I bet you’re a little curious about the humungous garter stitch project I keep knitting on in all our zooms these last few weeks. It’s so heavy that it strengthens my core to turn it at the end of every row, but I think that’s the only time it appears on camera.
After finishing my Mood Cardigan, and my Pressed Flowers Shawl, my queue was empty, but I still wanted to knit. I wanted pure comfort knitting. Cast on and go. No pattern. No purling. No counting. Just knitting.
This ultra-basic project has just one point of artistic interest, but it’s a doozy: marling.
It’s my first marling project, and it’s a big boi.
Using a US 10 needle, I cast on 160 stitches or so, and started knitting garter stitch with two strands of Rowan Creative Linen. The good folks at Rowan wanted us to try it out, although I’m not sure they thought we would go whole-blanket on it. I would say I have put this yarn through its paces, and it’s lovely: the touch of cotton and the swing of linen.
Although the MDK Shop does not carry Creative Linen (yet!), a good alternative would be Rowan Handknit Cotton.
While I took my inspiration directly from Cecelia Campochiaro’s stunning book Making Marls, I didn’t particularly follow any of her recipes. This was a free ’n’ easy, keep-me-steady romp of a project. I started out doing full-skein stripes, combining the pale neutrals with the vibrant red and orange shades, for maximum marl-y contrast.
I got more playful as I went. A couple of stripes in, I made a rule that when I hit a knot in a skein, or a color ran out, I’d change the color of that strand, right then and there, whether it happened on the right side or wrong side, in the middle of the row—whatever. Mandatory color change. Applying this rambunctious rule, I started loving it even more.
When it got sort of blanket-sized, I bound off. The only other thing I did was slip the first stitch of every row to make a neat edge.
By this point, my right shoulder was a little ootchy from knitting doubled linen/cotton on US number 10 needles.
Did this stop me from marling during conference calls?
No it did not.
I simply down-shifted, to two strands of Rowan Felted Tweed. Light and fluffy, 60 stitches, on a US 7 needle.
Marl, marl, marl—I’m a marling fool. I’m still slipping the first stitch of every row, for finesse. My Felted Tweed stash has lots of bitsy nubbins, which makes for more frequent color changes.
This is what I call a good start on a wintery scarf, and a fine education in color theory. I’ve got miles to go on this thing.
By Christmas, it will be a scarf worthy of Bob Cratchit.