Knitting, Marl, Modifications, Swatching

Marvelous Marls

Knitters love yarn. That’s a given. But let’s face it…some yarns are just a snore. Even when well bred, spun, plied and knit into a perfectly respectable fabric, they can still remain lackluster and uninspired.

Hang on to your shorts, because I have discovered the cure for those snoozville yarns languishing in your stash: Marling.

What is this mystic magic you speak of, Knicoleknits? Fear not, my knitty friends, there’s no unattainable sleight of hand required, just the simple act of taking one strand of yarn, laying it next to a different strand of yarn, and knitting them together. Behold:

That groovy bit of color-splosion you see there is a chunklette of my Purl Soho Library Blanket in progress.

Library Blanket WIP

Sure, that group of 10 yarns color-blocked in garter stitch would probably have knit up into a respectable finished project, but brandish a wandful of marling magic and those same respectable yarns bloom into 20 sets of pop-fulled, contrasty, blendy, shiftiness that’s so very inspiring and completely original.

But, ho – you’d better sit down for this – marling is not merely a method for converting colors from few to myriad, it can also come in handy when one needs a certain weight for a project, but one’s stash is sadly lacking – hard to believe, I know, but it happens…even to those of us who have achieved SABLE (stash accumulated beyond life expectancy).

A few months (weeks? Who can remember early 2020 now?) before I became enthralled with my visit to the Library Blanket, I NEEDED to knit Norah Gaughan’s Calligraphy Cardigan. The pattern calls for DK. I didn’t have enough of anything even close to the correct weight except a solid turquoise pima cotton. Pretty color, but I wasn’t going to get gauge with it without losing the integrity of the knitted fabric. I thought it would make a good base, though, so I took a stash-dive to find a suitable mate.

I found this Schachenmayr Tahiti lace-ish weight cotton blend gradient.

Ah ha! I thunk – This will blend nicely with the very very very solid pima and should get me the right gauge and fabric. I thunk correctly, cuz look:

Cool trick, eh?

I pulled this rabbit out of my hat again a few months later when I NEEDED to knit a Tin Can Knits Love Note:

This time, I needed something that would knit like a soft bulky weight at around 16 stitches to 4″. I had a lovely navy merino cashmere blend fingering with an alpaca, silk, cashmere blend lace weight. With all that lush halo happening, on a beefy 6.5 mm needle, I got the gauge I needed. This baby is one of my very favorite sweaters to date.

As I mentioned last week, I’m on the verge of casting on another cozy this-is-the-season-for-it pullover, Shifty. For this one, I’m blending black and charcoal for the background, and winter white with light and medium grey and a hit of teal for the “dots.” If the nifty swatch is any indication, this pully will be marl-velous, too.

Aaaaand…because I can’t seem to stop blending – I’m already thinking spring/summer. Here’s a swatch under serious consideration for Amy Christoffers simple, but special, Shakerag Top. This is Hedgehog Fibers Singles, paired with a white linen chainette on alternate stripes:

So, there we have it, knitter peoples. Endless possibilities: solid/solid, solid/gradient, solid/tonal, tonal/tonal, smooth/fuzzy, heavy/light…

What magical marls could your very own stash be secretly harboring?

Until next week, knit well…you got this.


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