June 01, 2020

Bookish. - Issue 20

Bookish by amirisu

Making Marls: A Sourcebook for Multistrand Handknitting

Reviewed by Meri

Published in 2020 by Chroma Opaci Books

320 pages. $65.00

ISBN: 978-0-9863381-1-3

Bookish by amirisu

I must confess that when Cecelia first told me about her book idea, I was thinking "Marls?," unimpressed, like "yes, it's using two strands together, right?" So if you feel the same, I highly recommend taking a look at this book.

The history of marls is quite enlightening. Different words were used for using multiple strands of yarns in knit fabric, such as clouded, mottled, speckled, mélange and marbled in the past, and these terms can be spotted in historic documents dating back to the 17th century. It's such an old and common technique, yet nobody bothered to explored the extensive possibilities of it until now.

Several modern designers who have been using marled fabric in their creations are introduced,  demonstrating how the technique has survived to this day mostly out of practicality – to make the most of the yarn at hand (including salvaged yarn from old sweaters), and to create more colors with only a color choices. These designers expand the possibilities beyond the practical to achieve their desired results, be it a gradient look, new texture, or an interesting graphic.

From this, we can learn how to achieve the outcome we desire by combining a few colors of yarn. 

As in the first book Cecilia studied how knit and purl stitches can be combined to create various textures, this time she studies how colors can be created using different yarns as a medium. How are two strands different from three strands held together? How can you create a gradient look more effectively? You can find all the answers here in this book.

For each section of marl techniques, a few simple and beautiful patterns are introduced. They seem like good mindless projects, perfect for traveling, or for a time like this, when we are stuck at home watching our favorite shows. 

If you are a knitwear designer, this book will definitely inspire you to try out a new marled look. The possibilities are infinite.