Wander: The Magic of Marling

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Marling is an engaging way to add texture, depth, and interest to your projects. Some yarns are dyed as marls: 1+ ply is a different color than the other(s). Cascade Ecological twist colors are a good example. The first color is very clearly a marl, but the second is much more subtle.

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Cascade Eco Wool in #9016 – Silver Night Twist (left) and Cascade Eco Wool in #9004 – Ecru Beige Twist (right)

You can easily create this effect yourself! Just hold 2 or more strands of different color yarn together. That’s it! Take off, hold anything and everything together. This is great for stash-busting because we tend to gravitate towards a particular color palette. The odds that you have colors that will play well together are high.

  • hold different weights together, I love a lace with nearly any weight
  • hold similar colors together for subtle interest
  • hold opposite colors for intensity
  • hold a speckle or variegated with a solid
  • hold 1 color constant, changing the other as you go to fade
  • hold a mohair/silk or any silk lace with a wool, cotton, or linen to add loads of depth and texture

 I tried a bunch of marling with the swatches below. US size 7 for both.

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As far as what needle size to use, I recommend swatching. Swatching also lets you know if that yellow sock really goes with that fuzzy opal mohair. Don’t forget that the intensity of your marl will vary in stockinette and garter.

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IMG_7861Emily’s Ships & Seaside Cowl is a great example of what a single strand of mohair lace can do – check out the yellow in the white section. Here, she used Cascade Eco Wool and a single strand of Tweed Silk Cloud from Shibui, an especially sweet laceweight with the added texture of tweed!

My favorite for marling right now is Hedgehog Lace. It’s a boatload of yardage, clocking in at 1312 yards. The speckles and intensely saturated semi-solids make for easy impact. I’d pair the speckles with a neutral background to get a nice pop each time the specks show up. Remember when you first started knitting with hand dyed and would stop to stare at the perfect blip of pink on the left leg of that stitch? This will bring the feeling back.

Making Marls by Ceceilia Campochiaro, is a beautiful reference book. Loads of swatch by swatch samples and patterns. A Ravelry search will reveal plenty of patterns written as marls. Don’t forget that you can marl almost anything! Start looking at plain stockinette or garter patterns and imagine applying this technique. Our Q2 KAL is the perfect place to try it – silk or linen held with anything else – airy garter on big needles, lace with pops of color, tops with extra depth. Marling adds magic to any project! 

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Let me know what you’re thinking of marling, or have marled!

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