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What Is Entrelac Knitting?

Knitting needles and yarn.
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  • Written By: Greer Hed
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Entrelac knitting is a knitting technique whose end result resembles strips of knitted fabric woven together in a checkerboard pattern. In reality, there is no weaving involved in entrelac knitting, despite the fact that the word "entrelac" is similar to the French term for "interlace." The technique is not difficult to learn for a beginning knitter, even though it may look complex. It involves creating rows of diamonds that are either left- or right-facing. Entrelac can be knit flat on straight needles or in the round on circular needles, and the technique may be used to create scarves, blankets, bags, hats, and even socks. Some knitters may choose to use a single color when knitting entrelac, but using a different color for each row of diamonds makes the woven pattern more visible.

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The entrelac knitting technique is usually done in stockinette stitch, meaning that the knitter knits on the right side, or outside, and purls, or makes knit stitches in reverse, on the wrong side, or inside, of the fabric. This creates a fabric that is flat on one side and has bumps formed by purl stitches on the other. Entrelac can also be done in garter stitch, in which every row of the fabric is knit, creating a fabric with a series of ridges in it. These ridges can make it easier for the knitter to pick up stitches. Picking up stitches is usually done along an edge by inserting a knitting needle into an edge stitch and knitting a new stitch. When entrelac patterns are created using garter stitch, they are sometimes referred to as "garterlac."

To begin entrelac knitting, a knitter starts with a row of base triangles that establish the entrelac pattern while maintaining a straight edge. The triangles are usually worked over four to eight stitches, although more stitches could be used to create larger triangles. For the first row of diamonds, the left corner is worked as a triangle as well, and again to create a straight edge. Then stitches are picked up along the downwards sloping edge of the first triangle and used to knit the first right-leaning diamond. When all the stitches from the base triangle have been knit, the knitter proceeds to pick up stitches from the next triangle, and so on across the entire row.

When knitting on circulars, as when making hats, socks, or other items that are tube-shaped, a knitter usually does not turn her work from the right side to the wrong side as she would when knitting flat. Instead, all the stitches are knit onto the right side of the fabric in a continuous spiral. Entrelac knitting is an exception to this rule. Whether knit flat or in the round, entrelac is turned after each row of diamonds is completed.

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