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Discover a New Technique: Entrelac!

Aug 13, 2010
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  The Basic Entrelac Scarf by Lisa Shroyer  

Entrelac is a knitting technique that produces a fabric with a woven appearance—tiers of tilting blocks appear to run over and under each other. But the fabric is actually worked all in one piece as a series of interconnecting rectangles.

Also called patchwork knitting, basketweave knitting, or birch-bark patterning, entrelac can stand on its own in garter or stockinette stitch, or it can provide an interesting framework for other texture or color-work techniques.

I've had this technique on my knitting bucket list for several years now, but I haven't tackled it.

I recently got my
Knitting Daily TV Series 500 DVDs, though, and host Eunny Jang did a "Getting Started" segment on entrelac. So I've put together a sort of technique knit-along because I'm following these exact instructions to knit The Basic Entrelac Scarf by Lisa Shroyer.


To begin the journey, take a look at Eunny's entrelac video tutorial at left. It's a great visual how-to, which always helps me immensely. (There's also a bonus in-depth tutorial on entrelac in addition to this getting started segment, only available on the KDTV DVDs!)

Anyway, Lisa wrote her pattern based on an entrelac Back to Basics article from
Interweave Knits, also by Eunny. I'm excerpting the article here, with a link at the end of the excerpt to the entire article.

As Lisa says in her directions, the scarf project is a great way to practice your entrelac skills—and end up with a beautiful scarf!

Entrelac: Basic Principles

Entrelac fabric's series of tilted blocks are worked one at a time in tiers. Within a tier, blocks are worked in the same direction, either right to left or left to right. Each tier of blocks builds upon the one below it. Individual blocks are worked by picking up stitches along the selvage of a block from the tier below and working stitches of the growing block together with live stitches from the top edge of the next block below. To produce a piece with straight rather than pointed edges across the bottom and top, the first and last tiers must consist of rows of triangular half-blocks. For straight vertical edges, every other tier of a flatworked entrelac piece begins and ends with a triangle. Individual blocks may be worked over any number of stitches, and a piece may have any number of individual blocks. In all cases, each block contains twice as many rows as it does stitches.

Though the basic entrelac technique has several variations, the following method produces tidy results. When you practice entrelac for the first time, try working every other tier of blocks in a different color to emphasize the basketweave effect and to make it easier to identify the blocks and live stitches of each tier.

When you work the first stitch of every row, you can slip it for a tidy pick-up edge, but be aware that you will lose some elasticity in the knitted piece.

Base Triangles
(RS facing to begin)
Cast on 24 sts (or use any multiple of 8, the number of sts in each block in this sampler), using a loose cast-on such as the knitted cast-on (see box).
Row 1: (RS) K2, turn.
Row 2: (WS) P2, turn.
Row 3: K3, turn.
Row 4: P3, turn.
Row 5: K4, turn.
Row 6: P4, turn.
Row 7: K5, turn.
Row 8: P5, turn.
Row 9: K6, turn.
Row 10: P6, turn.
Row 11: K7, turn.
Row 12: P7, turn.
Row 13: K8, do not turn. The first base triangle has been completed.

With the RS still facing, the right selvage edge of the just-worked triangle forms the right side of the triangle, the 8 live sts on the needle form the left side, and the cast-on row forms the base. Repeat Rows 1-13 until all cast-on stitches have been worked. If you began with 24 sts, there will be three 8-st triangles on the needle (

Figure 1

All figures show knitting with needle removed.

First Tier of Blocks (WS facing to begin)

Cast on 24 sts (or use any multiple of 8, the number of sts in each block in this sampler), using a loose cast-on such as the knitted cast-on (see box). Read more...

What do you think? Are you up to entering the world of entrelac with me?


P.S. Don't forget to check out the new season of KDTV! And if it's not on your PBS station, be sure and order the complete series on DVD.


Featured Product

Knitting Daily TV Series 500 DVD

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Knitting Daily TV Series 500 DVD includes 3 Bonus segments with host Eunny Jang!


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LindaPDX wrote
on Aug 16, 2010 5:18 PM

The BEST pattern available for knitting entrelac with the knitting back backwards technique is Happy Trails Entrelac Socks by Anne Carroll, available from the site owned by Nancy Bush.  This technique eliminates the need to turn every row, since you do the purl stitches from the front.  I have made 4 pairs of socks with this method on a size 1 needle.

ljiljana0111 wrote
on Aug 16, 2010 6:09 AM

I do not know how to finish  entrelac pattern. Can you show me?

on Aug 14, 2010 6:18 PM

Thanks for the scarf directions and link to the article. I was so interested I started a scarf right away. And I'm especially happy because I taught myself to "perl" from right needle to left so that I don't ever have to turn the work.

Also I'm using a smaller yarn and needles than the scarf pattern suggests, so I slip the last stitch on what will be the pick-up edge for the next set of blocks and knit or perl it only as the first stitch of the row. That makes it very easy to quickly pick up 8 stitches through double-sized edge stitches.

Elsie Ann wrote
on Aug 14, 2010 2:33 PM

Your video on entrelac would be more helpful if you demonstrated from the beginning just after casting on.

Thank you

E Soria

on Aug 14, 2010 4:18 AM

What a delight to see the item on entrelac. I was on a Norwegian Fjord cruise and met a group of Norwegian ladies doing just that! They called it "konstrict" and had a fascinating way of knitting backwards on the short rows, thus not having to turn the work around.

Any suggestions on good books?  The ones in Norway were in Norwegian!

jean01 wrote
on Aug 13, 2010 1:24 PM

Thanks so much for Eunny's Entrelac tutorial.  It is the clearest, most thorough (free) description of how to do entrelac that I've found on the internet.

annieb47 wrote
on Aug 13, 2010 10:27 AM

What I love about entrelac is using a "striping" yarn like Noro. I'm not overly fond of striping yarns, but love the effect in entrelac where you get a series of changing color blocks.