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Mystery Blanket Club 2022: post 6, August

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE AUGUST MYSTERY BLANKET BLOG! And with the summer in full swing here in the UK, this month’s blanket squares are the perfect project to pack for your holiday knitting. We are very much looking forward to a much-needed break next week when we will be heading off to Tenby in Wales for a UK staycation. I’ve heard there are some lovely beaches and amazing coastal paths so we are hoping for fine weather and lots of lovely walks and days out.

 

This month you have five more squares to knit up, and after completing them you will have two strips that can be sewn together. There is a focus in this blog on seams, and as well as detailed notes about how to go about this in the written part of the blog, there are three tech vids to assist you. So if you are not a fan of sewing up, panic not because there is plenty of help at hand.

So let’s begin with my intro which includes lots of advice about the squares you are knitting this month to help get you started…

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

THE PRINTED PATTERNS ARE ON THEIR WAY! – with the overseas patterns posted on 22nd July and the UK posted on the 28th July. Every member has been sent the patterns by email but remember you can also download them from your Debbie Abrahams account.

WE’VE HAD A FEW EMAILS ABOUT THE TEAL BEADS, which some of you are finding difficult to thread onto your yarn. Our beads are made in their millions and occasionally there are faulty beads which need to be discarded, so we always include some extras in our packs to accommodate for that. If you are threading on beads for the slip-stitch technique, it is important that you use the fine needle and thread method as demonstrated in my March blog. And if you are hooking them in then the dental floss method (or fine wire) is better for any beads that are being difficult. However, if you have tried these methods and are still struggling, let us know and we will send you some replacement beads.

I MENTIONED IN MY INTRO ABOUT THE NEW ADDITION TO THE FILE OF CHARTS FOR STITCH AND ROW REFERENCE, which you will find on page 5 of your August mail out. They tell you how many stitches and rows there are in each square you have knitted so far, and there is a chart for Option One and a separate chart for Option Two.

Each month the squares you knit will be added to the charts. They will be of great help when make a start on sewing your strips and/or squares together, so it’s a good idea to have it close to hand when you make a start on the finishing.

THE TITLE OF THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET has been guessed correctly by four more members this month, so big congrats go to Kate Wood, Jenny Kearns, Sandra Hand and Marilyn Powell (which was a joint effort with her husband!) – well done to all of you!

However, if you are still trying to guess what it is, here is another letter to help you. There’s actually not that many more letters left so it should be getting easier and easier as we head towards the finishing line!

The letter I am giving you this month is “C”:

_  E  C  _  / _  R  E  A  M  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 some options to choose:

Squares 11, Lalique 2 – lace pattern with garter stitch stripes (same for both options):

Squares 12 & 13, Dapper (Option One)– textured stripes, fairisle, hooked-in beads and a decorative beaded slip-stitch detail:

Squares 12 & 13, Dapper (Option Two) – textured stripes, hooked-in beads, decorative beaded slip-stitch detail and buttons:

Squares 14, Suave 2 – cable pattern with slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

Square 46, Cartier (Option One) – fairisle pattern:

Square 46, Cartier (Option Two) – stripes and slip-stitch beads with rows of 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.

There are three tech vids in this blog that show how to join your squares and strips together. And you can also use the tech vids from previous blogs to help you knit your August squares. Here are a few extra tips to assist you:

SQUARE 11, Lalique 2- this delicate lace pattern square is similar to Square 39 but the bands of Silver Ghost and Gold Pearl have been swapped round.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Squares 15 & 16, Lanvin: lace stitches (APRIL blog)

There is a choice of a worded pattern or a chart, so you need to decide which one you want to work from – both give the same result.

I have been asked why you need to use long tails of yarn when you are knitting the garter stitch stripes in Mint, Vintage Pink and Baby Silver. In each garter stitch stripe there are four rows of knit but you change colour for each row. So by joining in with long tails you will be able to pick up the colour you need at the beginning of each of these rows to work the stripe. Just make sure that you leave a long enough tail each time so that you don’t run out in the middle of the row – about 60-70cm should be enough.

SQUARES 12 & 13, Dapper (Option One): you will no doubt remember this square from the May instalment, it’s the one with lots of different stitches and techniques. And there are plenty of tech vids to watch if you need some reminders.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • 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)

There are two options for this square, so you need to choose the same option that you knitted for Squares 37 & 38, as advised on page 10 of the August mail out. This will keep the design balanced and in perfect harmony with the other squares around it.

There are some changes in needle size to accommodate the different stitch structures and these are important to do to keep your knitting the same width all the way up the panel. And there is some transferring of stitches onto the other needle, so just watch out for that as it will change some of the odd numbered rows to wrong side rows and some of the even numbered rows to right side row (in stocking stitch it’s the opposite).

