Monday, February 5, 2007

Entrelac Intricacies

Before I begin I just want to let those of you who are less familiar with the Blogger site that you can click on any of the pictures to see them full size. Additionally I have linked all the free patterns back to their original sites.

Now let's talk about Entrelac. Wikipedea defines Entrelac as "a knitting technique used to create a textured diamond pattern. While the end result resembles basket-woven strips of knitted fabric, the actual material comprises interconnected squares on two different orientations."

The first time I saw entrelac was in the Fall 2006 Vogue Knitting. I am sure I have seen completed pieces of entrela but of course I never knew what it was called or really thought about how it was made. Then I bought my first VK and saw the "Entrelac Workshop" article and just HAD to try it out. I didn't much like the coat pattern that the workshop was supposed to help me with but I did want to know the technique. So I set off on my sample swatch.

I usually don't have trouble reading instructions, but these did get a bit confusing. I think the difficult part was that the article mixed the instructions with explanations of what I was supposed to be accomplishing and that mixed me up a bit. Also it took me some time to differentiate between rows of stitches and rows of rectangles. That first swatch was a square with two base triangles of 20 sts each. Somewhere along the way I lost my side triangles and new something was majorly wrong. Nevertheless I persevered and began a new swatch with two major changes.

The first change I made was halving the stitches to 10. I was not going to make a pillow, handbag or any of the other suggestions of what to do with the swatch. I just wanted to understand what I was doing. Which is why I made the second change. I decided to change color for each rectangle so I would understand the placement. And it worked. Here is that first swatch.

Now with the swatch completed I set of to make the Danica scarf. This scarf was designed by Yarn Boy. His blog is one of my favorites and I recommend it highly. With the swatch under my belt, the Danica instructions made total sense. My first attempt was using acrylic in colors I thought would look nice together, but as Yarn Boy himself stated in his blog, sometimes skeins that look good together when you hold them side by side don't always work out. The feedback on this wasn't so positive and it was going to be a present for my BIL but my sister said not to bother, he NEVER wears scarves, so this was relegated to the stash bin.

Still determined to make this scarf I tried again with a few modifications. The rectangles on this are big and lend themselves to being a man's scarf. In order to "fem" it up a bit I changed the instructions from 2 sets of 10 sts to 3 sets of 7 sts thus keeping the overall width but decreasing the size of the rectangles. I also used a self striping yarn from Gedifra: Fashion Trend Fino Stripe.

I do admit to breaking the yarn in strategic places so that the colors changed the way I wanted them to. The thing is, as I was knitting I thought it would be perfect as a pillow and the scarf was still a bit "heavy" looking. So now I need to do some frogging and start again. I think as a pillow I will finally love it!

OK, third try. I had bought a few balls of Teddy Wool Superwash Merino to see if I could do the VK (Fall 2006) black and white Cabled Jacket I was crazy for. Besides having a hard time with the swatch, I saw that when I frogged the swatch a couple of times the black yarn had dyed the white yarn gray. This didn't bode well so I've put that project on hold indefinitely. Instead I thought I'd try this yarn out for Danica. So to these balls I added a hot pink one and tried again. Unfortunately the same thing happened. White turned gray. I'm not sure what I am going to do with the yarn but I definitely will pair it with something darker!

So with no scarf and a pillow that I have put off for the time being I set my sites on something else. I liked the idea of a coat or sweater but hadn't found a pattern I liked. I revisited my growing magazine collection and found John Brinager's A Foreign Affair (VK Holiday 2006). I like that it uses Entrelac, but also stockinette and thus has more shaping.

The pattern calls for Colinette/Unique Kolours Lasso but 10 skeins at about $24 a piece is a bit beyond my budget. I started a sleeve with Teddy's Sympatic (below). It obviously won't have the same drape but it might work. What do you think?

Now for a scarf update. First I finished my 4th Argosy scarf. I still don't know what to do with the first one, and gave No. 2 & 3 to my cousin and sister, respectively. So this one is for me! I made it in the same colorway as No. 2 and am very happy with my results. Argosy is now retired for the foreseeable future!

also made Ivy Bigelow's Midwest Moonlight using the same Lanas Stop: Yes Please yarn, but in a subtler colorway.

Here is a close up of the stitch work.
I am almost finished with my take of the Debbie Bliss' Zigzag Stripes. I call mine Funky Chunky Zigzag and I used Teddy Wool's new Himalaya yarn in F. I just need to buy one more ball of yarn to finihs it up. This nice chunky yarn knits up very quickly and since it is self striping it went a lot faster and smoother than using separate colors.

I also worked up a swatch of Amy Modesitt's Backyard Leaves. I did it with some of that leftover acrylic that I didn't use for Danica and am waiting patiently for the real stuff to show up so I can get to work. This is by far the most complicated thing I have worked on. Chart only and 15 different symbols. I had to restart the swatch a few times until I got the hang of it and now I can't wait to start. Can you see the leaves? Fantastic!

The last three scarves all come from scarf STYLE from Interweave Press.

And of course I am still working on the Wraparound Sweater for T, Banff for myself, the Entrelac pillow as well as few other things. So until I something to report...


Sara said...

I found your blog through the jerusalem knitter's blog and I have to say your work is just spectacular. Honestly beautiful. I was wondering if you had any desire to teach someone on a one on one basis a few things about knitting?

Tante J said...

Thanks Sara. I sent you an email but you may not have seen it. If you are still interested let me know.

YajB (WoolleyMomMyth) said...

Hey there Tante J - When yarn bleeds when dry - like the superwash merino did - you take it back to the store and raise holy hell with the vendor and with the manufacturer.
Yarn that throws color like yours did is defective, and you should be compensated - at the very least, reimbursed!

Definitely contact TeddyWool.