When you are knitting, it is really important to get the correct gauge that the pattern calls for especially if you are knitting some sort of garment. I have a friend who once knitted a dress for someone and followed the pattern to every letter and it was 3 sizes too big. I have other friends that have knitted sweaters that were too small, too short in the waist or sleeves, or the pieces didn’t fit. So you want to do a gauge swatch and get your ruler out to measure your stitches. You want to know how many stitches you get within an inch.
I used these Sailboat washcloths to show the difference in what I am talking about. I got the pattern for this adorable Sailboat out of a Leisure Arts book called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham. I know with washcloths you don’t necessary need to worry about a gauge swatch. That said, the sailboat on the left is much smaller than the one on the right. I used two different yarns. The sailboat on the left was knitted in 100% Egyptian Cotton and the one on the left in regular Lily’s Sugar n’ Cream USA 100% Cotton. Both are cotton but totally different sizes of yarn. The sailboats were also knitted on different sized needles. The washcloth on the left was knitted using size 6 needles, and the one on the right was knitted using size 8. Why two different sized needles? I used the needles that the yarn specified. If I had used a size 8 with the Egyptian cotton, then it would have been really loose and you would not have been able to make out the pattern as well. If I had knitted the Lily’s Cotton with size 6 needles, the washcloth would be really hard to have knit up because it would have been very tight.
Good Luck on your gauges. I feel your pain when you have to do a gauge swatch. I do not like doing them either. I like them like I like tucking in all my ends in at the end of projects.