HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE SEVENTH INSTALMENT OF THE 2021 MYSTERY BLANKET! This month we take another step closer to the end of this this year’s blanket, with five more squares to knit up which completes a total of three strips.
We have reached a point where most of the squares are repeats of previous ones you have already knitted. However, there are still a few surprises to come - the centre square remains a mystery until the very last instalment, and there’s the edging too. Have you got any ideas what they might be?!?
At the end of this month we open applications for the 2022 Mystery Blanket Club, and in this blog I give you a glimpse of what I have got in store for you next year. There are also some lovely new knitting kits from BeadyKnits, the opportunity to join me in Hell Bay this October (one suite available), and three stories from the members.
There are no technical videos this month – you can use any of the previous ones to assist you if you need help with your squares. So, I begin with my video intro…
THE PRINTED PATTERNS HAVE BEEN POSTED – with the overseas patterns posted on xxth July and the UK posted on the 27th July. Every member has been sent the patterns by email but remember you can also download them from your Debbie Abrahams account.
THERE’S NOT LONG TO GO UNTIL THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET OPENS ITS DOORS TO MEMBERS FOR MY BRAND NEW CLUB! You can get in early and purchase your membership from Saturday 28th August in our online shop. We will send you an emailed newsletter to let you know as soon as they are available so that you don’t miss out. We are expecting a high demand for next year’s club, and as with all my Mystery clubs the memberships are limited, so it’s best to sign up early if you can.
Above: Mystery Blanket 2018, Casa Battlo.
We are delighted to announce that we have a super Early Bird special offer for everyone who signs up before the 30th September (23:59pm). When you purchase your membership you will be given the choice of one of three great gifts which will be included in your first Mystery Blanket parcel in February.
All Early Bird members will also receive a 10% discount voucher which can be used once in our online shop for a limited period. It can be used for any purchases except Mystery Clubs. We will include a code for the discount voucher in your membership confirmation email.
When you make your selection there will be details and an image of each of the gifts on the Mystery Blanket product page. But you will have to wait until then to see them – you know me, I like a ‘mystery’!
Above: Mystery Blanket 2020, Our Precious Earth.
If you would prefer to pay for your membership in monthly instalments, then we have a new payment system for this set up in our online shop called Splitit. You will be able to choose to spread your payments over 2-4 months with no interest or administration fees. And the even better news is if you sign up before the 30th September, you too will be eligible for the Early Bird special offer.
So, what I have got in store for you next year? It is of course, a ‘mystery’ project, so I can only tell you a little bit about the blanket design. But hopefully enough to tempt you, we will see…
After a year of bright vibrant colours in the 2021 design, I have opted next year for a softer palette of colours which I would describe as ‘Vintage Modern’ – perhaps a bit of a contradiction in terms, but it has a nostalgic feel with modern hi-lights. Colours range from silver and vintage rose to fern green, salmon and ochre, enhanced with a glimmer of silver and pale gold. There are beads aplenty and silver rhinestones too, creating a beautiful palette that sparkles and glitters. And with four bespoke colours in Baby Cashsoft dyed up specifically for the blanket, it will be a totally unique palette of colours for my Mystery Blanket members to enjoy.
I have chosen to use the luxuriously soft and totally gorgeous Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino yarn for the main yarn and mixed it with a couple of colours of Rowan Kidsilk Haze. The high, quality blend of fibres in both of these yarns is important for the theme of the project. It’s luxurious, chic and sophisticated.
Techniques will include fairisle and intarsia as well as textured stitches, cables and stripes. Two options will be offered on some of the trickier squares which will enable knitters of all skill levels to take part.
Knitters from all over the world are invited to join me, so you will find membership packages for UK, Europe and World Zones 1, 2 and 3, with Printed Patterns being an optional extra. Please note that due to the continued uncertainty of Covid-19 and possible disruptions to postal services, Tracked and/or Signed delivery is mandatory on all World and European memberships (it is optional for UK members).
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
So, will I see you again next year?!? You’ve got until 31st December (or sooner if it sells out) to make up your mind. Or you can get in early and grab yourself one of our Early Bird free gifts if you sign up before the end of September!
BEADYKNITS HAVE LAUNCHED A COUPLE OF NEW KNITTING KITS, which are perfect projects for your summer vacation.
The ‘Artemis’ cushion cover kit makes a lovely companion to the other two designs in this Greek-inspired collection, ‘Athena’ and ‘Zinnia’. Inspiration comes from warm sandy beaches full of sparkling jewels, ocean waves and ancient Greek battlements.
