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Mystery Blanket Club 2021: post 9, October

WELCOME TO THE NINTH AND PENULTIMATE INSTALMENT OF THE 2021 MYSTERY BLANKET! So here we are, with just two instalments to go before the big reveal of the blanket next month! I always find myself saying at this time of the year, ‘hasn’t time flown!’ And with the leaves beginning to turn and the weather cooling right down, Autumn is here for sure! It’s my favourite time of year as those darker evenings are perfect for knitting. So, I hope that this month you are looking forward to settling down, relaxing, and enjoying what I have in store for you…

In this month’s blog there is news of my forthcoming knitting holiday to The Watermill in Posara, Italy (which has just one last space left!), there’s a brand new sparkly knitting kit from BeadyKnits, some lovely stories from the members, and all the usual help and advice for your squares, including one final clue for the title of the blanket. Have you guessed what it is yet?

There are no technical videos this month, but you can use any of the previous ones to assist you with your squares. So, I begin with a big cheery ‘hello’ from me…

INDEX OF VLOGS BY SUBJECT AND MONTH, to enable you to locate them more easily as and when you need them:

How to knit a braid FEBRUARY

How to knit in a braid FEBRUARY

How to place a bead (pb) FEBRUARY

How to hook in a bead (hb) FEBRUARY

How to knit basic fairisle FEBRUARY

How to Swiss darn FEBRUARY

How to cast on using Thumb method MARCH

How to sew in loose ends MARCH

How to block and press a square MARCH

How to pick up stitches to knit on a square MARCH

How to knit fairisle MARCH

How to do chain stitch embroidery MARCH

How to sew Square 1 to Square 2 MARCH

How to sew Square 2 to Square 3 MARCH

How to c4b on a WS row APRIL

How to c4f on a WS row APRIL

How to c4b on a RS row APRIL

How to c4f on a RS row APRIL

How to weave in (fairisle) APRIL

How to carry yarns up the side of the work APRIL

How to knit intarsia JUNE

How to attach a Shisha mirror JUNE

How to pick up stitches from a selvedge edge JULY

How to join stitches using a 3-needle bind-off JULY

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 21st September followed by the UK on the 29th September, so if you have not already received them they should be with you very soon.

MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE IN OUR ONLINE SHOP! Our Early Bird special offer of a free gift has now expired. However, everyone who signs up will 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 products. We will email you a discount voucher for this with your membership confirmation email.

If you like elegance, sophistication and sparkle, then the 2022 could be the project for you. With a soft, nostalgic colour palette of silver, antique gold, vintage rose, fern green and salmon, combined with sparkling beads and rhinestones, it’s going to be a very different knitting adventure to this year’s Mystery Blanket. And if dreamy, soft cashmere is your thing, then you can indulge yourself for ten months in Rowan's beautiful Baby Cashsoft Merino yarn which includes four bespoke shades dyed up by Rowan especially for this project.

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.

Above: Mystery Blanket 2020, 'Our Precious Earth'.

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).

Just a reminder that if you would prefer to pay for your membership in monthly instalments, then we have a payment system for this set up in our online shop called Splitit. This means that you can choose to spread your payments over 2-4 months with no interest or administration fees. The option to use Splitit is offered at the final stages of the checkout process, where you can select it as a method of payment and choose the number of months over which you wish to pay.

Above: Mystery Blanket 2019, 'Winter Wonderland'.

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

BEADYKNITS HAVE JUST LAUNCHED A GORGEOUS NEW SPARKLY KIT TO ADD A TOUCH OF GLAMOUR TO YOUR KNITTING THIS AUTUMN. The Silver Shimmer Cosmetic Bag is embellished with sequins and beads and is the perfect size to store away all your personal odds and ends. This small achievable project is a fabulous way to learn how to knit with beads and sequins. And with the festive season fast approaching, it would make a super gift for a knitting friend or relative, or a well deserved treat for yourself!

