And in June, 2007, I started swatching for it.
That go round, I'm pretty sure I was using Inox Express needles. I tried several sizes, and failed to achieve gauge. I allowed myself to be distracted by other knitting projects.
Sometime in the intervening years, I'm pretty sure I tried again. And again, the yarn defeated me. Now this yarn was custom spun to the very specifications of the yarn used in the original Bohus Stickning sweaters. It was custom dyed to match the very colors of the original designs. You'd think that the yarn would want to work up to 34 stitches over 4 inches, like the pattern calls for.
You might think, but you'd be wrong. My yarn has not been interested.
I've resumed the swatching. When I did so, I did so with vigorous determination. I promised myself that I'd keep at it until I got it right. And this time... This time I knew I was ARMED I tell you. We've already seen that I have needle size duplication out the yin yang, right? Right. So I've got slick needles and sticky needles, bamboo and aluminum and laminate and...
... and I was determined to try every brand I own until I found the magic needles to make this gorgeous sweater. In fact, I further determined that if I didn't OWN the right brand, I'd bloody well buy more brands (or at least borrow them) until I found one that would persuade this yarn to YIELD.
The up side? I get to knit a lot with this lovely yarn. The down side? I've been making inroads on a yarn I can't get more of. I will likely have to frog the swatch in the end... but that will wait.
My first step this go 'round was to purchase KnitPicks Options Metal needles in the two sizes that came closest to being right in other brands). Yes, that's extravagant, but I do LIKE working in these sizes, and I didn't have that many variations "in stock".
KnitPicks 2.5 mm Options Metal circulars give me 32 stitches over 4 inches. They almost had me, showing a lovely 34 stitches before I wet the swatch. But we all know that for stuff that's gauge sensitive, blocking the swatch can save you much heartache.
Blocking revealed the sad truth -- this needle is the wrong size.
KnitPicks 2.25 mm Options Metal circulars were next up on the swatching rotation. See, following my plan... stick to one brand, and one style by that brand until you've worked through the size options. In theory, I thought, this will give me more stitches to the inch. I had hope, but didn't dare speak it aloud.
I swatched. I blocked.
And this morning, I discovered that ..... at least in that swatch, I GOT GAUGE!!!!
I'd show you, but I've been swatching with the black. I don't own a camera good enough to let you see that.
I'll need to order another length in this size to begin the sweater, since I purchased the most versatile size, and my relationship with magic loop knitting is not good enough to risk messing up either the sweater or the much coveted gauge by messing about with a needle that's too long for the neck or sleeves. Luckily, KnitPicks fixed circulars are not that expensive. Even better, I just sold some of my extra needles, so one of the sets I need to purchase has been paid for!