The first time I saw a picture of entrelac, I knew I would try it. You see, baskets intrigue me. Mostly I like to fill them with necessities: like my yarn stash. I suspect I’ve always wanted to make some, but haven’t found the time or the space. So, I do the next best thing: I knit.
When I found the basket weave cable, I thought that was the best I could do. Little did I know entrelac was waiting for me to discover.
Basically, it’s knitting short rows on the diagonal to form tiers of rectangles and triangles that appear to weave in and out like a woven basket. This effect is strongest with stockinette stitch, although entrelac can also be made in garter stitch.
After making entrelac several times, what are some of my favorite secrets?
- With stockinette entrelac, the front and back are even more pronounced than regular stockinette stitch. This is true especially if you change colors. If you’re like me, and like both sides of your scarf to look like a right side, you may not want to make a scarf by changing colors.
- On the other hand, garter entrelac is reversible. Which makes it nice for a first attempt. You may want to try knitting a small project like a dishcloth, as in this pattern called Garterlac.
- Cast on loosely. There are a variety of ways to do this, and all seem about the same to many experts. My personal favorite is casting on with a crochet hook and adding an extra chain betwee n the stitches. Laura provides knitting instructions for her technique.
- Entrelac is great practice for short rows. So what? Well, short rows are needed for turning a heel, and can be inserted to customize a fit around a curve. You know, like for rounded shoulders or an ample bosom.
- Alternating between two colors on the tiers in stockinette entrelac really makes the three dimensional aspect of the pattern “pop.”
- After a while, the stitch becomes automatic. With this, you may find yourself forgetting whether you’re on the front or back, and may even knit a few stitches or blocks in the wrong direction.
- Entrelac is a great technique to practice knitting backwards also. Instead of turning each short row and purling. In stockinette entrelac, you can knit backwards the purl rows from the right side. This saves turning your work, which often is an advantage if your project is large. Or maybe you just want to practice knitting backwards.
And then there are the ultimate secrets of entrelac: It’s not as hard as it looks and it’s addicting!
Ina Gilmore learned to knit as a child. She enjoys sharing her knitting adventures, tips and techniques. You can find her online at her knitting blog The Knitting Yarn. You can follow her updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theknittingyarn. You can also find her on Ravelry as theknittingyarn.