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Mystery Blanket Club 2020: post 6, July

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE JULY MYSTERY BLANKET BLOG. And as we make a start on the sixth set of patterns, you can see how the blanket is taking shape and probably anticipate what some of the remaining squares are going to be. However, be prepared for plenty of new ones to knit too - there’s a whole lot more in store for you, and what about that centre square – any ideas?!? I know from your messages and emails that many of you are feeling very relieved to have your Mystery projects to help you through lockdown. And even with the restrictions easing in some parts of the world, there is still much time being spent at home, and for some, in isolation. So with the Mystery Blanket and Cushion Clubs in full swing, new kits in our webshop and applications opening in a month’s time for my brand new 2021 Mystery Blanket Club, there are plenty of exciting knitting projects to keep you going!

I BEGIN WITH A COUPLE OF ADDENDUMS FOR THE JULY PATTERNS WHICH UNFORTUNATELY ESCAPED OUR NOTICE, until I was notified of them today.

These corrections are only for the printed patterns. The emailed file has been corrected.

Page 7, Square 4: the chart for Shimmer 2 is incorrect and has been replaced with a revised chart. The worded instructions are correct and have not been changed.

Page 13, Square 12, Option Two: Row 3 has been written incorrectly. It should read as: K2, hook Ice Blue bead, K1, [P3, K1, hook Ice Blue bead, K1] 6 times, K1.

You can reprint these two pages (and not the whole file) by selecting pages 7 and 13 on your printer settings.

I apologise for these errors and hope that they do not spoil your enjoyment of the July squares.

AS FAR AS WE ARE AWARE THERE ARE JUST A FEW OF YOU STILL WAITING FOR YOUR SECOND YARN PARCEL TO ARRIVE. We understand how frustrating this is, but unfortunately unless it has been tracked we are unable to find out exactly where it is. If you are still waiting for your parcel and have not contacted Sue about it, please can you let her know by emailing her at: sue@debbieabrahams.com and she will discuss the options that are available to you.

THE JULY PATTERNS HAVE BEEN EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON THE 1ST JULY, 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 23rd June followed by the UK on the 26th June, so if you have not already received them they should be with you soon. As I said to you last month, our local printer is working with a reduced workforce and reduced working hours, so this means that we are having to wait longer than usual for our order to be completed. We are doing our very best to get the printed patterns posted to you as soon as we can, but if there are delays we ask you to please bear with us until the situation improves.

FOLLOWING THE LAUNCH LAST WEEK OF OUR NEW HYACINTH CUSHION COVER KNITTING KIT, we are delighted to announce that there are three more new kits in the pipeline which will be available to buy in our online shop very soon:

Neon Rainbow – a third colourway in the Rainbow purse collection, knitted in Rowan Glace Cotton with seven colours of Debbie Abrahams Beads. Launch date from 17th July 2020. See image below.

Autumn Bag – a beaded drawstring bag in rich Autumnal shades of Chestnut, Moss Green and Purple, knitted in Rowan Glace Cotton. Launch date from 7th August 2020.

Festive Mystery Knit Boxes – a box full of treats for you or a great gift for a friend or relative. Includes a brand new festive knitting kit designed by Debbie as well as a minimum of six other mystery gifts. Launch date from 1st September 2020.

These dates are approximate and may be subject to change. However, we will let you know by email as soon as each new product is live in our shop and available to buy.

WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO BE LAUNCHING OUR BRAND NEW 2021 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ON FRIDAY 31st JULY! Applications will open on that day with a very special offer if you sign up within the first month. You will receive an exclusive Debbie Abrahams knitting pattern and the beads to knit up a sparkly accessory, plus a 15% voucher to spend in our online shop. The knitting pattern will be emailed to you and the beads will be included with your first yarn parcel. When you purchase your membership we will email you a code for the discount voucher which can be used once in our online shop at anytime with no expiry date. It can be used for any purchases excluding Mystery Clubs.

Below: Mystery Blanket Club 2009, Arabian Nights.

Above: Mystery Blanket Club 2011, House of Aphrodite.

So, what can I tell you about next year’s Mystery Blanket without giving the game away?!? Next year sees a return to a strong, vibrant colour palette, combining together several beautifully soft Rowan yarns including Felted Tweed, Alpaca Soft DK and Alpaca Classic. And there are plenty of beads in it too to add a touch of sparkle!  There will be some fairisle and intarsia as well as textured stitches, cables and stripes. Two options will be offered on some of the more tricky squares which will enable knitters of all skill levels to take part.

