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Member's Gallery 2021!

Welcome to the Member’s Gallery!

Thank you to everyone who has sent in photos and stories about the projects they have been knitting over the past twelve months. It has been so inspiring to see how many of you have made the most of your time in a year that has been disrupted globally for many of us by lockdowns and restrictions. Throughout this pandemic my knitting has always been there to help me through the good times and the bad. And I know from your emails that many of you have found great comfort too in this wonderful craft. So, it is with great pleasure and a ton of excitement that I am able to share with you these photos and stories from some very talented craftsters – enjoy!

I begin with the 2021 Mystery Blanket which was revealed at its conclusion in November as One Thousand and One Nights – a vibrantly coloured project inspired by this collection of Islamic folk tales. It was a challenging journey for the members who took part, but as you can see, they made a fabulous job of knitting it up!

One of the first members to finish the blanket was Annabel Casey from Banbury in Oxfordshire, UK. Annabel has knitted many Mystery Blankets, all to perfection and as far as I know, all of them are completed. So this is a another one to add to her ever-growing collection of ‘Debbie’ blankets.

Annabel says: Here it is, all finished. I did mainly Option 1 but did the Option 2 centre squares. I did Option 1 borders on the sides and Option 2 top and bottom because I liked both options. And I used the remaining wool to make multi-coloured pom-poms which I put on the corners. I love it and it’s really cosy. Another great design. Can’t wait for the next one!”

The addition of pom-poms is a fabulous idea and one that I meant to do myself but never got round to. It’s a great way to use up some of the leftover yarn and they fit in perfectly with the theme of the blanket. Don’t they look amazing!?! I also like the mixture of the two edgings – a fine solution if you are undecided about which one to knit.

I’m off to find my pom-pom maker…

On the 19th November, Kate Nowak from Surbiton in Surrey, UK sent in these photos of her completed blanket which is stunning! I know how determined she was to keep up with the patterns each month and not fall behind. And all that determination certainly paid off as she completed it within a few weeks of the final patterns being sent out. And by the sounds of it she was very excited about it too…

Kate says: “I’ve finished my blanket and it’s now blocking on the dining room floor!”

Kate has knitted up a lot of Debbie projects during the past twelve months and here is some more of her work, starting with the Let It Snow Wall-Hanging from the Mystery Festive Knit Box…

…the Sweetheart Cushion which was knitted for her granddaughter…

…the Fraggle Rock Cowl which was the project for the Inspired Minds workshop in the Isle of Wight back in August…

…and the Star of Wonder Bunting which was the workshop project for the Inspired Minds festive weekender in November!

Wow! – that’s a very impressive collection of projects and all so beautifully knitted!

Trish from Carlisle, UK, sent in a very intriguing series of photos which gradually revealed how she completed her Mystery Blanket…

 

Trish says: “Thank you for the superb blanket. I went to visit my knitting friend who also sews. We visited Bramble Patch to find a fabric to back the blanket and this design and colour way is absolutely perfect. Kaffe Fassett of course! I hope you like my little chain stitch corners as well.”

Trish is right - the fabric that she chose to back her Mystery Blanket with is spot on and matches the colours in the blanket beautifully. I’ve never backed any of my blankets before, so to see this one completed with such a fabulous lining is a real treat! And I do love those extra little details in the corners too – what a brilliant idea!

On the other side of the water in Concord, California, USA, Tracey Nettleship shed blood and tears over her Mystery Blanket – oh dear! - but she finally finished it in December. By the sounds of her comments, it is probably something she won’t do again after finding it a huge challenge, but she is, however, super pleased with the end result. She included a video clip too of her working on the blanket. Here’s what she had to say…

Tracey says: “I've finally finished the blanket! I think I made a mistake signing up for this :) This amount of work and concentration is really only for the ninja knitters who have knitting as their main hobby. I am a zombie knitter who makes a jumper every couple of years, socks and gloves also, all while sitting in front of easy watching tv.

