Ode to Anna

Hi, Knitters,

I mean just look at her. This is Anna Maltz.

Anna is a London-based designer I have been following for more than a few years now. I am a big fan for so many reasons but mainly for her unabashed use of color and humor in her designs. This past November 2018 I had the pleasure of meeting Anna while we taught next to each other at a Vogue Knitting Live event in MInneapolis. After meeting her I loved her even more. We spoke on a panel together about color (we are on this same panel again on Jan. 27th, 2019 at 12:45 in the Market at Vogue Knitting Live NYC along with Andrea Mowry and Nathan of Sockmatician!) and her stories were so funny and eloquent at the same time. She even used the term "chicken-y" in one of her answers. I want to steal that! She's funny, warm, down-to-earth, talented, smart, and clever, all on top of being a first-rate designer, writer and pattern writer. Really, I recommend getting to know her and supporting her for all of these reasons. 

Here are some links to follow and to get to know Anna:

Click here for the Anna Maltz website! Check out her books, Marlisle & Penguin! Both available for digital download on Ravelry, too.

Click here for Anna on Instagram @sweaterspotter!

Click here for Anna's designs and books on Ravelry!

Today, I want to mainly talk about a new technique that Anna invented. Yes, I said Anna INVENTED a NEW technique in knitting and it's called Marlisle. This is really something to behold and to get excited about. Sometimes people come up with new ideas in knitting that are clever but they aren't all that practical or fun to actually use in your knitting. Marlisle is innovative, fun, beautiful, practical, addicting, and extremely clever. I dare to say it may be even more fun than traditional stranded knitting. And this is a lot coming from me, a huge fan and knitter, teacher and sometimes designer of stranded knitting. 

I am going first to go down a little memory lane with a couple of my Anna Maltz knits and then I am going to talk a little more about Marlisle, what it is and introduce our new Marlisle Zazie Cowl Kit!

But first... 

I first noticed Anna Maltz when I saw this sweater design in Pom Pom Magazine in 2014. I fell in love with this sweater called Solje. Click here to see Solje on Ravelry!

What grabbed me about Solje is that I had never seen anything like it before as far as the colorwork yoke combined with the all-over lace pattern. It was new and fresh. There was something so fantastic about Anna's design that there was no way I wasn't going to knit a Solje of my own. Anna's pattern was clearly written and very easy to follow. 

I have worn this sweater nonstop and I have used it as the backdrop for many of my toy photos. I absolutely love everything about it.

After Solje, I noticed another cardigan design from Anna called Kermis in 2015. Kermis came out through Infinite Twist, which is a really great yarn company if you're not familiar. I have done some shawl design work for Infinite Twist. I was gifted this kit for Kermis through Infinite Twist. 

Click here for Kermis on Ravelry!

I love this bright, textured, colorful cardigan. It is light as air and was a complete joy to knit. I'm thinking about knitting another one of these in Home Fingering Weight. In fact, it's really on my list of things to knit. 

Anna released a book called Penguin in 2015. All 10 of the patterns are available for individual purchase on Ravelry. After sitting on the panel with Anna at VK Live and admiring her Teenguin cardigan in person as she wore it, I purchased the pattern and this one, too, is now on my list. Click here for Teenguin on Ravelry! I think I'll knit this in natural colors of Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted.

Now, jump forward to 2018. I was teaching at a retreat in Door County, Wisconsin and my friend Rebecca was attending. When I saw her she immediately said she had to show me a cowl she made using Barrett Wool Co. Home Worsted. It was the Zazie Cowl by Anna Maltz. Rebecca was absolutely thrilled with the outcome. A couple of days later she had it with her and she was right, I could not take my eyes off of the cowl. I had heard of Anna's Marlisle technique but I didn't really know what it was all about. When I saw Rebecca's Zazie Cowl I couldn't figure out the amazing textured colorwork fabric and how it was created but I knew I LOVED it! 

Here is Rebecca Yohe in her Zazie Cowl. This is her photo. Click here to follow Rebecca @yopurlygirl on Instagram!  

Here we are together at the retreat. Rebecca wearing her beautiful Zazie Cowl worked in Home Worsted Weight in the Morning Sky and Bear colorways. It is the squishiest, softest fabric.

Here you can get a better look at the Zazie Cowl. The use of stranded colorwork along with marled (holding two strands together) plus the use of purl stitches for texture all combine to create this fantastic chevron pattern.

Don't you just love it?

I thought it was so funny that Rebecca took photos of me photographing her cowl! I had to throw this in. 

So what is Marlisle in a nutshell?

Here I am proudly wearing my own Zazie Cowl. The Marlisle technique is actually easier and more fun than traditional colorwork. Sometimes you are working with a single strand of yarn doing stranded knitting which is the "isle" part of Marlisle as in Fair Isle. And sometimes you are holding both strands together which is the "Marl" part of Marlisle as in the term marled, which refers to holding two strands of contrasting color yarn together to get a marled look to the fabric.  

In the Zazie pattern, Anna explains the technique very well. It is incredibly simple to understand and you use a very clear and simple chart to knit the cowl. Honestly, you'll have it down in a matter of minutes. 

There is a much more thorough explanation for the Marlisle technique in Anna's book, Marlisle. Click here for information about purchasing the Marlisle book!

The Zazie Cowl is the perfect introduction to using Anna's newly invented Marlisle technique. I want to knit so many more patterns of hers out of her Marlisle book. I hope you'll want to join me.

Click here to see all of the patterns in Marlisle on Ravelry! The Gingnam Cowl is next up for me and then the Trembling sweater is after that. 

So in conclusion, I asked Anna if we could create a Zazie Cowl Kit to celebrate her genius! I really asked her in this way. I am blown away by her creativity, the joy in her work, her love of being clever and funny and most of all her all-out groundbreaking knitting! 

I really wanted to bring the Zazie Cowl Kit to all of you because I think you'll enjoy it and fall in love with it and with Anna just like I have. 

Click here for our 5 curated colorways for the Zazie Cowl Kit!

I knit my Zazie in the James and March Wind colors in Home Worsted in the medium size and I love it. 

Thanks, Anna Maltz, for bringing so much good, newness, fresh ideas to the knitting world! You deserve every bit of success that comes your way. 


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