WELCOME TO THE FINAL INSTALMENT OF THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET! And after ten months of patterns and forty-nine squares revealed, we have reached the end of this year’s Mystery Blanket journey.
I would like to thank you all for taking part and hope that you have found it a fun and inspirational experience. I have enjoyed reading all your emails and messages and seeing your blankets progress each month. Many of you have told me how much you have learnt from knitting the squares, so it’s a great bonus if you’ve managed to master a few new knitting techniques as well along the way!
In this month’s blog I reveal the title of the 2020 Mystery Blanket in a short video in which I also tell you about the inspiration for the design. Also in the blog there are some fabulous images from Sara Hazeldine Photography of the Option Two blanket, a new Festive kit offer and another exciting new cushion colourway from the BeadyKnits studio!
THE TITLE OF THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB IS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED!
Click on the link below to find out what it is!
THERE ARE NO IMAGES OF THE OPTION TWO BLANKET IN MAIL OUT 10, so here are a few for you to have a look at. There were seven Option Twos squares this year in the project which you may or may not have opted to do. Or maybe you mixed your options?
THE NOVEMBER PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON THE 1ST NOVEMBER, so the file should be in your inbox. But remember that you can also download it from your account on our website.
The printed patterns were posted to the overseas members on the 22nd October followed by the UK on the 30th October, so if you have not already received them they should be with you very soon.
Please note that these are the final patterns for the project.
OH NO! UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS AN ERROR ON PAGE 22 OF THE MAIL OUT. The squares for picking up stitches for the top edging have been listed as 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. However, they should be listed as 49, 42, 35, 28, 21, 14 and 7.
Please note that this error is in both the emailed patterns you have been sent and in the printed version also.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR UNIQUE GIFT IDEAS THEN WE HAVE A NEW FESTIVE KIT OFFER YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN. We are giving a discount on purchases of all our knitting kits and Mystery Knit Boxes in our online shop subject to a minimum spend:
Spend £50 and get £5.00 off your order (discount code: FESTIVE50)
Spend £100 and get £15.00 off your order (discount code: FESTIVE100)
Above: Festive Bunting: Merry Christmas
Below: Festive Wine Bottle Cosy
Above: Festive Candle Cosy
Below: Festive Favour Bags
The offer is up and running now and expires on the 15th November. So don’t forget to add this to your list of to-do’s if you fancy a bit of a browse. If your purchase qualifies for the discount then simply input the correct code for your purchase into the coupon box at checkout to take advantage of this special offer. Happy shopping!
BEADYKNITS HAVE LAUNCHED ANOTHER NEW COLOUWAY IN THEIR SQUARE CUSHION KIT COLLECTION – which would make a fabulous gift for a friend or a treat for yourself!
Nougat Colourway is now available as a square cushion design!
Following the success of the Pillow Cushion Cover Kits, BeadyKnits have created four new designs of the original colourways: Mexicana, Nougat, Flame and Peacock in a Square version. Mexicana was launched a couple of weeks ago and now Nougat is available to purchase in this new shape, making them the perfect companions for the pillows in this collection.
Above: Mexicana Cushion Cover, front panel
Below: Mexicana Cushion Cover, back panel
The design features the following knitting techniques: fairisle, beading (slip stitch and hooked-in), buttonholes and garter stitch.
Each kit contains Rico Cotton Essentials DK yarns and Debbie Abraham's size 6 glass beads, six buttons and full colour pattern instructions for the design, (you must supply your own knitting needles and a sewing-up needle).
Finished size accommodates a 16” x 16” pillow (pillow not included in kit).
Contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
*This kit is not available to buy from the Debbie Abrahams Ltd website. It must be purchased directly from Jenny at BeadyKnits and is not included in our current discount offer.
Knitting kit: £36
WORLD ZONE 1: £11.25
WORLD ZONE 2: £13.20
THESE ARE THE FOUR SQUARES THAT YOU WILL KNIT THIS MONTH – PLUS THE EDGING!