When you have completed these two squares you will need to block them to the correct measurements, which is 18cm across in width and 36cm down in length. In the last Pattern note and tip on page 11 it tells you that the halfway point of this panel is Row 75 where you were instructed to add markers to your knitting.

SQUARES 12 & 13, Dapper (Option Two): these are the alternative squares to knit if you don’t want to tackle the fairisle technique. It’s the same as Option Two for Squares 37 & 38 and should be the option you choose if you knitted Option Two for these squares.

Videos to watch for assistance with these squares:

  • 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)

When you have completed these two squares you will need to block them to the correct measurements, which is the same as Option One - 18cm across in width and 36cm down in length. In the last Pattern note and tip on page 16 it tells you that the halfway point of this panel is Row 76 where you were instructed to add markers to your knitting.

SQUARE 14, Suave 2: this square is a variation on Square 36 with the slip stitch cables twisting in the opposite directions.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Square 36, Suave: P1tbl, K1tbl, c9b, c9f (April blog)
  • How to thread beads onto yarn (March blog)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (March blog)

You can choose to knit from the chart or worded instructions, or both if you prefer. You will need to keep an eye on the cables which twist in alternate directions, beginning with a twist to the left and ending with a twist to the right. There are beads to knit in too using the slip-stitch method which means they need to be pre-threaded.

I know that this is a bit of a tricky knit and it’s time consuming too – there’s a lot going on in it! But it’s a square that is familiar to you so that should make it easier. Best to grab yourself a cuppa before you begin this one, and bag your favourite comfy chair!

Just one last suggestion, and that is that you block and press this square with the right side facing upwards. Just a gentle pat of the reverse stocking stitch between the cables and attention to the edges is needed after pinning it out and spraying it with cold water.

SQUARE 46, Cartier (Option One): there are two options for this square and it is advisable to choose the same option that you knitted for Square 4 to keep the design of the blanket balanced.

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)

I mentioned in my intro that there is an amendment to this pattern and it’s right at the end of the instructions on page 25 of your August mail out.

Row 59 instructs you to knit using Pickles yarn. However, this needs to be changed to a decrease row so that you have the correct number of stitches to join it to Square 47 later on in the project. So Row 59 should read as:

ROW 59: K8, K2tog, [K14, K2tog] twice, K8 (47 sts).

You then need to cut the yarn leaving a long tail so that you can use this to join it to Square 47. This is written in the instructions on page 25.

In my intro I also talked about carrying Chaise Longue and Pickles yarns up the side of the work, which is suggested in the third Pattern note and tip on page 24. However, you can only do this if you join in and carry Chaise Longue across the back of chart rows 1 and 14 (Chart 1) and carry Pickles across the back of chart rows 1 and 14 (Chart 2). If you don’t do this you will need to cut them and re-join them as and when required.

There is one last thing to talk about and that is the optional buttons that can be sewn onto this square, and onto its sister square too, Square 4. You can do this if you have opted to knit all Option One squares in this blanket. If you have mixed your options then it might be a good idea to wait until you have completed knitting all the squares in the whole blanket before you sew any on, and then you can decide where to place them. The image below shows where to sew them onto Square 46 (which will be the same for Square 4).

SQUARE 46, Cartier (Option Two) if you chose Option Two for Square 4 then you should choose the same option for this square.

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)

This is the square that has some basic fairisle in it which is very easy to do. Remember that when you work these rows which are 3, 9, 16 and their subsequent repeats, hold one yarn under and one yarn on top consistently across the whole row and your yarns will be untangled at the end of it.

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 47 using a three-needle bind-off later on in the project.

AFTER COMPLETING THIS MONTHS SQUARES, YOU COULD GET AHEAD BY SEWING TOGETHER STRIPS 1 AND 2. If you have knitted your squares separately then you will need to join these together first to create strips 1 and 2 (these are the two vertical rows of squares on the left side of the Piecing diagram on page 4 (Squares 1-7 and Squares 8-14). If you need some guidance with this, you can use the tech vid in this month’s blog for horizontal mattress stitch to help you with the technique.

Once you have your two strips you can make a start on sewing them together. 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 preferred.

Because the design is offset by the 2-square panels, I have given instructions as to where parts of the design need to be matched up. Therefore, markers will need to be added to the work on specific rows and then matched to the square next to it as instructed, with the number of rows to be eased in as advised. When I give a reference to a row number, refer to the pattern instructions and charts to locate which row that is on your knitted square.

These instructions are based on taking the needle under 2 ‘bars’ at a time as demonstrated in the tech vid for vertical Mattress stitch. To ease in a row, you will need to take your needle under one less bar on the side you are easing the rows into.

Sew Square 1 (66 rows) to Square 8 (61 rows): you need to ease 5 rows of Square 1 into Square 8.

