What's the big deal about marling? Jump in to Cecelia Campochiaro's marled designs for MDK Field Guide No. 19, and you'll find out.

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40 Comments
  • Ooh yes I use the count to 10 system. I also add if the group of 3 starts with an odd number it knit, and an even its purl. So 10 has to be a purl. Thank you for the through back of loop decrease tip!

    • Great tip!!

  • I wouldn’t give it away either. Squid ink is beautiful!

  • Waiting for Squid Ink. So glad more is on way!

  • Gorgeous. I wonder if that through the back loop tip works in other cases without looking strange. I have struggled with tight knit togethers in other patterns as well.

    • Started this at least 5 times- apparently I cannot count to 10! Working with dark yarn in the dark winter makes it tricky to see the stitch pattern at first. Finally got it going and it’s gorgeous- so worth that start up counting challenges. I have 3 stitch markers as well to keep me generally on track. Stick with it!

  • I suggest using 2 or 3 stitch markers—just enough so that you’ll know fairly quickly if you’ve made a mistake but not so many that they are a nuisance to move. Also, since it’s only in row 2 that the stitches move by two, I suggest using an extra stitch marker, which you place correctly and then remove the stitch marker that arrives two stitches later. This extra marker solves the problem of how to move a marker two stitches backward—an annoying problem at best.

    • I just started my Marlogram Cowl and I feel like this tip could help me but I can’t quite picture what you’re saying. I’m visual bit only once I see it, not in my brain. Would you mind giving a little more specific detail? Thank you so much if you read this and do!

      • @Whitney This is what I am doing: This assumes you already have markers placed every 10 stitches. On wrong side rows, after you have done the increase on the RS row, knit/purl the 10 stitch pattern. Place the extra marker. *Knit 2. Remove next marker. Knit/purl the remaining 8 stitches in the pattern repeat. Place marker and repeat from *. I have found the markers essential in keeping track, especially if you don’t want to have to pay attention too hard. Hope that helps!

    • I set the stitch markers set from the beginning every 10 stitches. I do not move them. As the scarf grows on one side…I add markers when there are another 10 stitches and remove on the decrease side as that happens. The pattern shifts but once you do your first group of 10 you will repeat what happens before and after each stitch marker so you can easily keep track. I did this with her parallelogram scarf too.

      For example…after a few rows I would carry the sequence past the stitch marker…so the first 2 stitches after the stitch marker were a knit and purl (the last 2 stitches of the sequence)…then start the sequence again…and this will happen the same way at each stitch marker for that row. Easy to check your work and quickly correct your work. Hope I’m making sense lol.

      The sequence will continue to shift but will shift the same at each stitch marker. I came up with some rules for the parallelogram scarf. Now I want to go read what I wrote. I loved that project too. Keeping track with stitch markers is the key to my success.

  • I am working on a bias knit and using markers to make sure my count is correct. Every 4-6 rows, I shift the markers a few stitches. With a lot of my knit projects, I do a lot of counting between markers so I don’t need to frog or tink back. Sometimes it is hard to count to 3, let alone 10, but saves me in the long run.

  • Thank you so much for this. Yes, counting by 3 does lead to little extra purls. Grrr. Honestly, I’ve never come home from a knitting event and immediately cast on, but the Marlogram could not be ignored. So much fun!
    Squid Ink is gorgeous and shows off the pattern beautifully. Ah, so many pearls of wisdom in so few paragraphs!

  • Umm, Kay, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but I can’t see any actual marling happening with your scarf…..the blue is lovely though, and I love the gentle transition to the purple! Maybe some marling is hiding there?

    • Kay, don’t panic! You are not imagining it. I see it, down there on the bottom edge (bottom referring to photo orientation). Very very subtly shading to purple.

    • OH IT’S MARLED. Very tonal, low-contrast and small stitches but it’s there. I do want to try a high-contrast combination now, though.

      • Low contrast is the marling for me. Using yarns that are almost the same adds so much depth to the color—a useful trick decades ago before semi-solids became more common. Your scarf illustrates this beautifully.

      • Clearly I will need to see this in person then! My computer screen just isn’t doing it justice!

    • It’s so subtle! It just adds a little bit of shading and slowly it’s more alive than you expected.

  • Normally I am a woman of many words. That’s gorgeous. That’s all.

