Sunday, 21 April 2013

Learning to Entrelac.

My finished Entrelac turban, I love it!

As a self-taught knitter I regularly come across patterns that I fall in love with and then freak out because it uses some crazy technique that I haven't even heard of.

Entrelac was just one of those techniques, but I'm quite a determined girl. So I decided to teach myself, just like I have done with other techniques, to begin with basic knits and purls, later cables and then lace. It's just taking things one at a time, and it's so rewarding mastering a new skill. 

I think this new generation of knitters have got such an advantage over previous generations. My Nana tried to teach me to knit when I was small, but I'm left handed and got frustrated when I couldn't immediately knit the same as my Nana did. I gave up. Now I'm a little older, with more patience and the understanding that I can knit how I find it easiest, it doesn't need to be the exact same way as others. 

I can research anything I don't understand on Youtube or Very Pink, or search for tutorials on a few of my favourite sites such as The Purl Bee or Knitty. I'm also a member of a local knit night, and the combined experience there has helped me out of a number of stressful tangles! 

So, I want to write a number of posts discussing different techniques, where to find out how to do them and what patterns you can use them in to test your new skills out!

So, here's the pattern that inspired me to learn entrelac: the Grey Garden Enrelac Turban by Rachel Price and Kate Burge. I'm a sucker for a wooly headband anyway, I much prefer them to hats, they stay on better and they look awesome. I've made a number of cabled headbands already, but entrelac looks wicked- like wovens strands of knitted material but it's actually knitted all in one piece. 

I read the whole pattern before I started, I've been stung enough times before to know you should always read the pattern first. 

However I have to tell you, for an entrelac pattern, I wouldn't waste your time reading the pattern. Seriously I couldn't make head nor tail of it. So I decided it would be best to not try and understand it. Just cast on and blindly follow the instructions. But I'm a curious soul, I don't like magic happening on my knitting needles when I can't understand how it's happening. 

So I watched a couple of tutorials to get my head round it. If you're not a nosey so and so like me, just follow the instructions like I said, you'll be fine. However here's the tutorial I watched, I found it really useful.

This one is by the knitting video geniuses over at Very Pink, I love the videos on here. This tutorial is about how to knit this pretty scarf by Allison LoCicero. But the skills and tips are the same. 



So, here's my tips for following an entrelac pattern: if you want the lovely blocks of colours use a yarn that has long stripes of different colours (Such as King Cole Riot) rather then swapping yarn all the time. If there is anything at all you're unsure of youtube it, I double checked for example how to pick up stitches, as it is used alot throughout entrelac. It is mportant to follow the pattern rigidly, but don't let the long list of instructions put you off. You will get it after a couple of tiers, but it's difficult to understand to begin with. I usually play around with patterns, but I definately wouldn't risk it with entrelac, I don't know it well enough.

Final tip- just go for it! It's wicked fun, and looks so impressive. What have you got to loose? You can always unravel it and start again. So, no more shying away from beautiful patterns because you're unsure of the technique, deal? :)

Here's a few suggestions of follow-up free projects to try out once you've mastered it. 

Entrelac Messenger Bag by Joanne Loh

Tenney Park Jumper by Elizabeth Morrison

Entrelac Hat by Lorraine J Major

Much love,

HanaLou