WELCOME TO MY FIFTH MYSTERY BLANKET BLOG OF 2018! – which means we are at the halfway point of this year’s project – but where have the last five months gone?!? It’s really flown by here in the Debbie Abrahams Studio! Summer seems to be finally here in the UK after what has been a very long winter for us, so with the sun shining today and the garden thriving, what better way to spend those long hot sunny days than knitting your Mystery Blanket squares al fresco – like one of our Mystery Blanket members has been doing, story and photos to follow…
BUT BEFORE I CONTINUE WITH MY MYSTERY BLANKET NEWS THIS MONTH...first a quick update on what little Seth has been up to since you last saw him… and by the looks of it he has been getting plenty of rest in between playing! Here he is snuggled up under the 2017 Mystery Blanket with his best friend, Mousey. Seth is a very lucky boy because he has a choice of eleven Mystery Blankets to choose from for his afternoon snoozes. But I think this one is his favourite!
ALL OF THE PRINTED PATTERNS FOR THE UK AND OVERSEAS WERE POSTED ON THE 30th AND 31st MAY. Usually we post the overseas patterns ahead of the UK ones, however, this month we had a hold-up at the printers which meant that I was only able to pick up the brochures a couple of days ago. However, the good news is that the emailed file was sent to all the members on 1st June. So if you opted for printed patterns and are still waiting for them, you will be able to see what I have in store for you this month if you view the emailed file –and you could even make a start on them if you so wish.
TWO OF THE SQUARES THIS MONTH HAVE SECOND OPTIONS, and it is important to choose the correct option to match other squares in your blanket that you have already been given the patterns for. So, for Square 29 you should choose the same option that you knitted for Square 36. And for Square 46 you should choose the same option that you knitted for Square 4. Please note that this is not stated in the pattern instructions, but it is important advice that you should follow to keep the design of the blanket balanced.
UNFORTUNATELY A MINOR ERROR HAS BEEN NOTED IN THE JUNE MAIL OUT. It’s on Square 29, Option Two, Slant #4, which has been incorrectly described (under the title on page 10). It should say, “Three-colour striped pattern with textured diagonal stripes”. The good news, however, is that this does not affect the pattern instructions so you can still knit it despite the error.
THE 2018 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB SOLD OUT IN RECORD TIME! – and we sold a record number of memberships for this Club too! Historically the Mystery Cushion Club has always been significantly smaller than the Mystery Blanket Club. However, this year due to high demand we increased the memberships from two-hundred to four-hundred places. Our web-shop is showing that the Mystery Cushion Club is sold out, however, the good news is that we have held back five places which we now have available for sale. So if you want a last minute membership for this brand new Club then contact Sue at email@example.com as soon as you can for details about how to sign up. Please note that this product is no longer available in the web-shop so payment will have to be arranged outside of the website by either cheque, Paypal or BACS. It’s first come, first served, so don’t delay if you want to be part of this next very exciting knitting adventure. And it’s not long to go now - it starts on 15th June! Mystery Blanket Club members receive a 10% discount on the cost of their membership. Simply use this discount code at checkout and it will be applied to your order in the final stage of your payment: MCC183003.
WE HAVE HAD A FEW QUERIES ABOUT THE COLOURS IN THE MAIL OUTS AND ON THE CHARTS – and in particular about Square 43 from the May patterns. The colours of the beads used in this square are Red, Lipstick and Mink. However, despite doing our best to match them as close as possible, sometimes the colour of the yarns and the beads in the printed and emailed pattern instructions do not always match exactly to the colours in real life. So to avoid any confusion when you are knitting up your squares I would advise you to always check the written instructions for what colour yarns and beads are used, rather than going by the photos and charts. That way you can be sure that you are picking up the correct ball of yarn or pack of beads to work with.
ON A LOVELY WARM, SUNNY WEEKEND IN MAY WE HELD OUR SECOND (OF THIS YEAR) INSPIRED MINDS WORKSHOP IN BOURNEMOUTH, co-tutored with my good friend Jane Crowfoot. And although I think that crocheters outnumbered knitters this time, there were still plenty of knitters to keep me company – many of which were Mystery Blanket Club members from both past and present Clubs. We ran the same workshop projects as we did in Chester in April – “Sorbet” knitted purse and “Macaroon” crocheted purse - which everyone embraced very enthusiastically. And by the end of the weekend Jane and I were thrilled to see just how much work everyone had done.
