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Mystery Blanket Club 2019: post 7, August

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE AUGUST INSTALMENT OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! And first I would like to apologise for the delay in getting this on the website, but I have been busy working away at an Inspired Minds workshop, straight after which I was struck down by a nasty cold. However, I am now back on my feet again and raring to go!

 

So, I will start with an update on Seth, who has been away on a couple of lovely holidays since you last saw him. At the hotel we stayed at in Gran Canaria there was a fabulous Kids Club which Seth visited a few times. The enthusiastic staff at the Club kept all the children occupied while their mums and dads relaxed around the pool (which got a huge thumbs up from me!). When it was time for face painting, Seth decided that he wanted to be a pirate. And as you can see, I think they did rather well with him!  I’m just not sure whether pirates these days wear Batman outfits, but I think Seth can get away with it!

SO NOW FOR THIS MONTH’S MYSTERY BLANKET NEWS...and I begin with the optional printed patterns which were posted to overseas members on the 24th July and to the UK members on 29th  July. The emailed file was sent to all the members on 1st August, so if you have not received it, please let us know and we will resend it to you.

UNFORTUNATELY A FEW ERRORS HAVE BEEN FOUND IN THE AUGUST MAIL OUT. It is always a huge disappointment when this happens as my team put a colossal amount of effort into checking (and rechecking several times over) the patterns before they are signed off. However, despite all our efforts, sometimes errors still occur, which I am sincerely sorry about.

Page 7, More Sleigh Rides and Snowballs: Row 9 (worded instructions) should read as: K4, [yf, skpo, yf, K2tog, K1, mb, K3] 3 times, yf, skpo, K2.

Page 9, Prancer, Option One: at the end the picking up instructions it should say: …and Row 1 is completed so ignore Chart row 1.

Page 14, Ice Cubes: Row 53 (dec) is incorrect. Instead follow the instructions for this row on page 13.

THERE IS A HANDY ‘CHART FOR STITCH AND ROW REFERENCE’ ON PAGE 4, which should come in useful when you start to sew together your squares and/or strips. After knitting this month’s squares you will have completed two strips (1 and 2 if you number them from left to right), so you could make a start on sewing up. Later on in the blog there is some advice on Mattress stitch which I think is a fabulous way to join together your squares…

AND NOW FOR SOME VERY EXCITING NEWS!...THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB HAS BEEN LAUNCHED! So if you fancy taking up the Mystery Blanket challenge again next year, you can sign up right now by purchasing your membership in the online shop on my website.

Above: Mystery Blanket 2016, 'A French Romance'.

Below: Mystery Blanket 2010, 'Beneath the Sea'.

And the even better news is that if you sign up before 31st August you will get a 5% discount off the cost of the Standard package (shipping and extra options are excluded from the discount).

This is how you can sign up today:

First you will need to register yourself on my website (if you haven't already). Then follow these 7 easy steps to completing your membership purchase and early bird discount:

  1. Log-in to the website (if you have not already done so).
  2. Select your preferred package from the drop-down menu, then click “Add to cart”.
  3. Review your order and click “Checkout”.
  4. Enter the discount code "EARLYBIRD20" to apply 5% off the base cost of the club
  5. Click “Continue to shipping method” and the basic shipping cost of your shipping package will be displayed.
  6. Click “Continue to payment method”.
  7. Select Paypal or input your debit/credit card payment information and then click “Complete order”.

When you have completed your payment you will sent an automated email to confirm that your transaction has been processed successfully.

Before making your payment please read the Terms and Conditions for the Mystery Blanket Club. You will find a link to these at the foot of the Home page. Please note that if you make your payment you are agreeing to these Terms and Conditions.

As with all my previous “mystery” clubs, memberships are limited and when they all sell out the Club will be closed. So don’t delay if you want to part of my brand new knitting adventure next year!

In my July blog I promised I would give you some inside information on next year’s Mystery Blanket - without of course giving the game away! So here’s a little bit of information about the design which will hopefully entice you to sign up…

The 2020 Mystery Blanket focuses on stitch structures and combines together a mixture of beautiful cotton and wool blend yarns in tonal shades from the Rowan collection. They include the eco-friendly recycled yarn Denim Revive, Felted Tweed, Summerlite DK, Baby Silk Merino DK and Soft Yak. The yarns have been selected for their texture and subtle colourings, giving a tweedy, grainy look to the project. The colour palette I have chosen is soft and calm with an emphasis on blues, greys and neutrals which are complemented by a scattering of sparkling beads. There will be some intarsia patterns in the blanket – in other words ‘picture knitting’ which are multi-coloured patterns using separate balls of yarn. But remember that there is always a second option offered on colour-work squares which gives you the opportunity to opt out and knit something a bit easier. And the theme?!? Well, you can’t catch me out there! But I will give you a small clue…it’s what I would call a ‘topical’ theme which everyone is affected by…now that’s got you thinking!

You can visit my online shop today to purchase your membership. You will find various options for UK, Europe and World Zones 1 and 2 including Printed Patterns and Tracked delivery.

