The hat knitting continues over here at FogKnits HQ. I’ve got four shawl projects in progress. All of them have entered the awkward late stage that isn’t close enough to the end to be exciting. They’ve progressed beyond the fun carry around stage though. They’re just big blobs of tedium at the moment. UGH! To relieve myself of such horrors, I’ve flung myself into the instant gratification pit that is MORE HATS.
It’s not as though I need something other than instant gratification but I love a hit of color play too. Hats are a great excuse to get out the scrap pile and play with color. This weeks hats are all about the marl — sometimes one color just isn’t enough!
As soon as I put these two colors together, I knew they’d be good friends. Neither one is terrible on it’s own but they’re certainly living their best life together. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Something about the barely pink with the varying shades of tan & brown grabbed me. The bright pink pops sealed the deal. I’m especially fascinated by how it’s a complex color while still maintaining a blank slate quality. I finished it off with a simple bit of surface crochet.
I figured that was my instant gratification for the week, now back to the grind with those shawls. That is until I saw a book on instagram called ‘Marlisle’. I dropped everything I was doing to investigate this interesting discovery. And boy am I glad. It’s my new favorite thing.
It’s a mashup of techniques that seems forehead-slappingly obvious, now that I’ve seen it. It’s simply marl (knitting with multiple strands) and fair isle combined. To knit this hat, I was either working two strands of yarn held double or working with a single strand leaving the second strand as a float across the back of the work. Insert mind-blowing emoji here. It’s brilliant in it’s simplicity and staggering in it’s limitless application. No exaggeration.
My library doesn’t have the book so this hat is first attempt to swatch/reverse engineer it. I love the result but definitely learned a few things that I’m sure the book details. My fair isle portion is a bit more subtle than what is presented in the book. I used two speckled yarns, one speckle + one solid probably gives results that more easily readable. I also stuck with stockinette. The patterns in the book definitely take advantage of texture as well. I’m sure stockinette spots on a background of garter stitch would make the spots pop more.
I’ll definitely be trying lots more variations on this theme. A few weeks back, I had the urge to put spots on all my knitting, Yayoi Kusama style. I was dreaming of a spotted shawl, with intarsia. As I slowly came to my senses, I scaled it back to a hat and even worked an intarsia in the round swatch. Needless to say, that ended with much cursing and a confident proclamation that duplicate stitch would be my preferred method. Once the cursing starts though, the project was relegated back to the idea stage for a while.
Turns out, I’d just been waiting to discover Marlisle. I’m dreaming of polka dots on all my knitting once again! (no really, ALL MY KNITTING) I’m looking forward to exploring this new technique in great detail. If you want to check it out, I recommend this podcast episode on youtube…
The designer, Anna Maltz, talks about the technique, shows off the sample garments and talks about inspiration and yadda yadda yadda. I added a bunch of the patterns to my library. I see much marlisling in my future.