The ‘Summertide’ sewing bag is the perfect way to keep all those odds and ends together in one place. The easy-to-knit pattern makes it a great first-time project for anyone who wants to try knitting with beads. And for the more experienced knitter it would be a great little project to take away on holiday and sit back, relax and enjoy!
These kits are a great way to learn new techniques or brush up on existing skills!
For more information about these kits and others in the BeadyKnits collection, please contact Jenny at email@example.com.
Above: Zinnia and Athena.
Or you can visit her shop on Etsy: BeadyKnitsbyJenny.
Please note that these kits are not available to buy from the Debbie Abrahams Ltd website. They must be purchased directly from Jenny at BeadyKnits: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU FANCY GETTING AWAY THIS YEAR THEN WE HAVE ONE SUITE AVAILABLE ON OUR LUXURIOUS KNITTING HOLIDAY TO HELL BAY THIS OCTOBER. Our trip to the beautiful island of Bryher in the Scilly Isles runs from Tuesday 19th October – Monday 25th October 2021. Due to the unforeseen circumstances with international travel due to Covid we are offering this suite to UK residents only.
Hell Bay Hotel is situated in a secluded cove on the island of Bryher, which is the smallest of the inhabited islands of Scilly. Set in private grounds the hotel has twenty-five suites, all of which we have booked for our stay.
As well as an award-winning restaurant (three AA Rosettes), there is also a spa treatment room, yoga sessions, a private outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna for guests to use.
During the daytime the hotel’s restaurants and bar are open to the general public. However, after 6pm the entire hotel will be for the exclusive use of our knitting group, with several public areas including a large bar, sitting room and outside terrace available to knit and relax in.
You will be given a knitting kit to work on during your holiday, and to support this Debbie will be running workshops at the local community centre. However, there will be plenty of time too to explore the island so that you get the best our of your stay in the Scillies.
During the week we will be visited by local textile artist Emma Humphries who designs and makes the most beautiful buttons. She is going to not only give us a demonstration of how she makes them, but she will also make bespoke buttons for the guests, so that you can have your very own unique set.
The suite that is available is priced at £1050 per person. It is a two-bedroom ground floor Garden suite called ‘Lily’. It is available for single occupancy, or if you would like to come with a friend or partner, we can offer it for £1000 per person.
Please note that this price does not include travel. You will need to organise your own travel with Skybus or Isles of Scilly Travel. Departures are from either Exeter, Newquay or Land’s End, with the option of a ferry, boat or helicopter. For boat transfers from St Mary’s to Bryher we advise that you contact the Hell Bay Hotel.
For more details please contact Sue at email@example.com and she will be able to discuss the booking with you.
WITH JUST FOUR MORE CHANCES TO GUESS THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET, will my extra letter this month be enough for you to work out what it is? Many of you have already guessed it, but there are some knitters still having a go. Congrats go out to these two members who have recently got it right: Jill Bignell and Virginia Newton. Well done ladies! However, if you are still not sure what it is, here is the seventh letter and it’s an “S”:
_ _ E / _ H _ U S A _ D / A _ D / _ _ E / _ I _ H _ S
Please send your guesses to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 19, Bedecked 2 – striped pattern with decorative braids, textured stitches and slip-stitch beads (same for both options):
Square 20, The King’s Robes – Slip-stitch and hooked-in beaded pattern with chain stitch details (same for both options):
Square 21, The King’s Palace (part 14) – striped pattern with a decorative slip-stitch beaded border and Swiss darned details (same for both options):
Square 22, The King’s Palace (part 15) – striped pattern with a decorative beaded border and lace panel (same for both options):
Square 23, Option One, Plush 2 – fairisle pattern:
Square 23, Option Two, Plush 2 – striped pattern with basic fairisle:
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 19, BEDECKED 2: this is an exact repeat of Square 31, but this time you are picking up stitches along the side edge of Square 18. If you need any guidance for this then take a look at the tech video for picking up stitches to knit Square 7 in the July blog. It shows you where you need to put your needle, between the edge stitch and the second stitch in from the edge.
You are picking up 45 stitches (for Square 19) along 65 rows (of Square 18, Option One), or 66 rows (Square 18, Option Two), so this is my suggested sequence for picking them up:
If you knitted Option One for Square 18: pick up 2 stitches, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 3 stitches, miss 1 stitch, pick up 2 stitches] 4 times, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 1 stitch] 3 times, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 2 stitches, miss 1 stitch, pick up 3 stitches] 3 times, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 2 stitches] twice, miss 1 stitch, pick up 1 stitch.
If you knitted Option Two for Square 18: pick up 1 stitch, miss 1 stitch, pick up 1 stitch, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 3 stitches, miss 1 stitch, pick up 2 stitches] 4 times, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 1 stitch] 3 times, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 2 stitches, miss 1 stitch, pick up 3 stitches] 3 times, [miss 1 stitch, pick up 2 stitches] twice, miss 1 stitch, pick up 1 stitch.