The previous blankets on the website I looked at made me think 'bit of fair isle, some cabling, nothing particularly tough'. But his was a totally different beast and, while I did manage to wrestle it to the ground, it left me bruised and bloody. Should I ever make another blanket I want to see the pattern first and know just what I am getting myself into!

Here is a video clip of the bit I liked the best, the beautiful colours under my hands and the zen like feel helped me understand why people do something so complex. https://youtu.be/XOD40yn_dHo 

I do have ideas for gloves and a hat based upon squares in this blanket but that will be next year as I need to finish a jumper I started last year before I took on the blanket.”

I think that Tracey’s perseverance with this deserves a big round of applause! It’s not easy to keep going with a project when you feel so challenged by it. But then the relief and amazing sense of achievement you feel when you reach the end of it makes it all worth it. And Tracey's blanket does look stunning! I really love the changes she made to the central panel too. Those additional triangles make it look so unique!

Next, we hop over to Chile where Ximena Verdugo Mozo from Vina del Mar was thrilled to bits with her first ever Mystery Blanket. If you read the monthly Mystery Blanket blogs you may remember reading about Ximena’s progress. She sent in photos of her blanket while she was working on it and was always so enthusiastic about her knitting. Here you can see why!

Ximena says: “I’ve finished my awesome blanket with the year 2021!!! My friends have been celebrating my beautiful blanket and I feel very proud of my job. I am feeling blessed and grateful for this wonderful project I knitted with your inspiration!”

What a super first Mystery Blanket and probably one of the most challenging in the collection. It’s great to see it completed after all of Ximena’s wonderful updates!

It’s back to the UK now to take a look at how Myra Sharp from Reading in Berkshire kept herself busy during the past year. Myra embarked on both Mystery adventures in 2021 and here are her completed projects, the One Thousand and One Nights blanket and the Restore cushion…

Myra says:As promised I am attaching some photos of my completed Mystery Blanket. The edging took some finishing as I decided to do the bobble edging as I had done Option One all along, and I am so glad I did as it finishes it off so nicely.

My other projects include the Summer Bag, the Mystery Cushion and a BeadyKnits beaded cushion. I put hand made with love buttons on my Mystery Cushion and I think they worked quite well.”

This is a tremendous amount of knitting completed by Myra and it is so inspiring to see what she was able to complete within one year. What a wonderful collection of projects!

Jane Boyd from Leigh in Worcestershire, UK, shared regular updates on her WIPs in last year’s blogs, and you may remember that she was frequently assisted by her trio of gorgeous kittens! Jane finished her blanket well before the end of the year, and each month she also had time to work on many other smaller projects too. Here are those lively little kittens hard at work assisting Jane towards the end of the blanket…

…and here it is completed, doesn’t it look brilliant!

Jane spent her time knitting many gifts for friends and family. One of her favourites was the Mini Christmas Stockings which she knitted fifteen times! By the end of the end of it she must have known the pattern off by heart!

Knitted projects make a great gift and are a lovely way to give a special friend or family member something which is really personal and unique. I wish I had the time to follow in Jane’s footsteps and do the same, but I would need another twenty-four hours in a day to achieve what she has done!

Gail Coles from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, UK, has the complete collection of all fourteen of my Mystery Blankets, and guess what?!? – she’s signed up for 2022 as well! Gail is brilliant at getting her projects finished and here is her completed One Thousand and One Nights. She was able to show me her blanket at the Inspired Minds workshop in Bournemouth last November, and I was very excited to see what she had done with the edgings. Each one is different, with Option One and Option Two used for two of the sides and her own designs used for the others. I think it looks amazing!

Gail is also a superb crocheter and as well as knitting the 2021 Mystery Blanket, she also managed to complete two crochet blankets as well! The colours are absolutely stunning and they have both been crafted so beautifully.

Gail says: “This is Homage To The Granny Square by Sue Maton of The Mercerie. I started it in September 2020, but because of my mum being terminally ill and dying just before Christmas, then I caught Covid and spent the beginning of January in hospital, I couldn’t raise the enthusiasm to knit or crochet until mid February, so the blanket wasn’t completed until April 2021. It was an online course, receiving patterns each week and a fabulous online video accompaniment. The project used approximately twenty balls of Rowan Felted Tweed in a colour palette chosen by myself but with a guidance from the tutor. The main balls where bought specifically but the ‘popping’ colours were left over from my previous mystery blankets!