Each kit includes:

  • Rico Cotton Essentials yarn
  • Debbie Abrahams Beads (size 6)
  • Sequins (size 8)
  • 8in zip
  • Lining fabric (may differ from image due to supplier)
  • Full colour printed pattern instructions
  • A sweet treat (UK only)

The cost of the kit is £18.00 plus shipping. Each kit includes enough materials to make one purse.

For more information about these kits and others in the BeadyKnits collection, contact Jenny at jenny@beadyknits.com.

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: jenny@beadyknits.com. Our discount vouchers cannot be used against a purchase from BeadyKnits.

THERE ARE A FEW UPDATES TO OUR FORTHCOMING KIT LAUNCHES:  

  • Saturday 2nd October: Twinkle Twinkle Festive Stocking kit – a fairisle and beaded design using the ultra-soft and luxurious Rowan Alpaca Soft DK in shades of Teal and White. This was the kit that was included in the 2020 Festive Mystery Knit Box. Kit includes yarn, beads and printed pattern instructions: £30 plus shipping.
 
    • Friday 29th October: Festive Favour Bags and Mini Festive Stockings re-coloured in silver grey and snowflake white using Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino yarn. Favour Bags kit includes yarn and printed pattern instructions; Mini Stockings kit includes yarn, beads and printed pattern instructions: £21/£25 plus shipping. 

      • Friday 29th October: Festive Mystery Knit Boxes – the perfect idea for a gift or a treat for yourself. Debbie’s Mystery Box includes over 8 mystery gifts including a new festive knitting kit: £59.50 plus shipping. 

        • Friday 5th November: Lavish Cushion Cover kit –a fairisle and beaded design knitted in the round using Rowan Kid Classic, Felted Tweed and Debbie’s Merino Light DK, inspired by the 2021 Mystery Blanket. Kit includes yarn, beads, buttons and printed pattern instructions: price TBC.

          I AM ABSOLUTELY THRILLED TO BE RETURNING TO THE WATERMILL IN POSARA, TUSCANY, ITALY IN 2022 TO TUTOR A KNITTING HOLIDAY. And although my course is almost sold out, if you are quick then there is just one space up for grabs.

           

          The Watermill is a fabulous place to retreat to for a relaxing week of knitting in the heart of Tuscany. With its secluded garden, shady terraces and quiet riverside walks, you can enjoy a week of learning new knitting techniques in peaceful surroundings.

          The week will include dedicated knitting workshops to help you make the project which I have designed specifically for the holiday. Plus, there is plenty of time set aside for retail therapy and sightseeing with organised excursions scheduled between workshop days. Everything is included in the price you pay, except your travel. All you need to do is get yourself to Pisa and Lois and Bill will take care of everything else.

          So, if you need a break and are up for a fabulous knitting holiday next year, why not come and join me at The Watermill from 14th – 21st May! You can find out more about this fabulous holiday and the beautiful Watermill by following this link: https://watermill.net/knitting-holidays/knitting-holidays-programme-2022.php

          HERE WE GO THEN, WITH ONE MORE CLUE TO THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET BEFORE THE REVEAL NEXT MONTH. We’ve had no more correct guesses sent in, so for those of you who are still not sure what it is, I am giving you one last letter which is “T”:

          _  _  E  / T  H  _  U  S  A  _  D  / A  _  D  / _  _  E  / _  I  G  H  T   S

          If you want to have one last go at guessing the title then please send your guesses to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com. And if you do guess it right, with your permission we will include your name in the final blog next month.

          THERE ARE SIX SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

          Square 32, Option One, Souk – intarsia pattern with cables, hooked-in and slip-stitch beads, shisha mirrors and chain stitch details:

          Square 32, Option Two, Souk – cables, hooked-in and slip-stitch beads, a lace panel, shisha mirrors and chain stitch details:

          Square 33, Bedecked – striped pattern with decorative braids, textured stitches and slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

          Square 34, The King’s Robes – hooked-in beaded pattern with chain stitch details (same for both options):

          Square 35, The King’s Palace (part 18) – striped pattern with a decorative slip-stitch beaded border and Swiss darned details (same for both options):

          Square 41, Option One, Magic Carpet – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads:

          Square 41, Option Two, Magic Carpet – striped pattern with moss stitch:

          Square 42, The King’s Palace (part 19) – striped pattern with a decorative beaded border and lace panel (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.

