August 3, 2011
Once you get past the basics of knit, purl, increase and decrease, you will probably start branching out to more challenging or more interesting techniques. One of the most beautiful is Entrelac: a knitting technique that gives the impression of patchwork or basket woven knitted fabric. I particularly love entrelac because there is a definite starting and stopping points and it is easy to find where you put it down even years after you last knitted your project. Entrelac is created by a beginning row of knitted triangles, then of knitted squares. Each previous square is knitted together with the next while picking up stitches from the previous row. It is this process that allows each square to be diagonal from the row below. It is a lot of fun once you get used to it and is easy to learn. You can practice with just a few triangles and squares till you have it. Entrelac is an excellent intro to color work since each row or block could be knit with a different color and you don't need to worry about bobbins or stranding. Or you can choose an awesome painted yarn (like Lion Brand Amazing Yarn or Berroco Origami) that changes colors gradually to give the appearance of color work when really you are using the same yarn throughout.
Here is a simple entrelac practice pattern by Knittyotter that only uses 18 Sts. Try experimenting with Entrelac with different weights of yarn (lace weight for a drapy shawl or chunky for a cozy lap blanket), colors (diagonal stripes, each block a different color using 4 different colors, or knit one color till you run out and then adding another till it runs out or until you reach the size you like) or textures. Entrelac is a great way to try new yarns, use up yarn balls or as a stash buster since each block uses just a little bit of yarn. Make a Boho Chic scarf but combining any and all yarns, from mohair to wool to cotton, giving heed only to coordinating colors instead of fiber. Entrelac of any kind makes a perfect gift since it looks like it took a great deal of work or time when neither is true.
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