And this is Wallflowers, again by Sue Maton of The Mercerie. Another online course due to the pandemic, as these courses are usually in person workshops over several months. It was started in April 2021 and completed August/September of 2021. This blanket used more than forty-six balls of Rowan Felted Tweed - it didn’t help as part way through I changed one of the colours! I now have an extensive stash of RFT! This blanket was a real labour of love, all the elements were made individually and crocheted together so there were a million ends to sew in! I found it at times to be relentless and a little overwhelming as I was recovering from long Covid, but I’m so happy with the end result. Some ladies on the course were making two or three in different colour palette’s, I was more than satisfied to complete one!”

What a fabulous collection of blankets! That’s three in little over one year – wow! I have to admit that crochet has got the better of me over the years and I still can’t get to grips with it – even with some excellent tuition from the Queen of Crochet Jane Crowfoot! I’ll just have to put it back again on my to-do list and then perhaps one day I will give it another go…

Here are two more beautifully knitted Mystery Blankets, the first one has been sent in by Susan Hine from Abingdon, UK

…and this one has been knitted by Kathy Walker from Plymouth, UK. Kathy decided to swap the Tanzanite for Coral which gives it such a unique look. I love to see small changes made to my designs – it can make it look so different in comparison to the original blanket!

To conclude this section of the Gallery I want to share this beautiful patchwork quilt which was made by Paula Nelson from Honiton in Devon, UK. Paula also knitted the One Thousand and One Nights blanket as well as making this quilt, and what is really interesting is that they were both inspired by the same source.

Paula says: “I have just watched your video about the design ideas for the Mystery Blanket. I would be very interested to get the book of Islamic patterns and designs for my son and family who live in Oman. He has been curating a museum of music for the Royal Palace and the designs are amazing. So, if you could give me the details it could be a great Christmas gift!

This is a quilt that I made on the same theme from a design by Jo Colwill at Cowslip workshops in Launceston.

Must get knitting now!!!”

I absolutely love patchwork quilts and this is a superb project which looks stunning in neutral tones. It is a craft that I have never been very successful at myself but always longed for the time to learn the skills and put them into practice. I was given a brief introduction to patchwork quilting when I worked for Rowan as a Design Consultant but never got any further than making a few basic templates. So it’s definitely another one of the things to add to my to-do list!

And so onto the Mystery Cushion, which was revealed at its conclusion in October as Restore – a soft, cuddly cushion cover knitted in the gorgeously light and airy Rowan Cotton Wool in soft shades of pink, blue grey and cream. Its inspiration came from being at home and keeping safe and cosy indoors, surrounded by everything that makes you feel good about yourself.

We saw Myra Sharp’s Mystery Cushion earlier on, but here are two more, the first one sent in by regular Mystery Blanket and Cushion member Catherine Pope from Nottingham, UK. I have met Catherine several times at the lovely meetings that Sarah Doherty from Yarn in Beeston used to run for Mystery Club members, and Catherine was regularly in attendance, always accompanied by her current Mystery project. So, it’s great to see last year’s cushion completed and finished off so perfectly too with some lovely buttons she found to match the design.

Catherine says: “I thought you’d like to see the finished cushion. I chose some wooden heart buttons and think it looks good on my sofa with the Winter Wonderland blanket.

I’ve also finished knitting my daughter the big and cosy blanket from More Blankets & Throws. Because one of the yarns I used had a stripe I swapped the stripe square and adapted one of the hearts from the denim hearts blanket.”

The Restore cushion and the 2019 Mystery Blanket, Winter Wonderland, make the perfect pair and look great together! I might just have to pair mine up too! And I love the Big & Cosy blanket, it looks super fabulous in those soft grey and pink shades!

