I remember it was either my first or second knitting lesson, my instructor was working on a beautiful shawl that seemed to be somehow woven. She tried to explain the technique, but as my mind was still trying to grasp the finer points of "knit" and "purl", her explanation was mostly lost on me. I just remember gazing upon it longingly, but knowing full well I would never be able to create something so complicated or so lovely as that.
Fast forward one year. I'm at an Atlanta Knitting Guild meeting, when from across the room I spy THE most beautiful piece of knitted fabric I've ever seen. I literally drop everything I'm doing to go over and see what it is. I find out the technique is called "entrelac", (that's French for "looks impossibly difficult"), and the pattern is called "Lady Eleanor" from Scarf Style, by Pam Allen. It is knitted with Noro Silk Garden, color #47. (for those of you who don't have all the Noro colorways memorized, envision rich warm browns, deep umbers and rusts, intermingled with charcoal grey and dark steel blue) And to top it all off, this gal has the audacity to tell me it's easy! Needless to say I rushed right out and bought a copy of Pam Allen's book, and dove right in. She was right! It was easy! If you can knit, purl, K2tog, p2tog, cast on, bind off, and read a pattern, you can do it too. I didn't have Noro Silk Garden, but I DID have 8 skeins of Noro Transitions in my stash that I had purchased on sale, in a discontinued colorway. Here are the results:
Not a great picture, I know, but it really is beautiful. My wife loves it, and gets compliments on it every time she wears it.
After Lady Eleanor, I just had to do some more entrelac, so last February, I grabbed a pile of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, and a copy of Bags: A Knitters Dozen, and headed to The Mountain for a weekend of knitting at our knitting guild's annual retreat. Due to a combination of high altitude, and circumstances beyond my control,* not much of the bag was knitted that weekend, but I have managed to finish the knitting part this summer.
I still need to finish knitting the handle, (boring!), and felt the big old thing, unless, of course, you know anyone that needs a cosy for their Volkswagen Beetle.
But even this was not enough entrelac. I took the Lady Eleanor pattern, 5 balls of Noro Silk Garden Lite, (color #2011), and some US6 needles, cast on only 4 triangles for the first row, instead of the 8 the pattern called for, and knit a nice long scarf for myself.
In honor of Lady Eleanor, I'm calling it the "Lord Elsinore" scarf. I'm letting the LYS , where I work part time, display it as a shop sample until we have cooler weather. Needless to say, August is not really scarf weather here in Altanta. I just can't wait for that first crisp cold day of winter to wear it! I still have a few more entrelac projects rolling around in my head. Possibly a vest, or maybe even a sweater. I do have some Kureyon in my stash that is just screaming to be knitted. So pick up a pattern, or take a class if you must, but knit some entrelac! It's fun, it's easy, and it impresses the hell out of anyone that sees you doing it!
*Remember, what happens at The Mountain, STAYS at The Mountain!