Below: Mystery Blanket Club 2012, Celebration of Sport.

We are going to offer a longer instalment plan for this project, so that you can spread your payments over several months rather than paying in one go. There will be no administration fee for this so you will pay the same amount as those who make a single payment.

That is all I am going to tell you for now, but I might reveal a little more in the next blog. And who knows, you might just decide to join me on another mystery knitting adventure next year!

IF YOU ARE STILL TRYING TO GUESS THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET THEN YOU HAVE FOUR MONTHS TO SEND IN YOUR GUESSES TO US. The title will be revealed in the final blog in November - unless you can’t resist temptation and open up your little envelope before then! Members Viv Fox and Anne Grant were thrilled to have guessed it correctly. But if you are still not sure what it is, here is another letter to help you. This month the letter I am giving you is “C”:

_  _  _  /  _  _  _  C  I  _  _  S / _  A  _  T  H

If you think you know what it is, please send your guesses to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com. There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a bit of fun each month until you guess it!

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

Square 4, Shimmer 2 – hooked-in beaded pattern (same for both options):

Square 11, Ocean Blues – moss stitch and reverse stocking stitch stripes (same for both options):

Square 12, Option One: Fish – intarsia with slip stitch and hooked-in beads and embroidered details:

Square 12, Option Two: Rockpools – striped pattern with slipped and textured stitches:

Square 18, Little Ripples – cable and lace pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 33, Perfect Storm  – striped pattern with textured stitches (same for both options):

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 4, SHIMMER 2: this is similar to Square 46 from Mail Out 5, but the ripples of beads have been mirror imaged so that they get wider apart from right to left instead of left to right. There are a lot of beads in this square, hooked in on both right side and wrong side rows, so a cuppa and a biscuit might be a good idea to help you through this one!

And remember that in the printed patterns the chart is incorrect so you will need to work from the revised chart in the emailed patterns for this square.

SQUARE 11, OCEAN BLUES: it's time for a bit of revision because this is exactly the same as Square 39 from Mail Out 5. Just make sure that you remember to change over needle sizes when instructed to keep the tension nice and neat.

SQUARE 12, FISH (Option One): this is a new square which has a second option if you don’t fancy knitting intarsia. Each fish is knitted in a different colour so you need at least one bobbin of yarn for each fish, plus a few for the background as this will need to be split into a few balls to go around the fish. Remember that the aim with intarsia is to limit the carrying across of yarns at the back of the work and to only carry them across when it is absolutely necessary. For example, on Row 33 you need to introduce a bobbin of Fav Denims for the fish, but you will need a second bobbin of Fav Denims for Row 36 to knit the tail.

There are hooked-in beads (hb) on the Fav Denims fish on Rows 42, 44 and 46, and Blue beads are knitted in for the fish eyes using the slip stitch method (pb) on Rows 9, 22 and 45.

When the square has been knitted, blocked and pressed, there is a small amount of chain stitch embroidery to do using Lagoon, Maritime and Cloud yarns (the colours have been written on the chart), and some Swiss darning using Lagoon on Rows 6, 7, 8 and 9.

SQUARE 12, ROCKPOOLS (Option Two): this is the alternative option to knit for this square which achieves a multi-colour effect through striping and slipped stitches. If you’ve already knitted Square 22, Sandstone (Option Two) and Squares 10 and 38, Fossil (Option Two), then this is very similar, but it uses different colour yarns and beads.

You are instructed to use a smaller needle than the main needle size of 3.50mm, and there are more rows than in some of the other squares. Just make sure that after knitting it when you block and press the square you spread it out to the correct measurements. I had to ease the width out quite a lot, whilst the length needed minimal easing.

It is important not to let the stitches bunch up on the rows where the stitches are slipped. Keep spreading them out along the needle as you work to avoid puckering.

Remember that there is an addendum for Row 3 which should read as: K2, hook Ice Blue bead, K1, [P3, K1, hook Ice Blue bead, K1] 6 times, K1.

SQUARE 18, LITTLE RIPPLES 2: this is similar to Square 32 from Mail Out 5, but each cable twists in the opposite direction.

Even though Square 32 was knitted just a month ago, it is worth mentioning again that you need to keep the yarn HELD AT THE FRONT as you work the instruction, ‘sl 1 knitwise K1’. If you take the yarn to the back at any point while working this instruction you will undo the increase and end up with the incorrect number of stitches.