Square 25, Option One: Our Precious Earth – multi-coloured wave pattern using Japanese short-row shaping with chain stitch details:
Square 25: Option Two: Tides – striped moss stitch pattern:
Square 26: Hell Bay – lace pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):
Square 27: Coastal Path – moss stitch and reverse stocking stitch stripes (same for both options):
Square 28, Option One: Flora – intarsia with hooked-in beads and embroidered details:
Square 28, Option Two: Flora – striped pattern with slipped and textured stitches:
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 with, pre-warning you what to look out for and giving you some useful information about how to knit the square. Also take note of the description under the title of each square as this tells you what the stitch structure is.
Here are some extra tips about this month’s squares…
SQUARE 25 (Option One), OUR PRECIOUS EARTH: if you haven't tried Japanese short-row shaping before, then this is your chance to give it a go! And if it is a brand new technique for you and you are feeling a little out of your depth, I can assure you that once you get going with it you will find it both intriguing and enjoyable to do. There are notes about this technique on page 29 of your November mail out, so it is advisable to give them a good read before you start. Basically you are knitting partial rows to create wavy coloured shapes, which means that you are knitting so many stitches before you turn and work back the other way across the row. Before you turn the work there is an instruction to attach a marker to the yarn and then slip a stitch, and then when you come back to the marker further on in the pattern you are instructed to "close the gap" which is essential to prevent gaps in your knitting. The best marker to use is one that opens up and locks (see image below), but equally as good is a safety-pin. You will see why these work better than other types of markers when you attach your markers to the yarn.
My general advice for Japanese short-row shaping would be to keep the stitches knitted and slipped as tightly and firmly as possible to keep them neat and even. And when you attach a marker, make sure that you hold it firmly against the knitting so that it stays there and does not slip back down the yarn. If you want to see some good step-by-step instructions for Japanese short-row shaping then I thoroughly recommend that you take a look at this link for further help: http://www.basixknitting.com/short-row-shaping-japanese-short-rows/
SQUARE 25 (Option Two), TIDES: this square is a variation on Shingle and Heath but this time grey and blue colours are combined together to create the gentle graduated stripe pattern. Remember to use a smaller needle to knit this one – as specified on page 10. This will ensure that the tension of the moss stitch stays neat and even and that the size of the finished square matches that of the other squares in the blanket.
SQUARE 26, HELL BAY: this is also a variation of a square that you have already knitted. Square 24 was called Fraggle Rock, and Hell Bay has the same stitch pattern but grey is swapped out for bright turquoise blue. Both of these squares were inspired by the beautiful island of Bryher in the Isles of Scilly where I have tutored several knitting holidays – which some of you have joined me on!
Watch out for the variable stitch count which affects the number of stitches throughout the 8-row pattern repeat. After the initial increase row they fluctuate between 49 stitches and 47 stitches. However, I have included the number of stitches you should have at the end of each row, so it would be advisable to check this when knitting all wrong side rows to ensure you have the correct amount.
SQUARE 27, COASTAL PATH: you might recognise this square from Mail Outs 2 and 6. It’s the third and final colourway in this series of squares, with a shift this time into the green colour palette. Stripes of moss stitch are alternated with reverse stocking stitch to create a softly graduating stripe pattern. It’s a really easy one to knit, but just make sure that you remember to change your needle size when instructed to maintain a neat and even tension throughout.
SQUARE 28 (Option One), FLORA: so, this is your final option to knit in the blanket! It uses the intarsia technique, so no carrying of yarns across the back unless absolutely necessary. Instead wind off small amounts of yarn to knit each individual section of colour. If you need some extra tips about this technique then you will find some further advice on page 28.
There are some textured stitches on the petals, some hooked-in beads for a bit of sparkle, and some embroidery too – both chain stitch and Swiss darning. I always find it easier to embroider onto a piece of knitting that has been blocked and pressed first, so this is what I advise you do too – it will make your life a lot easier!
SQUARE 28 (Option Two), FLORA: if you don’t fancy taking on the intarsia technique then here is the alternative option. It’s the fourth and final colourway of a square you have already been given before for Option Two – Sandstone, Fossil and Rockpools. So if you’ve already knitted these squares, this one will be a breeze for you! Just keep an eye on your tension - especially on the rows where you slip stitches (see third Pattern note and tip on page 18) - and keep them spread to the correct width so that the knitting doesn’t pucker.
