It’s all about marling, darling.
Hi Friends! Thanks for visiting the Kenyarn blog! Many of you reached out to me via Instagram stories with the request for me to do a little write up on my 'Marl-o-Mania' baby blanket! Although I am not formally writing up the pattern or having it tested or edited in ANY way, I still thought I would share my general experience, the written pattern that I've been using, and some helpful tips and tricks I've learned when using this technique! Here’s a shot of my progress thus far!
So, what is marling?
Marling refers to the holding of two or more strands of yarn when working a knit or crochet piece. This technique is super helpful when stash busting, as it allows you to use lower weight yarns held together to create a thicker yarn for a heavier gauge! For example, I often hold two strands of fingering weight yarn together to create a worsted-weight gauge. Such is the case in my Spinal Wrap - an oversized shawl with worsted weight gauge, that perfectly plans swapping in and out color strands for an amazing fade. Another great example of this is my Be Bold Beanie pattern. The pattern calls for a bulky weight gauge, however is knit with two strands of DK! (See below)
You mean this technique can save me money?
For me, saving money by stash busting is always an incredible opportunity. Who doesn’t love the feeling of using up beautiful hand dyed yarn that’s been sitting on your shelf? For me, marling also allows me to create incredible color palettes. In the case of my Be Bold Beanie, I held one strand of jet black DK and a skein of rainbow speckled DK to create almost a houndstooth effect! The possibilities are endless! Some famous designers who love using marling in their pieces are Stephen West with his Marled Magic Shawl, Jessie Mae Designs with her Very V-Neck Raglan, and Carina Spencer with one of my personal all-time favorite patterns: the Colorshift Cowl!
In starting my Marl-o-Mania, I knew that I wanted the weight of the blanket to be PLUSH with lots of squish. I decided to start by selecting 8-10* skeins of Cirrus Fingering weight yarn from my stash. I selected the colors based off their contrast, but also wanted to pay close attention to how they all looked as a group. Feel free to also use a TON of mini skeins, or just odds and ends from old projects! The beauty of this project is that yardage is entirely dependent on how big you want your blanket. For my blanket, I decided on a 32”x 46” sized blanket, just big enough to pack in a baby bag or drape over the stroller during cold winter walks!
*depending on your pattern, you may need more or less than this. Also full disclosure— I am still working on my blanket and this is *absolutely* a guesstimate!
So how do I start this project?
What you’ll need:
2. Size US 15 circular knitting needles on a 30 inch cord. I always prefer to use my Chiagoo set, but any type of needle is fine! Prepare to add length to your cord for larger blanket sizes.
3. A yarn bowl or basket. (I’ve linked to the exact one I use!) The reason I recommend having one of these, is so that the yarn is not rolling around or becoming tangled within the other strands. Pro tip: Always have the yarn strands draped over the arm of the couch to keep the strands pressed up against a surface. It helps avoid tangling within the strands. (I am a continental knitter and a right handed knitter. I usually position myself so that I have the arm of the couch to my left with the yarn basket on the floor and the strands up and over the fabric of the couch’s arm. This helps to create tension too! ) ONLY pull from your yarn cakes when needed, and be sure to hold all eight strands evenly, so that you are not getting extra slack on some strands and not the others.
Gauge: 8 stitches x 8.5 rows in a 4” square.
1. CO 70 stitches with four colors of Cirrus Fingering weight yarn, meaning you will be working the pattern at all times with eight strands of yarn.
2. Knit to the last three stitches of the row. Slwyif the last 3 stitches.
3. Repeat step 2 until desired length of the blanket. As one cake of yarn runs out, add two new strands of a new color as you see fit!
4. Bind off loosely. Steam block loosely.
There you have it folks, your very own Marl-O-Mania baby blanket! It's not rocket science, but learning how to hold your yarn and position your body when knitting will take some time! I always recommend practicing marling with a swatch with half the strands called for, then doing a second swatch with all of the strands to ensure you're able to practice before starting your pattern! I hope this little guide was helpful and I cant wait to see what you make! Feel free to share your projects by tagging me @isthatkenyarn on social channels and using the hashtag #kenyarnmarlomania - Happy Knitting!