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Dear Kay,

Not gonna lie. I’m marling all the time. I’m sad when I’m not marling, and I’m happy when I am. I’ve got three projects on the go and two more to come any minute now!

My new marling project is the Spectra Sweater, star of Cecelia Campochiaro’s Field Guide No. 19: Marls. (Lookbook here.)

It’s been a week with a lot of scheming, dreaming, microswatching, whopperswatching, and feverish knitting.


I still don’t really have the hang of exactly what a batch of marls will look like. The colors I chose represent colors I typically don’t go for, as part of my continuing effort to Try New Colors.

So: dark gray, brown, gold, mint, lavender. Or, in the land of Isager Tvinni, these colors are 4s, 8s, 22s, 46s, and 12s. The one thing I knew about marling was that the five colors here were about to go on a magnificent journey of transformation. Who knew what would happen?


We just started carrying this Isager Tvinni yarn in the Shop. I must have some Danish DNA, given how deeply moved I am by this yarn. I LOVE YOU, TVINNI. ARE WE COUSINS? The pride of Denmark, Marianne Isager’s yarns have long been on my bucket list. Finally! We carry this swell yarn in 20 colors.

It took me forever to arrive at these five colors. (Here they’re hanging out in one of my old Bento Bags. We have new fresh Bento Bags in gray ticking and three solids in the Shop.)

Tvinni is crispy, light, and, in the five colors I chose, heathered. When held double, it becomes a DK-weight fabric that is light and wearable.


Marling changes everything when it comes to color. My first experiment was to make a batch of Cecelia’s microswatches. Four-row snack sizers to get a glimpse of what happens with various combinations.

Such moments of surprise—that gold that seems so loud softens and quiets down when marled with another color.


I made a big swatch. An exercise like this gives you a view of what will happen on a larger scale. It’s a sort of pixelation. What looks like a mess up close resolves into a color when seen at a distance.

I massively and totally fell for one particular combination, CM: seafoam minty fluffy green with a rich and noisy gold. I don’t know what it reminds me of, but I LOVE IT.

Knitting Like a Fool

To be clear, this is the Back Left. Here is a view of the orientation that I knitted this quarter of the sweater. Cast-on edge is at bottom.

I worked upward to the cuff. Next up: I’ll pick up along that center seam and make the second half of the back.

I’m freestyling my marling at this point—I ditched the stripes on the sleeve because I was so loving CM, my beloved combination. And I added 6 inches to the sleeve length.

What will happen next? I’m staying up late to find out.

I hope everybody’s having fun with all this marling business.




  • Your Spectra is looking really beautiful! It’s surprising what happens when holding 2 colors together.

  • This is so pretty.

  • I’m almost done with the back of this addictive knit and I’m adding length in solid color to the sleeves. This is addictive!

  • Amazing! What an adventure.

  • CM: lichen-like. And lovely ! gonna be great Ann

  • Beautiful. Starting to make me think beyond the color wheel. I’ve a long way to go before I am as adventurous as you but I can try!

  • I love the main color you discovered. Marling is great fun and full of surprises

  • I love that CM too. Learned to love marl-ing early. My most frequent compliments were on a navy blue and deep pink marled headband. It was a spontaneous choice – that was the fun of it.

  • The mint and gold remind me of a really good piece of turquoise and I’m always looking -and failing- to find the perfect good turquoise combination for my knitting.
    Good job.

  • I am finally working on the swarf, and marling does strange things. I wish I liked my color choices better. I’ll post a pic when it’s done, maybe magic will happen in the meantime.

  • When you stay up late to knit on, that’s happiness.

  • Oooh yeah, that CM combo is a winner. Best of all, I can see it working for a range of skin tones.

  • Excellent colors, Ann – they look good marled together, they would look good as solid stripes or color blocks. I love your “whopper” swatch and would be happy with a garment that continued that striping arrangement all the way across. I love side-to-side sweaters, btw. Vertical striping forever!

  • I want to add 6 inches to my sleeves also; so, did you need extra yarn and if so, how much?

  • Those colors

  • I so agree! I cannot leave one color plain! Mix and match and blend! Pants optional!!!

  • OMG that is pretty now I know I have to make it soon as my vanilla is done

  • I LOVE IT!!

  • The Spectra is next for me! When I saw it in the Field Guide post, I actually gasped out loud. I’ve been a marling fool for awhile now, a little marling in almost every project. I can’t wait to start this and I’ve got my Tvinni colors ready to go. I ordered exactly what is in the Field Guide sample – which isn’t very creative of me, but I just fell over with those colors. Your CM is gorgeous, like sunshine and the Caribbean sea.

  • Were you ever rewarded for stepping out of your color comfort zone!! And is that ever a metaphor for this space in time. How could you have known?

  • I’m at the same point with my Spectra, but I’ve come to screeching halt when I look at those sleeves. They are so small. Across all sizes, they seem impossibly narrow. I’m going back to my BO row and decreasing less. Looking forward to discovering more as this beauty comes to life.

  • Marling- surprises and mysteries in knitting. Of your swatches the first 6 colors of from the right make my heart beat faster, and mouth water. Why is that?
    I fell in love with marls since Stephen West’s marl scarf. I thought I’d exhausted my creativity there. But always hankered for a well constructed sweater in marls. AND I LOVE TVINNI!! This will be my next cast on- after my 5 UFOs are done. And I may just steal your color combos, they’re so delicious!!

  • As a new knitter – this is inspiration! I love your selections of colors and combinations. Oh the possibilities – so fun!!!

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