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Mystery Blanket Club 2022: post 3, May

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE MAY INSTALMENT OF THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! And as we make a start on the third instalment of the project you are hopefully settling into the blanket and enjoying seeing the design develop as you knit more of the squares.

We’ve had a very busy month here in Nottingham with several projects to design for forthcoming workshops, new kit launches and a ton of tasks on the domestic front with a new kitchen and bathroom to plan and house renovations to sort out. I am longing for the chance to escape into the garden for a spot of quiet knitting, and as soon as the sun decides to shine here in the UK, I will be out there!

So let’s begin with my intro and tech vids. There are five tech vids to help you with the May squares, but remember that you can also go back to the March and April blogs if you need a reminder of any of the other techniques that were covered in these first two instalments:

NEW THIS MONTH:

  • *Debbie’s intro (which includes information about fairisle knitting for Continental knitters, how to read bracketed instructions in the patterns and feedback on the recent survey)
  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (to knit the next square)
  • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch stripe
  • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (Option One): how to pick up stitches using a long tail of yarn, and how to m1 (make one stitch)
  • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (Option One): the fairisle technique
  • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (both options): how to knit the decorative beaded loop stitch

*I say a couple of times in my intro vid that there are four squares to knit this month, but there are actually five!

INDEX OF MBC22 VLOGS BY SUBJECT AND MONTH, to enable you to locate them more easily as and when you need them:

  • How to thread beads onto yarn MARCH
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method MARCH
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method MARCH
  • Razzle Dazzle: Chevron stitch MARCH
  • Diamonds: T3R and T3L MARCH
  • Diamonds: T2R and T2L MARCH
  • How to attach a rhinestone stud to knitting MARCH
  • Squares 15 & 16, Lanvin: lace stitches APRIL
  • Square 36, Suave: P1tbl, K1tbl, c9b, c9f APRIL

    ADDENDUM ALERT FOR SQUARES 43 & 44 ON PAGE 19 OF YOUR MAY MAIL OUT. I have just noticed that the colours of the beads on the chart for the beaded diamond are incorrect and need to be swapped round so that they match the images on pages 16 and 17. Swap the Gold beads with the Clear beads, and swap the Clear beads with the Gold beads. Unfortunately this is incorrect both in the printed brochures and in the digital file. We will revise the chart for the digital file, however due to it being a Bank Holiday weekend we are unable to do this until the 5th May. I have added it to the Addendum page on our website and we have asked for it to be posted on Ravelry and in the Debbie Abrahams Mystery Knitters Facebook group. Please accept my sincere apologies for this oversight.

    ADDENDUM ALERT FOR SQUARES 37 & 38, DAPPER (OPTION TWO) ON PAGE 13 OF YOUR MAY MAIL OUT. In the picking up instructions it says to pick up 48 stitches, however this should read as 47 stitches which matches the number that you are instructed to cast on. Square 36, Suave, has 47 stitches, so you need to pick up and knit every cast-off stitch. This has been added to the Addendum page on our website, and we will send an email to all the members after the Bank Holiday weekend as our technical support team are on annual leave until the 5th May.

    REMEMBER THAT IT’S NOT TIME TO POUNCE ON YOUR POSTIE JUST YET! We are in the process of packing the second and final parcel of yarn and beads and will begin by posting them to our overseas members first. Our aim is to have them delivered to all of you by the beginning of June. However, we are at the mercy of the global postal services – some of which are more efficient than others. But we are making good progress at our end and hopefully all being good they will arrive without delay.

    For those of you who signed up to the printed patterns, the overseas brochures were posted on the 21st April and the UK were posted on the 26th April, so keep an eye on your postbox!

    SQUARES 37 & 38, DAPPER (OPTION TWO) ARE DECORATED WITH BUTTONS which were included in your first parcel.

    They are made from natural shell and therefore they may differ slightly in colour. However, this is part of the beauty of them and will not be a problem if they do look slightly different to each other. There are no buttons sewn onto the Option One alternative for these squares.

    THE TITLE OF THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET remains a ‘mystery’ for most of you, and there has been only three more correct guesses since the last blog. Congratulations go to Felicity Miller, Sue Hayes and Angie Divaris for getting it right, so well done to all of you!