And now over to Italy where Giovanna Maria Ledda from Selargius in the region of Sardinia, was very happy get another one of her Mystery projects completed. She has been a member of several of my Mystery Clubs over the years and always embraces every project so enthusiastically. Here is her most recent achievement:

Mary Leeson from East Leake in Nottinghamshire, UK, is always full of brilliant ideas as to how to use up all the odds and ends from a knitting project. Take a look at what she knitted out of the leftover yarn from the Restore cushion cover. Isn’t it amazing! It’s the Zero Waste Shawl by Katarina Linnhagen. The graduation of colour is just stunning, they all melt into one another effortlessly. 

Mary says: “I obviously had a bright moment to knit up the shawl, though the pattern was at the front of my brain as I'd helped a friend with it. I do like garter stitch.

I used the pattern for the shape and construction but altered how the colours were used.

I started with just Mushy and then after a few of the ‘teeth’ I added in Dolly to alternate the colours of the garter stitch ridges. I alternated two colour ridges throughout the shawl changing colours when each yarn was knitted up. I finished with Nutkin as I had the most of that left. I tried to change colour on the straight edge and not the toothed edge. So when Dolly ran out I added Milky to alternate with Mushy. When Mushy ran out I then added in Tiny. When Milky ran out I added Cuddle. When Tiny ran out I added Moon. When Cuddle ran out I added Naptime. When Moon ran out I added Nutkin. When Naptime ran out I just used Nutkin until I'd got enough to knit row 5 of the pattern and cast off. I had 48 ‘teeth’. The pattern had 53 teeth but I didn't use their colour sequence or yarn.”

The effect is really lovely and it is great to see all those odds and ends being made into something so beautiful!

And now for some non-Mystery projects...and we go back over to the other side of the world again now, this time to look at what Brynne Baruch from Hockessin in Delaware, USA, has been knitting. She took on an almighty challenge when she decided to knit two Mystery Blankets at the same time. And in the process she made a new knitting friend too!

Brynne says: “Here is my first completed Debbie Abrahams blanket and it has a funny story to go with it.  During the pandemic, I became reacquainted with knitting, something that I had done when my children were younger but hadn't done for years.  I came across Ravelry and thus the wonderful world of Debbie Abrahams.  I wasn't sure that my knitting skills were up to par but went ahead and I ordered my 2021 kit and was anxiously awaiting it.  But in the meantime, I had been drooling over the Precious Earth blanket and thought it would be perfect to give to my daughter who is a park naturalist.  Well, one came up for sale and I bought it and cast on in January of 2021 (yes even as my new kit yarn was arriving!).  So, I actually worked on both 2021 and 2022 at the same time, finishing the lovely Precious Earth blanket in May.  I am a bit behind on the One Hundred and One Nights but hope to finish it by year's end.  Another fun thing is that the woman I bought the kit from and I have become remote knitting friends and will be doing 2022 together.  Whenever I tell her that I am behind on my squares, she reminds me I am a blanket ahead! 

Thanks so much, Debbie for the great instructions and for giving me the confidence to believe that I am a knitter worthy of good yarn! “

The Mystery Blanket is a global project and although many of the members do not get to meet up in person, many friendships have been made remotely through it, just like in Brynne’s lovely story. It always makes me feel so uplifted when I hear this as I know how solitary the craft of knitting can be for some people. And unless you are part of a craft group, you are pretty much working on your projects alone. But the internet has changed all of that and now we can keep in touch very easily across the whole world. And I think that’s marvellous!

Every year one of my favourite types of designs to work on are the festive knits, and over the years I have built up a large range of kits for this collection. We started putting together our Mystery Festive Knit Boxes during the first wave of the pandemic, and they were so popular and well received that we decided to continue this annually. Included in the festive box is a brand new knitting kit which many of you have knitted up. Here are some photos of last year’s project, the Let It Snow Wall-Hanging, along with some of the other festive kits that have been purchased and beautifully knitted during the past year…

Towards the beginning of the blog I shared Kate Nowak’s lovely Let It Snow Wall-Hanging, and here it is again, this time knitted by Dara Lynn from Florida, USA:

Dara has been super busy and has knitted several of my other kits as well during the past twelve months. Take a look at these, all knitted so beautifully! I particularly like the changes she made to the wording on the Silent Night Wall-Hanging, I think it works so well and the letters fit perfectly into the allocated space at the top.