Here are the some of the crochet and knitted purse samples. We always love to see variations on what we have designed and some of the ladies in Bournemouth were very experimental, using different colours and beads to create purses that looked so different to the original samples that Jane and I made:
If you are interested in our Inspired Minds workshops then you can register yourself on our Inspired Minds website to hear all our latest news. And although all of our 2018 events have sold out, if you sign up then you will be first to hear about all our very exciting plans for 2019: http://inspiredminds-uk.com
SO, IT’S NOW TIME TO TAKE ANOTHER GUESS AT THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET – that is, unless you have already guessed it?!? We only got one correct answer last month from Merida Sculthorpe, so perhaps another letter in my monthly quiz will help those of you who are still guessing. There’s not too many more letters to go before the title is revealed, so here’s one of the last few I am giving you, which is “B”:
C _ S _ / B _ T _ _ O
Please send your guesses to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a tradition with the Mystery Blanket and hopefully a bit of fun for you all too!
THESE ARE THE SIX SQUARES THAT YOU WILL KNIT THIS MONTH…which is one more square than last month:
Square 16: Mask #2 (part 2) – four-colour stripe pattern with textured stitches, hooked-in beads, swiss-darning and chain stitch details
Square 29, Option One: Curves #2 – intarsia motif with textured stitches and hooked-in beads
Square 29, Option Two: Slant #4 – three-colour striped pattern with textured diagonal stripes
Square 39: Harmony – multi-coloured wave pattern using Japanese short-row shaping
Square 40: Ripple #2 – striped pattern with textured stitches and hooked-in beads
Square 46, Option One: Flora #3 – intarsia motif with textured stitches and swiss-darning
Square 46, Option Two: Confetti – textured stripe with slipped stitches
Square 47: Pillars #4 – three-colour stripe cable pattern
Don’t forget that on each pattern page there is a list of Pattern notes and tips that are worth reading before you start to knit each square. These bits of advice will help you to plan how to knit each square up, and pre-warn you about what to look out for. Also, there are indications in the description of each square (under the title) of what the square entails. For example, Square 29, Option One, Curves #2, states that it is an intarsia motif, so this is the technique that you should use to knit this square.
SQUARE 16: MASK #2 (part 2): this is the third “Mask” square you have been given, however, this variation is “part 2”. And as you can see, when it sits next to Square 9, (its’ sister square which you knitted up last month), the full Mask is created! As with Square 9, keep an eye on the stripe pattern as there are four colours to deal with instead of three.
SQUARE 29, OPTION ONE, CURVES #2: choose this option to knit if you knitted Option One for Square 36. This square is similar to Square 36, but the colours are different. And when it sits beside Square 36 it creates a very interesting tessellating pattern. Be aware that although the beads on the chart may appear to be placed too high up in comparison to the photo, they are actually positioned correctly. They look more centred on the photo of the square on page 8, however, when beads are hooked-in they drop down from where they have been placed. Therefore, in order to position a beaded motif centrally within a design it has to be raised up by a row or two – which is something worth bearing in mind if you decide to graph up your own beaded patterns!
SQUARE 29, OPTION TWO, SLANT #4: choose this option to knit if you knitted Option Two for Square 36. As with Option One, it is similar to Square 36, but the colours are different. And when it sits beside Square 36 it creates a continuous stripe pattern.
SQUARE 39, HARMONY: this square uses Japanese short-row shaping to create the wavy design and is similar to squares 2, 6 and 44. However, on this square there is some additional detail – broken lines in Moss Green that can be either knitted in (using the fairisle technique), or embroidered on after knitting by swiss-darning. There are a lot of colour changes in this square which will result in multiple ends. So when and where possible it is advisable to knit in some of them as you go along – which will save you valuable time at the end of the project when you sew the squares/strips together.
SQUARE 40, RIPPLE #2: this is similar to Square 38, but the colours in the stripes have been reversed – although the beads remain unchanged. The stripes change gradually from Heather (cast-on) through to Emerald (cast off). So make sure that you pick up the correct colour yarn as you work through the chart as some of them are quite close in shade.
