My Dearest Miriam,

My first scary, complex-shaped and most satisfying project was a cardigan called Miriam, by Carrie Bostick Hoge, whose simple, non-fussy designs I just adore:

This cardi was actually the reason I decided I needed to learn to knit properly. I saw it and just NEEDED it.

You know how it is.

At the time that I didn’t feel confident enough to spend £40+ on the Madelinetosh DK , my first yarn love affair, for the project, as I wasn’t sure I would be successful with it,  so ordered some sale skeins of Blue Leicester by British Breeds.

I had read good things about Blue Leicester and figured it would be soft and not scratchy – as if all Blue Leicester would be the same! Duh.

Beginners lesson number 1 – I now understand that I must fondle EVERY yarn before using it. AND rub it across my neck.

It is a little embarrassing in yarn shops, but if they want me to spend that kind of money on string, they are going to have to suck it up.

So. Scritchy wool that didn’t feel great to knit with for over a month. Not a fantastic start.

strident addendum to Beginners lesson number 1 – spend the money on yummy yarn if you are going to spend that much time working with it. There is nothing worse than spending a month on something and then disliking the yarn you knit it in!

Here she is  with stitches being picked up and my first, abysmal, unintentionally asymmetrical attempt at blocking!

Beginners lesson number 2 – when picking up stitches knit through the BACK of the stitch on the first row. This twists the stitch and avoids nasty loose-looking joins, as in photo below:

I ended up fudging a smooth join by going back and stitching the whole collar tighter by hand! It now looks passable.

During the stitching up, I learned first hand why everyone hates this part of projects so much – and have since decided to knit everything else I possible can in the round!

Like these sleeeves. Why, Carrie? Why. (I am sure there must be a logical reason, but have not yet tried it, so can’t figure it out!)

In the end, it was a great learning project – simple but with enough easy challenges to get me to the next level.

I highly recommend it as a beginner’s cardi.

Here is the final product:

Ta dah! So proud. Even if it itches a bit on the back of my neck and I get random pokies sticking into me every time I wear it .


Oh. And to make matters worse …it pills.

That said, after the initial dismay at the pilling I bought a sweater shaver and gave it a good going over and it is gradually losing it’s pill-y-ness. The stitch definition is still pretty crisp and sharp.

As yarns go, it isn’t as bad as I initially thought, and as I get to know yarns better, realise it is just a matter of usage. I think this yarn is better suited to gloves, like my Knubby Moss Wristwarmers, or socks. Things that don’t sit on the neck or right next to the skin.

Unless you are one of those lucky people who can wear Brillo pads next to your skin and not be bothered!

Damn you.


2 thoughts on “My Dearest Miriam,

  1. I really like the colours you chose for it 🙂 I learned that beginner’s tip of knitting through the back loop when I made my Miette, thanks to Gail’s knitalong. You always learn a lot on a new project when you’re a beginner!

    • Thanks Jo. It was really more an accident of necessity. I had purchased the wool on sale and they didn’t have enough of either the natural or the grey, so figured I would use both, but when it came down to it, it seemed a bit dull so I added the mustard yellow to jazz it up!

      Reading other blogs has really helped with my learning curve, as well! I noticed you talking about knitting swatches in the round the other day…had NO IDEA!! So good to know.

      Thanks for that!

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