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Mystery Baby Blanket Club 2019/20: post 5, January

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE FIRST MYSTERY BABY BLANKET BLOG OF 2020! And despite our new year not getting off to the best start with a nasty dose of flu, I am glad to say that I am now fully fit and raring to go! So without further delay, let’s see what’s in store this month for the fifth instalment of the Mystery Baby Blanket…

AND I BEGIN WITH THE JANUARY PATTERNS (MAIL OUT 5) WHICH WERE EMAILED TO ALL OF THE MEMBERS ON 1ST JANUARY. The printed patterns for those members who opted for them were posted on the following dates: overseas in the week commencing the 16th December and the UK on the 2nd January.

Don’t forget that you can also download the patterns from our website when you log into your account (this is only accessible for members who made payment for their membership through our online shop).

THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB HAS NOW SOLD OUT, and we are very busy at the moment getting all the first parcels and patterns ready for the launch on the 1st February. Thank you to everyone that has signed up to the new Club and I look forward to embarking on another exciting knitting adventure with you all very soon! Everyone who has signed up to the Club will be receiving a welcome letter from us by email within the next week which contains lots of important information, including postal dates for the parcels. So keep an eye on your inbox!

If you didn’t manage to secure a membership for the 2020 Mystery Blanket Club then we can add you to our waiting list. Simply email Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com and if a membership becomes available we will let you know.

APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2020 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB WILL OPEN IN MARCH, and then the Club begins a few months later in mid-June. If you signed up to this year’s Mystery Blanket then you will get a discount on your Mystery Cushion membership.

Above: the 2019 Mystery Cushion, 'Classical Ornament'.

It’s a much smaller project than the blanket, so if you are new to my Clubs then it’s a good place to start. The Club lasts for five months, at the end of which you will have your very own cushion-cover!

This year's Mystery Cushion will be the tenth in the collection, so we will be celebrating this with a commemorative calendar featuring all past nine designs. The first fifty people who sign up to the Club will get a free calendar, but you will also be able to purchase it in our online shop.

Above: the 2016 Mystery Cushion, 'Geo Jungle'.

In next month’s blog I will tell you a bit more about this year’s design – and who knows, you might decide to embark on another ‘mystery’ adventure with me!?!

Below: the 2014 Mystery Cushion, 'Sugar Rush'.

I AM GOING TO KEEP THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BABY BLANKET A SECRET FOR ONE MORE MONTH, before revealing it to you in February – which will be the penultimate instalment!  Many of you have already guessed what it is. However, for those members who are still guessing, here is another letter to help you. This month the letter I am giving you is “B”:

_  _  _  E  / _  _  U  /  T  _  /  T  _  E  /  _  _  _  N  /  _  N  _  /  B  _  _  _

If you think you know what it is, why not send your answer to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com and see if you are right?!? There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a bit of fun each month until you guess it!

THESE ARE THE FIVE SQUARES THAT YOU WILL KNIT THIS MONTH:

Square 22: Baby Stripe 2 – striped pattern with textured stitches:

Below: Colourway 1

Above: Colourway 2

Square 23: Cosy Up! – cable pattern:

Below: Colourway 1

Above: Colourway 2

Square 33: Candy Cable – striped cable pattern:

Below: Colourway 1

Above: Colourway 2

Square 34: Soft Chevron - chevron lace pattern:

Below: Colourway 1

Above: Colourway 2

Square 35: Sweetheart – intarsia motif with small bobbles:

Below: Colourway 1

Above: Colourway 2

It’s time for a bit of revision this month as you have knitted all of these squares before in previous mail outs. But to help you with your knitting, here are a few reminders about what to watch out for…

SQUARE 22, BABY STRIPE 2:  Rows 5 and 11 and their subsequent repeats use the fairisle technique but in a very basic way. Simply alternate knitting stitches using the two different colours, making sure if you can to pick them up and drop them back in the same way so that the yarns do not becomes twisted around each other (ie, one yarn on top and one yarn underneath).  

SQUARE 23, COSY UP!: keep a close eye on the cables in this square as they twist in different directions – to the left (c6f) and to the right (c6b). It might be a good idea to hi-light these instructions on the page so that you can see more clearly where they are. And you could also write next to them either ‘front’ or ‘back’ so you know exactly which direction the cables should twist.

SQUARE 33, CANDY CABLE: another cable pattern this month, but this time it is striped and the cables all twist in the same direction – which is to the right (c6b). Unfortunately you can’t carry any of the yarns up the side of the work as you will not be at the correct end to continue knitting with them. So simply cut them off and rejoin them as and when needed.

SQUARE 34, SOFT CHEVRON: this is the fourth and final time that you will knit this square, so it should be a breeze! Just remember that it uses a smaller needle size than the suggested main needle size of 3.25mm, so make sure you grab the right pair from your needle case!