          This month’s squares are all repeats of squares you have knitted previously:

          SQUARE 32, OPTION ONE, SOUK: we begin with a return to Square 18 from Mail Out 5 - this square is identical to it. Just remember that it is sewn into the blanket on its side, so it has to be cast on and knitted separately to the square below it.

          I would advise that you knit the same option that you chose for Square 18. If you take a look at the Piecing Diagram on page 4, it will become clear why!

          SQUARE 32, OPTION TWO, SOUK: likewise, this second and easier option is also a revisit to Square 18 from Mail Out 5.

          As with Option One and mentioned above, if you knitted Option Two for Square 18, then choose this same option for Square 32.

          SQUARE 33, BEDECKED: you knitted this same square way back in Mail Out 3 in this same colourway. It’s the one with Turquoise and Coral beaded stripes (rather than Garnet and Coral).

          Could these be the last braids that you knit for this blanket?!?...

          SQUARE 34, THE KING’S ROBES: this is exactly the same as Square 16 from Mail Out 2, same colours, same embroidery, same beads and pattern. 

          SQUARE 35, THE KING’S PALACE (part 18): this is the last King’s Palace to knit in this colourway, which is the same as Squares 15, 21 and 29.

          This square is joined to the square below it by a three-needle bind-off, so take extra care to follow the instructions for this on page 19 of your mail out. And if you need a reminder of the technique then scroll back to the July blog for some video assistance.

          SQUARE 41, OPTION ONE, MAGIC CARPET: this square sees a return to Square 9 from Mail Out 2. It was the first square that you were given an option for. So when choosing which one to go for this time, I would advise that you choose Option One if you knitted Option One for Square 9.

          SQUARE 41, OPTION TWO, MAGIC CARPET: likewise, this second and easier option is also a revisit to Square 9 from Mail Out 2.

          As with Option One and mentioned above, if you knitted Option Two for Square 9, then choose this same option for Square 41.

          SQUARE 42, THE KING’S PALACE (part 19): nearly there – this is part 19 out of 20 of the squares which create the beaded decorative border around the perimeter of the blanket. As you can probably guess, there is just one more of these perimeter squares to go, and that’s coming in your final instalment next month.

          WHEN YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR OCTOBER SQUARES YOU WILL HAVE SIX OUT OF SEVEN STRIPS COMPLETED. So, you know what this means! – you could get ahead with some more sewing up.

          If you have knitted your squares separately then you will need to join these together first to create strips 5 and 6 (Squares 29-35 and Squares 36-42).

          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).

          Sewing strip 5 to strip 6:

          Sew Square 29 (60 rows) to Square 36 (62 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 36 into Square 29.

          Sew together rows 1-28 of Square 29 to rows 1-28 of Square 36. Then along the edge of Square 29 place markers on rows 11 and 22. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 29. You are doing this twice so it will ease in 2 rows.

          Sew Square 30 (56 rows) to Square 37, Option One (49 rows): you need to ease 7 rows of Square 30 into Square 37.

          Along the edge of Square 37 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 37. You are doing this 7 times so it will ease in 7 rows.

          Sew Square 30 (56 rows) to Square 37 (64 rows): you need to ease 8 rows of Square 37 into Square 30.

          Along the edge of Square 30 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 30. You are doing this 8 times so it will ease in 8 rows.

          Sew Square 31 (63 rows) to Square 38 (62 rows): you need to ease 1 row of Square 31 into Square 38.

          Along the edge of Square 31 place a marker on row 32. When you reach this marker take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 38. You are doing this once so it will ease in 1 row.

          Sew Square 32, Option One (42 stitches) to Square 39, Option One (49 rows): you need to ease 7 rows of Square 39 into Square 32.