    However, help is at hand for those of you who are still guessing, and this month I am going to give you another letter clue. The letter I am giving you this month is “R”:

    _  _  _  _  / _  R  _  A  _  S

    Please send your guesses to Sue. 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, with one option to choose:

    Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (Option One) – textured stripes, fairisle, hooked-in beads and a decorative beaded slip-stitch detail:

    Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (Option Two) – textured stripes, hooked-in beads, a decorative beaded slip-stitch detail and buttons:

    Squares 43 & 44, Razzle Dazzle (encore!) – striped chevrons, hooked-in beads, stocking stitch stripes and a rhinestone detail (same for both options):

    Square 45, Zig-zags – textured zig-zag pattern with slip-stitch beds and twisted 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 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.

    You can use the tech vids to help you knit your squares. But here are a few extra tips to assist you:

    SQUARES 37 & 38, DAPPER (OPTION ONE): these are the first squares in the blanket that require you to make a decision and you will need to choose either Option One or Option Two to knit. As a reminder, Option One has colourwork (fairisle) and therefore has a higher difficulty level than Option Two which replaces the colourwork with an alternative easier-to-knit technique, in this case it’s hooked-in beading.

    Videos to watch for assistance with Option One:

    • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (to knit the next square) (APRIL blog)
    • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch stripe (APRIL blog)
    • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (Option One): how to pick up stitches using a long tail of yarn, and how to m1 (make one stitch) (APRIL blog)
    • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (Option One): the fairisle technique (APRIL blog)
    • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (both options): how to knit the decorative beaded loop stitch (APRIL blog)
    • How to thread beads onto yarn (MARCH blog)
    • How to bead, the hooking-in method (MARCH blog)

    Square 37 and Square 38 are knitted as one panel. It begins with an easy garter stitch and stocking stitch stripe which alternates between Brick and Nutkin. Following this there is a decorative slip-stitch stripe for which there is a tech vid for in case you need some guidance.

    The fairisle section of this panel is a two-colour geometric repeat pattern which has a scattering of hooked-in Gold beads to add in on chart rows 2, 7, 12 and 17.  Before this section begins there are instructions to increase the number of stitches to 53 which will accommodate for the change in tension across the fairisle pattern. The row tension will be tighter, therefore the extra stitches should ensure that the square remains the same width despite the change in tension. If you have never tried fairisle before then this would be a really good opportunity to give it a go. It is worked across a relatively small number of rows and across not too many stitches, and the strong pattern repeat cross each row lends itself to knitters who are new to the technique. My tech vid this month for fairisle will be useful if you need some extra advice, so give that a look if you are struggling. In it I show you how to weave and strand which are the two main techniques for fairisle knitting, plus I talk about how you need to hold the two yarns if you are a Continental knitter.

    Keep an eye on the changes of needle size and to the number of stitches as well as these change throughout the pattern. Instructions for how to m1 (make one stitch) and skpo (decrease one stitch) are included in the Abbreviations list on page 27 of the May mail out. There is also a tech vid this month that shows how you 'm1'.

    Those of you who have purchased my Autumn or Summer Bag kit will recognise the decorative beaded loop stitch from this project.

    Above: the decorative beaded loop stitch on the Summer Bag.

    If you have not come across it before it may look quite complicated. However, it’s basically a slip stitch pattern with beads threaded onto the yarn.  And then a few rows after that there is an instruction to ‘pull up loop’ which is the trickier bit to do. But if you watch my tech vid for this it should help you with the technique. The explanation for ‘pull up loop’ is in the Pattern notes and tips on page 7 of your May mail out.

    When you have completed Squares 37 & 38 you will need to block them to the correct measurements. This is the same as Squares 1 & 2 and Squares 15 & 16, which were blocked to 18cm across in width and 36cm down in length. In the last Pattern note and tip on page 7 it tells you that the halfway point of this panel is Row 75 where you were instructed to add markers to your knitting.

    SQUARES 37 & 38, DAPPER (OPTION TWO): so this is the easier option of the two as the fairisle section is replaced with hooked-in beads – a technique that you are all now familiar with after knitting the March squares.