Dara says: “It’s decoration time so I pulled out my decorations and realized I hadn’t shared my version of your kit. Meet ... Stille Nacht! I’ve enjoyed knitting this as I do all of your kits. My mother is from Germany so it wasn’t random. I miss Christmas in Germany so this is a little reminder.”

And who is that fine feline who has sneaked into the photo, you may be wondering?!?...

Dara says: “Here’s my completed backpack. I added a little zing of extra beads at the end of the cords. My kitty, Sir Zelig von Kittyman, decided he needed to be in the photos too!”

It is great to see so many projects completed and it goes to show what how much can be accomplished within a relatively short space of time. It looks as though Dara now has enough festive decorations to dress her house to the best for the next few years!

Caroline Evans from London, UK has participated in many of my Mystery Clubs, she has joined me on several knitting holidays over the years, and she has knitted up the vast majority of my kits too! And I get the feeling from these photos of one of her most recent projects that if she likes a design, she is happy to knit it again and again and again...I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many colourways of one design before! These are her colour variations of the Twinkle Twinkle Festive Stocking, which was the project I designed for the 2020 Mystery Festive Knit Box:

When I saw Caroline at the festive workshop in Bournemouth last November, she told me that she had virtually exhausted the whole collection of Rowan Alpaca Soft DK with her Twinkle Twinkle stockings, using almost every colour from this yarn collection.

So not only does she know the Twinkle Twinkle pattern inside out, but she’s also got pretty familiar with this gorgeous yarn too! What a great portfolio of work!

Diane Pearmain from Hexham in Northumberland, UK, has also knitted up a lot of my kits and blankets, and she was very happy with one of her most recent knitting achievements, the Twinkle Twinkle Stocking.

Diane says:I had a little break from my Mystery Blanket to try to knit my last year’s Christmas gift to myself of the Mystery Festive Knit Box. I wolfed down the chocolate  - being in lockdown with supermarket deliveries only I hadn’t had any for months! I admired the buttons and beads and vaguely contemplated the stocking pattern. I left it too late to knit it because I was engrossed in finishing the Precious Earth blanket. Today, on my birthday, I have just completed last year’s stocking and as I type I’ve just put down the 2019 Mystery Blanket, Winter Wonderland. I’ve four squares and two edges to go.

My mother always used to say I had eyes bigger than my stomach when I helped myself to more food than I could eat, and it’s the same with buying your kits and projects. It’s served me in good stead in the pandemic, I can always put my hand on an interesting DA project in my craft wardrobes. Yes, I have three walk in wardrobes and a loft stuffed with matting and knitting materials!”

I think that you can never have too many knitting projects, and this has proved to be a real plus point for many people during the pandemic. I put my hand up to having a huge stash of projects ready and raring to go when time permits, just like Diane!

Steph Prutton from Birmingham, UK, is very active on social media and set up the very busy and lively Debbie Abrahams group on Facebook which enables knitters to have a natter, share pictures of their work and exchange advice and tips about the projects they are knitting. Steph took part in the 2021 Mystery Blanket Club, but she also found time to work on other projects too. Here are two of them…

Steph says: “These are two projects I have completed this year for your Gallery. First the Autumn Bag which is being gifted to my middle son’s girlfriend for her birthday. The lining was chosen from a selection at Liberty.  

The second project is Hyacinth Cushion that went to my youngest son when he moved into his first house with his girlfriend.  I am currently knitting another of these as a Christmas gift.  

I absolutely loved making these projects and can’t wait to complete this year’s Mystery Cushion and Mystery Blanket!”

What a great variety of projects – a bag, a cushion cover and soon a blanket and another cushion that will be added to Steph’s collection! It’s lovely to hear how much Steph enjoyed making them too. And I just love that Liberty fabric that Steph used to line the Autumn bag - it's spot on for colour matching!

