Sunday, 21 April 2013

Learning to Entrelac.

My finished Entrelac turban, I love it!

As a self-taught knitter I regularly come across patterns that I fall in love with and then freak out because it uses some crazy technique that I haven't even heard of.

Entrelac was just one of those techniques, but I'm quite a determined girl. So I decided to teach myself, just like I have done with other techniques, to begin with basic knits and purls, later cables and then lace. It's just taking things one at a time, and it's so rewarding mastering a new skill. 

I think this new generation of knitters have got such an advantage over previous generations. My Nana tried to teach me to knit when I was small, but I'm left handed and got frustrated when I couldn't immediately knit the same as my Nana did. I gave up. Now I'm a little older, with more patience and the understanding that I can knit how I find it easiest, it doesn't need to be the exact same way as others. 

I can research anything I don't understand on Youtube or Very Pink, or search for tutorials on a few of my favourite sites such as The Purl Bee or Knitty. I'm also a member of a local knit night, and the combined experience there has helped me out of a number of stressful tangles! 

So, I want to write a number of posts discussing different techniques, where to find out how to do them and what patterns you can use them in to test your new skills out!

So, here's the pattern that inspired me to learn entrelac: the Grey Garden Enrelac Turban by Rachel Price and Kate Burge. I'm a sucker for a wooly headband anyway, I much prefer them to hats, they stay on better and they look awesome. I've made a number of cabled headbands already, but entrelac looks wicked- like wovens strands of knitted material but it's actually knitted all in one piece. 

I read the whole pattern before I started, I've been stung enough times before to know you should always read the pattern first. 

However I have to tell you, for an entrelac pattern, I wouldn't waste your time reading the pattern. Seriously I couldn't make head nor tail of it. So I decided it would be best to not try and understand it. Just cast on and blindly follow the instructions. But I'm a curious soul, I don't like magic happening on my knitting needles when I can't understand how it's happening. 

So I watched a couple of tutorials to get my head round it. If you're not a nosey so and so like me, just follow the instructions like I said, you'll be fine. However here's the tutorial I watched, I found it really useful.

This one is by the knitting video geniuses over at Very Pink, I love the videos on here. This tutorial is about how to knit this pretty scarf by Allison LoCicero. But the skills and tips are the same. 

So, here's my tips for following an entrelac pattern: if you want the lovely blocks of colours use a yarn that has long stripes of different colours (Such as King Cole Riot) rather then swapping yarn all the time. If there is anything at all you're unsure of youtube it, I double checked for example how to pick up stitches, as it is used alot throughout entrelac. It is mportant to follow the pattern rigidly, but don't let the long list of instructions put you off. You will get it after a couple of tiers, but it's difficult to understand to begin with. I usually play around with patterns, but I definately wouldn't risk it with entrelac, I don't know it well enough.

Final tip- just go for it! It's wicked fun, and looks so impressive. What have you got to loose? You can always unravel it and start again. So, no more shying away from beautiful patterns because you're unsure of the technique, deal? :)

Here's a few suggestions of follow-up free projects to try out once you've mastered it. 

Entrelac Messenger Bag by Joanne Loh

Tenney Park Jumper by Elizabeth Morrison

Entrelac Hat by Lorraine J Major

Much love,


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Cable-cross my Kindle Heart

I love my kindle. Ever since I was a little child I had my nose in a book, revelling in the adventures of the Famous Five or exploring Hogwarts alongside Harry and his chums. 

I know some old fashioned people out there are against the kindle, but I think it should be embraced. I love books, proper books with a funny smell and creased spines, but reading is a big part of my life. The kindle has made it easy to take hefty books on the train with me, or a number of PDFs to lectures without lugging a folder to campus. I'm going travelling for a year in the summer, and the thought of not being able to take books with me would be awful.

My boyfriend has now also got a kindle, he seems to have never read often, much to my annoyance, but the kindle seems to have changed this. I want this to continue! And that means keeping the kindle safe from harm. Also, chucking it in a rucksack and hauling it around Asia without a cover would just be stupid.

So here is the first of possibly two patterns for a kindle cover. It is written to fit the newer kindle (6 inch screen without the keyboard), however for the older kindle with the keyboard, I will add instructions in brackets throughout.

It has two sides, an intricate cable panel on the front (much easier then it looks I promise, don't panic beginner knitters!), and a cute little heart on the back. Like I said, I heart my kindle! It's made to fit quite snugly so there is no need for a fastener. 

Materials needed:
Skein of DK yarn in desired shade (I used Hayfield bonus dk shade 0891)
3.5 mm dpns, or circular needles
Cable needle
Two stitch markers

Pm= place marker
Sm= slip marker
M1= make one 
Sl=slip stitches
K2tog= knit two stitches together to make one stitch

Cast on 56 stitches

Pm before 1st stitch, K2, P2 rib for 1 inch

Slm k1 m1 k26 m1 k1 pm, k1 m1 k26 m1 k1 (60 stitches)

K 5 rounds (older kindle 10 rounds)

1: P3 *sl3 onto cable (hold in back) k3 k3 off cable repeat from * 4 times p3 slm k30 

2-4: P3 k24 p3 sm k30

5: P3, K3, *Slip 3 to Cable Needle (hold in front) K3, K3 off Cable needle repeat from * 3 more times, K3, P3 sm k30

6-8: P3 k24 p3 sm k30 

Repeat rounds 1-8 twice (older kindle three times)

9: P3, *Slip 3 to Cable Needle and hold in back, K3, K3 off cable needle*, repeat from *  4 times, P3 slm k9 p4 k4 p4 k9

10: p3 k24 p3 slm k8 p6 k2 p6 k8

11: p3 k24 p3 slm k7 p16 k7

12: p3 k24 p3 slm k7 p16 k7

13: P3, K3, *Slip 3 to Cable Needle (hold in front) K3, K3 off Cable needle repeat from * , K3, P3 slm k7 p16 k7

14: p3 k24 p3 slm k7 p16 k7

15: p3 k24 p3 slm k8 p14 k8

16: p3 k24 p3 slm k9 p12 k9

17: P3, *Slip 3 to Cable Needle (hold in back) K3, K3 off cable needle, repeat from * 4 times, P3 slm k10 p10 k10

18: p3 k24 p3 slm k11 p8 k11

19: p3 k24 p3 slm k12 p6 k12 

20: p3 k24 p3 slm k13 p4 k13

21: P3, K3, *Slip 3 to Cable Needle (hold in front) K3, K3 off Cable needle repeat from * twice  K3, P3 slm 14 p2 k14

22: p3 k24 p3 slm k30

23: p3 k24 p3 slm k30

24: p3 k24 p3 slm k30

Repeat rounds 1-8 one more time

K2tog k26 k2tog sm k2tog k26 k2tog

K28 sm k28

K2tog k24 k2tog sm k2tog k24 k2tog

K26 sm k26

K2tog k22 k2 tog sm k2tog k22 k2tog

K24 sm k24

Join edges together using Kitchener stitch.

Fit your kindle inside, and you're good to go! 

Happy Knitting!

Any questions don't hesitate to ask!