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Learn a Stitch, Make an Entrelac Knit Cowl

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Skill Level: 

Welcome to the ninth entry in our ongoing series Learn a Stitch, Make a Cowl! Each month in 2015 we will teach you a new crochet or knit stitch. You can then use the stitch when you make the featured cowl. This month our stitch is knit entrelac, and the cowl is the Entrelac Knit Cowl in Boutique Unforgettable.

Download the Entrelac Knit Cowl!



The pattern calls for Boutique Unforgettable, but the example is in two colors of Soft Yarn, Light Grey Heather and Rose Blush, so you can follow along easier.

Entrelac has triangles on the edges, with rectangles in the mi Addle. The arrangement of the rectangles and triangles makes the fabric look woven.

Entrelac is worked in short rows. To work short rows, you will knit some number of stitches that are less than a full row. Then you will turn and work back across the stitches you already worked.

General Notes

A few general notes before we begin.

  • You will need to follow along with the pattern as you read this tutorial.
  • Trust the pattern -- even if something doesn't make sense right away, if you keep going you'll see the fabric emerging.
  • Pay attention to where you turn the fabric and where you don't.


Cast on 150 stitches to make the cowl as written. If you would like to make it longer, you can cast on additional stitches in multiples of 10 (e.g. 160, 170, etc.). If you would like to make it shorter, you can cast on fewer stitches in multiples of 10 (e.g. 140, 130, etc.). A longer cowl will require more yarn.

Tier 1: Left-Leaning Base Triangles

First Triangle

To start, you'll knit two stitches, then turn. Purl back over those two stitches. Next, you'll knit 3 stitches, then turn and knit back over those. Continue to work the other rows of the First Triangle in the same manner.

Here it is a few rows in, so you can clearly see which stitches have been worked. You can see the triangle start to develop.


To work the next row, you'll knit seven stitches, as shown, and then you'll turn the work and purl back over the stitches you already made.


After the first 17 rows you'll end up with a triangle on the end of your right-hand needle, with the other 140 stitches you cast on unworked on the left-hand needle.


Start over again at Row 1 to make the second triangle. Unlike the first triangle, the end point will be connected to the first triangle.


The second triangle doesn't look quite as triangular as the first one when it is finished, but this is normal.


Continue repeating Rows 1-17 until you have 14 triangles.

The triangles will be connected and may want to curve. This is normal.

SOTM September 6

On the last triangle, you'll do a Row 18, which you haven't worked before. You'll end up with the last triangle on one needle and the other triangles on the other needle.

SOTM September 7

Tier 2: Right-Leaning Rectangles

You'll pick up stitches along the side of the last triangle you just worked. In this photo, that side is the left-hand side of the grey triangle.

SOTM September 8

To pick up and purl, insert your right-hand needle from the back of the fabric (the side away from you) to the front of the fabric (the side closest to you) along the edge. Wrap the yarn around it as if you are purling, then move the needle back to the back of the fabric. Repeat with an edge stitch to the left of the first stitch you did, and continue down the side of the triangle. You will be using the same yarn, but we changed colors so you can see the stitches more clearly. Here are the 10 stitches picked up and purled along the edge of the triangle. To the right of them you can see the stitches from the grey triangle.

SOTM September 9

Throughout the cowl, make sure you pick up stitches on the very ends of each side. If you are not picking up on the very ends, right next to the stitches already on your right-hand needle, you will have small holes. If a hole does appear, don't worry -- we'll show you at the end how to take care of it.

Next, you'll turn the work and knit a row. The pink stitches will go off to the right as you continue knitting.

SOTM September 10

After you turn the work and purl back, you'll knit the last stitch you picked up and the first stitch of the next triangle together. In our example, this is one pink stitch and one grey stitch. You'll do this at the end of every purl row for this rectangle.

SOTM September 11

When you've finished the first rectangle, you have a piece of fabric that goes in a different direction from your original triangles. Here it is on the purl side (left) and the knit side (right).

SOTM September 12SOTM September 13

Next, you'll pick up and purl 10 stitches along the next triangle edge -- in the purl photo above, it is the left-hand grey triangle edge. Then you'll repeat the rows for the rectangle. Continue a Adding rectangles in this manner until you've made 14 rectangles total.

Here is what some of the rectangles will look like. They will be squished together on the needle, which is normal.


