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“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.”

—Kay in her article Squares on Point

My own experiences with entrelac are indeed from long ago. Somewhere in the world there may still be a two-toned turquoise, boxy vest, knit with an acrylic that will last forever, that was both somewhat amazing and horrible. And oh, the classic Lady Eleanor, a beloved entrelac stole that lives on in nearly 3000 project pages on

The Scrap Tote is a great small project to refresh your memory of entrelac. It’s also a ticket to fun improv projects.

Let’s Go Crazy

Inspired by Erika’s sense of adventure, I saw the Scrap Tote’s leaning, interlocking rectangles as blank canvases, ready for everything! Decorative knitted stitches, intarsia, duplicate stitch or … embroidered designs.

Hiding in plain Sight: Daisy, Heart, Feather, Fly, Chain, and Cross Stitches on my Scrap Tote

I have been in love with crazy quilts forever—I’m currently inspired by this quilt in the background, from the collection of my friend GK. A few of the stitches in my friend’s quilt just had to become finishing details for my Scrap Tote.

I referred to my beloved copy of Elegant Stitches by Judith Baker Montano, for embroidery techniques (and for life knowledge t00). My fingers went a little wild.

Although a crazy quilt usually has embroidered details covering the patchwork seams, I applied my embellishments where the Field Guide sample places a single row of duplicate stitch.

I used the same colors of Atlas as for the Field Guide sample: Barn Red, Pear, Truffle, Cork, Seaglass, and Cedar

The Lining: Inner Beauty (and a pocket)

The canvas bag I chose to line my Scrap Tote was a perfect fit. I cut off the handles (saving them for a sewing project) and used an extra pocket from a Sonya Philip demo. At last year’s MDK Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops, Sonya showed us how to make matching patch pockets. I stitched the pocket to the inside of my Tote liner, turned the top hem once to the inside to slightly shorten and stabilize the fabric bag,  and I’ll whip stitch the lining to the bag’s inside top edge..

Why Not? A Scrap Pouch!

Following the Scrap Tote pattern, but using half the number of stitches per rectangle, I’m also whipping up a zippered Scrap Pouch. You’ll notice I arranged the colors so that the fabric looks like woven strips. I picked up stitches and knit a few rows at the sides and top of the piece, for joining the pieces and sewing in the lining and zipper.

Atlas in Truffle, Pear, Cork, Cedar, and Seaglass

If you’re looking for an even smaller Intro to Entrelac project, try a pouch! My pouch mods can be found on Ravelry here, and my Scrap Tote notes are here.

Join us for Erikalong in The Lounge to share your Scrap Tote WIPs, FOs, and reimaginings!

Tuck it away.

Here’s how to save this article in your MDK account with one click.

About The Author

A passionate perpetual knitter, published designer and enthusiastic teacher, Nell Ziroli continues to be inspired by luminaries and students alike. See all her designs here.


  • Gorgeous!!

  • So clever. You have inspired me. Will we see a Field Guide with your designs someday?

  • Love the pouch idea and especially the color placement you did.

  • Nell I share your love of crazy quilts! I love your personal twists on Erika’s scrap tote and the lovely scrap pouch. You’ve sold me. I’m going to try one of these projects soon.

    • I love the embroidery! Such a nice addition.

  • Stitches on top of the creation make me think about it as doodling in fiber. As a new idea comes to mind just put it down in threads or yarn.

  • I love that this is a way to use up all those bits and pieces of yarn left over from other projects!

  • How do you keep the embroidery stitches from “sinking”into the fabric? Tips on the type of embroidery thread? Crewel embroidery? Thank you for the inspiration!!

    • I used the Atlas, and stitched into the knitted fabric before adding the woven liner. I pulled the yarn carefully and not at all tightly.
      I did consider splitting the plies of Atlas, but will try that on another project. I am sure that you can use crewel and other types of floss or yarn, too.

      • Thanks for the tips! Will give a try and experiment!

  • The embroidery pulls all the colors together in such an artistic way!

  • This project is so lovely and unique. Reading this makes me realize how lucky I am to have your articles to brighten every day with brilliant ideas and projects. Just wish I had the time and expertise for everything I find awesome. Thank you MDK!

    • I feel the same way—so much inspiration, so little time.

  • I love these lovely little projects 🙂

  • My experience with entrelac of long ago was not a fun one! This looks sweet. And surely they don’t make 45 cent zippers, now? I love your mods!

    • Oh, gal. I have such a stash of notions, too.
      I’m delighted that the right zip was still in the wrapper!

      • And a metal zipper to boot, much more long wearing than a nylon one!

  • I have to say my favorite thing about Nell’s embroidery is the tiny flower where four corners meet. I love embroidered flowers but never stitch them. I think I need to start, they just make me happy!

  • This is fab!! I love it!

  • I actually knit 2 lady Eleanors because I gave the first away and missed it terribly. The second one has been my lap blanket for 15 years, and it still makes me stop and stare at the colors. My happy memories of knitting them make me think I need another enteric adventure. It’s so clever and fun. I love your embellishments!

  • Obsessed… Hope to be able to make/take your class this Wednesday at BBS if its not too late to register!?! FOMO in VA BCH VA

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