WELCOME TO THE EIGHTH MYSTERY BLANKET BLOG FOR 2019! And this month it’s time for a bit of revision as four out of the five squares you are knitting are repeats of what you have knitted previously. After this there is still one new square to come, but that will be the centre one in the final mail out in November. Any guesses as to what that might be?!? In this month’s blog are plenty of useful tips and advice on the project, plus there are some really lovely member stories and photos to keep you inspired.
But before I make a start on giving you all the latest Club news, let’s take a quick look at what little Seth has been up since you saw him here last month…
Seth was a very lucky boy and went to Legoland in Windsor in the summer holidays where he met all his favourite characters from his much loved magazines and films. There was also the opportunity to dress up, so first Seth fancied himself as a pirate…
and then as Emmet from Lego Movie 2. Doesn’t he look good!?!
SO NOW FOR THIS MONTH’S MYSTERY BLANKET NEWS...beginning with the optional printed patterns which were posted to overseas members on the 23rd August and to the UK members on 29th August. The emailed file was sent to all of the members on 1st September, so if you have not received it please let us know and we will resend it to you.
THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB HAS BEEN LAUNCHED FOR ONE WHOLE MONTH AND THE SALES HAVE BEEN FABULOUS ! So thank you if you have signed up to my new Club. But if you haven’t done so yet but it’s on your agenda, then there is still plenty of time. The closing deadline is 31st December or when it sells out – whichever comes first. You can sign up right now by purchasing your membership in the online shop on my website: https://debbieabrahams.com/collections/mystery-knitting-clubs/products/mystery-blanket-club-2020
This is a reminder of what I have in store for you in the 2020 Mystery Blanket…
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.
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
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 so we’re almost there! Here’s another letter to help before the ‘mystery’ is revealed in my October blog. The letter I am giving you this month is “I”:
_ I N T E _ / _ ONDE _ L A N D
Please send your guesses to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org – there’s no prize for getting it right, it’s just a bit of fun!
THERE ARE THE FIVE SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:
Square 33, Option One: Rockin’Around – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads and Swiss darning:
Square 33, Option Two: Silent Night (reprise) – striped pattern with hooked-in beads:
Square 34: Snow Thistle – lace stitch with hooked-in beads (same for both options):
Square 35: Winter Solstice – cable, lace and bobble pattern (same for both options):
Square 41, Option One: Deck the Halls (reprise) – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads:
Square 41, Option Two: A Hazy Shade of Winter (reprise) – striped moss stitch pattern:
Square 42: Snow, Sleet and Ice –textured pattern with slip stitch beads (same for both options):
Here are some tips on these squares to help you with your knitting this month…
SQUARE 33, OPTION ONE, ROCKIN’ AROUND: this is a new fairisle square in the blanket which has some Swiss darning on it too, so take care to read the Pattern note and tip about this on page 6. You cast on (or pick up the stitches) using Iris yarn and then the stitches in Steppe on chart rows 1 and 2 are Swiss darned afterwards. There are more stitches to Swiss darn in Steppe on chart rows 16 and 17, and 31 and 32.
Also note that beads are hooked in on the cast-off row. This might sound like a bit of a challenge, but once you get going it is actually very easy to do – and no different to how you usually hook in beads. You can see the beads on the image of the square but not on the chart, so don’t forget to include them.
To keep the design balanced you are advised to choose this option if you knitted Option One for Square 31.
SQUARE 33, OPTION TWO, SILENT NIGHT (REPRISE): this square is a variation of Square 31, Silent Night from Mail Out 7. It is the same stripe pattern as its sister square but it uses Cement in place of Maritime.
At times you will be asked to transfer your stitches onto the other needle so that you are at the correct end of the work to pick up the colour yarn you need. So you might find it easier to use double-pointed needles or a circular needle to knit this square.
