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Mystery Blanket Club 2022: post 4, June

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE JUNE BLOG! It’s been a busy few weeks here in Nottingham as the summer season gets underway which means it’s time to start planning projects for the Autumn and for 2023 – the next Mystery Blanket design is already underway with the colour palette and yarns in development, which is very exciting! This month we begin the fourth instalment of this year’s club so we are almost at the halfway point. Have you guessed what the theme is yet? If you haven’t then another letter in the guess for the title might just help you with the answer…

This month you have another five squares to knit, and there’s an option too which means you will need to decide whether to go for fairisle or a stripe. I will talk about this later on in the blog, but first let’s begin with an intro from me which includes an overview of the June squares, plus some extra tips about the blanket which you might find useful. So here goes!...

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
  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge MAY
  • How to knit the decorative slip-stitch stripe MAY
  • How to pick up stitches using a long tail & ‘m1’ MAY
  • The fairisle technique MAY
  • How to knit the decorative beaded loop stitch MAY

ALL OF THE JUNE PARCELS HAVE NOW BEEN POSTED, and my three postal teams have worked their socks off over the past month to get them packed and on their way. We posted the overseas parcels first, many of which have arrived which is wonderful news. The UK parcels were posted more recently, but hopefully most of these have been received too. Our aim is for all of you to have your parcels by the beginning of June so that you can get going on your next batch of squares. However, if you have to wait a few days – and hopefully it’s no more than that - you could browse through the patterns and get familiar with what you are going to be knitting this month. It’s always a good thing to be fully prepared!

I’VE HAD A FEW OF YOU ASK ABOUT A CHECKLIST FOR THE JUNE PARCEL, which I did not include in the kit. You can check the contents using page 2 of your June mail out. However, on reflection this would have been very useful, so going forward with future clubs I will include a contents list. And that way you will be able to check that you have everything before you start knitting.

I can see that we missed the Woven Label off the contents list. You should have one of these in a small coloured envelope. It has the name of the Mystery Blanket on it, so if you haven't guessed it yet and don't want to know what it is, you need to leave it sealed and put it away somewhere safe.

If on checking your June parcel you find that something is missing, please let us know straight away and we will send you what you need. I know that in some of the parcels the beads and buttons were tucked in between and inside some of the yarns to keep them safe, so this would be worth a check before you contact us.

If on the other hand you have something extra in your parcel, then it’s your lucky day! I am sure you will find a good use for it!

I NEED TO POINT OUT A COUPLE OF SMALL ERRORS IN THE JUNE MAIL OUT. Both errors are on page 2. The first one is the shade numbers for Svelte and Chaise Longue. Chaise Longue is shade 001 and Svelte is shade 004. Throughout the rest of the mail out the yarns have been referenced correctly, so it is only on this page that they are incorrect. However, if you are adding Chaise Longue to your Colour coder then you need to make sure that you label it as shade 001.

The other error is with the coloured circles in the Beads list. Teal and Spearmint are the wrong way round and need to be swapped. Again throughout the rest of the mail out they are correct, so it is only this page that is affected.

I have added these to the Addendum page on the website: https://debbieabrahams.com/pages/addendum

THE TITLE OF THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET is still being debated by some of you, although a few more correct answers have been sent in since the last blog. Congratulations go to Kate Nowak, Catherine Pope, Brynne Baruch and Wendy Abdi for getting it right, so well done ladies for guessing correctly!

However, if you are still not sure what it is, here is another letter which may just give you the extra bit of help you need to guess it. The letter I am giving you this month is “M”:

_  _  _  _  / _  R  _  A  M  S

If you think you know what it is, 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.

SO, ON NOW WITH THE SQUARES FOR THIS MONTH…THERE ARE FIVE SQUARES TO KNIT, with one option to choose:

Square 4, Cartier (Option One) – fairisle pattern:

Square 4, Cartier (Option Two) – stripes and slip-stitch beads with rows of basic fairisle:

Square 8, Panache – cable pattern with hooked-in and slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

Squares 29 & 30, Lanvin 2 – striped chevrons, lace stitches and hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 31, Sauvage – diagonal pattern with slip-stitch beads 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 from previous blogs to help you knit your squares. But here are a few extra tips to assist you:

SQUARE 4, CARTIER (OPTION ONE): this square requires you to make a choice, and if you go for Option One then it’s a fairisle pattern. You’ve already had one fairisle square which was Dapper (Option One) from last month’s instalment. For Square 4 it does not matter whether you go for Option One or Option Two – your choice does not have to match what you chose for Dapper. All I would say (as I mentioned in my vlog), is that when it comes to knitting Square 46 – which is opposite Square 4 on the Piecing Diagram – you will need to make the same choice.

