Monday, 24 November 2014

Entrelac Part 1: What is Entrelac?

When Wink came up with the idea of an entrelac project for our "Unravel yarn" (if you don't know what I'm talking about, see this post) my immediate thought was that I didn't have a clue how to start knitting with this technique.  As Wink hadn't tried Entrelac crochet either, it seemed like the perfect excuse for us both to learn new skills. First I wanted to know exactly what it is... 
The most traditional modular knitting is Entrelac, which consists of rectangles laying at right angles to one another, creating a basketweave effect. The edges of the fabric are usually made up of triangles that nest into the top, bottom and sides, although these can be omitted to create an interesting serrated effect. The modules can be made in Stockinette, Garter Stitch or any other number of other stitch patterns, and /or in contrast colours.

So Entrelac (which literally means 'interlaced') is constructed in tiers rather than rows, and each tier slants in the opposite direction to the one below. This really interested me, and as there are lots of small rows within each tier, it's another great use for 'knitting backwards'. I decided the best thing to do to understand the technique would be to make a swatch, and I set about knitting this....

Entrelac swatch
Wishing to save the 'real' yarn for the project, I chose an inexpensive gradient (Drops sock yarn of some sort, I've lost the ball band so can't be more specific) so that it would be easier to see how the tiers are built up - I think you should be able to work it out from the picture from the changes as the colours blend from orange to black. The arrows in this version of the same photo should help to illustrate it further...
Direction of tiers in Entrelac knitting

Despite looking a little complicated, it turns out that it's pretty straightforward and after working on lots of other projects since starting this swatch, I'm now ready to get started with the "real" yarn. In the next post, I'll show you how to make the foundation triangles (illustrated in blue in the picture above) and tell you why I think knitting in the round is going to be quicker than knitting flat... which gives you a clue about my project! Hope to see you back here for that.

Don't forget to check out Wink's latest post on entrelac crochet, which can be found here.

Additional resources: (including some affiliate links)
If you can't wait to learn more about this technique, you may like:
Thursday, 20 November 2014

All I want for Christmas.... Giveaway!

It has become customary to do two things on this blog at Christmas - to publish a Festive Gift Guide, and to give some lovely things away! The FGG starts next week, but I am delighted to show you the gorgeous goodies that you can win if you are randomly selected....
CftC Christmas Giveaway!!!
I know many of you spotted the colourful KnitPro Marblz - limited edition - handcrafted needles which I used to photograph the Backwards Bobble Tutorial. They are part of a stunning interchangeable set I was sent to try out and which I will be sending to one lucky reader! The collection includes eight pairs of Marblz interchangeables ranging from 3.5 to 8mm, cables, cable connectors, a needle gauge and a lovely pen.
CftC Christmas Giveaway!!!
If you are familiar with KnitPro, you'll already know the quality you can expect. These come with black cables (I think they are the same as the Karbonz cables) and can be used with all your other KnitPro accessories, which are widely available. I hadn't tried acrylic tips before, and I'd heard that acrylic can be a bit 'squeeky' but I didn't have that experience knitting cotton/acrylic yarn for the tutorial - in fact the experience was very smooth. These needles are so pretty they might make you want to cast on a project in every size... in co-ordinating colours. They sell for £79.99 in my local shop, and you can get them for £59.99 on Amazon.

Of course, if you win them, you'll want something new to knit. I've chosen my very favourite shade of the incredibly soft and squishy DK Merino from the Yarn Stories range  (pictured) and you will get 2 balls of that with your needles - I'm not telling you which colour it is as it's always nice to have a surprise - you'll have to take a look and guess. Because good things should always come in threes, you can also choose one of the patterns from my Ravelry store.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is to leave a comment on this post telling me what YOU most want for Christmas! Be sure to leave your Ravelry user name or email address - if you don't do this your entry will not count. The closing date is Friday 5th December - which means that the parcel has a good chance of getting to *most* places before Christmas, provided I get your address quickly. If the winner is in the Far East, Australia or New Zealand it might be a New Year Gift instead.

Good luck everyone! 
Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Random Discovery of the Day (and trip-planning)

It seems that everyday I learn something new and interesting from "social networking", and today is no exception. Today I learned about this red lacquer box....
Source: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
If you haven't seen it before, the clue is in the caption. This box belonged to Vincent Van Gogh who kept a selection of yarns which he used to work out the colour palette for different paintings. If I ever knew this from A-level Art, it has long been forgotten (actually, most of it has been forgotten!) and I found it quite fascinating when @vikkipwillis posted a picture of the box on Instagram, wich prompted me to look up more information. I found lots of interesting posts like this,  this and this. (Thank you, Vikki!) 

The original box is still in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam which seems like another good reason to plan a trip - the last time I visited the city, the museum was closed. I now have a growing list of good reasons to go again, and feel I should start researching yarn shops there too. Have you ever been to the museum? Did you see this box? Do you have any recommendations for a 'yarn crawl' through Amsterdam?
Monday, 17 November 2014

Catching up!

It's been a weekend of catching up. Catching up with My Boy who returned from his first overnight school trip (he enjoyed that more than I did). Catching up with a husband who is always at work (so proud of him). Catching up with the laundry (urgh). Catching up with my projects (yay). There are a few things in progress at the moment, which only those following on Instagram might have seen:
Wips
  1. A hotwater bottle cover which I'm improvising from the Scheepjes yarn 'leftovers' from my Cosy Colourblock Shawl. It's only a small one but I like it enough to get more yarn for a standard sized version too, which perhaps defeats the purpose of using up my scraps, but that's the way it goes sometimes. 
  2. A new 'multi-purpose' design which should be ready to test later this week. It's a slight departure from my usual style with glamorous lace and sparkles - in fact, I felt compelled to paint my nails to start knitting one of the variants.
  3. The entrelac project I mentioned last week - which I will show you in a separate post, along with a tutorial.
    In fact the only thing I didn't catch up on this weekend was this blog (I'd planned to post this update yesterday)! Stay tuned as there are various things coming up in the next week or so, including a fabulous giveaway and the entrelac tutorial I mentioned. In the meantime I'd better get back to my knitting - those sparkles aren't going to knit and block themselves, are they?
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