Or you can knit it separately and sew it onto Square 18 instead, it’s up to you, whatever is easiest.
SQUARE 20, THE KING’S ROBES: you knitted this square in Mail Out 4, a few months ago. But since then you’ve knitted it in a second colourway, so you’ve had a fair bit of practice. This version is no different to Square 30, it uses the same colours of yarn and beads.
SQUARE 21, THE KING’S PALACE (part 14): this is the same as Squares 15 and 29 but remember that this time you don’t cast off the stitches. Instead you are instructed to leave them on the needle and join them together by casting them off with the ‘live’ stitches from the square below (Square 20). You can watch my demo of a three-needle cast-off in the July blog if you need a reminder of this technique.
SQUARE 22, THE KING’S PALACE (part 15): you have knitted several versions of this square, but not this exact one. It’s the beaded border which is slightly different which means that the bead threading sequence is not the same as Squares 8 and 36. So just make sure that you follow these instructions really carefully.
SQUARE 23, OPTION ONE, PLUSH 2: you knitted Plush in Mail Out 5, but in this version the Canard and Wine yarns swap with each other. Everything else is the same.
SQUARE 23, OPTION TWO, PLUSH 2: the basic pattern is the same as Square 11, Option Two from Mail Out 5, but Garnet is swapped for Turquoise.
There is some basic fairisle in this square, but it’s easy as you are simply swapping from one colour to the next on alternate stitches. This may affect your tension so if you find that your knitting is looser or tighter than your other squares it would be wise to change your needle size accordingly. You will be able to gauge this when you are halfway up the square as at this point it should measure half the length of the other squares in the blanket.
AFTER COMPLETING THIS MONTHS SQUARES YOU COULD SEW TOGETHER STRIPS 2 AND 3. If you have knitted your squares separately then you will need to join these together first to create strips 2 and 3 (Squares 8-14 and Squares 15-21). Once you have your two strips you can make a start. This is a guide to how to ease the squares together using Mattress stitch:
It is important to note that these are my suggestions as to how to sew together the squares, but please feel free to use your own method and sequence if you prefer.
Before sewing two squares together, mark the centre point (by counting rows) along the two edges to be joined. When you reach this point, you can check that the seam is even on both sides and if needed make any necessary adjustments.
These instructions are based on taking the needle under 2 ‘bars’ at a time if sewing rows (ie, a side edge), and under 1 stitch at a time if sewing stitches (ie, a cast-off edge).
Sew Square 8 (62 rows) to Square 15 (60 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 8 into Square 15.
Sew together rows 1-28 of Square 8 to rows 1-28 of Square 15. Then along the edge of Square 15 place markers on rows 11 and 22. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 15. You are doing this twice so it will ease in 2 rows.
Sew Square 9, Option One (49 rows) to Square 16 (56 rows): you need to ease 7 rows of Square 16 into Square 9.
Along the edge of Square 9 place markers on rows 7, 13, 19, 25, 31, 37 and 43. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 9. You are doing this 7 times so it will ease in 7 rows.
Sew Square 9, Option Two (64 rows) to Square 16 (56 rows): you need to ease 8 rows of Square 9 into Square 16.
Along the edge of Square 16 place markers on rows 7, 13, 19, 25, 32, 38, 44 and 50. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 16. You are doing this 8 times so it will ease in 8 rows.
Sew Square 10 (62 rows) to Square 17 (63 rows): you need to ease 1 row of Square 17 into Square 10.
Along the edge of Square 17 place a marker on row 32. When you reach this marker take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 10. You are doing this once so it will ease in 1 row.
Sew Square 11, Option One (49 rows) to Square 18 (42 stitches): you need to ease 7 rows of Square 11 into Square 18.
Along the edge of Square 11 place markers on rows 7, 13, 19, 25, 31, 37 and 43. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under ½ stitch on Square 18. You are doing this 7 times so it will ease in 7 rows.
Sew Square 11, Option Two (53 rows) to Square 18 (42 stitches): you need to ease 11 rows of Square 11 into Square 18. (There are 42 stitches and not 44 stitches
Use this sequence: [sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] twice, [(sew 2 stitches to 2 rows) twice, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] 3 times, sew 2 stitches to 2 rows, sew 1 stitch to 1 row, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows, [(sew 2 stitches to 2 rows) twice, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] 4 times, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows. This will ease in 11 rows.
Sew Square 12 (62 rows) to Square 19 (63 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 10 to Square 17.