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 (Option One): the fairisle technique (APRIL blog)

One of the new yarns, Chaise Longue, makes it's debut in this square. It is combined with Royal and Pickles in a repeat of three bands of fairisle. There are two charts to work from which are referenced in the pattern instructions as ‘Chart 1’ and ‘Chart 2’, so make sure you knit from the correct chart, following the written instructions and using the image on page 6 as a guide.

Notice that you cast on and work the first row with 3.25mm needles, but then you change to larger needles for the fairisle section. Then there are changes to smaller needles between the bands of fairisle for garter stitch stripes – watch out, they might be hard to see in the image as they are self-coloured. These changes in needle size are important as they will help to maintain an even width across the whole square.

You will see that at the end of the instructions you do not cast off the square. You are instructed to leave the stitches on a holder or spare needle so that it can be joined to Square 5 using a three-needle bind-off later on in the project.

SQUARE 4, CARTIER (OPTION TWO): this is the easier option for Cartier as it replaces the fairisle sections with stripes, slip-stitch beads and some very basic fairisle rows. In Dapper last month you worked a basic fairisle row when you knitted the decorative slip-stitch stripe, and this is exactly the same – alternating stitches in two colours across a row. On rows 3 and 16 and their subsequent repeats you are knitting/purling alternate stitches using Pickles and Chaise Longue. And on row 9 and its subsequent repeats you are knitting the decorative slip-stitch stripe as in Dapper but using Svelte and Royal. If you can remember to pick up one yarn over and one yarn under across the whole of these rows then you will find that your yarns will stay untangled – and you will stay nice and relaxed!

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)
  • How to thread beads onto yarn (MARCH blog)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (MARCH blog)

As with Option One, you do not cast off the square. Leave the stitches on a holder or spare needle so that it can be joined to Square 5 using a three-needle bind-off later on in the project.

SQUARES 8, PANACHE this square is a cable pattern with a difference as it has twisted stitches which make the curves of the cables more defined and precise. Hooked-in beads and rhinestones are added to the cables to give them that extra bit of sparkle!

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Square 36, Suave: P1tbl, K1tbl, c9b, c9f (APRIL)
  • How to thread beads onto yarn (MARCH blog)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (MARCH blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (MARCH blog)
  • How to attach a rhinestone stud to knitting (MARCH blog)

The pattern is presented as worded instructions and as a chart so you can choose to work from whichever you prefer. The chart has a mixture of different symbols and some are very similar to each other, so it would be wise to have a good look at it and the key before you start knitting.

This cable pattern is different to Suave, but the basics of how to cable to the front and to the back can be followed if you decide to watch the video for assistance. You will find the explanation for how to c5f and c5b in the Abbreviations list on page 23 of the June mail out. There are twisted stitches (K1tbl and P1tbl) in the cables, so make sure that you watch out for these.

If you find that there are gaps in the knitting between the cables and the reverse stocking stitch sections, try working the stitches more firmly by having them closer to the points of the needles and pulling on the yarn as you switch from a knit to a purl and vice versa.

SQUARES 29 & 30, LANVIN 2: this is a similar square to Lanvin from the April mail out, but there is a change to the colour palette with the warmer brown and pink tones swapped for cooler shades of green and blue. And there’s a subtle change to the lace pattern too.

Videos to watch for assistance with these squares:

  • How to bead, the hooking-in method MARCH
  • Razzle Dazzle: Chevron stitch MARCH
  • Squares 15 & 16, Lanvin: lace stitches APRIL

You will be familiar now with the chevron edging, but just in case you need a reminder the video for Razzle Dazzle is there for you to watch in the March blog – it’s the same stitch, just different colours. You can also watch the video for Lanvin if you need a reminder of the lace stitches (yo, ssk). There is no video demo of the decrease P3tog, but this is basically the same as P2tog - you put your needle purlwise through three stitches instead of two. It decreases two stitches in one go.

I have decided that going forward with lace patterns I will refer to an increase as ‘yo’ (yarn over) only and not as yf, yrn, yon or yfrn. So when you see ‘yo’ you need to increase one stitch, and how you do this depends on what your stitch is before and after the increase:

between a knit and a knit: yf (bring yarn forward between the needles and leave it at the front of the work, ready to knit the next stitch)

between a purl and a purl: yrn (take yarn anti-clockwise round the needle so that it is at the front of the work, ready to purl the next stitch)

between a purl and a knit: yon (leaving the yarn where it is at the front, the yarn will go over the needle as you knit the next stitch – so you basically do nothing!)

between a knit and a purl: yfrn (bring yarn forward, towards you, between the needles then take it anti-clockwise round the needle so that it is at the front, ready to purl).

SQUARE 32, SAUVAGE 2: this is the sister square to Sauvage from the April mail out, with the lines of diagonal stitches travelling to the right instead of the left.

