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Mystery Blanket Club 2020: post 9, October

WELCOME TO THE NINTH AND PENULTIMATE INSTALMENT OF THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET! It’s that time of the year when the seasons here in the UK are changing from hot sunny days to cooler temperatures as the months roll on. So as we near the finishing line for this year’s Mystery Blanket you can look forward to cosy nights in getting your squares knitted and preparing for the final instalment next month. And with our Festive kits and Mystery Boxes about to be released too, there are many good things to look forward to as we move forward into the Autumn.

THE OCTOBER PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON THE 1ST OCTOBER, 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 September followed by the UK on the 29th September, so if you have not already received them they should be with you very soon.

AFTER A RECENT ROWAN PROMOTION FOR THE 2021 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB WE HAVE SOLD ALL 500 MEMBERSHIPS! So thank you to everyone who has signed up. We were totally taken off guard by the sheer volume of orders we had over the weekend and actually oversold by quite a large number. So consequently we have increased the memberships to ensure that everyone has got the place they paid for. This leaves just twenty memberships available before we sell out completely and close the Club. So if you want to grab one of the last few remaining memberships it would be wise to sign yourself up as soon as you can in our online shop.

Below: Mystery Blanket 2015, Perugian Perspectives.

This is a reminder of what I have in store for you next year – without giving the game away, of course!

The previous two Mystery Blankets focused on soft colours with cosy yarns to match. However, next year sees a return to a bold, vibrant colour palette, combining together several of Rowan’s best loved yarns from their Autumn/Winter collection including Felted Tweed, Alpaca Soft DK, Kid Classic and Softyak.  I am thrilled to be able to tell you that also included in the palette are some bespoke shades of Pure Wool DK which have been dyed up exclusively for this project. These shades will only be available to buy in the blanket kit, so they really are super special! And of course there are plenty of beads in it too to add a touch of sparkle!  Techniques will include 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 2021 - bold, vibrant colours and bespoke shades.

If you would prefer to pay for your Club membership in monthly instalments then we are offering an extended payment plan which means you can spread your payments over five payments with no interest or administration fee. Simply choose the Instalment Plan option for the 2021 Mystery Blanket Club in our webshop and follow the onscreen instructions.

If you want to find out more about next year’s Mystery Blanket, then pop across to the FAQ page on our website where you will find lots more information under ‘Mystery Club FAQS’: https://debbieabrahams.com/pages/faq

THE 2021 KNITTING & CROCHET GUILD ‘UN-CONVENTION’ TOOK PLACE IN SEPTEMBER, and hopefully some of you managed to take a look at the online workshops and talks that were organised for this fabulous seven-day event. The KCG are a national educational charity dedicated to UK hand knitting, domestic machine knitting and crochet, run by volunteers and supported by subscriptions and donations. They are passionate about taking crafts into the future while respecting the traditions and skills of the past. They look to encourage, inspire and be inspired by amazing makers at local level through their branches and the wider Guild community, and are here to facilitate learning new skills about the history of knitting and crochet.

Due to Covid-19 their annual Convention was an online event, with many exciting talks and workshops taking place throughout the week. And as a patron of the Guild I contributed to the event along with fellow patrons Jane Crowfoot, Lorna Hamilton-Brown, Louisa Harding and Kaffe Fassett.

My keynote speech focused on my Mystery Blankets – ‘Beyond the Blanket: the design process, inspiration and creation of a Mystery Blanket design’. If you did not get to see this then you can still catch up with it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LApp40F7Z0&t=809s

Below: some of the posts from my Instagram Take Over.

If you visit the Knitting and Crochet Guild’s Instagram page you can see all my posts my Instagram Take Over day. It includes short films about my inspiration, two beading tutorials and a sneak preview of the 2021 Mystery Blanket Club.

If you are not a member of the Knitting and Crochet Guild then you can join their growing community by signing up via their website: https://kcguild.org.uk/ They need as much support as possible to continue doing all their good work, so if you've not looked them up already then please do so if you are interested in the preservation of our precious crafts.

WE ARE BEGINNING OUR FESTIVE KIT LAUNCH EARLIER THAN USUAL THIS YEAR, as we are anticipating that in the present global climate a lot of our overseas orders could take a lot longer to get to their destinations. So we will have all our festive kits on sale, including some new projects, from the 3rd October.

These are some of the new things that you will find in our shop from Saturday…

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 nine other mystery gifts. We have a total of 200 boxes available.

Silent Night Wall Hanging – a sparkling fairisle and textured stitch accessory for the festive season knitted in Rowan Cashsoft Baby and Felted Tweed, embellished with Debbie Abrahams beads and rhinestone studs.

Let It Snow Mitts (green colourway) – a new colourway in this popular fairisle pair of mitts to get you ready for the icy cold winter days ahead! Yarns include Rowan Soft Yak, Baby Silk Merino DK, Kid Classic, Felted Tweed and Alpaca Soft DK.

There will be a discount of 10% offered on all our festive kits (excluding Festive Mystery Knit Boxes) for two weeks, finishing at midnight on the 17th October*. Simply input FESTIVEOFFER10 in the coupon box before checkout to claim your discount.

*Please note that this discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount vouchers you might have. Only one discount offer can be used per transaction.  

Happy shopping!

IF YOU HAVE NOT YET GUESSED THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET, THEN HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO HAVE ONE LAST GO AT IT! We had one correct answer from Jo Farina Driver, so well done to Jo! If you are still guessing then here are not many letters left that I can give you without spelling out all the words. So this time, surely, is the moment you guess it correctly, if you haven’t already done so, of course!?! The final letter I am giving you is “P”:

O U  _  /  P  _  _  C  I  O  U  S / _  A  _  T  H

This is your last chance to send in your guess to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com. So go on, have a go – you never know, you might get it right this time! And if not, then I will reveal the title in next month’s blog.