    Videos to watch for assistance with Option Two:

    • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (to knit the next square) (APRIL blog)
    • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch stripe (APRIL blog)
    • Squares 37 & 38, Dapper (both options): how to knit the decorative beaded loop stitch (APRIL blog)
    • How to thread beads onto yarn (MARCH blog)
    • How to bead, the hooking-in method (MARCH blog)

    These squares are almost the same as Option One, the only difference being the hooked-in bead pattern on Rows 41-64 and Rows 88-111 which replaces the fairisle. This makes it fractionally longer than Option One with two extra rows overall, but the length of the whole panel should still knit up to 36cm.

    After completing this panel, eight buttons are sewn onto the hooked-in beaded pattern as shown in the images on pages 11, 12 and 15 (they are not shown on the chart). I sewed mine onto the knitting using Pickles yarn, but you could choose another colour if you prefer and dare to be different!

    SQUARES 43 & 44, RAZZLE DAZZLE (ENCORE!): these two squares are similar to Squares 1 & 2 from the first mail out in March, but you will notice that two of the colours, Mint and Vintage Pink, are swapped with each other. There is also a subtle difference to the beaded diamond with the Gold and Clear beads swapped round.

    NOTE THAT THERE IS AN ADDENDUM TO THIS PATTERN (as mentioned earlier on in this blog). The chart on page 19 is incorrect. The beads need to be swapped round so that they match the images on pages 16 and 17. Swap the Clear beads with the Gold beads, and swap the Gold beads with the Clear beads. It is essential that the beaded diamond is knitted so that it matches the images.

    Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

    • How to bead, the hooking-in method (MARCH blog)
    • Razzle Dazzle: Chevron stitch (MARCH blog)
    • How to attach a rhinestone stud to knitting (MARCH blog)

    Just remember to take notice of the needle size changes in the pattern which will keep the width of this panel consistent.

    SQUARE 45, ZIG-ZAGS: the final square to knit this month uses the same technique as Square 3, Diamonds, with slip-stitch beading and twisted stiches.

    Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

    • How to thread beads onto yarn (MARCH blog)
    • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (MARCH blog)
    • Diamonds: T2R and T2L (March blog)

    If you coped okay with Square 3, you will sail through this square! The pattern is presented in two formats – worded or as a chart – so you can choose whichever one suits you best, they knit up exactly the same.

    When knitting the twisted stitches it is essential that they are slipped carefully without stretching them too much. This will ensure that they look nice and neat and are even in size.

    There is a handy space for Notes on page 23 if you need to make any while you are knitting this square.

    IF ANY OF THE USA MEMBERS ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND THE CORRECT NEEDLE SIZES FOR THE BLANKET, then panic not as Sandy Cerato from Pikesville Maryland, USA has found some that she is extremely happy with.

    Sandy says: “I found a company that sells the needles in sizes that are a bit harder to get hold of. It’s called KnitPicks.com. I got a size 2.50 mm and 3.00mm for US$6.99 each. They sell them as circular. I bought a 24-inch circular. They work great!”

    It’s always good to get advice about where to buy knitting needles and accessories from, so thanks for this Sandy, I am sure it will help a lot of people who are searching for those harder-to-get needle sizes.

    AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE THIRD 2022 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 THREE (MAY): this month’s winner is member 204, Gladys Wright from Ballymena in Northern Ireland. Well done Gladys! Please choose a prize from the following selection:

    • Your choice of one of the Rainbow Purse knitting kits: Neon, Hot or Cool (take a look at them in our online shop)
    • Five packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads (size 8/0 or 6/0) from the selection on http://www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk
    • A £20 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club membership: 2022 Mystery Cushion Club; 2023 Mystery Blanket Club

    Above: the Rainbow Purse (Cool colourway).

    We will notify Gladys to let her know the good news!

    With the sun now shining (it was cloudy when I began writing the blog!), and the Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK in full swing, I might just get to escape to the garden for a few hours of knitting – wouldn’t that be nice!?! In a couple of weeks’ time I will be heading off to The Watermill in Posara in Italy for a knitting holiday where I will be joined by eleven knitters, including some Mystery Blanket members. So in next month’s blog I will report back to you all with all the news about this very exciting trip. I am so looking forward to getting away for some relaxing knitting in the sunshine with good food and friendly banter! In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy knitting up the May squares. And if you have any stories or photos to share of your ‘mystery’ projects, don’t forget to send them into me, I always love to hear from you! Until next month, take care, Debbie x

     


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