SQWID Box The Fourth: Meet Designer Mary W Martin!

Feature image credit: Mary W Martin

Hello SQWID Box fans!

As you may know, we are launching our fourth SQWID box on February 14, 2022. This time we have collaborated with knitwear designer Mary W Martin to bring you an exclusive hat and cowl set.

Mary's current focus is on fission knitting, a technique which incorporates slip stitches on a marled background. The patterns she has created for us are called the "Know Your Filters" hat and cowl and use 6 main colours in 3 groupings plus one contrast colour.

We did a little Q & A with Mary to find out more about her and her designs.

Q. You have mentioned in other interviews that you were inspired to start designing after learning techniques from Lucy Hague's patterns, and after experiment with designs for friends. What is it about designing that you enjoy?

I love the iterative process of designing. When I try a new technique, the results (whether successful or not) make me think of how I can apply the technique in other situations. There seems to be no end to new things to try.

Q. What was your inspiration for the design of the "Know Your Filters" hat and cowl?

I have been interested in using 3 yarns with slip stitch knitting for a while. Knitting with 6 colours is a lot like knitting with 3 yarns, except in this case, you double the number of colours by holding the yarns in a marl.

Knitting simultaneously with 6 colours may sound scary or intimidating to many knitters. By creating filters/groupings for the colours, the pattern simplifies into something easily memorizable. Working this pattern makes you feel both like a rock star, as you are totally in control of the 6 yarns hanging off of your work, and like a magician, as the right colour always appears in your hand just as you need to use it.

Q. What basic skills or techniques should knitters know, or be willing to learn, in order to successfully knit one of your patterns?

They should be familiar with cabling.

Q. The "Know Your Filters" patterns use a technique that you have called Fission Knitting. What is Fission Knitting and how is it different from the other technique that you call Fusion Knitting?

Fission Knitting (Ravelry Link) uses marled knitting where the marl is broken apart (fission) to create the design. Different motifs can be created on each side of the fabric.


Top Image: Secret Garden Wrap (Ravelry Link)
Bottom Image: True Colours Scarf (Ravelry Link)
Photo credits: Mary W Martin

Fusion Knitting (Ravelry Link) was my first reversible technique. It creates a mirrored design on the front and back of the fabric. I think of it as a combination of mosaic knitting and double knitting. Only one yarn is worked at a time and the background is two-coloured garter stitch. The reversibility relies on having the motif on the front lay directly on top of the motif on the back; that is, the motifs must be fused together.


Top Image: Reversible Honeycomb Hat (Ravelry Link)
Bottom Image: Born This Way Scarf (Ravelry Link)
Photo credits: Mary W Martin

Although the two techniques can create fabrics with similar designs, each technique has limitations on the kind of motifs that work.

Q. Are there other techniques you plan to experiment with in the future?

I am still experimenting with reversible fabrics and with incorporating more colour into the cables.

Q. What is the best way for people to learn about your future designs or events that you may be involved with?

The best way to see my work is in videos. You can tour my work via the Reveals playlist on my YouTube channel.

My patterns can be found on Ravelry. (Ravelry link)
If you are unable to use Ravelry, you can contact me directly at mary.wm.martin @ gmail.com

You can also follow me on Instagram.

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