. You seam up the 8 inches on both sides. The shrug pic is on my blog.