SQUARE 34, SNOW THISTLE: you knitted this square in Mail Out 4, and I have to say that I received more emails from members about this square than any of the others in the blanket! And most of them were because of a problem with Rows 3 and 7 (and their subsequent repeats). So I will do my best to explain how they work – just in case you are still puzzled by them. When you bring the yarn forward (yf) you must keep it held at the front as you sl 1 knitwise, hook bead onto next stitch and K2togtbl. Do not take the yarn to the back until it naturally falls there after K2togtbl. When you hook in the bead you must place the stitch back onto the left-hand needle and then knit it together through the back of the loop with the next stitch behind it on the needle (K2togtbl). There is a Pattern note about this on page 10. If you do all of this then Rows 3 and 7 will work and you will have the correct number of stitches at the end of them.
Another tip is to count the number of stitches as you work all wrong side rows. If you do this then you will notice straight away whether you have made an error on a right side row. And if you have made an error, you then only need to go back one row to put it right.
SQUARE 35, WINTER SOLSTICE: this is a repeat of Square 15 from Mail Out 3, but this time there are picking up instructions to deal with – that is if you are knitting your squares in strips.
Bobbles are knitted on both right side and wrong side rows, so take a look at the Abbreviations for them on page 24 if you need any guidance.
SQUARE 41, OPTION ONE, DECK THE HALLS (REPRISE): and now it’s time for a bit of revision as this is exactly the same as Square 9 from Mail Out 4! So it’s nice and easy, isn’t it?!?
SQUARE 41, OPTION TWO, A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER (REPRISE): on first glance this square looks the same as Squares 9 and 37, however, be careful because there is a big difference between them. Although it uses the same colours and textured moss stitch pattern, the colours fade from white at the bottom to purple at the top - which is the reverse of how the colours are striped in Squares 9 and 37. So read the colour changes very carefully to make sure that you get them in the right order as some of them are quite similar in colour.
SQUARE 42, SNOW, SLEET AND ICE: and it’s revision time again for the final square this month because it is exactly the same as Square 8 from Mail Out 4 – the only difference between them is that there are picking up instructions because it is at the top of a strip.
IF YOU HAVE KNITTED YOUR SQUARES IN STRIPS, THEN AFTER KNITTING THE SEPTEMBER SQUARES YOU WILL HAVE FIVE STRIPS COMPLETED – which means that you could get ahead and sew them together. I have been asked which colour yarn is the best to use for this, and the answer is quite simple. Use any of the yarns in your kit which are strong and not too hairy. So my suggestion would be to use any of the Baby Silk Merino DK yarns – so that’s either the Iceberg, Lavender or Dawn. You should have plenty of all of these yarns left over at the end of the project, so you don’t need to worry about running out of them.
In last month’s blog I gave you some advice on how to sew your squares together using Mattress stitch, so you could revisit that blog if you need to for guidance on this technique.
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN REVISIT MY MYSTERY CLUB BLOGS GOING BACK AS FAR AS THE AUGUST INSTALMENT FOR 2017?!? If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog page then you will see that there is an arrow which enables you to jump back another three pages. And if you want to access blogs previous to 2017, then you will find a link at the bottom of page 4 which says ‘Looking for past blog posts?’ If you click on this then it will take you to another page which you click onto, and then you can then go even further back. This might be rather handy for some of you!?!
HELEN JACKSON FROM BURNABY IN CANADA SENT IN THIS PHOTO OF HER GORGEOUS DOG, MISSIE – who as you can see is thoroughly enjoying cosying up on Helen’s Mystery Blanket square!
Helen says: “I thought you would get a laugh at this picture - it’s my second Mystery Blanket that Missie our long haired dachshund has had to tolerate! I’m titling this shot, “Enough already! This knitting and needles are taking over my sleeping spot!!!”
Missie looks very cosy next to Helen's Mystery Blanket square. I just hope that she moves off it at some point so that she can knit her September squares!
THE LADIES FROM 'MITCHELLS' IN THE WEST MIDLANDS (FORMERLY THE ‘CURBOROUGH LADIES’) WERE THRILLED TO HAVE COMPLETED THEIR WORKSHOP PROJECT. They all came along to my Inspired Minds knitting retreat at Losehill House in Derbyshire in July and knitted my 'Carnival' notebook case.