SQUARE 46, OPTION ONE, FLORA #3: choose this option to knit if you knitted Option One for Square 4. This square is almost identical to Square 4 from Mail Out 1, but the Indigo triangle switches from the right-hand side of the motif to the left-hand side.
SQUARE 46, OPTION TWO, CONFETTI: choose this option to knit if you knitted Option Two for Square 4. This square is identical to Square 4 from Mail Out 1. However, you might remember that in Mail Out 1 unfortunately the pattern had several errors, so you were sent a revised file. I know that some members knitted it up before the errors were flagged up and chose to keep the square as it was, which meant that it was shorter in rows than the revised pattern. So just make sure that if you knit this square you knit it to the same number of rows that you knitted for Square 4, so they match each other.
SQUARE 47, PILLARS #4: this square is similar to Square 5 from Mail Out 2, but the cables twist the opposite way – to the front this time – and the colours are slightly different. This square uses Oyster, Marble and Stone in a rolling 3-row repeat, whereas Square 5 used Oyster, Lilac and Stone.
IF YOU NEED SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR CASTING ON AND OFF IN MULTI-COLOUR IN INTARSIA - as in Square 46 in this month’s patterns - then Katie Thompson from Lichfield in Staffordshire, UK, has shared with us a link to a very good demonstration which she found online. It shows a very clever but easy way to cast on and off without having that annoying “jog” of colour. If you cut and paste this link into your browser it will take you a Word Document which has a link within it to a video. Thanks Katie for sending this in. I have knitted intarsia for many years but this was a totally new technique for me – and I can see it being extremely useful! https://yarnsub.com/articles/techniques/intarsia-cast-on/
MARY LEESON FROM LOUGHBOROUGH, LEICESTERSHIRE, UK, SENT IN THIS AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH – which looks just like the Japanese short-rowing in the blanket squares! Mary was in America running some knitting workshops and she came across this very unusual ceiling in a boutique hotel:
Mary says: “I stayed at a gorgeous boutique hotel one evening and they had an amazing painted carpet as the ceiling which looked just like Japanese short rows. They also painted the vent to match.
It’s brilliant, isn’t it? The hotel is named The Break and it's at Narragansett on Rhode Island.
Initially the carpet was on the floor but it was then decided that it would be better on the ceiling. This way you could see it all and it wouldn't wear out. It's too beautiful to walk on.”
Thanks for that amazing photo Mary! I’ve never seen anything like it before, but I agree with you that is looks just like Ocean Waves from the Mystery Blanket. Well spotted and thanks for sharing your story with us!
YOU MIGHT REMEMBER IN A PREVIOUS BLOG THAT CAROLINE EVANS FROM LEWISHAM, LONDON, UK, SENT IN SOME PHOTOS OF HER LOVELY DORSET BUTTONS. Well, this month she has sent in some more photos of them on her completed 2016 Mystery Cushion, “Geometric Jungle”. I think that her handmade buttons finish it off beautifully. And what is so brilliant about these buttons is that you can use the yarn and beads from your project so that they match it exactly. What a great idea Caroline and a really good way to make your Mystery Cushion really original and unique:
And here is her lovely cat making himself very comfortable on her Mystery Cushion while it is being finished. I suppose that the little bit of extra weight he provided helped to block it out very nicely! (I like your blocking pins Caroline!)
Caroline came to our Inspired Minds workshop in Chester, and she was very pleased to have completed her "Sorbet" purse project. Here it is, complete with lining and a zip. You've made an excellent job of it Caroline. My sewing skills are zero, so I might have to ask you for some sewing lessons! Thanks for all your photos!
MARY-FUNK BUTTERWORTH FROM LONDON, UK, ENJOYS TAKING HER MYSTERY BLANKET SQUARES AWAY WITH HER ON HOLIDAY. And in previous years Mary has sent in photos of her blanket squares “on tour” in several different places around the world. Last month she travelled to Berlin and guess what?!? – she took her squares with her! So here are some lovely photos of her completed “Flora” square, on tour around the city of Berlin:
Mary says: “I have been knitting my squares in the beautiful, sunny city of Berlin. I have just finished Flora, which is one of my absolute favourite ones. I have just started on the next square, lots of tangles and fun! I do take them everywhere with me. I like knitting a little bit each night no matter where I’m in the world. The squares are very portable. Hope you enjoy looking at this square, its journey and the places it gets to!”
