Does the very word “entrelac” intimidate you? Try this pattern to make a simple entrelac square, and you’ll find it easier than you ever imagined
I love the quick hit of adrenaline that comes from knitting a relatively quick project, like a hat. However, that rush doesn’t quite compare to the deeper and possibly more rewarding feeling that can only be gained by finishing a project that took a considerable amount of time, effort, and yarn.
Like, for example, a blanket. I’ve been fortunate enough to knit a fair number of blankets in the 11 years I’ve been knitting. And every time, I always feel amazing when I’ve finished — like I’ve knitted the equivalent of Mount Everest!
I’ve published a lot of collections of free knitting patterns for blankets. I’ve also posted about the magic of the random afghan. But there’s one type of knitting technique that I’d never considered for blanket squares, until now:
How to knit entrelac!
How to Knit Entrelac Squares: Not As Scary As You Might Think
Hopefully the mere word “entrelac” doesn’t send you running for the hills. I know many knitters (including me, honestly!) find entrelac intimidating. And I understand completely. When you see the complex look of entrelac — the way knitted fabric appears to be woven together — it looks like something that could make you want to tear your hair out.
But I decided to give it a try, and I made the delightful discovery that entrelac isn’t really that hard!
Have you ever tried to knit a lace shawl? Did that lace shawl make you want to cry with frustration because every row was different, and trying to keep track fried your brain?
If so, you may well find entrelac to be a relief. Yes… I said “relief!” It’s surprisingly easy to memorize an entrelac pattern once you’ve knitted parts of the pattern a few times. It’s actually quite repetitive, and once you get the hang of the different parts of an entrelac pattern, you’ll likely find you’re able to knit it without even looking at the pattern.
Entrelac is a great way to knit squares for a blanket. If you’d like to use up a bunch of different colors of yarn, entrelac is a great choice. Want to knit blanket squares in a way that is interesting without being so complex it makes your brain hurt? Try entrelac.
Below, I’ve put together a pattern for a simple entrelac square. Follow these directions, and I think you’ll find knitting entrelac squares is a lot of fun!
How to Knit an Entrelac Square: WHAT YOU’LL NEED
To create your entrelac square, you’ll need worsted weight yarn in at least 2 colors. You’ll also need a set of size US 7 or 8 needles. (If you tend to knit tightly, use size 8; if you’re a loose knitter, try size 7.)
K – knit
P – purl
Kfb – Knit into the front and the back of the stitch, creating 2 stitches from 1
SSK – Slip two stitches from left needle to right needle, insert tip of left needle into the front of the two slipped stitches, and knit them together
P2tog – Purl two together
How to knit Entrelac, Beginning Your Square: the Base Triangles
To begin your entrelac square, you’ll create a series of triangles. Here’s how:
Cast on 8 stitches for each triangle you want to create. In my square, I have 4 base triangles, so I cast on 32 stitches.
To create the first triangle:
P2, turn the work; K2, turn; P3, turn; K3, turn; P4, turn; K4, turn; P5, turn; K5, turn; P6, turn; K6, turn; P7, turn; K7, turn; P8. Do not turn the work after this.
Now you have a triangle-like shape. (It probably won’t look like a perfect triangle… that’s okay!)
Repeat this series for every 8 stitches until you’ve purled all the way down the row. You’ll have a triangle (sort of) for every 8 stitches. It’ll look something like this.
So if you were panicking because the “triangles” look smashed together, no need. They’re supposed to.
The video below shows the knitting of these base triangles. (This was originally recorded as a Facebook Live video, only the recording ended abruptly, so, unfortunately, you won’t see the knitting of the first base triangle. You will, however, see the rest!)
The Next Row of Your Entrelac Square: Side Triangles and Row Rectangles
Attach your second color.
Complete the following pattern:
K2, turn; P2, turn; Kfb, SSK turn; P3, turn; Kfb, K1, SSK, turn; P4, turn; Kfb, K2, SSK, turn; P5, turn; Kfb, K3, SSK, turn; P6, turn; Kfb, K4, SSK, turn; P7, turn; Kfb, K5, SSK, DON’T TURN.
You’ll now have two triangles knitted together, one in your first color, and one in your second.
