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Mystery Blanket Club 2019: post 4, May

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE FOURTH INSTALMENT OF THE 2019 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! Since I spoke to you last month life continues to be busy and exciting with an abundance of new projects in progress in the Debbie Abrahams Studio. And with the Mystery Cushion starting in about six weeks’ time and sign-ups for my brand new Mystery Baby Blanket Club launching at the beginning of June, there has been little time to put my feet up! So without further ado I bring you this month’s Club news, starting with a quick look at what little Seth has been up since you saw him last month at the toy shop…

..and here he is, sitting in his Grandad’s beautiful garden, looking very pleased with himself after a very successful visit from the Easter Bunny! Seth must have been a very good boy since he last visited as there was a colossal amount of chocolate hidden in the garden – most of which I am pleased to say is still in the kitchen cupboard - and which mummy is closely monitoring!

 

THE SECOND AND FINAL YARN PARCELS FOR THIS YEAR’S CLUB HAVE BEEN POSTED, so if you have not received your parcel yet, it is on its way to you. The only thing that you will continue to receive from now on until November are the monthly patterns.

YOU WILL FIND IN YOUR YARN PARCEL A SMALL BLUE ENVELOPE, IN WHICH IS YOUR WOVEN LABEL. We put them inside a sealed envelope so that you could decide whether or not you want to reveal the theme – that is, if you haven’t already guessed it!

THE MAY PATTERNS HAVE BEEN EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON THE 1STMAY, so please keep an eye on your inbox. The printed patterns have been posted to the members who opted for them, with the overseas posted on the 23rd March followed by the UK posted on the 29th March. So if they haven’t arrived with you yet, they should be with you very soon.

THE 2019 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB has almost sold out and there are now only twenty memberships left to purchase ahead of the Club starting in June.  And don’t forget that 2019 Mystery Blanket Club members are entitled to a 10% discount off the price of the Club by simply inputting this code into the coupon box at checkout: MCC190301.

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

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

Here’s a quick reminder of the colour palette…there are ten shades of Rowan Glace Cotton including biscuit, terracotta, deep blackcurrant and azure. And these are complemented by six colours of beautiful sparkly beads from the Debbie Abrahams beads collection. So if you’re intrigued and up for another Mystery challenge, why not grab one of the last remaining places today…then that’s your Summer sorted!

WE HAVE HAD A FEW EMAILS FROM MEMBERS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DOWNLOAD THEIR PATTERNS FROM OUR WEBSITE, and this is because they have unsubscribed themselves - possibly unknowingly - from our mailing list. You can choose to stop receiving newsletters and emails from us at any time, however, remember that if you do this then you will no longer be able to download the Mystery Blanket patterns from our website and you won’t receive any other news from us either, including your Mystery Blanket patterns. So it’s probably not a good idea!!!

THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET is still a “mystery” to some of you - although Megan Martin and Judy Dixon did both guess it correctly - so well done to both of you! But if you are still trying to work out what it is, here’s another letter in the puzzle below to help you.

This month the letter I am giving you is “N”:

_  _  N  _  E  _  /  _  ONDE  _  _  _  N  _

Please send your guesses to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.comto – there’s no prize for getting it right, it’s just a bit of fun!

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

Square 6: Still Glistening – striped pattern with slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

Square 7, Option One: Let It Snow (reprise) – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads (there is an alternative option for this square):

Square 7, Option Two: In the Bleak Midwinter – striped pattern with hooked-in beads (there is an alternative option for this square):

Square 8: Snow, Sleet and ice– textured pattern with slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

Square 9, Option One: Deck the Halls –fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads (there is an alternative option for this square):

Square 9, Option Two: A Hazy Shade of Winter – striped moss stitch pattern (there is an alternative option for this square):

Square 10: Cosy Cable– ribbed cable pattern (same for both options):

Square 16: Snow Thistle– lace stitch with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

As the blanket progresses there are more likely to be an increased number of repeated squares in each mail out. However, as well as some repeats this month, there are also a couple of new squares to knit so hopefully your May patterns will continue to keep you inspired as well as busy!