If you want to find out more about next years Mystery Blanket, it would be a good idea to visit the FAQ page on my website where you will find lots more information under ‘Mystery Club FAQS’: https://debbieabrahams.com/pages/faq

So, see you next year?!? You’ve got until 31st December (or sooner if it sells out) to make up your mind…

BEADYKNITS HAVE LAUNCHED AN ADDITIONAL DESIGN TO THEIR LAVENDER BAG COLLECTION, CALLED ‘MADAME BUTTERFLY’ – AND IT’S READY TO ORDER NOW!

This beautiful scented Lavender Bag, designed in a sweet mix of pinks and plums is the perfect knitting kit to treat yourself this summer! It’s ideal to pack in your suitcase for a spot of holiday knitting, or enjoy it at your leisure when you fancy a small and quick-to-knit project to indulge yourself in.

The kit is great value for money and contains all the materials that you need to complete the project: quality Rico Cotton Essentials DK yarns and Debbie Abraham's size 6 glass beads, a length of satin ribbon, an organza bag filled with lavender (*UK only) and full colour pattern instructions for the design (you must supply your own knitting needles and a sewing-up needle).

*Due to export restrictions Beadyknits are unable to send seeded lavender to Europe/USA/Worldwide.

Prices (inclusive of shipping):

UK: £13.00

EUROPE: £14.00

USA & Worldwide: £16.00

It’s easy to order. Simply contact Jenny at jenny@beadyknits.com to order your Beadyknits Madame Butterfly knitting kit today!

THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET is still being guessed by some of you – although there are only a few more letters to go in the puzzle before it is revealed in its entirety. Here’s another letter to aid you in your guesses before the‘mystery’ is revealed in next month’s blog. The letter I am giving you this month is “A”:

_  _  N  T  E  _  /  _  ONDE  _  L  A  N  D

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!

THERE ARE THE SIX SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

Square 14: More Sleigh Rides and Snowballs – lace stitch and bobble pattern (same for both options):

Square 31, Option One: Prancer – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads and swiss darning:

Square 31, Option Two: Silent Night – striped pattern with hooked-in beads:

Square 32: Ice Cubes – beaded cables with reverse swiss darning (same for both options):

Square 38: The Holly and the Cable – stocking stitch and moss stitch cable pattern (same for both options):

Square 39: Frozen – striped textured pattern using three colours (same for both options):

Square 40: Cosy Cable –ribbed cable pattern (same for both options):

Here are some tips on this month’s squares. Some of them are straight repeats but there are a few new squares too...

SQUARE 14, MORE SLEIGH RIDES AND SNOWBALLS: this is the same as Square 36 from Mail Out 2. You have been given the pattern as worded instructions and as a chart, so you can work from either or both, if you prefer. Just remember that there is an error on Row 9 (page 7), which was mentioned earlier on in this blog.

SQUARE 31, OPTION ONE, PRANCER: this is a new square for Option One knitters using the fairisle technique, but it has some additional embroidery on it too. See the second and third pattern note on page 8 for details on what yarns to use for this and what rows it happens on. Some of you may prefer to work with three colours on these rows and knit these stitches in. But I opted to swiss-darn them onto the knitting after the square was completed –you do whatever suits you best!

It does not matter which option you choose for this square as there is no ‘sister’ square to match it to at the moment.

SQUARE 31, OPTION TWO, SILENT NIGHT: this is a new square for Option Two knitters and is a stripe pattern with some very basic fairisle rows – similar to Square 1 (In the Bleak Midwinter) from Mail Out 1. It is knitted totally in stocking stitch – knit one row, purl one row – but there are also some hooked-in beads for added sparkle!

SQUARE 32, ICE CUBES: this is a brand new square, although it is similar in technique to Square 24 (Icicles) from Mail Out 5, combining cables with beads and reverse-side swiss-darning. Beads are hooked into the knitting in batches of four which sit next to each other in a ‘block’ across two rows. And watch out for the cables as all of these stitches on both right side and wrong side rows are worked through the backs of the loops. This tightens the stitches up and makes them very neat. However, this is written into the worded instructions but it is NOT indicated on the chart. I thought that it would look very confusing if this was included on the chart, so it is mentioned in the fourth and fifth pattern notes on page 12, and there is also a note about it beneath the key on page 14.

SQUARE 38, THE HOLLY AND THE CABLE: this is the same as Square 12 from Mail Out 5, with all the cables twisting in exactly the same direction – so time for a bit of revision!!!

SQUARE 39, FROZEN: and time for more revision as this is exactly the same as Squares 11 and 23 from Mail Out 5 and Mail Out 3 respectively…

SQUARE 40, COSY CABLE: and it’s revision time again for the final square this month, which is exactly the same as Square 10 from Mail Out 4 .

IF YOU ARE UP TO DATE WITH YOUR SQUARES THEN AT THE END OF THIS INSTALMENT YOU WILL HAVE TWO COMPLETED STRIPS - so this means you can get ahead and sew them together saving you a bit of time at the end of the project. I always use Mattress stitch to sew my strips together, so if you haven't tried it before, it would be worth giving 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.

