Enterlac knitting is a very cool technique in which triangles and squares are built upon each other to form a fabric with a woven look. It looks complicated, but what makes it so great is that it's not really that hard. If you can cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease and pick up stitches you can knit entrelac.
Rosemary Drysdale has written a wonderful guide to this knitting technique in Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting. It includes all the basics, as well as 65 different stitch patterns that can be used with the technique and 25 patterns incorporating the stitch.
About the Book
- Pages: 160
- Binding: hardcover
- Number of patterns: 25
- Skill level:1 for beginners, 6 easy, 8 intermediate, 10 experienced
- Sizes: most are accessories or home items, others are sized for "average adult woman," one baby cardigan is sized from 6 to 18 months, one cardigan has a medium and a largee, a vest is sized small, medium and large
- Illustrations: full-color photographs
- Knitting lessons: detailed description of entrelac technique but no other knitting instructions; book assumes you know how to knit, purl, increase and decrease
- Publication date:November 2010
Getting Started and Beyond
Entrelac begins with a good overview of the basics of this technique, with reminders that it isn't really that difficult and doesn't require any special skills. Well, there's actually one special bit of knitting handiwork that makes entrelac knitting easier: knitting backward.
Drysdale explains how to do this (in a page with three illustrations to make it clearer) as well as other techniques that might come in handy, depending on the project you're working, such as working entrelac in the round, doing a wrap and turn and making a triangle of entrelac rather than the more traditional square or rectangle.
At the back of the book there is information about how to design your own entrelac projects (along with a handy grid for drawing out colors or stitch patterns) and information on getting gauge in entrelac, which can certainly be a tricky proposition because the knitting doesn't stay going one direction.
Another great feature of this book is the swatch glossary, which includes an amazing 65-plus patterns showing different ways to use entrelac, including:
- basic patterns like Stockinette Stitch, Seed Stitch, and Stockinette combined with other stitches like ribbing or Moss Stitch
- lace stitches, from basic faggoting to Quadrefoil Eyelet, Embossed Leaves and Cat's Paw
- cables, including horseshoe cables
- relief patterns such as bobbles, bows and bells
- geometrics, from basic two-color Stockinette to chevrons, diamonds and basketweave patterns worked in multiple colors
- colorwork, which includes patterns with stripes within the individual squares, as well as Fair Isle patterns
- melanges combine multiple techniques, such as stripes and felting, or working a basic pattern in multiple colors or adding beads
- embroidery, which shows the basic background embellished with roses, daises or feather stitch to give a crazy quilt look.
The stitch patterns alone are well worth the price of this book and are sure to inspire creative knitters in a whole lot of ways (I don't know how long I'll be able to resist the crazy quilt technique, for example).
But the book also includes 25 patterns that use the stitches and entrelac techniques in different ways, from the center panel of a woman's poncho to an allover pillow pattern, from the cuffs of socks to the bottom of a child's cardigan.
There's a kerchief that uses the triangle entrelac technique, and throws and baby blankets aplenty using all sorts of stitch patterns. There's a slouchy hat, a fitted vest and a gorgeous shawl that combines Stockinette entrelac rectangles worked in a smooth multicolored yarn with outlines worked in angora for a really cool effect.
That pattern, the Accent on Angora Shawl by Laura Bryant, is one of my favorites. Some other standouts include the adorable fruit and veggie caps, hats for 6-month-olds that look like a pumpkin, eggplant or strawberry; the Leaf Lace Scarf, which shows how dramatic even a relatively simple allover pattern can be; the Felted Shoulder Bag, with a zigzag pattern on one side and an argyle-like pattern on the other; the long and lean Shades of Gray Vest, which uses a ribbed back to make it look more shaped than it is; and the pretty, basic but luxurious Silk and Cashmere Cowl, where basic Stockinette entrelac allows a gorgeous yarn to shine.
Whether you're new to entrelac or have been knitting this way for years, it's a good bet that Entrelac will teach you something. The amazing array of stitch patterns is sure to pique the interest of knitters who've worked a few projects in Stockinette and want to try something new, but at the same time there are some relatively easy projects to inspire new knitters to try the technique.
This book should certainly be on the shelf of any knitter who likes entrelac, and anyone who is interested in trying it should probably pick up a copy, too. Odds are you'll be hooked when you see all the things you can do.