Marling and Me

By Kay Gardiner
November 12, 2020

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44 Comments
  • I love the wild abandon of “just knit” and marling allows the color changes to slide easily.
    I was wondering, on the linen cotton project, what you found to be the best joining method for adding a new skein?
    – JLinkinDC

    • I just switched and wove in the ends. They are invisible in the marling.

    • Oh finally something I can knit! I want to make this for my son fir a gift. He lives in South Carolina. What yarn do you recommend from MDK?

      • Speaking as someone from Georgia, a cotton/linen similar blend would be great. We get cold enough for wool, but not nearly as frequently. Two days ago it was 81 degrees here, Saturday morning? It’s 46 degrees.

  • This somehow looks so comforting – so what I need right now in this stressful time. Just knit, knit, knit work nothing to worry about. Love it.

  • This looks much like my zoom project. A gigantic version of Garter Squish combining a full bag of unloved alpaca/wool in a soft green with multiple colors of well aged mohair (scraps, partial balls and full balls) accumulated over the years. Wide stripes, narrow stripes and partial stripes. It was getting tame but I just volunteered at a fabric and yarn recycling center and came home with an assortment of scraps to add even more colors. Two or three colors together can be jarring but add enough colors and it all becomes glorious.

    • Fabric and yarn recycling center? That sounds dreamy, where is it?

  • I’m going to write a novel and call the main character “Bitsy Nubbins.” 🙂

    • Dang! Love it. Love the big blankie. Knit freely dear friends ❤️

  • I like your style to knit until you run out and then move on to another color. It’s random beauty which is very inspiring.

  • Being able to “just knit “ is the best therapy that I know. The day light just broke and I have my coffee, my dog is tucked under the covers and I have a mindless project in my lap. Life Is Good ❤️

  • Or you could say “it’s a big ‘un”! I like that better than whatever boi means. The work is beautiful.

  • I love the way it looks when one strand is white – like you colored it with crayons on white paper!

  • So please define marling. I love your blanket.

    • I think it’s as simple as holding two yarns together as you knit. I’ve done this, just didn’t know there was a word for it 😉 Love the blanket and the practice of just adding another yarn when you run out of one.

      • I would add that the colors are not the same, and colors are changed one at a time, to give a progressive overall change.

  • By Christmas 2021, it will be a scarf worthy of the fourth Doctor. You’ll need a Tardis.

  • Beautiful! I recently bought Making Marls and have been preoccupied with its ideas, too! I bought some lace-weight yarn in many colors and made micro-swatches of so many combinations. I love your improvisational approach! Only one thing I didn’t understand from your post- you said “my queue was empty” – does not compute!

    • I also purchased Making Marls and can’t leave it alone. It is a great reference book and I love her idea for making micro-swatches. I have lots of hand dyed skeins that are natural dyed so this will be fun.

    • If you belong to Ravelry, under the “notebook” tab at the top right of the screen, is “queue”. Here you can enter projects that are on your “to knit” list. Fortunately you can edit the list so that projects that were interesting 6 months ago but aren’t so exciting now can be moved down the list or removed to make room for your latest crush.

  • l love everything about this! Thanks for the idea.

  • Have you seen what designer Mary W. Martin is doing with marling? She combines it with slip stitches and cables to create designs that have DIFFERENT CABLES on each side of the fabric. So clever. So spectacular.

    • Wow, those are amazing! I just bought her Family Connections ebook. Three beautiful scarf/wraps. Thanks for the pointer, it’s hard to find all the great designers.

    • A: I didn’t know this! Thanks for intel.

    • Wow, Annie! Thanks for turning me on to Mary’s designs! This could be fun!

  • I’m currently doing a marled scarf/shawl. Size will be determined by the fact it’s lace weight yarn and how long I can tolerate doing little tiny stitches. It was supposed to be a striped pattern and it looked funky so I started over and marled it. MUCH better. It is addicting. Your blanket perhaps in a future field guide?

  • I’m shocked you don’t have more projects started. I assume you are slipping the stitch purlwise.I do think your blanket is grand and the scarf will be a treasure.

  • After reading this this morning, I broke out the oldest thing I knit that I still have — a big, boxy pullover I knit in college with a bunch of leftover yarns held together with black Red Heart I bought at Walgreen’s circa 1990. Maybe it’s time to make a new version?

  • Gorgeous work, and such satisfying knitting, feeling productive on too many calls! I have been doing this with an enormous (for me, anyway) Kaffe blanket based on the striped version in Field Guide 13! Every Zoom call. Last night someone finally asked me to stand up and show it off, LOL! Question, though – what did you do about blocking the beast??

    • My daughter and I blocked a large blanket she knit by laying a sheet on an oriental rug, stretching the wet/damp blanket to size and shape and pinning it with long T-pins. Worked wonderfully.

  • I’m interested to know what you learned about color theory.

    • Marling really brings home the Josef Albers teaching of how completely different a color looks depending on the color to which it is adjacent.

  • Because my bookshelves are full, I just sent my local library a request that they purchase a couple of copies. (I’m in Portland OR and between quarantine and winter coming, lots of knitting is happening!) Our wonderful library is closed, but you can put books on hold and get them via a curbside pickup appointment.

  • The Bob Cratchit reference I get—but am I the only one thinking of Scrooge and Jacob MARLey?

    • I’m assuming that is exactly what Kay meant!! 🙂 :

  • This is great! You must have watched Franklin Habit’s vlog on Comfort Knitting. (On YouTube)

    • Claudia C. thanks for this! I just went and watched his first vlog entry. I love reading his stuff, so it’s a delight to hear and see him. I’m working on Stephen West’s Garter Squish blanket and miles of garter is just what I needed!

  • I love reading Your email/blog. In fact I sometimes read it over a few times. I’m a beginner knitter. I have a friend who is a talent knitter. She is showing me the ropes. Thank you for bringing joy to my day.

  • I just got her book, she is amazing. I am sure that I will be dyeing my home spun for marling projects a lot in 2021!

  • Your blanket is lovely – can’t wait to start one! And I love the use of the bitsy nubbins for marling and/or many color changes. I can now justify saving all my small leftovers which continue to accumulate. 🙂 🙂

  • When I started knitting back in the Stone Age marling was the only way to get interesting yarn. So my second project ever was a sweater knit with two yarns held together. The main one was white, probably something like Cascade worsted. The other was pale blue skinny baby yarn that my mother had gotten when she was expecting me be a boy.

  • Mary Rumore- Thank you Kay. I enjoyed this article so much! I hope you will include more marling in future Snippets. The results are beautiful and it sounds relaxing as well.

  • This is lovely! I love self-created marls! Interestingly enough, marls were among of my first knitting adventures! Adventurous knitting techniques like cables, stranded knitting or lace? In the beginning, no. But yarn play? Oh, how I loved you from the start, including design-on-the-fly “fades” before I knew of the concept, and lots of general yarn switching in and out and marls upon marls. I must find Cecilia’s book so that I can see what other possibilities are out there!

  • I love this! Could you possibly provide a guide on how many stitches you cast on, and how many skeins in each stripe? What size will this end up being?