A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

(Creatures in left photo were designed and sewn by DD#1, who has won herself a Reserved Champion in her recent 4H Skill Contest)

How does one address and resolve his/her knitting fear, regardless of complexity? For me, I dived in my first attempt at writing own designed entrelac felted tote for a friend who joined a local, virtual (meaning no physical meeting) knit-along group. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, a knit-along is where knitters hook up to make the same project at the same time.

Every time I WRITE, I learn and gain a deeper understanding. In this instance, how do I transform concepts into a real thing that is uniquely mine? How do I translate a prototype and experiment into motions my hands make upon my material. What layouts work best? What types of instructions are clearest? It is very rewarding as I proof-read carefully for completeness and clear communication and still managed to teach my friend Hildy modular and backward knitting yesterday (third 90° day in a row.)

I am no mathematical genius and, no, you don’t have to be one to knit, weave, spin, dye, etc. It would be helpful to have a good understanding of numbers, basic arithmetic functions, and a calculator, if possible! You can’t hear it, but I was screaming…in my first attempt, the gauge was off. Obviously, I didn’t apply my arithmetic skills carefully to verify the input supplied to the felting equation to give me reasonable results my friend Hildy desires. It would be way too big. First tote was unraveled. Good thing it was a quick knit, double-strand, in Size 10.5 needles. I didn’t mind too much. Plus, being home alone first time without husband and children for the weekend, what was I to do, but, knit!

Woooo Foooo…second try was swift and sweet. I had a chance to incorporate a modular design in the bottom of the tote for added interest (embroidered stitches to follow.) Here’s what I’m furiously making:

Entrelac, a technique of making your stitches look like they are woven strips woven together, is not as hard or complicated as it looks. It’s really quite simple and easy to memorize. If you choose fibers like Noro Kureyon or Manos del Uruguay, it does all the color changes for you. Once you understand the technique, you can morph it into all sorts of pretty stuff like in the edging on an afghans, a sweater vest, baby dress, hat, pair of gloves/mittens, pillow, shawl, scarf, handbag…a center panel of a pullover…You will really enjoy it if you figure it out–lots of fun. A couple of hints:

1. Learn to knit and/or purl backwards. It truly makes entrelac fun. How to learn? Just knit very slowly and pay attention to how it’s moving on the back side and then give it a whirl.

2. The first row of set-up triangles look they can’t possibly be right. They are. Honest.

3. There’s an entrelac stole in the classic Scarf Styles book too. Learn the basic technique and you’ll never look back!

Unconvinced? Confused? Stop by here (with illustration for visual learners) and here and see what you can do about that!

If you are interested in writing your own knitting pattern, I find these downloadable, very printable graph papers, in PDF format, extremely useful.

For my next fearless knitting challenge, I will be picking a lace pattern that is easy to memorize and enjoy and incorporate into an entrelac vest or a summer top.

Free your inner artist. Happy creating!


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