Little did I know that mine was the question of the century!
Your answers were very helpful. My 1st project, since the last century, was a sweater for a important friend. I chose cotton (guess who loves cotton?). I was having some problems as it kept separating, but I thought it was just my skill level.
the problem I also found was that the gauge as indicated, and what I actually did was off by one inch. I increased the needle size to three above what the pattern called for. Will that mean I just have keep knitting until I have the right number of inchs (like for the back)? or have I screwed up really badly? the sales lady told me that the yarn I purchased would be OK for the pattern. Did she sell me more than the yarn? (like the Brooklyn Bridge?)
thanks so much for you most informed response, so now I am asking you even more. what a compliment. It carries responsibility too.