Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mod Elegance

OK, so I've got a thing for entrelac. What is it? And why do I like so much?

Wikipedia defines entrelac as a "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."

I'm guessing the word is French. If it isn't, please let me know. It highly resembles the English word "interlock" and that makes sense to me since, though it may look like two pieces that are interwoven, they are actually one piece of interlocking diamonds.

What first drew me to entrelac trying to figure out how it worked. It looks cool, and I HAD to know how to do it. That simple. I learned the technique pretty quickly. And yet. I have had a hard time finding patterns that appeal to me. Quant is a great little headband the shows off the technique nicely. Danica is also nice, but another flat accessory. Go bigger and, well, ugh. Most entrelac patterns are boxy. That I don't like. That's why John Briengar's Entrelac Jacket appeals. It's got all the detail and shaping. Truly the only reasons it keeps getting knocked down the queue are these: 1) It's heck of expensive to make (find me a good substitute yarn and we'll talk. Then again there is point 2,) it's a VK pattern people, it's never going to fit me. Sigh... I'm working towards neither of those things being a problem, but for now I guess I stick with the accessories. And always ready for a new challenge, I am ready to do it in the round! I finally replaced my wayward IK Spring '07 just to get my hands on Eunny's Entrelac Socks pattern. But more of that anon...

For now, here is Ele-quant. A more subtle, dignified version of Quant. (The original was bit big and bold for some people at the Shabbos table.)

The modifications are simple. I used a super expensive yarn (white elephant stash people, white elephant stash!) 4 mm needles instead of 5 mm and increased to 15 sts instead of 18. The last increase row uses a M1 in the center to get that odd number. That's it. My base number is 5 instead of 6 and all the rest is as the pattern.

Now here are the demonstration pictures I spoke of yesterday. I hope they are helpful, or at least interesting.

Every time you finish a diamond, it is time to pick up and knit (left slanting) or pick and purl (right slanting.) You'll notice that the pattern calls for slipping the first stitch on every diamond row, either direction. This creates a nice selvage row, allowing you to easily pick up the stitches. What keeps everything interlocked is this: as you make your new diamond, you are always hooking up the last stitch of your present work with the first available stitch on the next diamond. Using a right slanting diamond, following the pictures from left to right: Picture 1: The selvage stitches from where we will pick up. Picture 2: pick up and purl. Picture 3: the last picked up stitch is slipped to the left needle and Picture 4: purled together with the first stitch of completed, left slanting diamond of the previous section.

Click to enlarge

The diamonds are worked one at a time. As each row of stitches (that's 6 sts per the pattern, 5 in my pictures) is completed, you just turn and knit back. For the rest of the rows you will simply purl the last stitch of your current diamond with the first available stitch from the finished, (in our case,) left slanting diamond. As each diamond is completed, simply pick up the necessary stitches for the next diamond and repeat the steps.

The left slanting diamonds are worked from the knit side, which means they are joined by an SSK:

The two end stitches have been slipped knit wise,
the left needle comes through the front and the stitches are knit together,
through the back loop.

the completed row

In the meantime, here's where I was holding yesterday morning. (This morning's picture was pretty bad. Just imagine this about twice as long.)

And here is a close up of the wrong side. See all that interconnected goodness?

Now I have only covered the diamonds here, not the side triangles. But the post is running long so I will address them, and hopefully present the finished object, tomorrow.

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