  • Does it matter if you pull one skein from the middle and the other skein from the outside? Just curious.

  • The marlogram is on my list to knit

  • Counting to 10 made a HUGE difference for me, also. My original mantra of “3-3, 3-1” had way too many threes to keep the count when my mind started to relax and wander about. Will try knitting 3 through the back today. Enjoy!

    • I tried the same thing, counting to 6 then counting to 4–no good!

      • This squid ink marl is gorgeous! I’m going through a “blue “ phase and squid ink is one of the best! I’m using it for a picket fence afghan with a box of minikins. Someone here came up with that brilliant idea. Hopefully I’ll have enough leftover to make the Marlogram.

  • I love your description, its so relatable. Now I just need to feel it, its gorgeous!

  • Gorgeous!!!!!!!!

  • Oh Kay, you rule-breaker, you with the devil may care attitude, you wild thing! I love that you cheated and started early so you could share your wisdom with us. It’s really beautiful!

  • Lifelines, baby. Lifelines.

  • I loved the humor and honesty in your post.
    Ok! I have been holding out because I have so much yarn on hand.
    But they are my favorite colors! So I am going to buy the Squid!!

  • Yes, the count to 10 worked for me. I was ready to give up the cowl. Now it is smooth sailing. The knit 3 together into the back loop works for me also. However, it doesn’t look the same to me as the knit 3 together to the front. I like the symmetry of the edges being the same. I seem to have mastered the looseness that is needed for the knit 3 together from the front. Thank you for the tips. I am using the melon and the dusk colorway–not sure I’ll like it in the end but will continue. Color throws me sometimes.

  • Beautiful! I can’t wait to cast on, but I’m trying to be good and finish a small project that’s on my needles first. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  • Thank you for the candid report, Kay! I’m sold, bought the e-copy of #19, cast on a mini-Marlogram. I am marker-dependent but here, at a glance, when I see i’ve done 3 purls, the next purl bit after K3 will be a 1. On the dec rows, I tried k3tbl and k3tog, both look lumpy, doing central double dec i for a smoother edge. This is happy knitting!

  • So beautiful!

  • Thanks for making me smile this morning! And now I am really tempted to try marling.

  • Kay, your tips sent me to my MDK cart to buy the yarn for the cowl. I loved making the parallelogram so I’m sure I will enjoy this one to as long as I always remember to count to 10.

  • Sooo. I haven’t started a Marlogram scarf yet, but I am currently on Parallelogram scarf 3. And I use stitch markers, of a sort, to keep track of every 10 stitches and I see no reason it wouldn’t work for the Marlogram. The stitch markers I use are actually those small rubber band things that are/were popular for making bracelets. They easily slip onto a finger when they need to be moved and slip back onto the needle after the 10th stitch even more easily. Be warned though, eventually you will either “shoot” one across the room (or car or wherever) and/or have one break. I keep a healthy supply in my knitting bag for just those reasons. (Side note: Don’t let your kids (or grandkids) see them or you may find yourself short on markers and heavy on bracelets.)

  • I bought 2 balls of each of 2 colors, to make a Marlogram scarf for each of my 2 daughters-in-law. I’m using 2 balls of the same color, pulling one from the center and one from the outside, for each scarf. I love all the comments on the pattern and counting to 10, etc.–very helpful! I have finished one and have started the 2nd. My reason for writing is that I am a bit disappointed in the colors. They don’t seem true to what I saw on the screen. The colors on the screen seem much more saturated and rich and vibrant than they turned out in “real life”. The one I’ve finished shows a dark mauve to pink to cream (and back), but in real life the cream is much more beige. It’s not because of the marl; the section in the middle of the scarf where you use essentially the same color from both balls are what I’m unhappy about. I wonder if your photographers/graphic designers tweak the colors? I really count on the colors in the photos being true. Is there anything I can do to make sure I’m seeing what I will actually get?

    • Did you try taking a look at the colors on the Freia Fibers website? I can’t remember if I noticed any color differences from MDK, but there are significantly more colorways available than what MDK has.

      • Good idea! Thanks for the suggestion. I think I just need to be much more mindful of what the inner colors look like.

  • Thanks a heap and a bundle for the k3tog TBL tip. You may now ignore my email query about this. Glad I’m not the only one who hates k3tog!