"Rules are made to be broken" is an ongoing series of posts where I describe how I break different so-called "rules" in various areas of my life, why I choose to do so, and why maybe you should, too.
Rule #1 is about knitting.
"You should always use the yarn that is recommended in the pattern for the best results."
This is a rule designed to get you to buy a specific yarn. Yes, you already knew that. But seriously.
It is important when choosing a yarn for a project that you take into account the weight of the yarn, the fiber characteristics, the way the yarn was milled or spun, and a few other factors besides just "Oooh, this is blue and it's pretty!" (I will write more about these factors in a future "Rules" post.)
But in general, yes: you can make any pattern with any yarn.
There might be math involved. There might be tears involved. You won't get an item that looks exactly like the one in the picture (but trust me, that won't happen regardless). But use yarn you love and you'll get something fun and exciting and uniquely you.
I rarely use the yarn that a pattern calls for, but here are just a few examples of me throwing caution to the wind and getting (what I think are) great results:
The above pattern called for fingering weight yarn. I used a bulky. To this day, still my mother's favorite shawl.
This is, so far, the nicest sweater I've ever made. It also happened to be the first sweater I ever finished (a top-down raglan with an all-over lace pattern in fingering weight yarn? sure. no problem). The yarn called for is 100% merino. I used a silk blend. People will tell you you can't use silk for sweaters. People are wrong - you can do anything you want so long as you're fully aware of what you're doing. I love this sweater.
This pattern was designed for one solid color of a DK weight yarn. I used five different colors (and I think the yarn was a worsted weight). Trust me, this alligator is much more stylish.
"But the pattern called for a 100% wool yarn!" Yes, that's nice. The recipient of this hat was undergoing chemotherapy, and I've heard bamboo is much softer and nice against the skin. The recipient tells me I'm right. I think the switch was worth it.
With a little bit of practice, you can quickly discover that you, too, can make whatever you want out of whatever you want. Go wild. Have fun.
After all, rules are made to be broken.