Here are some tips on this month’s squares…

SQUARE 6, STILL GLISTENING: this is the same as Square 6 from Mail Out 4. It’s similar to Square 2 from Mail Out 1, but this is the one with Pewter beads instead of Aqua. So make sure you pick up the right colour to thread on!

SQUARE 7, OPTION ONE: LET IT SNOW (REPRISE)!: this is exactly the same as Square 43, Option One from Mail Out 2 except it is at the top of the blanket so there are optional pick-up instructions to follow.

SQUARE 7, OPTION TWO: IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER: this is exactly the same as Square 43, Option Two from Mail Out 2 except it is at the top of the blanket so there are optional pick-up instructions to follow.

SQUARE 8, SNOW, SLEET AND ICE: this is similar to Square 5 from Mail Out 2, but it uses Steppe yarn instead of Lavender, there are different coloured beads including the new “Baby Blue”, and the textured and beaded diagonals point from left to right instead of right to left.  There are lots of beads to thread on so I have instructed them to be threaded on in two separate batches – Set A and Set B. Before you thread them on I would suggest that you rewind your ball of Steppe to make sure that there are no knots in it. And if possible it might be a good idea to ask someone to read out the bead threading sequences to you so that you can focus on threading them on in the correct order.

SQUARE 9, OPTION ONE: DECK THE HALLS: this is a repeat of Square 37 from Mail Out 3, but it has been recoloured using Cement, Iceberg and the brand new yarn in your kit called Frozen. The colour of some of the stitches on Rows 15 and 30 are difficult to see as they are partially covered by beads, so make sure you read the note about this in the Pattern notes and tips on page 14.

SQUARE 9, OPTION TWO: A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER: this is same as Square 37 from Mail Out 3.

SQUARE 10, COSY CABLE: this ribbed cable is a brand new square which has been presented in two formats – a chart and worded instructions. Make sure that you follow the instructions carefully as the cables alternate between rib and stocking stitch. And the direction of the cables alternate too from back to front (c8b, cbf). Try and keep the edge stitches of your cables as neat as possible by pulling up tightly on the yarn as you change from the cable stitches to the reverse stocking stitch between the cables.

SQUARE 16, SNOW THISTLE: this is another new square which combines lace stitches with hooked-in beads. It creates a very open fabric which differs quite drastically in tension to stocking stitch, so you have been advised to use a smaller needle to knit it. Take note of the Pattern note and tip on page 20 which draws your attention to the hooked in beads on rows 3 and 7. After hooking-in a bead you slip it back onto the left-hand needle and then continue with the next instruction which is “K2togtbl”. This means that you are knitting the stitch with the bead together with the next stitch after it, through the back of the loops. Just make sure that as you do this the bead sits at the front of the work and does not slip through to the back. Also be aware that the knitting will condense down and the beads may look hidden in the stitches. But after a good block and press the knitting will open up and the beads will be visible.

HAZEL LACKIE FROM BRISTOL, UK had a really good tip for keeping the ends of her fairisle rows neat and tidy. And she was more than happy to share her knowledge with the members…

Hazel says: “I don't mind at all if you share what I do on my fairisle squares. I am sure it is why my stitches don't get distorted at the edges. I carry both yarns to the end of each row and knit them together at the end of a knit row, or on the first stitch after a purl row - because I knit my first and last stitches on every row. I know some people have tried this but felt it made the square too tight. I am fortunate that my fairisle squares have come out the right size and don't need stretching, but I still block to even the stitches.I think some knit to where a colour finishes then pick it up on the way back. But I find that by securing it at the end of each row gives uniform coverage at the back and, as said, even edge stitches. “

Above: Hazel's very neat 'O Tannenbaum!' square.

What a great tip Hazel, and I am sure that your success with this will inspire others to give it a go!

