I'm working on a s.e.c.r.e.t p.r.o.j.e.c.t that began with a crucial decision: entrelac? or garterlac? For those in the dark, entrelac is defined and explained here, and garterlac is the garter stitch (knit stitch only) version of the concept. Armed with yarn and no expectations, I wanted to branch out and check off at least one new skill on my personal Knit List; modular knitting of any kind was new to me and would prove to be challenging.
Entrelac vs. Garterlac AKA You say potato...
SO! How to decide? I started with research -- librarian much? -- on Google and YouTube. I find YouTube to be the bestest ever resource in the world for learning new techniques or reminding me about things I don't do very often (kitchener stitch, etc.).
I quickly discovered that both entrelac and garterlac begin with casting on and knitting a series of base triangles on which to build diagonal tiers of knitted rectangles. The "LetsKnit2gether" video podcast about entrelac doesn't cover how to begin the base triangles or side edge triangle; in fact, this video is actually about garterlac! False advertising! Eunny Jang's Knitting Daily TV is the clearest instructional video on YouTube, but even she doesn't cover triangles. I found this video with base triangles and nothing else -- not even sound... : \
And then there's the matter of slipping stitches to make picking up rectangle selvage stitches easier. Eunny and Carol Wyche's Untangling Entrelac tutorial instruct one to slip the first stitch of every row; KnittyOtter's blog instructions are clear that slipping the first stitch should be done on knit rows only. About.com's tutorial has you slipping the last stitch of every row. Who's right? Gah!
LetsKnit2gether, while not covering garterlac in great detail, does refer one to Criminy Jicket's Garterlac Dishcloth pattern -- finally, something that made sense. Clear written instructions for all parts of the work (base, side, and top triangles, thank goodness), no irritating slipped stitches, and the benefit of reversibility: garterlac it is!
Bonus: Knitting and Purling Backward
I also figured out right away that all the work turning with modular knitting was going to get really old really fast. This was my opportunity to learn how to knit backwards (and, in the case of garter stitch, purl backwards) from the right needle to the left.
The Knit Witch has a knitting backwards video that's relatively easy to follow. Ravelry's Rox also has a video about knitting backwards that begins with a lot of talking, but her videos are always very helpful once she gets where she's going.
The Craft Vintage Grrl's video on purling backwards is very helpful for Continental knitters especially -- plus she's Australian, which always makes listening more fun.
YarnDude Matthew shows both knitting and purling backwards; the instructions are quick and clear, but there's a lot of chatting in background, which might throw some people off. I was able to tune them out, but if you're too distracted by the ambient noise, try some combination of the other videos I mentioned in this post.