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Dear Ann,

Happy almost-Christmas to you and yours and all and sundry! Hope you are getting ready to hunker down with the beloveds and gaze upon something twinkly, if only each other.

Last weekend I needed easy knitting for a two-night train trip to Rhode Island. My Striped Marl Hat was not qualified for the job, because it was at the awkward teenage phase of needing to be transferred to double-points, or two circulars, for the last few crown decreases, and I do not do DPNs on public transportation. The obvious solution: cast on something new.

It’s Swarfin’ Time

A fresh new packet of five skeins of Woolfolk’s luscious Tynd had arrived for my Swarf, so I tossed it in my tote with a circular needle in what I hoped would be a gauge-worthy size, and off I went.

Winding 223 yards per skein in the cramped quarters allotted to me by Amtrak was harder than I thought it would be. It was was one of those 4 seats around a folding table situations, and the other three people really wanted the table folded down, so it was a little bit hunchy, but I persevered. And that ended up being the most difficult part of my Swarf experience.

The Swarf itself fairly flew! In the few knitting hours available to me over a convivial weekend, I made it all the way to the last 16 rows of the front.

After the bright colors of my Color Explosion Throw and my latest Marlogram Scarf, Tynd’s softly glowing neutrals are very compelling. The Tynd colors have a depth that the word neutral doesn’t convey. If these are neutrals, they are rich, lustrous neutrals that I want in my life all the time. If this is what a tasteful palette is, guess who’s come down with a sudden and unexpected case of Exquisite Taste! Your girl, me!

Tynd’s colors are lush to begin with. When you marl them, they melt into each other. My colors A, B, C, D, and E are: 12, 17, 19, 32 and 33.

Here’s the only problem: I just want to keep going. What a luxurious scarf this would make, if I kept on in this palette, occasionally adding something a bit unexpected to the mix, like the gold of color 27, or the inky carbon of color 05.

At this width, knit to a long enough length to double-wrap around the neck, it would be a gorgeous scarf for someone who likes their scarves to envelop them, to make a statement. (That would be me.) But if I narrowed the width by one repeat of the texture pattern (16 stitches), and knit it to a mere 36-inch length, it would be perfect for the type of person who likes a scarf to fold neatly inside their coat, without adding bulk. I’m always looking for a scarf like that, as I have people like that on my list, and it’s hard to find a scarf pattern that is small and simple enough for them to want to wear, and enough fun for me to want to knit it. This is the one!

Obligatory portrait mode.

I’m sticking with the Swarf. I have the perfect jacket for it, and I am determined to make my Swarf dreams into my Swarf reality. But in my mind I’m already casting on two more scarves in this simple—simply luxurious—texture pattern. But I would request that in our mini-Swarfalong coming up in early January (get on board, everyone!)—scarves be permitted, in addition to Swarves.




  • Happy holidays!! I just love the two colors you used at the bottom – the light blue and the cranberryish ones- would look so great with jeans, or pajamas! What are those two colors Kay?

    • Hi Val, Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of my labels but they are among these 5: 12, 17, 19, 32 AND 33

      Here is where the Tynd be found:

      • Thanks Kay.

  • Lovely handwork & color selection!

  • You. Crack. Me. Up! “…so I tossed it in my tote with a circular needle in what I hoped would be a gauge-worthy size” and “in my mind I’m already casting on two more ___” You expressed in two phrases my entire knitting life! You are marlvelous!

    • Actually I was impressed: I have been known to put a couple of balls of yarn and a hopeful choice of needle into the tote with no idea what I will be knitting with them, Kudos for having a plan!

  • I love my marled scarf (one panel of the gorgeous throw). Just waiting for the opportunity to wear it. Could be a bit of a wait since I live in FL but it is worth the wait!

    • I hope you get your scarf weather soon, Nan! Your autobiography title: Waiting for a Breeze: A Florida Knitter’s Tale.

  • You balled skeins as a fourth around an Amtrak table? Wow. The Perseverance Prize goes to you!

  • Thick or narrow scarf, yes! But also… another marled blanket??

  • I’m so glad I git that Field Guide. I can now hardly wait for Christmas to be over so I can make myself something!

  • Tynd + Swarf = soft, squishy fun!!! I missed the two-day weather window to wear it in Dallas this week, but can’t wait for it to be coldish again to wear it out into the wild (aka Trader Joe’s or work Zoom meeting)!!

  • I like the idea of the scarf, perhaps even slightly narrower and intended to be wrapped twice around the neck. I really don’t like the giant cowls and scarves that seem to be at serious risk of being adult versions of those rigid plastic baby bibs with the cup at the bottom.

  • Loved this article! First time heard of you and your marling!! Love them!!

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