Learn to Knit Entrelac
Follow our easy step-by-step photo tutorial to learn how to knit entrelac, which imitates a woven texture with simple knit and purl stitches
Entrelac knitting is a fabulously interesting technique that produces a beautiful, heavily textured fabric. It is stunning when worked in a single colour but add in other colours and it really takes on a life of its own!
Entrelac begins with a base set of triangles to give a straight lower edge. All the stitches are cast on, then each triangle is made using a series of short rows. Entrelac has four fundamental parts, the set-up rows, left-leaning rectangles (set one), right-leaning rectangles (set two) and the end set (where the gaps are filled in to return to a straight edge). We also need edge triangles, a right and left one. These keep the edges straight. With entrelac, the stitches are always held on the needles and stitch holders are not normally used.
- At the end of the first entrelac row, the needles hold a set of small triangles, each with 5sts. Although they may not look very triangular, as the work progresses you will see them take shape. The gaps between the triangles will be where we form the first set of squares.
SET #1 – left-leaning rectangles
Right edge triangle
- As the base triangles lean to the right, our first set of squares must lean to the left. First, however, to keep the edge straight, we make a triangle at the RH edge using short rows, increases and decreases. If working with two colours, change colours here.
- When the RH corner has been completed a gap will appear. We will pick up and knit sts along the sloping edge to fill this gap.
- To join the new square to the one from the previous row, the picked up sts are gradually decreased together with the stitches from the previous row.
- Incorporating stitches from the next set of triangles will create the left-leaning rectangles. As each rectangle is complete, new sts are picked up along the edge of the gap.
- At the end of the row all the stitches from the previous row have been incorporated. You will notice there is a gap at the end and an angled (rather than straight) edge.
Left edge triangle
7 . To straighten the edge and provide the base for the next set of squares we pick up and knit stitches along the slope and work short rows with decreases to make a neat side edge.
SET #2 – right-leaning rectangles
As this edge is already straight (because we filled in the gap at the end of the previous set), we don’t need an edge triangle for our right-leaning rectangles but can go straight into making the rectangles.
- On st remains on the needle and (when knitting flat) the work is turned, ready to make the next set of rectangles. With the purl (WS) facing you can see the slope where we will make rectangles leaning to the right.
- The next set of sts is picked up and purled from the sts seen in the gap. Change colours here if desired.
- With the stitches picked up the rectangle is worked, incorporating the sts from the next block to create the rectangle shape.
- Once the sts from the next block have been incorporated, we are now ready to pick up stitches for the next rectangle.
- Seen from the knit (RS), the block of right-leaning rectangles can be seen.
- Sets one and two are repeated until the work is the desired length (changing colours with each block as required), here ending with set one.
- In order to create a straight edge at the top of the work, the gaps between the last set of squares need to be filled in with a set of triangles. If your knitting ends with a LH-leaning set (as here), shaping is on the purl (WS) rows. For a RH-leaning row the shaping is reversed and worked on knit (RS) rows.
- Once the knitting has been cast off, it is easy to see how the triangles at the base mirror those at the top to give straight edges. The straight edges created by the side triangles can also be seen.
Take a Closer Look...
The Sunrise Jumper by Laura Barker is a brand-new pattern, exclusively for Knit Now magazine. It features this technique in the yoke as well as at the lower hem, to create a truly unique jumper you'll love to knit.