Entrelac, Basic & Enhanced

From the stacked-diamond look of basic entrelac to lace effects, the zigzag path of this knitting technique leads in delightful directions.

Farm & Fiber Knits Editors Nov 14, 2023 - 3 min read

Entrelac, Basic & Enhanced Primary Image

Hannah Poon’s Bluebell Flames shawl turns basic entrelac into a canvas for a lace pattern. Photo by Harper Point Photography

Each row of entrelac is a group of knitted rectangles that leans to the left or right, building off the rectangles or triangles in the row below. “Entrelac” is derived from the French word for “interlaced,” so called because entrelac looks like strips of knitting woven over and under each other. But instead of interlacing, the essential movement of entrelac is turning left and right as blocks build off the side of one another. Hard to imagine? You may need to see it to believe it.

The Basic Shapes of Entrelac

Colorful knitter and entrelac expert Kathryn Alexander pushed the limits of entrelac with shaping, picking up stitches in unexpected places, and even using different yarn twists in her work. In this excerpt from her video course, Kathryn breaks down the basic elements of an entrelac pattern.

Entrelac & Lace

But what if, instead of working each new rectangle in plain knitting, you used a different stitch pattern in those few stitches? Not a complex stitch pattern that changed the pattern’s gauge, or colorwork, or anything that would distract from the stacked-diamond graphic look, but a little something that would add some movement to the design . . .

In the Bluebell Flames shawl, Hannah Poon added a small flame motif in the 11 stitches of each new entrelac rectangle. The flame changes directions on each row, dancing back and forth.

The lace pattern is worked only on the right side of the work. For knitters who learn the knack of knitting back backward—working knit stitches from left to right as well as right to left—the whole project can be worked without turning (the bane of the entrelac knitter).