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Mystery Blanket Club 2021: post 5, June

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE JUNE BLOG.

I begin this month with a sincere apology to all the members who are still waiting for their parcels to arrive. As you know from the newsletter we sent last week, we have had a further delay with the Gold beads from our supplier in Hong Kong which we are trying our best to sort out. It’s a tough challenge to try and keep everybody happy in what we know is a truly frustrating situation for all of our members. However, I assure you that we are sensitive to all your concerns and comments and are working very hard behind the scenes to manage this as efficiently as we can. I am not going to include in my written blog any more information about this, but in my video blog I do explain in more detail about the issues we have been faced with over the past couple of months and how we are dealing with them.

On a positive note, there are some squares and other bits and pieces that you can get on with if you are waiting for your parcel to arrive:

  • Square 18, Option One, SOUK: you can knit this whole square as long as you have enough yarn and two Gold beads;
  • Square 18, Option Two, SOUK: you can knit up to Row 32;
  • Square 31, BEDECKED 2: you can knit this whole square as long as you have been able to complete Square 30;
  • finish off any Swiss darning and Chain stitch on the squares you have already knitted;
  • sew together completed squares in strips 1 and 7 (so that’s Squares 1- 5 and Squares 43-45);
  • knit 6 braids for forthcoming repeats of Sumptuous (which I guess you have already predicted are going to happen): 6 Wine braids and 6 Topaz braids using the pattern in Square 1 or 43 (as long as you have enough Topaz and Wine yarn);
  • knit 6 braids for forthcoming repeats of Bedecked/Bedecked 2, (which you may have also already guessed are going to happen), using the pattern in Square 17 or 31 (as long as you have enough Topaz and Wine yarn).

I have recorded two new technical demo videos to help you knit this month’s squares:

  • How to knit Intarsia (needed for Square 18, Option One)
  • How to attach a Shisha mirror (needed for Square 18, both options)

It would be a good idea to watch these before you knit Square 18. And remember that if you need help with any other techniques you can go back and look at any of the other videos that were included in my previous blogs – they are all still there and ready for you to watch as and when you need them.



THE PRINTED PATTERNS HAVE BEEN SENT – with the overseas patterns posted on 14th May and the UK posted on the 26th May. Every member has been sent the patterns by email but remember you can also download them from your Debbie Abrahams account.

ADDENDUMS: THERE ARE SOME CORRECTIONS IN THE MAY AND JUNE MAIL OUTS which have been brought to our attention:

MAY, Mail Out 4: Square 38, Lady Zubeida Returns (page 16) EMAILED AND PRINTED PATTERNS (a revised May mail out has been emailed to you and is also available to download from your account)

The worded pattern for this is correct. However, there is an error on the chart. It affects Chart rows 1-12, stitches, 12-17, 28-33 and 44-49. The first set of cables should be knitted on Chart rows 5, 7, 9 and 11 (and not Chart rows 6, 8, 10 and 12).

The remaining rows after Chart Row 12 are correct.

This error means that there is one extra row before the beginning of the first set of cables, and one less row between the last cable in this set and the beads on Chart Row 13.

If you have already knitted this square following the chart and cannot see the error in your knitting then I would strongly advise that you do not reknit it. However, if you are unhappy to progress with it knitted incorrectly then reknit it using the revised chart.

JUNE, Mail Out 5: Square 18, Option One, Souk (page 11) PRINTED PATTERNS ONLY 

There is an error with the number of rows quoted for the chart and the cast-off for this square. The instructions should read as follows:

ROWS 33-64: beg with a RS row, work chart rows 1-32.

With RS facing, cast off sts knitwise using Garnet yarn.

JUNE, Mail Out 5: Square 31, Bedecked (page 19) PRINTED PATTERNS ONLY

The picking-up instructions should read as follows:

If picking up stitches, pick up and knit 45 stitches along the cast-off edge of Square 30 (and not 16).

I apologise sincerely for these errors and hope that they do not spoil your enjoyment of the project. As well as sending you a newsletter about these corrections I have also added them to the Addendum page on my website. You can also download these revised files from your account.

WITH FOUR LETTERS REVEALED AND A NEW LETTER GIVEN TO YOU THIS MONTH, HAVE YOU MANAGED TO GUESS THE TITLE YET? Well, many more of you have so congrats go out to these members: Ruth Simmons, Doreen Huggett, Wendy O’Leary, Becky Edwards, Debra Gombert, Tracey Maher, Anne Artymiuk, Emily Mills, Jacqui Taylor, Lindsey Brooke, Linda Carey, Margaret Young and Elizabeth Webber. However, if you are still not sure then here is a fifth letter to help you. This month the new letter I am giving you is “H”:

_  _  _  / _  H  _  U  _  A  _  D  / A  _  D  / _  _  _  / _  I  _  H  _   _

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. And if you do guess it right, with your permission we will include your name in the next blog.

