The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Dragon is Slain!!

For years I have shied rather determinedly away from any sort of suggestion that I work entrelacs for any purpose, for a number of reasons. Not least among these is the fact that I tried them for the first time over 20 years ago when I was a brand new knitter. What can I say--knitting doth breed optimism. Needless to say, the entrelacs laughed heartily at my hubris (I know, a person really should keep her hubris covered while knitting...I should have known that) and then proceeded to transform itself into a pile of string and knots with a taunting expression on whatever yarn uses for a face. It wasn't pretty. Naturally, it did not occur to me that one teensy reason for my failure might just possibly maybe be the fact that I could measure my knitting career to date with a good stopwatch, the fact that I had absolutely no teacher of any kind and was self-taught from a book with truly crappy line drawings substituting for photos (I can't prove that they were drawn from hand shadows...but I'd bet good wool on it), or even the fact that I had never seen such a stitch in person at all. Ever. Instead, I made the logical-to-the-local-whacknut leap to the conclusion that entrelacs and I were doomed to meet only as foes, glaring at one another across knitting shops and festivals and never deigning to meet on the field of battle.

It doesn't help, either, that I saw a pattern for a knee-length cardigan made entirely in entrelacs that was about as flattering as a woven wool phone booth with a belt. Unless the model in question is actually a 5'6" rectangle with a head and hands. In that case, it's a very honest garment.
Finally, though, Interweave Knits threw down the gauntlet (most likely a knitted one with the appearance of little woven, knitted strips) by publishing a pattern for entrelacs sock. Truly. This is where I mention that, in spite of my singular hatred of entrelacs, I also have borne and continue to bear a hideous fascination for them that can only be described as obsession. That pattern continues to be the one that got away and, well, ask any fisherman. That just eats at a person. You start to see that fish in your dreams, you know? And putting them on socks....well, that was the ultimate "nanny-nanny boo-boo" as far as I was concerned. I mean, we all KNOW how I can't resist cool sock patterns. The entrelacs, with the help of the entire Interweave Knits crew, were taunting me. I'd had enough. I corralled Debi (thankfully, a delightful person and a very good sport) and made her tackle them with me--the moral support was much appreciated.

And now, I can safely say, the beast has been subdued. To wit:

The final row isn't complete--it really does balance out much more nicely than it looks in the photo. But the point for any responsible, mature knitter is this: I won, you little wooly bastard. I completely and utterly won. And don't even think about messing with me again or I'll make you into one of those ruffled toilet paper holders that look like a hat. You know I'll do it, too. In. Your. FACE.

Ahem. Yes, maturity is surely where it's at. In any case, I'm not completely sure I like picking up stitches well enough to make anything large out of entrelacs--the phone booth cardigan is right out--but the socks are so in my sights. They'd better be ready. Debi's entrelacs are being worked in two colors because she is a braver soul than I am and I'm hoping she puts up a photo on her blog because it's going to be really awesome looking. In addition to moral support for me, she also had a little gift for my already terribly spoiled inner child:

Lest you think my inner child kicked her in the shins and stole it or something, it was actually a trade. She fell as much in love with a yarn in my sock collection as I did with the Hot Flash and it was fate. Yarn was traded and everyone went away happy. My inner child wants to move in with her now, I suspect, fickle little wench that she is (the IC--not Debi).

In other news, Ed has concluded that I am the meanest cat mommy in the entire world for putting his catnip in a sock where he can't get to it to eat it (he actually eats the stuff...sort of like a hash brownie without the brownie).

I think that the whole process of desperately licking wool with a prickly tongue must lead to some small amount of frustration because Ed began to look a little maniacal...some cats just can't hold their nip:

No Knitingales were harmed in the taking of this photo...although it was a near thing.

Lastly, I offer a picture of the first rainbow Trekking sock, finished and kirchenered and happily awaiting its mate. Finally, a well-behaved sock! Between resistant yarn, sneeringly superior techniques, and bratty inner children...well. I needed some compliance:

By the way, am I the only one who thinks the word "entrelacs" sounds like some kind of new laxative? Yes?'s probably just me.


  • At 9:44 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    Woo Hoo! Hooray for you! Congrats on kicking the you know what, and I love the finished sock, too! :0)

  • At 12:48 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    That sock even tempted me but I think an entrelac would be easier for a starter . it's on my list at least. I nearly finished a whole capelet just sitting up watching films.There was an entrelac jacket in Holiday Voque but it is knitted in "Lasso" the most horrible 100% nylon that catches on a snag on your finger however small. I will try it in "Cadenza" if I learn the technique.

  • At 4:12 AM, Blogger Lynn said…

    Not fair! Not fair! NOT FAIR!!! I too have been casting sideways glances at entrelac, probably since the time you were weaned, while devoutly hoping that it was not looking back. And now you post a picture of a manageable entrelac project. Isn't this about the point at which a Shakespearian character would holler some Elizabethan epithet?

  • At 4:14 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Wow, you did it! WOW! You two ROCK! Now, had Debi done those before? WOW. I know, it has to do with picking up stitches...and hey we pick up stitches for...gussets, and neck bands, etc. and they're not that hard, well, they're NOT hard...but those are just beautiful!
    Your sock is gorgeous, what fun colours!

  • At 5:16 AM, Blogger Robin said…

    WaaHoo! You Did it!!!!
    Hey...Mr Ace eats the stuff too--Instead of being like "Kitty Krack" it's "Kitty Pot" to him...he eats it munches out and sleeps! And if I try to put it in a sock like you Did for Mr Ed...he ignores it!
    Love that finished sock!

  • At 6:41 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    Fantastic, so far I'm resisting the entrelac so will just watch agog with admiration!

  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger beckie said…

    It looks great! Next up, a two-color entrelac sock? Perhaps....

  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Love the sock!

    I have been eyeing the entrelac in IK too. But I am thinking a felted purse rather than a sock. Somehow a new technique with big needles sounds a lot better than using sock needles! Besides, my current knit purse is being held together with diaper pins, safety pins, and (I suspsect) lotsa luck.

  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger knottykitty said… I'm stuck! Got through the directions until the part where it wants you to somehow pick up stitches on the OPPOSITE side of where the working yarn is....ummm, WHaaaaaat? After staring at the mag, then staring at the swatch, repeat, repeat, clever kitty that I am, I went BACKWARDS in the directions and did another row where it was facing the right damn way! So, I guess I can't ever finish it, just keep adding stuff. Geeez. The two colors are looking good, but can't figure out how to continue with the dumb-butt thang! ;) deb

  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger knottykitty said…

    And oh yeah....your entrelac swatch looks okay....I guess....(just kidding---my IC is really bratty!) Great job! By the way, I hope your IC is rolling around on the Hot Flash yarn! It is just SO pink, isn't it? :)

  • At 2:45 PM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    "scarf" the missing word that makes it all seem so much saner!


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