Now, pick up and knit 8 stitches from the top side of the next triangle to your left. You will now be knitting rectangles. Turn and purl 8. Then follow this pattern:
K7, SSK, turn; P8. Repeat this pattern until you’ve knitted across the entire triangle edge.
Continue to do this for every triangle. Pick up and knit 8 stitches, turn; P8, turn; K7, SSK, turn; P8.
At the end of the row, you’ll find a triangle with one side knitted and not the other. You’ll be adding a triangle to this side.
First, pick up and knit 8 stitches. Turn; P2tog, P6, turn; K7, turn; P2tog, P5, turn; K6, turn; P2tog, P4, turn; K5, turn; P2tog, P3, turn; K4, turn; P2tog, P2, turn; K3, turn; P2tog, P1, turn; K2; P2tog. Break the yarn.
You now have, in the second row, rectangles with triangles on either side.
In the two videos below, you’ll see me demonstrating this row. In video 1, you’ll see how to knit the first triangle of row 2, plus the rectangles. In video 2, you’ll see how to knit that final triangle in the row.
The Third Row of the Entrelac Square: Nothin’ but Rectangles
This row will have only rectangles. Attach your original color, or use a third color.
The first rectangle will be a little different because you’ll be using the remaining stitch from the last triangle as the first stitch. Turn your work, and pick up and purl 7 stitches. Turn and knit 8. Now follow this pattern:
P7, P2tog, turn; K8, turn; continue until all the stitches of the below rectangle have been purled. Then you’ll pick up and purl the next 8 stitches from the rectangle below.
You’ll continue this pattern across the row until you’ve purled across all the stitches. It should look like this.
For the remainder of the square, you’re going to alternate between rows of rectangles surrounded by triangles, and rows of strictly rectangles.
When the square is just about the size you want, you’ll finish the square with another row of triangles, like the ones with which you started the square. You will need to knit a row of triangles and rectangles (rather than a row of just rectangles) before you proceed to the bind off triangles.
Below is a video (originally recorded as a Facebook Live video) demonstrating the knitting of the row of rectangles. (I deleted a portion where I goofed up and started knitting the bind off triangles… but you may hear my mentions of “mistakes” or “goofs”!)
Final Entrelac Row: Bind Off Triangles
Turn your work. You’ll have the one stitch remaining on your right needle from the last triangle of the preceding row.
Pick up and purl 8 stitches, then turn. Now, follow this pattern:
Knit all stitches, turn.
P2tog, P6, P2tog, turn. (This last P2tog will combine the bind-off triangle with the rectangle below.)
K and turn.
P2tog, P5, P2tog, turn.
K and turn.
P2tog, P4, P2tog, turn.
K and turn.
P2tog, P3, P2tog, turn.
K and turn.
P2tog, P2, P2tog, turn.
K and turn.
P2tog, P1, P2tog, turn.
K and turn.
P2 tog twice, turn.
K and turn.
You’ll be left with one stitch, which you’ll keep on your right needle just like before. When you’ve finished the bind-off triangle, it should look like this.
And just as before, pick up and purl the next 8 stitches from the next lower rectangle.
Continue following the pattern above until you’ve worked the entire row and are left with just one stitch. Break the yarn and fasten this stitch off.
The video below demonstrates how to knit the final row of bind-off triangles. Note: the first 9 minutes you’ll see me make a big mistake! If you want to see the goof, watch the first 9 minutes. If you just want to see the RIGHT thing to do, skip the first 9 minutes!
And you’re finished! That’s how you knit entrelac. Below you’ll see my finished entrelac square, before and after blocking.
Two tips you should keep in mind for knitting your square.
- My finished square wound up being 12 inches by 12 inches. If you’re knitting for a charity organization that takes squares, you’ll probably want your square quite a bit smaller than this. You may want to begin with only 2 or 3 base triangles.
- When picking up stitches, I’ve found that it’s easiest to pick up stitches evenly by skipping every other stitch.
You may find these how-to-knit-entrelac directions a little intimidating, but I encourage you to dive in and follow them. I promise that you’ll get the hang of this far more quickly than you would have thought.
Questions? Feel free to comment below, and I’ll be happy to answer them.