As I posted previously, I had the opportunity to talk with Gwen Bortner on last week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit. I’ve been very forthcoming both on the podcast and here on the blog that I adore Gwen. She’s one of those people you just want to be around because she has such awesome energy, is crazy smart and lovely to the core. I’ve had her at as a teacher during TNNA and she is among the best. So I guess if you want to consider this post about her new book Entree to Entrelac biased, I’m okay with that.
I’ve never been a fan of the entrelac technique. As I mentioned on the podcast, entrelac is often given a bad rap. Knitters think that garments knit using entrelac will be bulky and shapeless, much the way crochet garments often come under fire (although I think there are many designers out there that have really turned the tide with crochet). We’ve had store samples sent to us that have fallen into this exact category. When I opened Gwen’s book my preconceived notions about entrelac were quickly erased. Then I got to page 56:
This coat speaks to me on so many levels. It’s the complete antithesis of what many people think of entrelac. It’s just beautiful. Knit using four colors of Malabrigo Lace the smallest size uses 11 skeins and the largest size requires 16 skeins. Yes, it’s a lot of yarn and a lot of knitting but this is one of those pieces that will be timeless.
One of the other garments Gwen and I discussed was the Morning, Noon & Night series. It is a compilation of 3 garments that follow the same pattern but offer different sleeve lengths and fit options. Each is knit in a distinctively different yarn.
This long sleeve version offers a standard fit and was knit using Prism Yarns Neat Stuff:
The three quarter sleeve also offers a standard fit but due to the yarn choice, it has a different look:
The short sleeve version is dressy partially due to the yarn choice (Touch Me by Muench) but also because it’s knit with less ease than the other two garments resulting in a closer fit:
For those of you who agree that these are all great garments but have never tried entrelac before, Gwen provides a complete tutorial at the beginning of the book and there are plenty of easy, first time projects. One that I particularly like is the Joined Points Hat:
These hats are knit using Brown Sheep Lanaloft but truly you could use any medium weight yarn you have in your stash that gets you a gauge of 18 st & 26 rows over 4″ in stockinette stitch.
If I haven’t tempted you enough, here’s an added bonus! The lovely folks at XRX, the publisher of Gwen’s book and Knitters magazine, have generously given me access to one of the patterns in the book that I can offer to all of you for FREE!
Gwen designed the Market Scarf specifically for those of you who have never tried entrelac before. It only utilizes rectangles. It was knit using just 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted. You can opt to use 200 yards of 2 different colors or 400 yards of 1 color (yardage for Malabrigo Worsed is 215/hank). Even if you are an entrelac pro, this is a great scarf that someone on your holiday list will love!
What are your thoughts on entrelac? Love the technique? Willing to give it a try? Still not a believer?
P.S. All photos were taken by Alexis Xenakis for XRX.
P.P.S. One small note: the final photo of the Market Scarf is the garter stitch version, which was made with Skacel/Zitron Opus 1, not Malabrigo Worsted. The stockinette versions are made with Malabrigo (red-orange, on the download. My apologies for the mistake!