          Take your sewing needle under 1 stitch on Square 32 and 1 row on Square 39 and ease where instructed.

          Along the edge of Square 39 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 32. You are doing this 7 times so it will ease in 7 rows.

          Sew Square 32, Option Two (42 stitches) to Square 39, Option Two (53 rows): you need to ease 11 rows of Square 39 into Square 32.

          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 33 (63 rows) to Square 40 (62 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 31 to Square 38.

          Sew Square 34 (56 rows) to Square 41, Option One (49 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 30 to Square 37.

          Sew Square 34 (56 rows) to Square 41, Option Two (64 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 30 to Square 37.

          Sew Square 35 (60 rows) to Square 42 (62 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 29 to Square 36.

          Sewing strip 6 to strip 7:

          Sew Square 36 (62 rows) to Square 43 (66 rows): you need to ease 4 rows of Square 43 into Square 36.

          Along the edge of Square 36 place markers on rows 13, 25, 37 and 49. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 36. You are doing this 4 times so it will ease in 4 rows.

          Sew Square 37, Option One (49 rows) to Square 44 (43 stitches): you need to ease 6 rows of Square 37 into Square 44.

          Take your sewing needle under 1 row on Square 37 and 1 stitch on Square 44 and ease where instructed.

          Along the edge of Square 37 place markers on rows 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under ½ stitch on Square 44. You are doing this 6 times so it will ease in 6 rows.

          Sew Square 37, Option Two (64 rows) to Square 44 (43 stitches): you need to ease 21 rows of Square 37 into Square 44.

          Use this sequence: [sew 2 rows to 1 stitch, sew 1 row to 1 stitch] 10 times, [sew 2 rows to 1 ½ stitches] twice, [sew 1 row to 1 stitch, sew 2 rows to 1 stitch] 10 times. This will ease in 21 rows.

          Sew Square 38 (62 rows) to Square 45 (43 stitches): you need to ease 19 rows of Square 38 into Square 45.

          Use this sequence: [sew 1 row to 1 stitch, sew 2 rows to 1 stitch] 10 times, [sew  1 row to 1 ½ stitches] twice, [sew 2 rows to 1 stitch, sew 1 row to 1 stitch] 10 times. This will ease in 19 rows.

          Sew Square 39, Option One (49 rows) to Square 46 (43 stitches): you need to ease 6 rows of Square 39 into Square 46.

          Take your sewing needle under 1 row on Square 39 and 1 stitch on Square 46 and ease where instructed.

          Along the edge of Square 39 place markers on rows 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under ½ stitch on Square 46. You are doing this 6 times so it will ease in 6 rows.

          Sew Square 39, Option Two (53 rows) to Square 46 (43 stitches): you need to ease 10 rows of Square 39 into Square 46.

          Use this sequence: [sew 2 rows to 1 stitch] twice, [(sew 2 rows to 2 stitches) twice, sew 2 rows to 1 stitch] 8 times, [sew 1 row to 1 stitch]. This will ease in 10 rows.

          Sew Square 40 (62 rows) to Square 47 (43 stitches): follow the instructions for joining Square 45 to Square 38.

          Sew Square 41, Option One (49 rows) to Square 48 (43 stitches): follow the instructions for joining Square 37 to Square 44.

          Sew Square 41, Option Two (64 rows) to Square 48 (43 stitches): follow the instructions for joining Square 37 to Square 44.

          Sew Square 42 (62 rows) to Square 49 (66 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 36 to Square 43.

          FOR THE FINAL MAIL OUT YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING CIRCULAR NEEDLES TO KNIT THE EDGINGS:

          • two circular 2.75mm (US 2-3) (UK 12) 80cm/100cm length needles
          • two circular 3.25mm (US 3) (UK 10) 80cm/100cm length needles

          You can get away with using one circular needle, which you will need in each of the two sizes. However, I found it easier to use two circular needles to knit each edging. But it’s your decision and you must use whatever method works best for you.

