Friday, September 26, 2008

Falling for Entrelac

Stitch of the Day--Exquisite Entrelac~

I love this stitch.  I have two UFO's in progress, with the idea to make a cardigan out of one, and a shawl out of the other one.  The photos I have here are of my first attempt.  This is the one that will become (eventually!!!) a cardigan.  I design most of my stuff from scratch, so I'm never quite sure how it will present itself when all's said and done.  Same with my poetry.

Here's a little close-up view of the stitch. My blocks are all 10 stitches wide. You can make them larger or smaller if you like, depending on the effect you want.  

In this sample, I alternated rows with the same blue -- in this case I used Cynthia Helene wool (20%) mohair (80%) in "Lapis."  Every other row I alternated between Rowan "Kaffe Fassett Kid Silk" (70% kid mohair, 10% silk) in Gold, to Schaffhauser Ambra (wool) in variegated shades ranging from grey to gold to blue, and lastly Bryspun Kid-n-Ewe in a nice steely grey.

Once you get it down, this stitch isn't too difficult to do.  Here's how to get started:

The Entrelac Practice Piece

This sampler will have four 6-stitch wide blocks, once you get past the triangle row

Materials: any bulky, worsted or sport weight yarn, needles size 5, 6, or 7 or whatever accomplishes the gauge you require.

Cast on 24 stitches to make 4 triangles in short rows. The cast-on is done left to right, and the first row goes right to left. Left and right are going to become very familiar to you when working entrelac.


  1. k2, turn
  2. slip 1, p1, turn
  3. slip 1, k2, turn
  4. slip 1, p2, turn
  5. slip 1, k3, turn
  6. slip 1, p3, turn
  7. slip 1, k4, turn
  8. slip 1, p4, turn
  9. slip 1, k5, turn
  10. slip 1, p5, turn
  11. slip 1, k5, turn
  12. and 13. repeat rows 10 and 11 
Now make the next triangle, starting with the next two stitches. If you want to mark your place, use a stitch marker. Make 4 triangles in the same manner, utilising all 24 stitches on the cast-on row. 

The rectangle rows:

Each rectangle row begins and ends with a little triangle. 

Starting triangle, left end. 

  1. p2
  2. sl 1, k1
  3. sl 1, inc 1, p2tog w/ 1st live stitch from other needle.
  4. sl 1, k2
  5. sl 1, inc 1, p1, p2tog w/next live stitch
  6. sl 1, k3
  7. sl 1, inc 1, p2, p2tog w/ next live stitch
  8. sl 1, k4
  9. sl 1, inc. 1, p3, p2tog w/ next live stitch
  10. sl 1, k5
  11. sl 1, inc 1,p 4, p2tog w/ last live stitch
  12. sl 1, k 5
  13. sl 1, p5
Now go "over the hill" and pick up six stitches to make

Right leaning rectangle:
(no increasing or decreasing this time, only joining)

  1. slip 1, k5
  2. slip 1, p4, p2tog w/ next live stitch
  3. slip 1, k5
  4. slip 1, p4, p2tog w/ next live stitch
Continue this way until the live stitches from the next section are all used up. After the last p2tog, join turn and slip and go back uphill, then come back downhill again. Now, move on to the next rectangle, by picking up six stitches from the side of the triangle below.
You end on the right. Next row will be left leaning.

Start with the left leaning triangle.

  1. k2
  2. sl 1, p1
  3. sl 1, inc 1, ssk w/ next live stitch,
and so on...
You will make the same sideways triangle as before: slip 1, increase, work to end and join with the next live stitch; turn, slip and work back uphill - but this time you will increase and do your joining on the knit side, and purl back.

Then make a set of left leaning rectangles, reversing the way you did the right leaning rectangles; join on the knit side, slip and work back on the purl side.

  1. pick up 6 stitches
  2. sl 1, p5, turn
  3. sl 1, k4, ssk w/ next live stitch
and so on...

Binding off as you go - the last set of triangles
Make the beginning triangle the same as any beginning triangle, until you get 5 stitches on the left needle. Then sl 1, inc 1, bind off those two, then bind off the remaining stitches of the beginning triangle as you knit each one, except for the last stitch.

Pick up 6 stitches down the next valley, as usual. You will have 7 stitches on the left needle, one from the beginning triangle, and 6 from the current pickup.

  1. slip 1, work 5 to the left, turn and bind off the last 1 of the picked up stitches with the remaining stitch from the beginning triangle.
  2. slip 1, work 5 to the right and join to the next live stitch as usual.
  3. slip 1, work 6 to the left, turn, and bind off 1 stitch
  4. slip 1, work 5 to the right and join to the next live stitch

Continue doing this, as if making the usual rectangle but binding off one stitch each time you arrive at "the top of the hill," until you have bound off the entire 6 stitch section, leaving only 1 stitch on the needle, then pick up for the next section and so on, until all stitches are bound off.

*   *   *   *   *

**For another look, with great instructions and step-by-step photos, check out this link:

(See Hot Links, to the left)

This what the back of the knitted piece looks like.  If you weave in as you go, it's so much nicer!  Not so much tucking in when you reach the end of your project, and you can really enjoy both sides as you knit!   


Colorfully yours,

The Knit Chick

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