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What is Entrelac Knitting?

Entrelac knitting is a cool way to create textured fabric that looks woven. It seems extremely complicated, and indeed is one of the more advanced techniques to learn, but once you sit down and do it, it actually isn't that hard.

Entrelac can be worked flat or in the round. You are making rows of individual blocks that are set on a diagonal and worked in opposite directions to create the woven look. The difference between regular knitting and entrelac is that, with entrelac, you are working each little square in its entirety (like short rows) before moving on to the next one, instead of working all the way across, one row at a time, as you do in regular knitting.

Every entrelac piece will essentially have four components: foundation triangles, right side rows, wrong side rows, and bind off triangles. The foundation triangles are the first thing you will make, and form the base off which you will build you next set of rectangles. The right side rows are composed of side triangles (the first and last piece of the row) and the rectangles in between. They are the ones worked while the right side is facing. The wrong side rows are also compost of side triangles and the rectangles in between, but they are worked while the wrong side is facing (note: this will be different if you are working in the round). The bind off triangles are the last thing you will make, and they let you bind off the piece with a single, flat row.

The easiest way to start learning entrelac is to simply try it. It's a technique that can be very hard to visualize. It's best to begin with a basic flat piece, like the Entrelac Scarf pictured above. You may also wish to make the Entrelac Cowl, which is pictured at the beginning of this post, as it is worked flat and then seamed.

Once you have the hang of flat entrelac, and the concept begins to make sense, you may want to try your hand at working it in the round. It's really not that hard, you just have to work the rectangle rows a bit differently. You won't have the side triangles to worry about, as there are no sides. You also won't have a wrong side, since knitting in the round means the same side is always facing. Instead, you will work the WS rectangles from the right side, simply working it so that it leans the opposite direction from the first set of rectangles. If you want to give it a try, make the Entrelac Beret pictured.

Entrelac knitting can definitely seem confusing. Even the most seasoned knitters may put off trying it because it sounds too hard. But it's really not! If you know how to knit and purl, work short rows, and pick up stitches, you can do it. Follow the directions on your pattern exactly, and you'll end up with a beautiful finished product, as well as a cool new technique.

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