You asked for it: Entrelac!

Note from Sandi: When I asked you how you were a Fearless Knitter in 2008, hundreds of you described not only what you had accomplished last year, but what you hoped to accomplish in 2009. And surprisingly, one of the top four knitting challenges you wanted to tackle was entrelac, that marvelous and seemingly mysterious technique where knitted square builds upon knitted square to form a lovely on-the-bias patchwork effect.

So I was delighted to find out that Lisa Shroyer, editor of Knitscene magazine, has included a lovely beginner-level entrelac pattern in the new Winter 2008/Spring 2009 issue of Knitscene–the Orchid Wrap, by Cecily Glowik Macdonald.

Here's Lisa to tell us more about this beautiful knitting technique:


Entrelac: An Overview

When Sandi asked me to choose one project from the new issue of Knitscene to feature this week, I went back and looked at the comments on past Knitting Daily posts. What one technique did so many of you say you wanted to conquer in 2009?


And it just so happens that we have a fabulous entrelac project in the Winter 2008/Spring 2009 issue of Knitscene. The Orchid Wrap by Cecily Glowik MacDonald is a great project for entrelac newbies, as it’s a long rectangle without the complexities of shaping, stitch patterns, or working in the round. Working entrelac in the round is, conceptually, a little daunting, so I don’t recommend it for first-timers.

But what is entrelac? Eunny Jang, editor of Interweave Knits, writes:
"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."

These interconnecting rectangles are worked one at a time, with lots of turning back and forth to work short right- and wrong-side rows. The rectangles, or blocks, are worked in tiers, building a vertical fabric. All the blocks of a single tier slant in one direction (i.e., to the right), then all the blocks of the following tier slant in the opposite direction (or to the left). You can pick out separate tiers in the Orchid Wrap because this project alternates a tier of teal blocks with a tier of pink blocks. Changing colors in entrelac is easy and creates really fun effects.

To work entrelac, you need to know how to:
1) Pick up and PURL stitches;
2) Pick up and KNIT stitches:
3) Work basic increases; and
4) Work basic decreases.
And that’s the extent of the know-how you need to make the Orchid Wrap.

The Orchid Wrap is, like I said, a simple rectangle in shape. But wrap it around your shoulders, folding back the top selvedge like a collar, button it asymmetrically, and you have a capelet. The size can be adjusted with the placement of the buttons, so it’s really a one-size-fits-most project.

For an in-depth tutorial on entrelac, including instructions for working entrelac in the round, see Eunny Jang’s "Beyond the Basics: Entrelac Knitting Block by Block" from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. (Click here to subscribe to Knits.)

For those already in love with entrelac, you can purchase Eunny’s Entrelac Socks and Sandy Beadle’s Annetrelac Socks from the Knitting Daily Pattern Store.

On Friday, we’ll have a surprise for you…

— Lisa Shroyer
editor of Knitscene magazine


 Ask for Knitscene at your local yarn shop, or buy it online from us.

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? Suddenly, I have become addicted to warm hats and I am obsessed with the idea of warm mittens…


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