THESE ARE THE FIVE SQUARES THAT YOU WILL KNIT THIS MONTH. There are no brand new squares to knit, they are the same or variations on squares you have already knitted. And there are no options to choose from either. So hopefully it will be a fairly easy month for most of you!

Square 34 Buds – textured stitch pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 35, Gorse – striped lace stitch pattern (same for both options):

Square 42, Foliage 2 – lace and cable pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 48, Back to the Woodland – cable and lace pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 49, Pasture 2 – 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 34, BUDS: you knitted this square back in August so it’s a nice easy start to your squares this month.

It uses a smaller needle size than the suggested main size for the project to ensure a neat tension with the hooked-in beads. So make sure you pick up the correct pair for this square.

To help you with your beading sequence you are advised on page 6 to pre-thread the beads in a specific order so that you can slide them off one by one to use. In the August blog there was an alternative tip given to put the beads in small bowls and to take one from each bowl in rotation. This too would help you to get the colour sequence correct, so pick which one suits you best and get beading!

SQUARE 35, GORSE: this is exactly the same as Square 21, which was also in the August mail out. I can’t remember any problems being reported to me about this one, so as long as you work those lace stitches correctly and remember that there is a variable stitch count, you should be fine. 

SQUARE 42, FOLIAGE 2: you knitted Square 14, Foliage, last month. And here it is again, but this time with a difference as the cables twist the other way – that is to the left (c3f) with the stitches held at the front instead of the back.

I did have a few queries about this square, with some people finding that their stitch counts went awry. So just keep an eye on the lace instructions and make sure that you work the increases correctly otherwise you will not end up with the right number of stitches at the end of the row. Just as a reminder, when you work ‘yon’ you already have your yarn at the front of the work after ‘P1’, so you must keep it there as you knit the next stitch so that the yarn goes over the needle (yarn over needle) and creates a stitch. It’s very easy to do but is where most knitters go wrong as the natural instinct is to take the yarn back between the needles to knit.

SQUARE 48, BACK TO THE WOODLAND: you also knitted this square last month. But as with Foliage, the cables are different, twisting to the front instead of the back. All of the other instructions are the same, so this should be a pretty straightforward one to knit.

SQUARE 49, PASTURE 2: this is the final variation of this square, the pattern for which you will recognise in Sand and Surf, Slate and Perfect Storm. This colourway is almost the same as Square 7 from the August mail out, but this time it uses the knit side of the knitting as the right side.

I HAVE HAD A COUPLE OF STORIES FROM THE MEMBERS THIS MONTH. So I begin with Anne McClure from Richmond on Thames, UK, who over the years has knitted several of the Mystery Blankets, and has signed up for next year too! Anne has been keeping herself very busy over lockdown finishing off her WIPs, and she has made fabulous progress with them.

Her most recent achievement is the Mystery Blanket from 2018, 'Casa Batlló'. And here it is, knitted exquisitely and to perfection:

Anne says: “Herewith, the finished blanket! I think Martha will love it and I made it well before next Friday (her birthday). Thank you for your help Debbie and I am now progressing with the flag borders of the 2017 anniversary blanket, then that’s another project finished. Just 2019, a cushion and borders on the Baby Blanket to go!”

It must feel so good to get all those projects finished, and hopefully it will inspire others to do the same!

SANDY CERATO FROM PIKESVILLE, MARYLAND, USA, has also been a member of the Mystery Blanket Club for many years, and has been so inspired by her blanket knitting that she has started to design her own. And what a unique blanket she has designed. Take a look at this musically inspired creation which she recently knitted – I think it’s totally amazing!

Sandy says: “The Grateful Dead were a hippy rock band from the 60’s and 70’s.  My son owns a hippie store and loves that stuff.  Each square is one of the iconic pictures of the band. In the four corners is the skull (called ‘steal your face’ - don't ask me why! - my son had that reprinted with a local sports team logos inserted. The one in the middle and on the left above the cat is the standard ‘steal your face’). What I usually do for these kinds of afghans is to find pictures that represent the subject and print them on graph paper so that each block represents a stitch. I've done Star Wars and Harry Potter. I'm now working on Pokemon which is a major project since there are 892 characters and I know nothing about Pokemon, so I'm choosing easy, non-detailed characters.”

Well Sandy, you’re certainly not put off by a challenge! And what a remarkable piece of work this is. It’s totally unique and being a person who is very much into their music too, I just love this! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Sandy also has a tip for any knitters in the USA who are struggling to get hold of 3.00mm knitting needles. She recommends Knit Picks who can be found online, and Sandy has gone for their own brand of circular needle which she says, “are very nice and have a cord which is flexible and easy to use.” Thanks for that extra tip Sandy!

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 NINE (OCTOBER): this month’s winner is member 205, Sylvia Borrows from Enfield, UK. Well done Sylvia! 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 or the 2021 Mystery Cushion Club.
Thank you for joining me today for all the latest Mystery Blanket Club news, and I hope that you have an enjoyable month of knitting before we conclude this year’s Club next month. With my sights firmly set now on new projects for 2021, it’s my favourite time of year for designing with new ideas on the table, raring to go! It has been a strange and difficult year for all of us, but the comfort we get from our crafts has been an absolute lifesaver and continues on through all our beautiful knitting projects. So I wish you a busy October, fuelled by yarn and motivated by all your wonderful creations! Until we meet again here next month, have fun everyone and take care of yourselves, Debbie x

1 comment

  • Instead of using bowls for beads, try 2 inch medicine bottle tops. They aren’t too deep making them easy to pick up the beads.

    Sandy Cerato

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