Design notes from Niela
Unlikely sources and seeing-in to a pattern
Some read the Marlet textile design as lichen on a rock, others see the influence of seal skin. Both are quite understandable, and valid as interpretations.
We need to consider that many people encounter this pattern for the first time in my studio, which is a few hundred yards from the shore in Hoswick! In fact, I thought about naming this collection Shoormal, which is a Shetland dialect word for the point at which the shore meets the sea.
Marlet is a Shetland word for mottled, but the source of this speckled pattern originates thousands of miles from Shetland. Nobody has ever guessed it correctly…
Markings on an Indian elephant's ear
Did you know that—as they age—Indian (Asian) elephants develop spotted, freckly markings? I encountered these majestic creatures in Kerala and found out that their ears have a velvety quality—and a beautiful, enveloping shape.
The marlet wrap: a large, asymmetric shawl and my favourite piece of Nielanell knitwear
The Marlet wrap takes its asymmetric shape from an elephant’s ear (of all the knitwear that I've designed this shawl is my favourite piece), and the collection takes its pattern from these interesting markings. The luxurious jacquard merino (a double-sided fabric) is a textile equivalent of the buttery soft skin—and a Nielanell version of animal print.
Marlet pieces are knitted in a range of colour combinations, some playing with contrast—others with tonal similarity. In the scarves, and on some wraps, you'll also find the mottled pattern broken up with a fine stripe.