Videos to watch for assistance with these squares:

  • How to thread beads onto yarn MARCH
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method MARCH
  • Diamonds: T2R and T2L MARCH
  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge MAY

If you watch the video demo for this you will only need the instructions for T2R. You will also find a written explanation for this in the Abbreviations list on page 23 of your June mail out. This is the twist where there is no easy alternative without a cable needle (as there is for T2L). So, it’s cable needles at the ready everyone for a few hours of happy twisting and beading – which reminds me, the bead are different colours to Sauvage. Use Rose and Clear this time instead of Pebble and Shell.

A FEW OF YOU HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH WITH STORIES AND PHOTOS OF YOUR MYSTERY PROJECTS. I begin with Trish Dunant from Leicester in the UK, who has been very creative with her left-over yarns from various Mystery Blankets. She used ideas for the squares from previous Mystery Blankets to make this amazing blanket:

Trish says: I thought you might like to see how I have used some of your design squares and made up some others to use up lots of oddments of yarn that I had. I got an old duvet cover to make the backing. It has jazzed up the spare bed very nicely.”

This is a super way to use up left-over yarn, and I love the fact that Trish recycled an old duvet cover for the backing – what a great idea! Thanks so much for this Trish, I am sure it will give some of the other members ideas of how they could put their odds and ends to good use!

SUSANNE IHMIG FROM ESSEN IN GERMANY sent in some photos of her Dapper squares, with the simple message: “I love them!”

I can feel your joy Susanne, and it is great to see these squares knitted so beautifully. Thanks for sending them in and sharing your happiness with us!

THE THIRD AND FINAL MEMBER STORY THIS MONTH IS FROM PAULINE KEYS FROM LONDON IN THE UK. Pauline sent in this very funny story, which I am sure will be familiar to anyone who has been approached by a non-knitter about their handknitted creations!

Pauline says:My husband and I regularly work in polling stations on election days. Yesterday we were working in a polling station for the English local elections. We were in a church hall which we knew would be very cold so I put on a thick hand knitted cardigan and scarf. At the last moment I grabbed two of Debbie’s blankets - Norwegian Adventure and Winter Wonderland. They are just the right size for putting over our laps and legs and keeping us warm. The other poll clerks were admiring them and one took Debbie's details to have a look on her website.

Later on we warmed up and I folded the blankets up and put them on a chair.

I was giving voting papers to a couple and the woman asked where I had got my cardigan from as it would go well with a dress she had. I told her I had knitted it and then the poll clerk working with me said if she wanted to see something special she should look at my blankets. So someone took my place and I held up my blankets so they could see them and the other people in the hall were looking as well. The woman immediately asked if she could buy them from me or if I would make one for her. I made it clear that I wasn’t the designer and I had made them from discontinued kits and that anyway I wouldn’t sell them as I loved them too much. So they left disappointed and I went back to issuing ballot papers!”

What a funny story Pauline! Maybe the lady who was interested in your handknits should learn to knit, then she could make her own blankets and cardigans! It’s great news that people were interested in your projects and it’s a great way to spread the word about my Mystery Clubs. Who knows, we might get some of them join us on the next adventure in 2023!

DOES ANYONE HAVE A 2021 MYSTERY BLANKET KIT TO SELL? I have been asked for a One Thousand & One Nights knitting kit that has not been opened and that a member is willing to sell? If you have then please get in touch and I can get the ball rolling: debbie@debbieabrahams.com

AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE FOURTH 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 FOUR (JUNE): this month’s winner is member 141, Lesley Whurr from Hinckley, Leicestershire in the UK. Well done Lesley! 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)

  • A £20 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club membership: 2022 Mystery Cushion Club; 2023 Mystery Blanket Club
  • A Mystery Bag of five knitting related goodies.

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

In the UK we are looking forward to an extended holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. For our family it means a few days to relax and enjoy the celebrations, and it also means I can get some of my own knitting out to do – which is something of a rarity these days! Hopefully you will have time to crack on with your June squares. And if you are up for a bit of shopping between knitting, we are offering 10% off everything in our online shop for two whole weeks. It excludes Mystery Club memberships, but our knitting kits, beads, yarns, books and accessories can all be purchased for a reduced price. So not only could you treat yourself to some relaxing knitting but you could stock up on your crafty bits and pieces too – what could be better! Whatever you have planned, I hope you have a fabulous time, and I look forward to seeing you all back here next month for our regular online meeting  – can you believe it will be July?!? Debbie x


1 comment

  • Hi Debbie. I am really enjoying working the 2022 Mystery Blanket. My kit was a gift for my 70th birthday from my three brothers, and my sister – who has previously worked one of your blankets. My mother taught me to knit when I was six, and I have enjoyed knitting for my own children and more recently, my grandchildren. Knitting this blanket has been quite a challenge, involving skills that I had not previously used. I look forward very much to the finished project. Thank you. Pauline Burden. (Leicestershire).

    Pauline Burden

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