HERE'S ANOTHER GREAT TIP – THIS TIME FOR BOBBLES – WHICH HAS BEEN SENT IN BY MARY LEESON FROM LOUGHBOROUGH, LEICESTERSHIRE, UK. Mary’s tip will help your bobbles stay at the front of the work and eliminate that annoying hole to the side of a bobble which you may have been struggling with in your knitting. This is what Mary had to say:

“’I’ve found a way of getting rid of the hole that occurs when you make a bobble.Sometimes the bobble pops through this hole.I found the tip by accident and it works really well.On the row after making a bobble, work to where the bobble is on your next row which will be the wrong-side.Place the stitch with the bobble on the right-hand needle, pick up the yarn between the bobble and next stitch with the left needle, front to back, place bobble stitch back on left needle and purl together. The hole is closed and the bobble stays where it should, and you can’t even tell that you’ve done it!”

That’s a super tip Mary and one that I will definitely try myself next time I am knitting bobbles!

TO GET MORE HELP AND ADVICE ABOUT YOUR MYSTERY BLANKET you might want to book onto one of these last two remaining Mystery Blanket workshops that I am running this year in the UK. Please contact the individual shops for details about how to book your place:

  • Saturday 22nd June:Yarn Loft, 118 Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1AD, website: www.yarnloft.co.uk
  • Sunday 15th September:I Love Ewe, 4 Stamford Walk, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2JE, website: www.i-love-ewe.com

You can find more workshops and events in addition to these Mystery Blanket workshops on the Events calendar on my website:https://debbieabrahams.com/pages/events

AND NOW FOR SOME STORIES FROM THE MEMBERS, starting with Sandra Vargas from Sweden, who was thrilled to have completed her 2018 Mystery Blanket, 'Casa Batlló'. And what a beautiful photograph of Sandra with her stunning blanket – worthy of a top class design magazine!

This is what Sandra had to say: “I just wanted to let you know that I have finished my Mystery Blanket and I am very happy and proud. Thanks a lot for this magnificent project. Now I will start to work on my 2019 Mystery Blanket!”

CATHY SMITH FROM BRENTWOOD, ESSEX, UK went back to my first book, ‘Blankets & Throws To Knit’ for her most recently completed project. It was inspired by squares in my 'Sampler' blanket which focused solely on textured stitches.

Cathy says: “I thought you might like to see a picture of my double bedspread that I have just finished based on a pattern from your ‘Blankets and Throws To Knit’ book. I think it looks amazing, so thank you. By the way, I am loving this year’s Mystery Blanket- probably my favourite yet!”

What a splendid job you have made of this blanket Cathy, it looks amazing! And it’s also good to hear that you are enjoying this year’s Mystery Blanket too – by the sounds of it you’ve got plenty to keep yourself busy!

ANNE SCULLION FROM ABERDEEN, UK has been very busy and is very pleased to have completed two blankets recently. The first is 'Retrospective' which was the 2017 Mystery Blanket:

Anne says: “I finally sewed a backing onto my 'Retrospective' blanket so I can now class it as finished. You will see I have modified it a bit but it is still pretty true to the original I hope.”

I love the modifications Anne has made – I can notice a few including the Robin and a very pretty lace stitch. So well done to Anne for making these changes, all of which have worked so well and made it unique.

And this is Anne’s second blanket, which is a very special wedding gift for her nephew.

Anne says: “The second is a wedding present for my nephew and his fiancée. I am sure you will recognise quite a few squares in there. I have tried to incorporate influences from Orkney and Czech (their family connections).”

I can see a few references in it to the 2013 Mystery Blanket, ‘Nordic Adventure’, but recoloured by Anne in the most beautiful shades of purple and blue. I am sure that the newlyweds will be thrilled with their present - what a super and very personal gift!

THE MYSTERY BLANKET WORKSHOP AT THE KNITTING CORNER IN SUTTON IN COLDFIELD WAS A HUGELY ENJOYABLE DAY OUT, spent with a group of lovely ladies, all of whom were incredibly enthusiastic about their workshop with me!

The Knitting Corner is a fabulous shop in the West Midlands which is run by a lovely lady called Amy. She has recently moved the shop from Curborough to Mitchell’s shopping village in Sutton in Coldfield, which is a must-go-to destination if you fancy browsing round some lovely unique, independent shops. There are also plenty of great places to grab a bite to eat and drink while enjoying your retail therapy!

