Entree to Entrelac: The definitive guide from a biased knitter

Entree to Entrelac: The definitive guide from a biased knitter

Entree to Entrelac: The definitive guide from a biased knitter
by Gwen Bortner

I�ve always thought of entrelac as one of those knitting techniques that people either love or they hate. It�s not one of the favored children like cables or color work that everybody at least claims to admire, even if they don�t enjoy the actual process. No, entrelac has always been like the ugly duckling of knitting, the technique that is misunderstood or disliked on principle, because nobody�s really gotten to know it.

Well, here�s the introduction you�ve been waiting for. Entree to Entrelac is a thorough examination of entrelac techniques.

What? You thought there was only one, basic method of doing entrelac? It�s just a matter of picking up and knitting interlocking squares that look like basket-weave, isn�t it? With maybe the occasional triangle? No, it turns out it�s a lot more than that, and the author explores it all, with good diagrams to help along the way.

There are a lot of patterns here, too, to give you some inspiration in the use of entrelac. One color, two-color, multi-color. Faux-argyle. Plain stockinette, or designs with lace or cables. Full-piece entrelac designs, as well as pieces that only use it for interesting details.

My only real problem with entrelac � other than the endless ends to weave in, which the book gives tips for � is that after a while, so many of the designs look the same. It all comes down to little squares piecing together a pattern, like a knitted quilt that always looks like a checkerboard. That doesn�t mean I don�t like it, just that, collections of entrelac often bore me because everything looks so much alike except for the basic color scheme.

In that regard, there is a lot of similarity in designs here, but the consistency of its structure is one of entrelac�s advantages. When employed properly, it lends itself to diagonal lines, zig-zags, and yes, checkerboard patterns beautifully�and with a lot more ease than trying to do similar color changes with intarsia. The point is to take the basic idea of the technique�its basketweave pattern that is built right in to the structure�and explore its possibilities, which this book does very well. Some of the designs come out looking too busy to my eye (and there was one sweater which I won�t name that I thought was pretty atrocious), but there are more of them that look wonderful. And the pullover in �Touch Me� yarn? It looks like woven velvet.

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