Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ruben Revisted

Ruben swatchIn a paroxysm of Elsebeth Lavold love brought on by my visit to the "Knitting Along the Viking Trail" exhibit I hauled out the supplies for the Ruben sweater after I got home.

This is another sweater for which I bought the supplies back in 2004. So, yeah, it's been in my stash a while. Like I said yesterday, at the time I bought it I wasn't up for cables.

I'd also like to point out that I bought these during my one month stint of working at Patternworks. (It was only a month because right after I got the job Hubby got the job offer that took us to Connecticut.) At the time I had just turned into a yarn snob. I was unaware of the existance of yarn stores across the country. I was very sure I would never see such fabulous yarn at employee-discount prices again and I stocked up!

And then I moved to Connecticut and got a job at another yarn store and continued to stock up, but that's a different story that has been told in posts since I started this blog.

Rejected and Saved
In addition to my lack of cable skill, Ruben was held back because I'd secretly bought it to make for Hubby and was biding my time until he might want a sweater.

When that time finally arrived in 2009, he promptly rejected it. sigh.

At which point my older brother swooped in and claimed it for his own.

He asked after it when I was down there for Memorial Day. We were both surprised that it was two years ago.

Swatching, bleh
I knew that I'd gotten as far as swatching unsuccessfully before I tossed it aside for other projects.

When I dragged it back out I found my swatch, but no indication of what needles I'd used. sigh.

At that point I decided to take a knitting hiatus. My elbow was still sore from when I hurt it back in February. My chiropractor has been telling me to stop knitting to give it a chance to heal, but I haven't been listening to him. I decided maybe he knows what he's talking about.

Of course the knitting hiatus lasted for all of three days before I snapped on Friday and started working on my Yellow Lace Top.

With the knitting door reopened I returned to the mysterious Ruben swatch.

The pattern calls for US4 and US6 needles. I figured I probably started with US6 and went to US7 when I didn't get gauge.

I ripped out that old swatch and tried with US7 again. The first swatch was so long ago, who knows what in my life has changed.

Didn't get gauge so I moved on to US8 needles.

Didn't get gauge and the fabric was starting to look floppy and gross. The middle section of the picture is the US8 section.

Wrong Direction
I stared at the swatch unable to comprehend why I wasn't getting gauge.

Then I realized I was getting too few stitches per inch. The gauge is 21 sts in 4 inches and I was getting around 19 sts in 4 inches.

I wanted to be getting more stitches per inch. I should have been going down in needle size, not up.

With the light bulb flipped on I abruptly dropped down to a US5 needle and instantly got gauge.


The part I knit on the US5 is at the top of the swatch in the picture. See how much narrower and denser it is than the other sections? Now that is a nice fabric.

Now that I've got gauge all I need is time to knit.


  1. "I stared at the swatch unable to comprehend why I wasn't getting gauge."

    Don't you just hate those forehead smacking moments?!? DUH!!!

  2. @Nancy.
    And it's not like I'm a new knitter. I should know this stuff by now!