THERE ARE FIVE SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

Square 11, Option One, Plush – fairisle pattern:

Square 11, Option Two, Plush – striped pattern:

Square 18, Option One, Souk – intarsia pattern with cables, hooked-in and slip-stitch beads, shisha mirrors  and chain stitch details:

Square 18, Option Two, Souk – cables, hooked-in and slip-stitch beads, a lace panel, shisha mirrors and chain stitch details:

Square 31, Bedecked 2 striped pattern with decorative braids, textured stitches and slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

Square 44, The King’s Palace (part 9) – striped pattern with a decorative beaded border and lace panel (same for both options):

Square 45, The King’s Palace (part 10) – striped pattern with a decorative slip-stitch beaded border and Swiss darned details (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 and give pre-warnings as to what look out for in the pattern instructions. Also take note of the description under the title of each square as this tells you what the stitch structure is.

SQUARE 11, OPTION ONE, PLUSH:  if you’ve managed to get to grips with fairisle and are enjoying it, then I would suggest you go for this option. It combines both stranding and weaving-in, both of which have been demonstrated in video demos in previous blogs.

Usually I would suggest a larger needle to knit a fairisle pattern. However, the increased number of stitches in this square (49 stitches instead of the usual 45 stitches) accommodates for the change in tension so it should knit up to the same measurements as all the other squares. If you do find that it is knitting up too tight, simply swap your needle size for a larger one and that should do the trick.

Just watch out for the single rows of Turquoise on chart rows 10, 20, 30 and 40 as they are difficult to see against the Canard yarn on the chart.

SQUARE 11, OPTION TWO, PLUSH: although this may look a little complicated and it does involve some fairisle, it is a much easier option to knit than Option One. It requires very basic fairisle skills with alternate stitches knitted in a different colour. It uses the same technique as in the King’s Palace squares 3, 5, 15, 29 and 45, so if you’ve knitted these squares without any problems you will be absolutely fine with this one.

If you are feeling up to it you can reduce the amount of loose ends by using the weaving-in technique to carry yarns across the back of the work on some of the rows. For example, on Chart row 4 you could carry Wine yarn across the back of the whole row and then it will be ready at the beginning of a right-side row to use on Chart row 9. This same method could also be used on Chart rows 12, 20, 28, 36 and 44.

SQUARE 18, OPTION ONE, SOUK: so, this is your super busy square for the month which is going to keep you on your toes! It begins with an 8-stitch cable (which is difficult to see in the image), which twists twice to the right (c8b) before the next section. At this point there is a change to a smaller needle so make sure that you do this to ensure a neat few rows of garter stitch. This is the section that the shisha mirrors are attached to later on, and there is some chain stitch embroidery as well around the two Gold beads.

The upper section uses the intarsia technique. Because of the simplicity of the triangular motif it is a fairly easy pattern to knit, so if you have not tried intarsia before this might be the perfect opportunity. There is a video for the intarsia technique in this blog, and there also some useful notes about it in the Knitting techniques section towards the end of the June mail out on page 24. So there is plenty of help on hand if you want to give it a go.

Above: how the back of the intarsia section looks.

The shisha mirrors are attached to the knitting when the square is completed. There is a video demo for this at the beginning of the blog which shows you exactly how this is done. To attach the mirror you need to use chain stitch and blanket stitch embroidery. It is not hard to do, just a little fiddly, but hopefully you will have as much fun doing it as I did!

I would not worry too much if your three shisha mirrors don’t look identical when they are sewn on – and mine certainly don’t! Remember that these are hand embroidered so it is almost impossible to get them looking all the same. We are not machines, and those slight little discrepancies are what makes our hand knitting so beautiful!

SQUARE 18, OPTION TWO, SOUK: this is the same as Option One up to Row 32 at which point the intarsia is replaced with a beaded lace panel. You may recognise this from previous squares you have already knitted – the King’s Palace squares 2, 4, 8, 36 and 44. It’s the same lace pattern but Tangerine beads have been added to wrong-side rows at regular intervals. Just watch out for the reverse stitch above each bead on the following row – this is a purl stitch on a right side row.

You can work rows 33-65 from either the worded instructions or the chart, they are exactly the same as each other.

SQUARE 31, BEDECKED 2: this is very similar to Square 17 from Mail Out 3, but Turquoise and Garnet have swapped places, and that’s the only difference. It’s busy, colourful and technique intensive, but hopefully a joy to knit!

