Dear Ann and everybody,
It’s day four of this week’s tour of Erika Knight’s designs for MDK Field Guide No. 20: Atlas.
Today’s theme is scrappy. And quilt-y. And old-school.
In both the Stepping Stone Throw and the Scrap Tote, Erika reached into the way-back of our beloved and storied craft. She fished out an old-school technique called entrelac, shook it off, and made it fresh and new.
Before we saw Erika’s designs for these projects, I think it would have been fair to call both of us entrelac-averse. I’d tried it, many years ago, when there was an entrelac stole making the rounds of the blogs. I loved the technique, because it reminded me of log cabin knitting: it’s modular, blocky, and easily memorized. But it was kind of a one-and-done technique for me.
Until I saw Erika’s sketch of the Stepping Stone Throw.
The Stepping Stone Throw has a graphic pop that makes it both fun to knit and a modern statement piece for the home.
In addition to the fun rhythm of the entrelac technique, the four different block styles change up their stitch patterns and colorwork, for the constant knitting entertainment we crave when knitting a big project. For the Stepping Stone Throw, our motto is “one more block”—you just don’t want to quit. The ribbed blocks give dimensionality to the finished blanket, but they can also be blocked flatter, if that’s the way you roll.
sneak peEk: the Mellow colorway.
If you’re wanting to cook up your own Stepping Stone Throw colorway, you’ll need 4 skeins each of colors A, B, and C, and 3 skeins each of colors D and E. There are so many wonderful possibilities with this modular block design.
Good and Scrappy
When Erika designs a collection, she concludes with a small project to use up as many leftover yarns as she can. It’s a process that resonates with us as long-time knitters: there are memories in our precious scraps, and we long for a small, palate-cleansing project that turns them into a keepsake.
Enter the Scrap Tote. Erika combined her Atlas leftovers into a project whose small size belies the big fun of making it.
A satisfying exercise in resourcefulness.
Proper knitting patterns give precise directions to make the object in the photographs. We are nothing if not proper, so the Scrap Tote pattern specifies the six colors of Atlas that Erika happened to have on hand at the end of the other projects. It instructs how to make the front, back, and handles of a bag that is sized so that an ordinary cotton shopping bag—the kind you sometimes get as a freebie—fits perfectly as a lining.
You can replicate Erika’s bag exactly, row by row and single-row stripe by single-row stripe. One benefit of having a proper pattern is that you don’t have to wait for leftovers, you can start with full skeins. This will be big fun and we are definitely going to do it.
You can see where Erika’s scraps of Atlas in Barn Red came from.
But: if you’re game for some easy improvisation, you can treat the pattern as a recipe or guideline. Use leftovers and oddments, in the actual amounts you have left over, and make a bag in whatever dimensions you like. I’ve got my heart set on a tiny one, for a funky evening bag to dangle from my wrist, holding my phone and a lipstick. (Stay-at-home evening bags—let’s make it a thing!) Whatever you do, have fun with it. Forego the handles, and make it a cushion, or keep going with full skeins, and make it a baby blanket! This is a fun, freeing way of knitting, which is what we crave right now.