For the last rectangle, you will pick up the stitches along the side of the final grey triangle on the right-hand needle. You will p2tog the last stitch on the right-hand needle and the first stitch on the left-hand needle on every purl row. It is the same motion as you have used in the previous rectangles, but you are now connecting the cowl into a circle.

Here is what the cowl will look like when you finish Tier 2.


The next tier will work off of the side edge of the pink triangle, the one under the left-hand needle in the above photo.

Tier 3: Left-Leaning Rectangles

To begin Tier 3 you will again pick up stitches, this time picking up and knitting 10 stitches along the side of the pink rectangles. For our example, we've changed back to grey.


Picking up and knitting is similar to picking up and purling. To pick up and knit, insert your right-hand needle from the front of the fabric (the side closest to you) to the back of the fabric (the side away from you) along the edge. Wrap the yarn around it as if you are knitting, then move the needle back to the front of the fabric. Repeat with an edge stitch to the left of the first stitch you did, and continue down the side of the triangle.

For these rectangles, you will connect them with the live stitches of the previous pink rectangle on the knit side, using an ssk. Here is Row 2 of the First Rectangle right before you work the ssk.


To do an ssk (slip, slip, knit), slip each of the next two stitches from the left needle to the right needle, as if you are going to knit them. Then insert the point of the left needle through the front of both stitches, and knit the stitches together through the back loop. This will connect the sections together, and in our example the grey yarn will stay in the front so the color pattern is not disrupted.

Here is the First Rectangle finished. You can see how it looks like the grey triangle on the far right of the picture goes under the pink rectangle and continues as the grey rectangle.


Continue a Adding rectangles around. It's the same idea as Tier 2, but you will be working on the knit side of the fabric and using an ssk decrease instead of working on the purl side of the fabric and using a p2tog decrease.

Here is the cowl after Tier 3 is finished. You can see the knit side in the top part of the picture and the purl side in the bottom part of the picture.


Tier 4: Right-Leaning Rectangles

For Tier 4 we're going back to right-leaning rectangles, which are pink in our pictures. It's exactly the same as Tier 2, only you are working into the edge of the rectangles from Tier 3, instead of the edge of the triangles from Tier 1.

Here is after the First Rectangle of Tier 4.


Tier 5: Left-Leaning Rectangles

Tier 5 is done exactly the same way as Tier 3.

Tier 6: Right-Leaning Finishing Triangles

Tier 6 is the triangles to finish off the cowl. If you want a wider cowl, you can repeat Tier 4 and then Tier 3 as many times as you would like, ending with Tier 3, and then following the Tier 6 instructions. wider cowl will require more yarn.

In the rectangular tiers (Tiers 2-5) we only decreased on one side, when we were joining the current rectangle with a previous Tier. In Tier 6 we will decrease on both sides. One side will be the decrease that allows us to join the current triangle with the previous Tier. The other side will create the edge of the cowl.

In the following pictures, the edge of the pink triangle (directly under and parallel to the needle) is the row of ssk decreases.


As you go through this Tier you will essentially be casting off your stitches, so the number of stitches will decrease as you finish each Triangle.

Stitches are picked up as normal for the First Triangle. Following the pattern, you will connect the Triangle with the Rectangle in the previous Tier. The major difference really is the extra decreases to create the triangular shape -- otherwise the idea is the same as in the Rectangles.

To start the next and all subsequent Triangles, you will pick up and purl only one stitch.


Then, slip the first stitch on your right-hand needle over the stitch you just picked up.


Doing this will cast off that final stitch from the triangle you just finished knitting. Continue picking up another 9 stitches along the edge of the Rectangle, and continue the pattern as in the First Triangle.

You will end up with one stitch on your needle at the end of the final triangle, which you can then fasten off before you weave in the ends.


As mentioned above, if you start to pick up stitches and are any where other than directly next to your existing stitches, or if you stop picking up stitches and you have not worked into the very end of the side edge, you will get a hole. You can see a hole here on the purl side (left) and knit side (right) of the cowl.


This hole happens to have ends from the color changes next to it that can be used to sew it shut. If you have a hole without any ends near it, you can cut a length of yarn to sew the end closed. Once you sew the hole closed, no one will ever notice there was a hole.


Now all that remains is to enjoy your cowl!