Sew Square 13, Option One (49 rows) to Square 20 (56 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 9 to Square 16.
Sew Square 13, Option Two (64 rows) to Square 20 (56 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 9 to Square 16.
Sew Square 14 (62 rows) to Square 21 (60 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 8 to Square 15.
KATHY SASSOON FROM COWARAMUP IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA HAS HADA LOT OF FUN JOINING HER BLANKET SQUARES TOGETHER. She was inspired by another knitter to use a very interesting technique which creates extra colour and texture between the squares.
Kathy says: “I am so loving knitting up my blanket and after a lifetime of knitting there is still so much to learn.
I have been knitting my blanket squares together inspired by Lora and her creativity. After trying different techniques for picking up the stitches as I go along I’ve now just seen your tutorial in the blog for our sixth instalment and I’m using that from now on!
This was the Styrofoam packaging from the corners of our new bed. Exactly right for measuring out 18cm x 18 cm. Perfect for blocking out my squares! The delivery people thought I was mad not letting them chuck it all out… they would have thought me even madder had I told them what I wanted it for!
I’m still a couple of months behind everyone as February is midsummer here and our flower farm is in full season then, but I’m valiantly trying to catch up with you all now.
I absolutely love colour! That’s what attracted me to this blanket design. I have enjoyed reading the snippets of the other knitters. I was brought up in Kent and had no idea of course that I would end up growing tropical waterlilies on the other side of the world.
I had a stall at Chatsworth, (or it might have been at Tatton!) craft fair with my knitted jumpers the same year that Rowan had a stall in the mid 1980’s and I have followed their progress over the years.”
I was intrigued by Kathy’s mention of her flower farm, so I asked her more about it and this is what she said:
“We grow Waterlily and Lotus flowers for the cut flower market but our season has just finished as it is winter here now. If you’d like a peek this is our website: www.leucacreek.com.au.
Or Instagram is leucacreekwaterlilies.”
What a fabulous story and such beautiful flowers that you grow on your farm. It must be amazing surrounded by all that colour. Great inspiration for a Mystery Blanket! Thanks for sharing this with us Kathy.
ALISON ALLEN FROM SHIPSTON-ON-STOUR, UK HAS FOUND THE PERFECT DISH TO KEEP HER BEADS IN ORDER, AND IN ONE PLACE!
Alison says: “I’ve been sorting out the flat with my sister as my stepfather is now in a care home. I have always liked what I call the green egg Passover dish, so I have decided to utilise it thus! It’s absolutely perfect and I don’t have to keep putting the beads away in the bags, clever me!”
It’s amazing what you can find when you start hunting around the house, and it looks as though you have found a very useful accessory for your bead knitting Alison! May your beads stay in one place now and be happy where they are in their new home!
JANE BOYD FROM LEIGH IN WORCESTER, UK HAS BEEN KEEPING UP WITH HER BLANKET SQUARES WHILE KNITTING OTHER PROJECTS TOO. And recently she completed this gorgeous little knitted dress which has some beautiful details on it.
Jane says: “I’m working through the Mystery Blanket - a very different design to previous MBs, you are so clever! Once I’ve completed the squares for the month, I look for small projects to get me through to the next month’s squares. This is a baby outfit knitted after completing the June squares. Mystery Blanket always takes precedence!
I can’t really believe I’m already planning some Christmas pressie knits! Last year I bought the Festive Bunting kit and knitted it up six times using yarn in my stash. They were very well received by my female family members.
What would we do without knitting!”
Those small knitting projects are perfect to fill in the time between blanket squares. What a great use of your time Jane! And now you mention festive projects….we’ll be launching some new kits in our store soon for the festive season, so you might be able to impress more of your family members this year!
AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE SEVENTH 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 SEVEN (AUGUST): this month’s winner is member 197, Jo Davies from Barnstaple, Exeter, UK. Well done Jo! Please choose a prize from the following selection:
- A signed Debbie Abrahams book: 25 Beaded Knits/Kaleidoscope/Blankets & Throws To Knit/More Blankets & Throws To Knit
- 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: 2022 Mystery Cushion Club; 2022 Mystery Blanket Club
- Four balls of Debbie’s Rowan Merino Light DK (any colours).
Wherever you are this summer I hope that you enjoy your time, be it at home or away. I am looking forward to spending a few days with knitters on the Isle of Wight this month for my first knitting event in over eighteen months, so it will be lovely to be amongst like-minded people again. And hopefully this is the start of a gradual return to doing all the things that we love and make us happy. I hope that you enjoy knitting up your squares this month and I look forward to seeing you back here at the beginning of September – wow, that’s the beginning of Autumn, how time has flown! Until then, please keep safe and well, and keep busy, Debbie x