I was joined by mostly Mystery Blanket Club members, but also some new ladies too: Claire Bolton, Katie Thompson, Sue Webster, Dinah Dancer, Maureen Cryan, Joanna Johnson, Ann Hinch and Judith Wilson.

Above (left to right): Katie, Maureen, Judith and Ann make a start on the project.

We spent the whole day in Amy’s shop, surrounded by gorgeous mouth-watering yarns as we knitted our way through the Let it Snow Mitts project. It was the same project that I ran at Black Sheep in April, and the ladies embraced it just as enthusiastically, with all of them mastering the techniques successfully to produce an (almost!) completed mitt by the end of the day – (just one more to go ladies!!!)

Below (left to right): Claire, Sue and Katie concentrate on knitting their mitts.

Below (left to right): Judith, Ann, Joanna and Dinah enjoying the project - and the delicious cakes!

Joanna, Sue and Katie (below, left to right) show off their amazing 2018 Mystery Blankets, which I was as thrilled to see finished as they no doubt were too! They commented on what a steep challenge the blanket had been (having been members of my Clubs for many years and knitted many Mystery Blankets!), but as you can see they each made an amazing job of it and look so pleased – as well as relieved!

If you fancy a visit to The Knitting Corner then you will find it at No.5 Mitchells Shopping, Weeford Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 6NA, Tel: 0121 792 0774 https://www.facebook.com/theknittingcorner/
Amy is very enthusiastic and will be thrilled to welcome you to her lovely shop. So if you’re in the area, do pop in.

Thanks to Amy and to all the ladies for a brilliant day out. It was lovely to spend it with such fine company and in such beautiful surroundings. Maybe I will see you there next year?...

THE APRIL MYSTERY BLANKET MEETING AT YARN IN NOTTINGHAM WAS VERY WELL ATTENDED AGAIN, and I was delighted to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones too for a couple of hours of knit and chat.

Above (left to right): Claire, Michelle, Kerry and Catherine get on with their Mystery Blanket squares.

As usual we found plenty to talk about, and I was on hand to demonstrate some techniques to the ladies, including how to knit with beads. I was thrilled to see how well they were all getting on with the project so far, and how enthusiastic they were about the patterns.

Below (left to right): Brenda and Claire enjoy their time at the meeting.

Jane Muggleton was over the moon to have bought a 2019 Mystery Blanket kit from another member, and I was thrilled to see her back at Yarn. She also managed to buy a 2018 Mystery Cushion kit, ‘Eastern Promise’, so as you can imagine she really has her work cut out! But she made great progress with her blanket squares at the meeting, as well as catching up with her fellow Mystery Blanket knitters!

Below (left to right): Sarah, Joan and Jane.

The next meeting at Yarn is on Wednesday 8th May from 4-6pm. So if you are able to spare a couple of hours for some friendly banter and a bit of knitting too, do come and join us. Yarn is at 55 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EN, tel: 0115 9253606, email: info@yarn-in-notts.co.uk

AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE FOURTH 2019 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 (MAY): this month’s winner is member 52, Felicity Miller from London in the UK. Well done Felicity! And I must say how much you deserve it after being a Mystery Blanket (and Cushion) member since the beginning!

Please choose a prize from the following selection:

  • A signed Debbie Abrahams book: Blankets and Throws to Knit/More Blankets and Throws To Knit/25 Beaded Knits/Kaleidoscope
  • A Debbie Abrahams dvd: More Blankets/A Professional Finish
  • A £15 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club: 2019 Mystery Cushion Club; 2019 Baby Blanket Club; 2020 Mystery Blanket Club.

I am getting ready to pack my bags for a much awaited visit to The Watermill in Posara in Italy in a few weeks’ time, where I will be joined by ten knitters – many of whom are Mystery Blanket Club members. But before that I have a pile of design projects to keep me busy and on my toes, including the Mystery Baby Blanket (which I am very excited about!!!). So until next time, enjoy your squares this month and I will be back here in June with a report on the Posara knitting holiday, as well as all the latest Mystery Club news. Take care, Debbie x


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