Thursday, April 10, 2008

Entrelac Talk - Knitting in the Heartland Continued

The second workshop I took at Knitting in the Heartland was a class on Entrelac with instructor Laura Mayes and her teaching assistant, Terri. Specifically the project they were working from was an Entrelac headband pattern called "Woven Peaks Headband" which a former Sunflower Guild member, Jeanne C. Abel designed and shared with us. While I don't intend on making the headband immediately (I have WAY too many other projects on the burner), I wanted a conceptual introduction of the technique. This workshop gave me a fantastic overview.

Entrelac is a technique that creates fabric with a woven and tiered-triangle. The fabric is worked all in one piece, rather than separately as it looks. You pick up stitches on the sides of the triangle. To make this intro easier, the instructor urged us to use two different colors, so colorwork is involved. Having the 2 colors makes it easier to figure out what you are doing and what tier you are working on.

Years ago, in 2003, to be exact, I went to Stitches Midwest and purchased this nifty Entelac Knapsack kit from Knitability that was WAY above my head at the time, so I never had a chance to even start it.
Here's a photo of the kit and the yarn. I've been wanting to get to this for 5 years now, but have never started. Maybe taking this class and getting my feet wet in the Entrelac world will give me the inspiration to finally cast on on this felted knapsack. Not immediately, mind you, but again, once I get a few pressing projects off my "to do" list. Okay, hell, admit it, I may be still at the "considering it" stage in yet another 5 years. Who is to say? But new techniques fascinate me and I want to try it. Taking this class gave me that chance to play with it and sparked several creative possibilities.

Laura is a very patient and helpful teacher. And in a non-Entrelac related comment, the Freeformer within me coveted the gorgeous combo sewn/crocheted jacket she was wearing. I have to admit that instead of concentrating on the swatch we were working on, I became fascinated with her jacket and the mental wheels kept spinning about how I could do something similar. Oh yeah, in my spare time, I could work that up - just whip it out.

But back to Entralac again:

As usual, my knitting gauge was LOOSE. If I ever want to make this headband, I would scrap this initial practice swatch and go down 2 needle sizes, to size 5 circs instead of 7's. Yeah, no question, it's too loose the way it is now. But hey, I like this color combo I am using - the brown and teal work quite nicely together.

Searching for Entrelac patterns over on Ravelry, I realized that there is a great introductory article and pattern for Entrelac Socks by Eunny Jang in the Interweave Knits Spring 2007 issue. It's a really well-written article that covered many points we learned in the workshop. I'd highly recommend that anyone really interested in Entrelac should sit down with that article and a pair of needles and just try it. It's really fun and you'll experience one of those "ah ha" magic moments you have when you grasp a new technique.


Elysbeth said...

Another loose woman eh?

ChelleC said...

Yep definitely!

loopykd said...

I am intimidated by entrelac as well and I am taking an entry level entrelac workshop at Black Sheep Gathering. Keep us posted!