SQUARE 33, PERFECT STORM: this is a variation on Square 17 from Mail Out 4 and Square 43 from Mail Out 1, but this time the colourway changes to intense blues and greys.

The ‘wrong’ side of the knitting is used as the right side, with the strands from Rows 4-6 and 19-21 (and their subsequent repeats) showing on the right side of the work. Try and keep the stitches spread to the correct width while knitting these rows so that the knitting remains flat and even and does not pucker.

A FEW OF THE MEMBERS HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH TO SHARE WITH US THEIR LATEST KNITTING ACHIEVEMENTS. And so I begin with MAXINE LECKEY from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, UK, who was over the moon to have finally completed her 2012 Mystery Blanket! It was the sports-themed blanket which was designed to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games, and here it is!

Maxine says: “Just thought I’d send you a photograph of my 2012 Mystery Blanket which I finally got round to finishing during lockdown - eight years since I first started it! I still have four more incomplete blankets and getting this one finished has given me the incentive to work on some of the others and try and finish at least one or maybe two more before the end of the year!!!”

It was well worth all the time and effort as it is absolutely stunning! And let’s hope that you are inspired to finish off the others too – what an achievement that would be!

SUSAN BAILEY from Berkhamsted, UK has also been using her time very creatively while in lockdown and has recently completed two lovely projects.

Susan says: “I am pleased to let you know that after all your kind efforts with your Mystery Box, I am sending you pics of the scarf completed and a blanket using my 'stash' and your building blocks pattern. Many thanks. I look forward to completing other projects designed by you.”

It is great to see how productive you have been in lockdown Susan, and it is especially lovely to see one of my favourite designs from Blankets & Throws To Knit given a fresh look with the cheery colours you have used from your stash. Thanks for sharing your beautiful projects with us!

ANDREA GOSTICK from Purley in Surrey, UK made the new little granddaughter in her life very happy with her beautifully knitted Mystery Baby Blanket. Andrea went for the cool and calm Classic colourway, and by the looks of it, little Jemima is only too pleased to try it out! Gorgeous blanket and gorgeous baby!

DUE TO COVID-19, SOME OF MY WORKSHOP DATES FOR 2020 HAVE NOW BEEN EITHER CANCELLED OR RE-SCHEDULED. And for any of the other dates I would advise you to contact the individual shops nearer the time for updates and further information:

  • Saturday 27th June: Basic Design at Yarn Loft, 118 Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1AD. Contact Doreen for more details: www.yarnloft.co.uk. Re-scheduled to Saturday 7th November.
  • Sunday 28th June: Subject to be confirmed at The Knitting Corner, No 5 Mitchells Shopping, Weeford Road, Sutton Coldfield B75 6NA. Contact Amy for more details: 0121 792 0774. Workshop cancelled.
  • Saturday 18th July: Sparkling Colour at Osprey, The Saddlery, Woodcock Hill, Coopers Green Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL4 9HJ. Contact Donna for more details: osprey@mezcrafts.com.  Workshop cancelled.
  • Sunday 11th October: Subject to be confirmed at I Love Ewe, 4 Stamford Walk, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2JE. Contact Rachel for more details: www.i-love-ewe.com
  • Friday 13th November: Beaded Project at Black Sheep Wools, The Warehouse Studios, Glaziers Lane, Warrington WA3 4AQ. Contact Amy for more details: blacksheepwools.com
  • Saturday 14th November: Festive Project at Black Sheep Wools, The Warehouse Studios, Glaziers Lane, Warrington WA3 4AQ. Contact Amy for more details: www.blacksheepwools.com

AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, 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 SIX (JULY): this month’s winner is member 231, Viv Fox from Northamptonshire, UK. Well done Viv! 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 membership for the Debbie Abrahams 2021 Mystery Blanket Club.

Thank you for reading this month’s blog, and a special thank you to all the members who have contacted us during the past month with their positive messages of support. Wherever you are and whatever situation you are in, I hope that this month’s Mystery Blanket squares continue to keep you busy and creative. And with plenty of new kits and a brand new Mystery knitting adventure about to launch soon, there’s no better way to spend your time than knitting your way through lockdown! Please keep in touch and send in any stories or photos that you would like to share and I will include them in the next blog. Until then, take care, keep safe and well and I will see you back here on the 1st August, Debbie x


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