DECORATIVE GARTER STITCH EDGING: after knitting forty-nine squares I thought that you might want an edging that is relatively simple to knit! So, it’s a moss stitch stripe with a central beaded section (using the slip stitch technique), in a graduated colour stripe. Each edge focuses on one of the four colour stories – Sand, Rocks, Sea and Land – and is tipped at the cast-off edge with a row of contrast colour.
Stitches are picked up for each individual edge and knitted with mitred corners so that they fit perfectly together when sewn up. Instructions for this are given on pages 20-23, but make sure that you read the notes on page 20 before you begin which advise you on the quantities of yarn needed to complete a row. Hopefully you should have enough of all the colours that are used, but if you run short of anything you will need to use a different colour from what you have left over.
AND NOW FOR SOME TIPS ON PICKING UP STITCHES (for the edging), which some of you may feel a bit daunted by, but in fact it is very simple. I would advise that you use the Stitch and Row Reference Diagrams on page 5 of the November mail out which shows the number of stitches and rows in each square. And this, together with the instructions for the edging on pages 20-23 - where I have given you the amount of stitches to pick up along the edge of each square - should help you with this task.
There are several ways that you can pick up stitches. However, along a cast-off or cast-on edge (horizontal) I prefer to pick up through the middle of stitches (rather than through the cast-on or cast-off edges). And along a selvedge (vertical) edge I prefer to pick up in the gaps between the bars that exist between the edge stitch and the next stitch in from the edge:
- Along a vertical (side) edge: usually the basic rule to follow here is to pick up 3 out of 4 stitches, however, this will not work with every square in this blanket as the row count is not always the same. So the best way to do this is to plan out the pick up along the edge of each square separately. Place markers at equal points of measurement along the edge of the square and then divide the total number of stitches you need to pick up by the number of sections you have marked out. For example, Square 43 has 40 stitches to pick up, so if you separate the edge into four sections of equal measurement you would pick up 10 stitches in each of the four sections. My suggested technique for how to pick up stitches is as follows: with the right-side of the work facing, take the needle through the first gap between the bars (in the same place between the stitches that you insert your needle for Mattress stitch, ie, between the edge stitch and the next stitch in). Loop the yarn around the needle and pull the new stitch through. Repeat this for all the stitches, skipping over some of the gaps when and if necessary to get the total number of stitches you need to pick up correct.
- Along a horizontal edge (cast-on/cast-off edge): usually the basic rule to follow here is to pick up every stitch. So with the right-side of the work facing, take the needle through the middle of the stitch just below the cast-off edge/above the cast-on edge. Loop the yarn around the needle and pull the new stitch through. Repeat this all the way along the edge, making sure that you pick up the correct number of stitches along the edge of each square. Remember that where the strips have been sewn together, one stitch from each edge of the squares are caught into the seam (apart from the first and last squares which have only one stitch caught in). But note that you are instructed to pick up one stitch on every seam between the squares, see pages 22-23. There are a few squares where the number of stitches to pick up is greater than the number of stitches in the square. So when this happens, you will need to pick up the extra stitches by putting your needle between some of the stitches to achieve the correct amount. I would suggest that you plan out the edging as for a vertical picked up edge and pick up the extra stitches at equal intervals.
SO, WHICH IS THE BEST YARN TO USE TO SEW TOGETHER THE STRIPS? My advice is to choose a strong, smooth yarn. So avoid Felted Tweed and opt instead for either Baby Silk Merino DK, Softyak or Summerlite DK, and use a colour which you have plenty of. And if you use mattress stitch then you don’t need to use the same colour yarn for each seam as the stitching will not show.
BARBARA MEDCALF FROM LANCASHIRE, UK WAS NEW TO BEADED LACE KNITTING BEFORE SHE TOOK ON THE HYACINTH CUSHION COVER. She was delighted with the results, and as well as learning this technique she also discovered a new way to knit buttonholes too!
Barbara says: “I love my Hyacinth Cushion. It’s my first attempt at lace and beads! I thought you might be interested in a new (well new to me) method I have found of making buttonholes on one row only. Have you heard of it? They are much neater than the two-row version. I did think they were a bit tighter but my buttons for the cushion fitted without a problem. I am now using the same method for my Mystery Cushion.”