SQUARE 35, SWEETHEART: this is the same as the heart motif in Square 1 – which was in your very first mail out. So here’s a reminder about how to go about knitting this one. Before I started to knit this square I wound off two bobbins of yarn A and two bobbins of yarn F. I cast on/picked up using the ball of yarn F and then introduced the first bobbin of yarn F on chart row 10. Then on chart row 34 I introduced the second bobbin of yarn F. The first bobbin of yarn A was introduced on chart row 8, with the second bobbin on chart row 36. You may choose to work slightly different to what I have suggested to you here, which is fine. However, it is important to keep any carrying across of yarns at the back of the work to a minimum, only carrying yarns across when it is absolutely necessary.

IF YOU’VE KEPT UP TO DATE WITH YOUR MYSTERY BABY BLANKET KNTITING THEN YOU WILL HAVE A FEW STRIPS COMPLETED AFTER THIS MAIL OUT. So you could get ahead and start sewing them together. The Grid for Stitch and Row Reference on page 4 of your January mail out will help you work out where you will need to ease squares together. Here’s some advice on how you can make a start on your finishing…

First of all you need to decide which yarn to use for sewing the squares together. And to be honest it really does not matter as Mattress stitch – which I recommend – is an invisible seam. So if you have any short lengths left over, you could use these. If not, then opt for a colour that you have plenty of (you should have plenty of all of the colours), and use this for all your seams.

If you haven’t tried Mattress stitch before then this would be a great opportunity to give it a go. You can use it for sewing together both vertical and horizontal seams. So if you have knitted your squares individually and need to sew them together first before sewing together the strips, here are a few tips on both types of seam:

You work with the right-side of the work facing towards you, so at all times you can see how the seam is progressing. And if you do happen to go wrong, it is very easy to undo. First of all you need to look very closely at your knitting and identify the edge stitch. In stocking stitch this is an open ‘V’. Then you need to find the bar (‘running thread’) between the edge stitch and the next stitch in – there is one for each row. It is these bars, between the edge stitch and the next stitch in, that you need to insert your needle under to sew up. These bars exist in every piece of knitting, even in textured knitting. So you need to get yourself familiar with them and where they are as they are sewing up as follows using a blunt-ended needle.

  • Horizontal (if you have not worked in strips and need to sew the squares together): with right sides facing, lay the squares flat with square one at the bottom and square two above square one (and so on throughout the strip). Beginning at the right-hand side of the work, take the needle from back to front of work through half a stitch of square one, inserting the needle just below the cast-off edge. Then take the needle under one whole stitch of square two, inserting the needle just above the cast-on edge. After this continue to take the needle under one whole stitch on each square. This means that on square one the needle is always coming up through the middle of stitches and on square two the needle is coming up between the stitches.
  • Vertical (to sew together your strips): with right sides facing and with two strips sitting next to each other, take the needle from the back to the front of the work under two bars at a time, inserting the needle under the bar between the edge stitch and the next stitch in. To keep the edges level at the bottom, begin by taking the needle under the first bar of the first square (the one on the left), then take the needle under the first bar and the next one up (two bars) of the second square (the one on the right). After this take the needle under two bars on each side, zig-zagging back and forth between the two strips, and making sure that your needle always goes back into the same gap between the bars each time you take it under the bars.

So what happens when two squares need to be sewn together but they have a different numbers of rows in them? For example, Square 1 has 47 rows and Square 8 has 52 rows. The answer is very simple and easy to do. In this example there are five more rows in Square 8 than there are in Square 1. So you would need to ease in five rows of Square 8 into Square 1. You can ease using Mattress stitch by taking the needle under one bar instead of two. So in this example you would need to ease in five stitches by taking the needle under one bar along the edge of Square 1, five times, spacing them evenly between the first and last row of the square. And if with other squares there are a different number of stitches to be eased in then you can repeat this as many times as required along the edge that needs to be eased in, dividing the number of easings as equally as possible along the seam. It is easy to do and you won’t be able to see the easing on the seams – it’s invisible and actually quite brilliant! So give it a go!

LATER ON THIS MONTH I WILL BE FEATURING THE MEMBERS PROJECTS FROM 2019 IN A 'MEMBER'S GALLERY'. Many of you have already sent in photos of your wonderful projects. But it's not too late to send in more if you have a Debbie Abrahams project that you would like to share in the blog. Simply email me with your photos and a few words about your project and you will be included: debbie@debbieabrahams.com. I look forward to seeing all your amazing creations!

Next month we embark on the penultimate piece of this ‘mystery’ puzzle. And by now, with only eight more squares to be revealed, you should have a pretty good idea of how the completed blanket is going to look. But there is still that final square in the centre to come – although you will have to wait until March to see what it is. In the meantime, enjoy your squares this month, keep well and I will see you back here in about three weeks with all the latest Mystery Baby Blanket news! Debbie x


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