Discover a New Technique: Entrelac!

  The Basic Entrelac Scarf by Lisa Shroyer  

Entrelac is a knitting technique that produces a fabric with a woven appearance—tiers of tilting blocks appear to run over and under each other. But the fabric is actually worked all in one piece as a series of interconnecting rectangles.

Also called patchwork knitting, basketweave knitting, or birch-bark patterning, entrelac can stand on its own in garter or stockinette stitch, or it can provide an interesting framework for other texture or color-work techniques.

I've had this technique on my knitting bucket list for several years now, but I haven't tackled it.

I recently got my Knitting Daily TV Series 500 DVDs, though, and host Eunny Jang did a "Getting Started" segment on entrelac. So I've put together a sort of technique knit-along because I'm following these exact instructions to knit The Basic Entrelac Scarf by Lisa Shroyer.


To begin the journey, take a look at Eunny's entrelac video tutorial at left. It's a great visual how-to, which always helps me immensely. (There's also a bonus in-depth tutorial on entrelac in addition to this getting started segment, only available on the KDTV DVDs!)

Anyway, Lisa wrote her pattern based on an entrelac Back to Basics article from Interweave Knits, also by Eunny. I'm excerpting the article here, with a link at the end of the excerpt to the entire article.

As Lisa says in her directions, the scarf project is a great way to practice your entrelac skills—and end up with a beautiful scarf!

Entrelac: Basic Principles
Entrelac fabric's series of tilted blocks are worked one at a time in tiers. Within a tier, blocks are worked in the same direction, either right to left or left to right. Each tier of blocks builds upon the one below it. Individual blocks are worked by picking up stitches along the selvage of a block from the tier below and working stitches of the growing block together with live stitches from the top edge of the next block below. To produce a piece with straight rather than pointed edges across the bottom and top, the first and last tiers must consist of rows of triangular half-blocks. For straight vertical edges, every other tier of a flatworked entrelac piece begins and ends with a triangle. Individual blocks may be worked over any number of stitches, and a piece may have any number of individual blocks. In all cases, each block contains twice as many rows as it does stitches.

Though the basic entrelac technique has several variations, the following method produces tidy results. When you practice entrelac for the first time, try working every other tier of blocks in a different color to emphasize the basketweave effect and to make it easier to identify the blocks and live stitches of each tier.

Note: When you work the first stitch of every row, you can slip it for a tidy pick-up edge, but be aware that you will lose some elasticity in the knitted piece.

Base Triangles (RS facing to begin)
Cast on 24 sts (or use any multiple of 8, the number of sts in each block in this sampler), using a loose cast-on such as the knitted cast-on (see box).
Row 1: (RS) K2, turn.
Row 2: (WS) P2, turn.
Row 3: K3, turn.
Row 4: P3, turn.
Row 5: K4, turn.
Row 6: P4, turn.
Row 7: K5, turn.
Row 8: P5, turn.
Row 9: K6, turn.
Row 10: P6, turn.
Row 11: K7, turn.
Row 12: P7, turn.
Row 13: K8, do not turn. The first base triangle has been completed.

With the RS still facing, the right selvage edge of the just-worked triangle forms the right side of the triangle, the 8 live sts on the needle form the left side, and the cast-on row forms the base. Repeat Rows 1-13 until all cast-on stitches have been worked. If you began with 24 sts, there will be three 8-st triangles on the needle ( Figure1).

Figure 1

All figures show knitting with needle removed.

First Tier of Blocks (WS facing to begin)
Cast on 24 sts (or use any multiple of 8, the number of sts in each block in this sampler), using a loose cast-on such as the knitted cast-on (see box). Read more…

What do you think? Are you up to entering the world of entrelac with me?


P.S. Don't forget to check out the new season of KDTV! And if it's not on your PBS station, be sure and order the complete series on DVD.


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