          AND NOW FOR A FEW LOVELY STORIES FROM THE MEMBERS, BEGINNING WITH JUDY DEVLIN FROM VICTORIA IN AUSTRALIA, who’s beloved dog Maggie has taken a liking to this year’s Mystery Blanket!

          Judy says: “Even though I have made four blankets, one each for my daughters, I am still going to do the next one. I love the colours and it may be great for my daughter Bethany as the colours would suit her. I totally look forward to receiving the patterns each month.  It means I can keep the first one I did. Thank you for all your amazing work!”

          Your Mystery Blanket is looking amazing Judy, and by the looks of it, you may need to hand this one over to Maggie! What a lovely idea to give the blankets you have knitted to your daughters. They will make the most wonderful heirlooms and will hopefully be treasured and loved by everyone who snuggles down under them. Thanks for sharing!

          THE NEXT STORY IS FROM JILL BIGNELL FROM BOTHWELL IN TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA, who has learnt many new skills from knitting the Mystery Blanket and has put them to very good use. Meet Tequila!

          Jill says: “I’ve loved learning all the new techniques and used them to craft a wall hanging for a dear friend of mine who had the most magnificent herd of alpacas. So to remind her of them I knitted “Tequila” for her. All her alpacas were named after drinks - Merlot, Sambucca, etc. Needless to say, “Tequila” put a smile on her face! I just hope I’ll have enough wool left to complete my blanket, but your colours were perfect. 

          It was a challenge to create the sun on two needles. There’s a whole world of knitting geometric shapes using just two needles. The cactus was an afterthought and probably I should have included another one to the left. I had a wonderful phone call from my friend who just loved Tequila’s cute face too! She’s quite a jaunty alpaca!”

          What a wonderful idea Jill, and a truly lovely gift for your friend! I am sure that she is very appreciative of all the hard work you put into knitting it. I think it’s a very ingenious piece of knitting, and everything you have done has worked so well - it looks amazing! I love wall-hangings so this is something I would definitely have hanging up in my house!

          AND FINALLY, HERE’S A PRIZE WINNING STORY FROM HELEN ANDERSON FROM BARNSLEY, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, UK, who recently picked up a fabulous 2nd prize in a local show for her 2014 Mystery Cushion, ‘Sugar Rush’.

          Helen says: “I thought you might be interested in knowing that I had success at a local agricultural show yesterday. Having knitted & sewn up the Mystery Cushion for 2014 seven years ago, it had lain rather forlornly with an unsuitable cushion pad and gaping at the back as I had failed to buy a new pad & find buttons! I decided that for the first time ever that I would enter some of the handicraft classes at my local show and I was chuffed to find that the Mystery Cushion had won 2nd prize!”

          This is wonderful news Helen, and it is so lovely to see a Mystery Cushion winning a well-deserved prize! You have knitted it beautifully and I am sure it was a great relief to get it finally completed in time for the show. I love the buttons you chose for it too – great choice!

          AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE NINTH 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 NINE (OCTOBER): this month’s winner is member 406, Carol O’Brady from Dublin in Ireland, UK. Well done Carol! 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
          • 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).

          So, here we are with forty-five out of forty-nine squares revealed, and the final part of this year’s Mystery Blanket within a stone’s throw! Next month you will get the patterns for the final four squares plus the edging, so I have to ask, have you got any ideas as to what they could be? All I am going to tell you is that you are going to be given two options for the edgings and the centre square. And that one of the options for the edgings uses a technique that has not been used in the blanket yet…now, that’s got you thinking! I am here ready to listen to your suggestions, so if you have any, please get in touch. And if you have any stories to tell about your Mystery Blanket knitting, ping me an email, it’s always a joy to hear from you! I am going to shoot off now to get my thinking cap on for my next design – the Hell Bay knitting holiday project (just a few weeks away and I can't wait!) So, I will say goodbye for now and hope to see you back here next month for the final instalment. Until then, please take care of yourselves, keep well and keep knitting, Debbie x

           


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