17 June 2008

Entrelac 101 -- Base Triangles

Some years back I big time scored a copy of Handpaint Country in a used bookstore. It was a big time score because the knitting craze hadn't quite filtered down to where shops automatically inflate the price of knitting books and because the book was still in print and widely available for list price.

At that point I'd never done entrelac but something about the entrelac jacket designed by Kathleen Power Johnson (who I always think of as Kathie PJ) really caught my eye as the perfect project for some of the gorgeous Blue Heron yarn I bought in an unsuccessful quest to match a now long since frogged project.

As I started playing around with this mysterious entrelac technique I came to the conclusion that it was really not much more than short rows. When I emailed Kathie with that suggestion, she quite rightly objected nothing that there is a bit more to entrelac than short rows.

BTW, if you ever get a chance to take a class from Kathie, jump at it. Newer knitters may recognize her as the designer of Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from Scarf Style

Years on, I have to agree but short rows, increases and decreases to constrain the fabric are still big part of what makes entrelac work. For some people you have to add knitting backward to the mix to make it a real tech-no-challenge.

Entrelac can. btw, sometimes be the answer to the musical question what on earth can I do with this gorgeous yarn that doesn't seem to want to work up in any other technique -- trust me I know from that problem especially when it comes to hand dipped yarns.

My current fave book source for entrelac is Debbie Bliss's How to Knit which is also a very good general knitting primer.

The major place where short rows play a role in entrelac is in creating the base triangles that everything else builds on. So that's where we start.

The how to is simple, cast on very loosely a multiple of how ever many stitches you want your entrelac modules to be.

It isn't a bad idea to place markers to delimit each of the modules.

It also isn't a bad idea to work each base triangle on a separate dp so you can see what's happening and not have a funky lumpy thing happening on your needle.

The funky lumpy thing isn't wrong, it's just not a big confidence builder.

Work a row of base triangles as shown in the diagram. slipping the first stitch on every knit segment. When you've consumed all the stitches for the first base triangle you'll be in position to start the next. When all you base triangles are done, you'll have something that looks like the photo and you'll be ready for the second essential segment of entrelac.

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