Barbara used this video on the internet to learn how to knit the buttonholes: https://youtu.be/qwpewmHUeaM
Thanks for passing on this great tip Barbara. I am definitely going to try it when I next knit buttonholes. They certainly look great on your Hyacinth cushion cover, which you have knitted beautifully!
JUNE MCBAIN FROM EDINBURGH, UK WAS THRILLED TO HAVE COMPLETED HER THIRTEENTH MYSTERY BLANKET – yes, she’s knitted them all! – and sent in these lovely photos of it. In particular I love the extra details she has done on the edgings, which finish them all off beautifully. (I will just add that June test knitted this blanket and that is why she has finished it ahead of everyone else!)
June says: “Here are some photos of my blanket. I copied Annabel Casey’s idea of doing chain stitch on the corner seam, but decided to use two different colours for each one!”
Annabel finished off the edgings for her 2019 Mystery Blanket, ‘Winter Wonderland’ in this way and you may have seen the photos of her blanket in one of last year’s blogs. It’s a great idea and lovely to see it used again by June in this year’s blanket.
CATHERINE POPE FROM NOTTINGHAM, UK HAS BEEN VERY BUSY WITH HER DEBBIE ABRAHAMS PROJECTS, and recently completed both her 2020 Mystery Cushion and Silent Night Wall Hanging.
Catherine says: “I thought you’d like to see these photos of my finished cushion which I’m delighted with. I decided not to add the pom poms as it matches the first Mystery Cushion I completed in 2016, ‘Geo Jungle’. I got the black and white striped buttons from Bedecked. I’ve also finished the Silent Night Wall Hanging, which will make a lovely Christmas present!”
I love how Orient Express and Geo Jungle sit so well together – which is something I hadn’t realised until Catherine shared her images of them.
And the buttons on the Mystery Cushion look so good too – they are a perfect match for the Orient Express cushion. Well done Catherine on getting two projects completed. There’s just the Mystery Blanket to get finished now!
I WILL BE CREATING A MEMBER’S GALLERY BLOG IN JANUARY, so please send in your photos of any Debbie Abrahams projects you have knitted this year as well as your completed Mystery Blankets and Cushions, together with a brief description and I will include them. It’s time to show off all your hard work and be proud of your achievements! Please send all photos and stories to email@example.com
AND FINALLY, FOR THIS POSTING AND FOR THIS YEAR, THE 2020 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 TEN (NOVEMBER): this month’s winner is member 344, Chris Geschwanter from Marion in South Carolina, USA. Well done Chris! Please choose a prize from the following selection:
- A signed Debbie Abrahams book: 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 membership for the Debbie Abrahams 2021 Mystery Blanket Club or the 2021 Mystery Cushion Club.
THESE ARE THE TEN LUCKY WINNERS FROM THE 2020 PRIZE DRAWS. If you have not claimed your prize, then it’s not too late. Just send us a quick message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will sort it out for you!
February: Kim McLean from Roseville, NSW, Australia
March: Kate Ison from Bromsgrove, Birmingham, UK
April: Laura Connelly from Los Angeles, California, USA
May: Jo Rehbein from Clintonville, Wisconsin, USA
June: Karen Keatinge from Angels Camp, California, USA
July: Viv Fox from Northamptonshire, UK
August: Jacqueline Clapham from Swinford, Leicestershire, UK
September: Celia Winterbottom from Nottingham, UK
October: Sylvia Borrows from Enfield, UK
December: Chris Geschwanter from Marion, South Carolina, USASo that is it for this year as another Mystery Blanket adventure comes to an end! I know that for many of you the Mystery Blanket knitting has been a great comfort in what has been a very difficult year. So I hope that you have felt inspired and motivated by this project and will continue to enjoy knitting this final batch of squares and completing your blanket. Thank you to everyone who has taken part this year – your enthusiasm throughout the past ten months has been amazing! And for those of you who are joining me in February for the next Mystery Blanket adventure, I look forward to seeing you again next year! Until then, please take extra special care of yourselves, keep busy and above all, keep safe and well, Debbie x