The term “entrelac” is derived from a French verb “entrelacer”. In English, this means “to interlace”. Knitted entrelac looks woven/interlaced. Each round or row moves in the opposite direction of the round or row before it because rows are turned and every other row is worked from the wrong side, so it will move in another direction. Tunisian entrelac moves in the same direction because the right side is always facing.
When you worked knitted entrelac from the wrong side, chances are good that you are purling – unless you are working in garter stitch. What is a purl? Well, depending on your point of view, a purl is either a stitch on its own or the reverse of a knit stitch. Since a purl stitch produces a knit stitch when viewed on the right side of the work, it is my opinion that a purl is just reverse knitting.
Now enter a little bit of debate/confusion in Tunisian entrelac.
If you were to be a Tunisian crochet rebel – an act which I wholeheartedly endorse, by the way – and flip your entrelac to work from the dreaded wrong side – and you consulted your handy dandy stitch compendium to see what to do, you would be confronted with two different stitches: the Tunisian purl and the Tunisian reverse stitch. These stitches are going to also be interchangeably named, depending on the designer or publisher.
If you work alternating rows of squares in TSS and TPS (Tunisian purl stitch) then you will still get a Tunisian entrelac sample whose rows or rounds still move in the same direction and don’t actually look interlaced. If you flip your work around and work the TPS on the wrong side, you will get a piece of work that now shows two different directions but you won’t get TSS (or TKS or whatever your main stitch is) on the right side. You’ll just get the backside of TPS.
So really, the Tunisian purl stitch isn’t a true purl because it isn’t a reverse of another stitch.
Are you cross eyed yet?
If you would like your Tunisian entrelac to look interlaced, then you need to perfect your main stitch in reverse. If you are working your entrelac in TSS, which most of us do, then you need to TURN your work and work the Tunisian reverse stitch…..which is sometimes also written as Tunisian purl stitch….which can become pretty farking confusing.
Here is a photo of the right and wrong sides of Reverse Tunisian Simple Stitch (RTSS). I left it on the hook simply because these little swatches are curly and the hook weighs it down a bit.
If you always work your Tunisian entrelac from the right side, your entrelac stitches will always move in the same direction. There is nothing wrong with this, and you certainly don’t need to change how you do things. It’s probably how 99.9% of us do our Tunisian entrelac. If you look closely at this corner-to-corner example you will see that all the stitches run in the same direction:
One option is to do the “around the world” technique and begin from the centre out when you make something. Its how this blanket was started and when you work around and around, with the right side facing, you will see four visible sections all moving like a spiral. The self-striping yarn helps to see the direction that the stitches are moving:
You won’t always have the option of going around and around for every project you make, though, and sometimes, like in the mandalas, going around and around in a circle DOES NOT produce a change in direction because you aren’t moving in a spiral.
If you flipped your work around on every even row or round in Tunisian entrelac and worked a reverse stitch from the wrong side, you would get entrelac that looks like this beret. The purple rounds of TKS move in the same direction but the blue rounds move in the opposite direction, which make the work look truly interlaced.