It’s fun when we’re both knitting the same thing, in this case: Cecelia Campochiaro’s Color Explosion Throw from Field Guide No. 19: Marls.
I adore the warm, rich colorway Cecelia chose for the photography sample, and apparently so do our fellow knitters—those glorious bundles of Felted Tweed are flying off the shelves.
But I also am the proud owner of a plastic bin filled with single balls and remnants of Felted Tweed from projects we’ve done from Kaffe Fassett’s Field Guides (No. 13 and 16, SUCH FUN).
In a flush of stash busting, or of tidying up with Kon Mari, or whatever you may call it, I decided to cook up my own Color Explosion Throw, using these tasty ingredients from my yarn pantry.
(It was almost as easy to figure out as the recipe for Potato Chip Omelette, which, when I finally looked it up, is: beaten eggs + potato chips + olive oil, fry it up and be transported to a tapas bar in Spain. You’re welcome!)
The pattern for the Color Explosion Throw calls for 2 balls each of 8 colors, and 3 balls each of 3 more colors. So: a total of 11 colors.
To preserve the overall color mixiness and balance of the Color Explosion Throw, I wanted to get as close as possible to 11 colors, but I wasn’t going to be too literal about that.
I sorted through my Felted Tweed, pairing up balls of the same color. I had 6 colors that I could do that with.
To get the other 5 colors, I put together single balls and partial balls of shades that were fairly close to each other. So: my Color Explosion will have a few more colors in it than the original, but given the closeness of the shades, I don’t think this will be perceptible. Make it work!
What about those 3 colors that need 3 balls? I decided to come up with a solution later, when I run out of a color. By then I think I’ll have an opinion about whether I need to acquire 3 more balls of colors that I’m already using, or if I can keep going back to my leftovers for new colors.
Here’s my first cut:
I removed some of the colors on the right to get down to 5 colors, but forgot to take a picture. I’ll surprise you!
If it looks a lot like the cool colorway for Kaffe Fassett’s Kites Throw and Kites Cushion in Field Guide No. 16, that is no coincidence. The fact that Kaffe chose many of these colors gave me a boost of confidence that they would work well together, with nice surprises when they started mixing it up.
If you’re not starting with a kit, I’d suggest aiming for a good balance between light and dark. If you’re working with Felted Tweed, it’s such a well-designed palette that it’s going to look great even when unexpected pairings happen. If you’re working with another yarn (like you are doing with Mohonk Light, Ann), try not to worry too much about what goes with what. Trust the process! With so many different marls, you are going to like some individual marls better than others, but the big picture is what’s important.
Shake and Bake
Find yourself two bags large enough to hold 1 ball of all 11 colors. Put one ball of each color in Bag #1.
To start, for the first marl, pick 2 colors. Any two colors, but let’s call them A & B. Don’t think about it too much.
After that first row of boxes is complete, you are going to drop color A, and place it in Bag #2. Draw another color at random from Bag #1, we’ll call this color C. Knit the next row of boxes with colors B and C marled together. At the end of this row of boxes, you’ll drop color B, put it in Bag #2, and draw a new color (color D) from Bag #1.
The recipe is simple: after every row of boxes, you cut the yarn that has now been used in two rows of boxes, and add a new color, which you’ll now use for 2 rows of boxes.
When Bag #1 is empty, it becomes Bag #2, your discard bag. Continue drawing one new color and dropping the old (twice-used) color for each new row of boxes. Try not to edit, but if you must edit, enjoy that—you do you!
When a color runs out, retrieve its mate (its match or its near-match) from your reserve of 11 more balls/colors.
As I draw my color for a new row of boxes, the only reason for rejecting a color is if it has already been marled with the exact same color. No repeats! Sometimes my inner editor doesn’t like a particular combination—too dark! too light! too pink!—but I power through that feeling, remembering that it’s impossible to see the overall mix until the project is much further along.
Whee! It’s so much fun, and it’s perfect background knitting for Zooms, car rides, and binge-watching.
I just started my second strip, so look out—I’m gaining on you!
P.S. MARLING 4EVER! On Tuesday, November 2, we’ll kickoff #MDKmarlalong featuring the designs of Field Guide No. 19: Marls. We will have prizes, Zooms, conversation and aid in the Lounge, all sorts of hoopla and whoop-de-do, so please get yourself ready to join us. WIPs welcome!