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There was a time I shied away from holding two colors of the same yarn and knitting them together, but using Cecelia Campochiaro’s techniques and working on her Color Explosion Throw made me a convert to marling! This project marvelously combines a 18-row geometrical pattern of alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette boxes with a color change—one strand at a time—at each repeat. 

The rhythmical combinations of the design are hypnotizing, mesmerizing and captivating. And now I am totally in. Here are my top tips and wee tweaks.

a Color Explosion Throw panel … as a cowl

Backward Wrap

While working the geometric knit/purl pattern, I wrapped the yarn backward for each of the first purl stitches across the row. Doing so shortens the distance from knit—where the yarn is in the  back—and purl, where the yarn is to the front, creating a smoother and more consistent line for the transition between the stitches. If you tend to get uneven columns of knit to purl to knit this might be a great  trick to try.

On the following row you will need to knit through the back loop of the adjusted, backward-wrap purl stitch so that it’s mounted correctly. You’ll soon get into the rhythm of this small, but powerful bit of tweaking.

3NBO but make it flat

To join the completed strips, you simply pick up and knit a new stitch in each of the neatly slipped edge stitches—up one strip, then down its neighbor. Choose a single color for each join and unite two strips with a 3NBO, then join the double wides down the center.

For the flat (not ridged) chain stitch of the Color Explosion Throw sample photographed in the Field Guide, Cecelia provided a link to a helpful YouTube video demonstrating the technique we used. (Thanks, P. Ricci, for sharing this with the knitting world!) It’s a wee bit more fiddly than a classic 3NBO, but worth the effort if you’re after the flat chain effect it produces.

Color Glee

Knitting the Field Guide No. 19 sample, I could not wait to swap out each one of the colors to see how it played with its new neighbor. Rowan’s Felted Tweed is ideal for pairing because the colors are rich and complex, with great depth in each strand, which makes combining 2 shades magical. Not to mention the variety of shades will make you dizzy with glee. 

I followed the sequence outlined in the pattern while combining the colors in the throw, but in preparation for teaching a marling class at my LYS, I am making these darling and useful micro swatches—choosing my own adventure! 

Can you guess which direction my needles and my 20+ year stash of old and new Felted  Tweed shades might take me next?

Add it to your toolkit.

Here’s how to save this article in your MDK account with one click.

About The Author

A passionate perpetual knitter, published designer and enthusiastic teacher, Nell Ziroli continues to be inspired by luminaries and students alike. See all her designs here.


  • Thanks, Nell, for this excellently helpful post. But Inquiring Minds Want to Know: what in the world are those beautiful little squares under your micro swatches?

    • That’s the beautiful tile countertop at my LYS! If you need more info DM me in the Lounge and I will ask!

  • The P. Ricci technique produces a fabulous seam. I think it will take some practice to get the hang of it!

  • As always a Nell tweak is is a swell tweak. Sorry still need more coffee to be clever. Love the fabric. Colors are beautiful and can’t wait to see your under the sea and through the forest next project! ❤️❤️

  • Thank you Nell. I think I’m taking my felted tweed on an upcoming trip for a scarf/cowl so will try to remember this purling tip!

  • I love so many of your patterns, but I am a senior citizen and can not pay the price for the kit. Please make patterns available without buying the whole kit. There was a v neck sweater I really love because it’s side to side, but can’t get it separate. This is ridiculous.

    • You can get the pattern on Ravelry

    • The pattern is available in the Marls Field Guide. Purchased as an e-book, it is $9.99.

      • If all she wants is the one pattern, $10.00 is a bit expensive too.

        • I was just responding to her apparent belief that patterns are not available “without buying the whole kit”.

  • The backward wrap purl stitch is a game changer and so simple. Thank you!!

    • Oh goodness. Do you know if there’s a video tutorial available that demonstrates this backward wrap purl technique? I’m a Continental knitter and have a hard time wrapping my head around wraps. I’m definitely getting uneven columns in my throw. Will they even out after blocking, or am I just being a hopeful novice?

      • It’s not a video, but there are step by step photos in this post (where the technique is called the “lazy purl”):

        It’s the kind of thing that sounds more confusing than it is once you have needles and yarn in front of you, so I encourage hands-on experimentation while reading!

      • When you purl a stitch, you are inserting your needle as if to purl and wrapping the yarn around the needle from back to front, then pulling the stitch onto the right needle. Reverse it and wrap the needle from front to back.

      • I am a thrower and can’t wrap my head around this either. I don’t quite get wrap purl stitch backward????

  • So helpful—thank you.

  • nell i know this is not exactly on topic for your purling technique, but i thought i might note that there seems to be a typo in the marling field guide…that i dis
    covered when trying to do the marl progressions…on the third changeout of color, it says change from DJ to AJ where in fact it should be BJ thus only changing the A to B…hope you can check and see if you agree, and let the errata folks know if i am correct…

    • The errata is posted on ravelry

      • If you scroll down, here’s a link at the bottom of this (and I believe every) MDK page that has all of the Corrections.

      • thanks, I wondered if it was noted somewhere…

    • I noticed this too.

    • I agree with you that the third marl should be BJ, and made that notation on my pattern. I also sent that possible correction to MDK.

    • I think you are right because all of the other color changes are one color only, not two. In my book, I crossed out the A and wrote in a B.

  • Thank you, Nell, for the excellent backwards wrap purl stitch tip. I just cast on this morning and am doing as you suggest. Also, I’ll definitely be checking out the special 3NBO when I get to that stage.
    Thank you!

  • What is does that mean, to wrap a purl stitch backward? It would be great if you could please explain this technique. Thanks!

    • Normally a purl stitch is formed by wrapping the yarn counter-clockwise around the needle. To wrap the purl stitch backward, you wrap the yarn clockwise around the needle.

  • I never knew I was a combination knitter under someone pointed out that I purled wrong. Now I embrace it and simply knit though the back loop. I love that the mistake I was ashamed of years ago turns out to be a superpower! (And I kind of think all those twisted stitches on the sweater in question look pretty cool.)

  • Can anyone tell me how many skeins/colors I would need to make a cowl (as shown in the photo)? I’m an “advanced beginner” knitter, and would like to try this out first on a smaller project.

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