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Why use two different needle sizes in one project?

Have you ever read a pattern telling you to change needle sizes and ignored it? The better question for me would be whether I could count the times I've ignored it. I always think, "what do they know?" But that's a good question. What DO they know? Something I don't, apparently.  Sure, gauge is important. I always knit swatches. (insert eye roll here). But it's reiterated so often, it must be important! I decided to knit two of the same swatch, one using the needle change technique and one using only one size needle. The results were surprising. As you can see in my tiny hats, they are very different. The pattern was exactly the same, yet the hats are...

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