SQUARE 44, THE KING’S PALACE (part 9): this is the 9th part of the series of squares which create the decorative perimeter of the blanket. It is almost the same as the others you have already knitted but there is a slight difference in the beading sequence. I have been asked why these squares are not identical and I have answered this in my video intro. So if you want to find out go and watch it if you have not already done so, then you will know!

I have also been asked whether these will be finished edges or whether there will be a picked-up border. And the answer to that is yes – there will be a border to the blanket but you won’t get those instructions until the final mail out, so you will have to wait a bit longer for that part of the mystery to be unveiled!

SQUARE 45, THE KING’S PALACE (part 10): this is the 10th part of the series of squares which create the decorative perimeter of the blanket and this one is exactly the same as squares 3 and 5 that you have knitted before, so enough said!

A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION IS WHY DO I INSTRUCT TO CAST OFF THE SQUARES AND PICK UP THE STITCHES FOR THE NEXT SQUARE – rather then putting them on a holder and knitting on. It’s a good question and one which I have a very good reason for! The weight of a completed blanket can be heavy. So the seams which are created between each square (whether they are sewn together or picked up) create strengthening points throughout the blanket. This is important to maintain the shape of the blanket and prevents it from stretching. It also helps to define the shape of each individual square, resulting in a crisper, cleaner finish to the completed piece of work. However, this is a merely a suggestion as to how I think you should knit the blanket, and if you prefer to ‘knit on’ rather than cast off, then it’s entirely up to you.

A FEW OF THE MEMBERS HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH TO LET ME KNOW HOW THEY ARE GETTING ON WITH THEIR KNITTING PROJECTS, BEGINNING WITH LORA FELLENZ FROM COLDSTREAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA.  Lora has come up with a unique way of joining together her squares. By the looks of it there was plenty of planning to do, but the result is stunning!

Lora says: ” This is what I have done, which is more work than stitching together, but it did turn out well! I love this design. I grew up in India and the Middle East so it’s no surprise!”

Thanks for sharing this with us Lora. It is truly inspirational and I am sure that the completed blanket will look gorgeous. Great ingenuity!

CHRISTINA LAMB FROM PETERBOROUGH, UK, WAS DELIGHTED TO HAVE COMPLETED HER 'HYACINTH' CUSHION COVER RECENTLY and enjoyed it so much that she is considering knitting a second one but in reverse colours. What a great idea Christina, it will make a fabulous pair of cushions!

XIMENA VERDUGO MOZO FROM VINA DEL MAR, CHILE wrote in previously to show us her beautifully knitted squares and she’s been in touch again with news of her most recent progress. Ximena is new to the Mystery Blanket Club but she is managing the monthly squares wonderfully well and is very enthusiastic about the project.

Ximena says: ”I have been enjoying knitting my squares which are easier to do when you have already knitted, practiced and understood all the instructions for each one.  Considering I don´t have enough Gold beads for all of the May squares, I left only square 5 for next month as I had beads for the rest! So, I am expecting to receive my next mail out soon!!!

Here is a photo of my knitting so that you can check I´ve been really inspired and happy with my Mystery Blanket challenge, which I find really beautiful even though it is still not finished...”

I am so pleased to hear how much you are enjoying your first Mystery Blanket experience and to see how well you are getting on with it. You are a true inspiration to other first timers Ximena, and I hope that you continue with the same passion and enthusiasm to the end of the project!

AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE FIFTH 2021 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 FIVE (JUNE): this month’s winner is member 415, Nancy Ferrier from Roswell, Georgia, USA. Well done Nancy! Please choose a prize from the following selection:

  • A signed Debbie Abrahams book: 25 Beaded Knits/Kaleidoscope
  • A Debbie Abrahams dvd: More Blankets/A Professional Finish
  • A £15 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club: 2022 Mystery Cushion Club; 2022 Mystery Blanket Club
  • Four balls of Debbie’s Rowan Merino Light DK (any colours).

Having reached month five of the Mystery Blanket Club we are now halfway through the project. And as the blanket starts to take shape you can most probably work out what some of the remaining squares are going to be. However, there’s still lots of new and exciting things to come so there’s plenty in store to keep you motivated right through to the final instalment in November.

Before I sign off I would just like to say how much I appreciate all the messages of support that I have recently received from the members about the Gold bead issue - I have been truly touched by your kind words and understanding. Unfortunately things don't always run to plan, but please be assured that we are doing our very best to look after you all.

Please take care and keep safe, well and happy until I see you back here next month, Debbie x


1 comment

  • Just absolutely loving this project. Every new square is my favourite and I am learning so much from Debbie’s excellent instructional videos. Just a huge big thank you 🤗

    Steph

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