This is what Claire had to say about the group’s knitting latest achievements: “We thought you would like to see our finished projects which we are all thrilled about! Katie has finished hers too but has just moved to the Wirral…
Below: from left to right, Sue, Claire, Dinah and Joanna.
...and here is our Wirral member of the Knitting Corner finished too!”
Well done to all of you for finishing the project – especially as you are all Mystery Blanket Club members as well! There is nothing better than getting a project completed, so you must all feel so relieved. Now on with your September squares ladies!...
SALLY-ANN BURNETT FROM HORNCHURCH IN ESSEX, UK, was thrilled to have finally completed her 2018 Mystery Blanket and sent in this fabulous photo to share with us:
Sally-Ann says: “I wanted to let you know that at long last I finished my 2018 Mystery Blanket. I love the end result and my sister cried tears of joy when I gave it to her yesterday. Thank you in particular for your help with adjusting the colour of the centre surround squares.”
This Mystery Blanket was one of my most challenging to date, so Sally-Ann has excelled herself here with all those very complicated stitch structures and colourwork. What a lovely gift it has made for her sister – a truly unique present that is so personal. Thank you Sally-Ann for sharing this with us, it is truly inspirational to see it completed.
ON A LOVELY SUNNY MORNING IN AUGUST I MADE MY ANNUAL VISIT TO THE KNITTING GROUP IN NORFOLK FOR A MYSTERY BLANKET INSPIRED WORKSHOP. And as usual I was greeted by a very happy and excitable group of ladies who were all ready for an enjoyable day of knitting, chatting and eating! We gathered together at Barnham Broom Village Hall and spent the day working on a small accessory project called Let It Snow Mitts.
The ladies embraced the project with great enthusiasm and got to grips quickly with the techniques. Not all of them were members of this year’s Club – and some of them were completely new to the concept of a ‘mystery’ KAL. So it was good to be meet new knitters at the workshop as well as seeing many familiar faces.
Below: regular workshop attendees and Mystery Club members Molly and Tracey enjoy their time at the workshop.
By the end of the morning session great progress had been made, and we stopped for a delicious lunch of homemade savoury and sweet goodies before continuing for a few more hours in the afternoon.
Below: the ladies get stuck into their Let it Snow Mitts knitting, and seem to be enjoying themselves!
Above: great focus ladies as you work through the pattern!...
Below: and more focused work as the afternoon progresses.
I always get such a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the ladies in Norfolk and plan to return to Barnham Broom for another workshop there next year. So if you are interested in joining me, please keep an eye on my workshops which are listed on my website. We are now coming to the end of this year’s workshops, but there will be plenty in store for 2020. So, maybe I will see you at Barnham Broom next year!?!
THERE WAS NO MYSTERY CLUB MEETING IN NOTTINGHAM IN AUGUST DUE TO THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS. So the next meeting at Sarah’s house in Beeston, Nottingham is 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: email@example.com
AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE EIGHTH 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 EIGHT (SEPTEMBER): this month’s winner is member 369, Nicola Gay from Woking, Surrey in the UK. Well done Nicola!
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
- Four packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads (size 8/0 or 6/0) from the selection on http://www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk
- A £15 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club: 2020 Mystery Cushion Club; 2020 Mystery Blanket Club
I hope that you have enjoyed my blog this month and found the hints, tips and stories helpful and interesting. Next month I will reveal the theme of the Mystery Blanket and tell you about my inspiration for the project. It will be the penultimate instalment before the finale in November, so if you’ve managed to keep up with the monthly squares the good news is that you are almost there! And for the rest of you, it really doesn’t matter. So take your time, enjoy every square you knit and you too will soon have a completed blanket to enjoy! So that’s it until next month when hopefully I will see you back here for all the latest Mystery Blanket news. In the meantime take care, keep well and happy knitting, Debbie x