Back & Forth Entrelac Part 2: Foundation Triangles

A few weeks have flown by since I started talking about Entrelac and the knitting/crochet collaboration with Wink from A Creative Being, in which we are both making an Entrelac project with the same yarn - one knit and one crochet. My apologies for the unexpected delay, which was mostly due to childhood bugs and lurgies clashing with various deadlines. I'm delighted to be back to the topic today for a practical instalment, which comes in the form of a picture tutorial.

Entrelac tutorial part 1 - foundation triangles

Unless your item is intended to have a jagged edge, you need to start an Entrelac project by constructing the foundation triangles. If you recall the pictures in the first post, these triangles are the base upon which the left- and right-leaning sections are worked.

Entrelac tutorial supplies
For the actual project I'm using 100g/350m pure wool yarn (pictured, it's the same as this one but in a different shade) and 4mm circular needles (60 cm long) as this is going to be a cowl. For the step-by-step photos I've used a different yarn which has a clearer stitch definition so it's easier for you to see exactly what to do. If you're knitting along with me, a yarn with a graduated colour will work well, or you could change to a different colour for each of the tutorials.

As I mentioned previously, Entrelac is a technique which is particularly suited to what I call "knitting backwards", which is knitting back-and-forth across rows,  as there are just a few stitches to knit before turning the work. I don't know about you, but I find constant turning terribly tedious, and it disrupts what might otherwise be relaxing knitting, which happens to be my favourite kind. Since learning to knit backwards (back-and-forth) I've been amazed at how many projects it's been useful for - it's also helpful for teaching left-handed people to knit. I'm determined to champion it as an essential skill for knitters.

 Knitting backwards
Click to view the "Knitting Backwards" tutorial
So this tutorial uses 'backwards knitting' or 'knitting back-and-forth-without-turning' which simply means working a purl stitch from the right needle to the left needle, while the right side of the work is facing you. It is very easy to do... once you get your head around it. If you are knitting along, you'll be proficient well before the end of this project.

I posted a step-by-step tutorial already and you might like to work through that before continuing, if this technique is completely new to you.

In the following instructions you'll find abbreviations for backwards knitting. (If you'd prefer to try Entrelac without backwards knitting, turn and purl at the appropriate points.) Here's how the abbreviations translate:
  • F = Work the front or the right side (RS) of the work
  • B = Work the back (backwards knitting) - if you were turning to purl you'd be working the wrong side (WS) of the work
  • W = work the number of stitches indicated using 'backwards knitting' - if you were turning to purl, it would say P
  • Change direction = if you were turning the work to purl, you'd do so here, but by keeping the RS facing, you're simply changing the direction of your knitting
Note: I'm using 150 stitches for my cowl, and will be working with blocks of 10 stitches. You may prefer to practice by making a swatch which has less stitches, if so use a multiple of ten.
  • Cast on 150 stitches
  • 1. (F) K2, change direction
  • 2. (B) W2, change direction
  • 3. (F) K3, change direction
  • 4. (B) W3, change direction
The arrows show the direction of knitting, and the RS is always facing

Back and forth Entrelac tutorial - base triangles

Continue in this way, knitting one stitch more on each F row, until there are 10 stitches on the right needle (picture 7) and then do not change direction. The first triangle is completed. Repeat the process until the row is complete.

Back and forth Entrelac tutorial - base triangles

In pictures 7 and 8 you can see that the first 10 stitches are left on the right needle, while the process begins again with step 1. I've done this across all 150 stitches of my cowl and am ready to move onto the next step.

In the next tutorial (after the holidays), I'll talk about the main difference between knitting Entrelac 'flat' and 'in-the-round', and will join the stitches to knit the first set of right-leaning rectangles.

Click here to see all the posts in this series - there are links to other resources at the bottom of the last post if you can't wait to get on with the next step. 

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