Use the Chart for Stitch and Row Reference on page 5 which shows the number of stitches and rows in each square that you have knitted so far. Then you will be able to work out where you need to ease in stitches/rows if one square has more in it than another. I found this a massive help when I sewed together my strips.

  • 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.

Happy sewing up!!!

MY FIRST ‘INSPIRED MINDS’ WORKSHOP OF 2019 WAS HELD AT THE END OF JULY at a lovely new venue in Derbyshire called Losehill House. I was joined by twenty-six knitters including several Mystery Blanket Club members, plus two male partners (who did not knit). Inspired Minds is the events company that I run together with my close friend Jane Crowfoot and her husband Andy. My husband, Steve (‘Mr Beads’!) used to also be part of the company, but he has moved onto pastures new and now his mum (and my right-hand lady!), Sue, has come on board. Usually we hold joint knit and crochet events, but this was our first ‘knit-only’ workshop with me as the sole tutor.

So, it was with much excitement that we gathered together at Losehill House in the beautiful Peak District area of Derbyshire for a few days of knitting and relaxation. Losehill House is an independently owned small boutique hotel which has twenty-one en-suite bedrooms – all of which were booked for our knitting event. It has a very comfortable and beautifully furnished lounge/bar which is next to the light, airy dining room.

Above: the dining-room with spectacular views of the surrounding hills.

Below: the lounge/bar area.

All of the participants got a goody bag in which there were several treats including a ‘Debbie Abrahams Ltd’ notebook. And what do you think the project was?!? – you guessed it, a notebook case!

The ladies each got a kit for the project which included Rowan Glace Cotton, beads and metal studs. I decided to opt for a design that was colourful but without any actual ‘colourwork’ (fairisle or intarsia). So instead it was an exploration of stitch, colour and embellishments, with metal studs adding a new technique to my experimentations with all things sparkly!

Above: the group get to work on their workshop project 'Carnival!'.

Below: from left to right, Joanna, Katie and Dinah.

Below: the group embrace the project and make great progress on the first day.

 

Above: Felicity focuses on the task in hand...

Below: ...as do Diane and Rachel!

 

As well as the knitting, we enjoyed some fabulous fine dining with a full English breakfast to start off the day, followed by a two-course lunch and a three course evening meal. So none of us went hungry! In fact, we all had a truly fabulous time!

Pending availability for 2020, we are planning to return to Losehill House for another Inspired Minds knitting event next year. So if you fancy a lovely few days away at an elegant English country house, you may well decide to join us.

You can keep up to date with all our Inspired Minds events by registering yourself on our website: www.inspiredminds-uk.com

THE JULY MYSTERY CLUB MEETING WAS HOSTED BY SARAH IN HER OWN HOME, which she very generously invited us to for the second time this year. I wrote about it in my July Mystery Cushion blog, but for those of you who have not read it, here is my report again…

I was delighted to join the group at Sarah’s house on 10th July where we spent a lovely couple of hours together. Sarah made some delicious flapjacks that we all enjoyed with a hot drink – thanks Sarah!

Above: from left to right, Mary, Sarah and Anne.

Below: from left to right, Kerry, Jenny, Sue, Michelle, Claire, Jane and Joan.

Jane Muggleton from Leicester was thrilled to have finished her last year’s Mystery Cushion project – ‘Eastern Promise’ – and sent in some photos of it after the meeting to share with us.

Jane only embarked on her first Mystery project in 2017 when she joined the Mystery Blanket Club and jumped right in the deep end with my ‘Retrospective’ design. So it’s fabulous to see the amazing progress she has made with her knitting within just a few years!

This is what Jane had to say about her Mystery Cushion knitting experience:

 “I really enjoyed today’s knit and natter - all things random! – and we even moved onto baking after you left! What a nice group of ladies!

Below are the photos of my Mystery Cushion achievement together with the buttons I used having sourced them from another Mystery Cushion member on Ravelry. That little jar cost only about £5.00 and as you can see I have loads left over. The colours and shapes would be ideal for a creative child to enjoy. So I would happily let someone else have them if they could be used!!”

Great buttons Jane and just perfect in size and colour for your Eastern Promise cushion! Thanks for sharing your amazing button find with us.

Please note that there is no meeting in August due to the summer holidays, so the next meeting is at Sarah’s house in Beeston, Nottingham on Wednesday 11th September from 4:00 – 6:00pm. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Sarah for details of where we are meeting, and hopefully I will see you there! Email: info@yarn-in-notts.co.uk

AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE SEVENTH 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 SEVEN (AUGUST): this month’s winner is member 13, Angela White from Carlisle in the UK. Well done Angela!

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: 2020 Mystery Cushion Club; 2020 Mystery Blanket Club

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog this month. I have – as usual! – a very busy time ahead of me with several different design projects on the go, and –dare I mention it!?! – Christmas kits! So there’s no rest for me in the Studio… And with the brand new Mystery Baby Blanket Club about to start on 1st September, life could not be busier or happier! Don’t forget to come back and read my September blog next month in which I will finally reveal the title of this year’s Mystery Blanket and tell you all about my inspiration for the design. Plus there will be all the latest Club news and updates. Until then, enjoy your August squares and keep well, Debbie x


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