you have to trust yourself with your knitting... but you still have to do a gauge swatch! because the end result is far more worth it.
it will also give you the chance to see how the yarn "works" with a particular stitch... some people keep their swatches... i personally don't... i like to re-use the yarn in the swatch... however swatches can make great pockets!
also, if the pattern calls for knitting in the round.. you will want to swatch in the round.... elizabeth zimmerman says she ususally just knits up a hat as a swatch... how very practical! love her.
but even if the pattern states that gauge is not all that important... if you feel a little "off" by the result of your needle and yarn choice together... sometimes you just need to go with your gut...
can you see the difference? the "swatch" on the left (i'm calling it a swatch, but really i had started the project and felt weird about it... 2 skeins later, i decided to try the same project on different needles )... is knit with 6.5mm needles, and the one on the right is knit with 7.00mm needles. it's a big difference!
i am far happier with the result of the 7.00mm needles. the stitches are much more relaxed and open. can you see it?
and this is before blocking!
so even if you think there is really not much of a difference in .5 mm, there really really is.
for you newer knitters out there... don't be afraid to change up your needles, regardless of what the pattern says... you knit differently than the author of the pattern does... and depending on the yarn choice you've made, you may need a different needle from the start. i promise you will be far happier with all of the hard work you put in to your project.
i always am :)
do you make sure that you swatch? do you keep your swatch and save them for a further purpose like a pocket? or are you like me, and unravel them right away? i'd love to hear about it! leave a note, and let's chat!