Thanks for your fabulous photos Mary! It's great to see your Mystery Blanket squares on tour with you again!
YARN IN NOTTINGHAM HELD THEIR MONTHLY MYSTERY BLANKET MEETING IN MAY, but unfortunately I was unable to join the group. However, Liz Jenks who did attend the meeting let me know that she was joined by a very friendly group of ladies who included Audrey Russell-Smith, Ann Sampson, Kath Owen, Catherine Pope, Aileen Lyon, Kerry Bloodworth, Joan Bray, and of course the host, Sarah Doherty.
The next meeting at Yarn is on Wednesday 6th June from 4:00 – 6:00pm, and I will be attending that meeting. So if you can pop along to Sarah’s lovely shop for a couple of hours, it would be really lovely to see you there. Sarah always provides a hot drink and a biscuit too! Yarn is at 55 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EN, tel: 0115 9253606, email: email@example.com
THIS IS A REMINDER OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET WORKSHOPS THAT I AM RUNNING THIS YEAR IN THE UK. Please note that there has been a change to the date of the workshop at Yarn Loft. It has been moved from the 21st July to the 28th July.
If you want to find out more information about these workshops or make a booking then please contact the individual shops:
- Sunday 24th June: I Love Ewe, 4 Stamford Walk, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2JE, tel: 01780 763838, website: http://www.i-love-ewe.com (contact Rachel Parry)
- Saturday 28th July: Yarn Loft, 118 Hucknall Rd, Nottingham NG5 1AD, tel: 07825 702433, website: www.yarnloft.co.uk (contact Doreen)
- Saturday 1st September: The Knitting Corner, Curborough Hall Farm, Lichfield WS13 8ES, tel: 01543 415837 (contact Doreen Humphries)
- Saturday 8th September: The Kast Off Group, Barnham Broom Golf & Country Club, Honingham Rd, Barnham Broom, Norwich NR9 4DD, email: firstname.lastname@example.org (contact Jean Gosling)
AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY BOOKED YOUR PLACE ON MY KNITTING HOLIDAY TO POSARA, ITALY NEXT YEAR, then it’s not too late to contact Lois and Bill at The Watermill. And if you book before 1st September then you will benefit from paying 2018 prices for your 2019 holiday!
My workshops at The Watermill will give you the opportunity to try out several different knitting techniques within a specially designed accessory, including intarsia, knitting with beads, surface embroidery and textured stitches. A kit will be provided for each student which will contain Rowan yarns and Debbie Abrahams beads.
Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You just need to get yourself to Pisa, Italy, and Lois and Bill do the rest!
You can enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place by visiting www.watermill.net and look for the 2019 courses preview. I hope you decide to join me on this wonderful knitting holiday – it would be fabulous to see you there!
AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE FIFTH 2018 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB PRIZE DRAW!!! Each month a member is picked at random to win a Debbie Abrahams prize. So it is worth reading right the way to the end of each blog to see if you are that lucky member!
PRIZE DRAW FOUR (JUNE): this month’s winner is member 375, Catherine Semple from Dundas, Ontario, Canada! Well done Catherine! Please choose a prize from the following selection:
- A Debbie Abrahams book: Blankets and Throws to Knit/ 25 Beaded Knits/Kaleidoscope
- A Debbie Abrahams dvd: More Blankets/A Professional Finish
- Four packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads from the selection on http://www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk
- A £15 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club (2018/2019 Mystery Cushion or 2019 Mystery Blanket)
It’s been a whirlwind of a month with so many exciting things going on in my Studio, including the build-up to the launch of my brand new Mystery Cushion Club on the 15th June. So if you have signed up to that Club don’t forget that as well as my monthly Mystery Blanket blog, there will also be a monthly Mystery Cushion blog too, full of helpful tips and advice about the Club. Next month I will have many more exciting things to tell you about, including some advance information about my 2019 Mystery Blanket. So it would be great to see you back here for all that and more! And in the meantime, don’t forget to keep in touch with all your “Mystery” knitting stories and adventures! Until next time, take care and happy knitting, Debbie x