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There is so much marling in the air. Everybody’s mixing and matching and combining—it’s like the whole world woke up and said, “HEY LET’S KNIT TWO YARNS AT ONCE IT’LL BE GREAT.”

And it pretty much is great.

Well, I’ve been obsessing about making a marled version of Amy Christoffers’s new Shakerag Top pattern from MDK Field Guide No. 6: Transparency. The original, superelegant, minimalist version uses one color of yarn to make the stripes. Some stripes are made with one strand, the others with two strands.

You can see how marling might be a thing to do here.

One of the most delectable moments when joining a knitalong is scheming up what a project will be.

I gaze upon many shades of Sylph at MDK World Headquarters. It’s pretty subtle stuff—grays and neutrals and colors from nature. As I thought about what my Marled Shakerag Top would be, these shades of cashmere/linen tantalized me.

I settled on Loam and Hush.

Marled stripes have a certain randomness to them, and I think this is going to be fun to see how it turns out when there’s a whole sweater of them.

How Much Yarn Do You Need?

Our technical editor Sue McCain cranked up her MarlMaster2000 to calculate how much of the two colors are needed to make a Marled Shakerag Top.

When using Sylph or Summerlite 4ply:

Size S (finished bust 39″): Main color: 3 skeins. Contrast color: 1 skein.

M, L, XL (finished bust 44″, 48″, 53″): Main color: 3 skeins. Contrast color: 2 skeins.

Sizes 2XL, 3XL (finished bust 57½”, 62½”): Main color: 4 skeins. Contrast color: 2 skeins.

Using other yarn?

Size S (finished bust 39″): Main color: 927 yds/829 m. Contrast color: 309 yds/283 m.

M, L, XL (finished bust 44″, 48″, 53″): Main color: 927 yds/829 m. Contrast color 618 yds/566 m.

2XL, 3XL (finished bust 57½”, 62½”): Main color: 1236 yds/1132 m. Contrast color 618 yds/566 m.

This little top is going to knit up so fast. If you’re in the mood, come check out the Shakerag Top Knitalong conversation just started in the Lounge. To be clear, all yarns are welcome, all marlers and one-shaders alike! It’s fascinating to see what yarns everybody’s using.


  • I need to knit this top, and I think the marled is fabulous in a stripe.

  • Ann, I’ve marled before and enjoy it immensely. But here’s my question: are you saying that 1 of the colors is knit with a single thread and the marl is of course knit with 2 threads. so there’s also a little extra substance to the marl that’s not there for the single colored yarn.

    • Exactly! The two-strand stripes are twice as dense as the single-strand stripes, so the effect is a subtle change in texture/density from stripe to stripe.

  • Yes!! So sporty and fun!!! Really great interpretation.

  • Loving the marled look. Thanks for example.

  • Love your marl!!! If only you sold arms to go with a sleeveless top!

    • Stay tuned! I may add some—I like a sleeve, too.

  • I have been a fan of two-yarn-at-once for a long time — double-stranded socks for extra warmth, two strands of crochet cotton for interesting effects. If I ddn’t have 50+ things in my Rav queue already I’d be all over this marled top.

  • You’re giving me IDEAS. I’ll be back after a little swatchfest…

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