Sue Simms from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, UK, joined me back in October at Hell Bay in the Isles of Scilly for one of my knitting holidays, (it’s a super place and if you ever get the chance, you must join me one year!). Earlier on in the blog I shared with you Kate Nowak’s Fraggle Rock Cowl. And here is Sue’s cowl which she completed soon after returning from the holiday.

Sue says: “It thought you’d like to see the finished article! Not my colours but it will be a lovely present for someone, and it will inspire me to plan another colourway.”

This sort of project which is basically a striped pattern, is perfect for recolouring. And I am sure that Sue will enjoy putting her own colour palette together for it. I will be launching my own recolour of it as a kit in our online shop within the next few months, so keep an eye on your inbox if you are interested. I’ve gone for black combined with shades of grey and white, with a neon hi-light, great for both evening and day wear!

I conclude the Member’s Gallery with a collection of photos sent in by my dear friends Peter and Sue Bartlett from Bexhill-On-Sea in East Sussex, UK, who both keep themselves constantly busy with all sorts of knitting and crochet projects that they make for friends and family as well as for themselves and their new home.

Sue and Peter are well known in the knitting world as the crafting couple, and this has not gone unnoticed by the media. Recently they were featured in an article for In The Wool which focused on Couples Who Craft. And Peter was also included in an article for the Knitting & Crochet Magazine called Men Who Knit, along with fellow male knitters Stephen West and Kaffe Fasset! 

Copy this link to your browser to take a look at the Couples Who Craft article, it's superb!

https://www.inthewool.co.uk/p/maker-spotlight-mr-and-mrs-b

One of Sue’s most recent creations is this wonderful sweater which she made using left over yarns from her ‘mystery’ projects. Isn’t it brilliant!

Sue says: “The yarn is all Felted Tweed from completed Mystery Blankets I’ve done (from at least three anyway), and definitely one colour from a Jane Crowfoot project, probably the bag from our Norwegian cruise. It is so cosy and washes beautifully - a big bonus!”

Sue and Peter joined me in November in Bournemouth for our Inspired Minds Festive workshop and Sue was thrilled to complete her workshop project, the Star of Wonder Bunting, just in time for the big day!

Sue says: “I completed the bunting a week before Christmas Day. As Peter didn’t like the idea of thirteen pennants, I did an extra two of the striped one in a slightly different colour combo. I am very pleased with it. As I suspected would be the case, Peter’s bunting is not finished - he got too distracted with other projects!

And I’m not much further on with completing the Mystery Blanket but I did manage to whip up another cosy jumper for Harry and have almost completed Black Sheep’s Betwixmas shawl. So, in the next few days I will be making a great effort to finish my final Mystery Blanket.”

I think we can give forgive Sue for not getting her Mystery Blanket finished. By the sounds of it she has been super busy making so many other things! And Peter has been keeping pretty busy too…

Sue says: “Peter finished the blanket a week after Bournemouth and then embarked on three little cardis for two new-borns and the purple one for a six-month old. And a jolly good job he made of them too, so I think I’ve let him off the bunting!”

What a lovely way to end the blog with a collection of some really lovely inspiring projects by such a talented and lovely crafting couple!

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this Gallery. It has been an absolute joy to look through all the images and stories, and wow! – what a great collection of projects it is! I hope that it has been as enjoyable for you to look at as it has been for me to put together. I don’t know about you, but after seeing all these wonderful projects I feel totally inspired to dust down some of my WIPS and get them finished. And if you have some stashed away, why not do the same and get crafting yourself?!? I wish you much fun and happiness with all your projects in 2022 and don’t forget to keep in touch – I always love to hear from you! Take care everyone, Debbie x


8 comments

  • All are lovely, terrific handiwork and skill. Greta to see! Thank you.

    Margaret Turner
  • What a lovely blog. Have to admit to having a couple of blanket projects in a box ! xxxxxxxx

    Annabelle Tame
  • Stunning collection ! I especially like the blankets. I am a very slow knitter and have subscribed to two mystery cushion covers, neither of which I have finished. What I have seen here will, I hope, encourage me to pick up my needles again

    Ann Garner

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