Along the edge of Square 1 place a marker on Row 33, there is already a marker placed on Row 66 (which is Chart Row 22).

Along the edge of Square 8 place a marker on Chart Row 30.

Match the marker on Row 33/Square 1 to the marker on Chart Row 30/Square 8, easing in 1 row.

Beginning at Row 34/Square 1 and Chart Row 31/Square 8, match the marker on Row 66/Square 1 to the top of Square 8, easing in 4 rows.

Option One: sew Square 2 (61 rows) to Square 9 (75 rows): you need to ease 14 rows of Square 9 into Square 2.

Along the edge of Square 2 place a marker on Row 95.

Along the edge of Square 9 place a marker on Row 40, there is already a marker placed on Row 75.

Match the marker on Row 95/Square 2 to the marker on Row 40/Square 9, easing in 11 rows.

Beginning at Row 96/Square 2 and Row 41/Square 9, match the marker on Row 75/Square 9 to the top of Square 2, easing in 3 rows.

Option Two: sew Square 2 (61 rows) to Square 9 (76 rows): you need to ease 15 rows of Square 9 into Square 2.

Along the edge of Square 2 place a marker on Row 95.

Along the edge of Square 9 place a marker on Row 40, there is already a marker placed on Row 76.

Match the marker on Row 95/Square 2 to the marker on Row 40/Square 9, easing in 11 rows.

Beginning at Row 96/Square 2 and Row 41/Square 9, match the marker on Row 76/Square 9 to the top of Square 2, easing in 4 rows.

Option One: sew Square 3 (72 rows) to Square 10 (74 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 10 into Square 3.

Along the edge of Square 3 place a marker on Chart Row 36.

Along the edge of Square 10 place a marker on Row 113.

Match the marker on Row 36/Square 3 to the marker on Row 113/Square 10, easing in 1 row.

Beginning at Chart Row 37/Square 3 and Row 114/Square 10, match the top of Square 3 to the top of Square 10, easing in 1 row.

Option Two: sew Square 3 (72 rows) to Square 10 (75 rows): you need to ease 3 rows of Square 10 into Square 3.

Along the edge of Square 3 place a marker on Chart Row 36.

Along the edge of Square 10 place a marker on Row 115.

Match the marker on Row 36/Square 3 to the marker on Row 115/Square 10, easing in 2 rows.

Beginning at Chart Row 37/Square 3 and Row 116/Square 10, match the top of Square 3 to the top of Square 10, easing in 1 row.

Option One: sew Square 4 (60 rows) to Square 11 (75 rows): you need to ease 15 rows of Square 11 into Square 4.

Along the edge of Square 4 place a marker on Chart Row 7 of Chart 2.

Along the edge of Square 11 place a marker on Row 37.

Match the marker on Chart Row 7/Square 4 to the marker on Row 37/Square 11, easing in 7 rows.

Beginning at Chart Row 8 of Chart 2/Square 4 and Row 38/Square 11, match the top of Square 4 to the top of Square 11 easing in 8 rows.

Option Two: sew Square 4 (76 rows) to Square 11 (75 rows): you need to ease 1 row of Square 4 into Square 11.

Along the edge of Square 4 place a marker on Row 38.

Along the edge of Square 11 place a marker on Row 38.

Match the marker on Row 38/Square 4 to the marker on Row 38/Square 11, easing in one row at the markers.

Beginning at Row 39/Square 4 and Row 39/Square 11, match the top of Square 4 to the top of Square 11.

Option One: sew Square 5 (69 rows) to Square 12 (75 rows): you need to ease 6 rows of Square 12 into Square 5.

Along the edge of Square 5 place a marker on Chart Row 35.

Along the edge of Square 12 place a marker on Row 38, there is already a marker placed on Row 75.

Match the marker on Row 35/Square 5 to the marker on Row 38/Square 12, easing in 2 rows.

Beginning at Chart Row 36/Square 5 and Row 39/Square 12, match the marker on Row 75/Square 12 to the top of Square 5, easing in 4 rows.

Option Two: sew Square 5 (69 rows) to Square 12 (76 rows): you need to ease 7 rows of Square 12 into Square 5.

Along the edge of Square 5 place a marker on Chart Row 35.

Along the edge of Square 12 place a marker on Row 38, there is already a marker placed on Row 76.

Match the marker on Row 35/Square 5 to the marker on Row 38/Square 12, easing in 2 rows.

Beginning at Chart Row 36/Square 5 and Row 39/Square 12, match the marker on Row 76/Square 12 to the top of Square 5, easing in 5 rows.

Option One: sew Square 6 (61 rows) to Square 13 (74 rows): you need to ease 13 rows of Square 13 into Square 6.

The rows for Squares 6 & 7 are counted from the cast-on edge up to the cast-off edge.

Along the edge of Square 6 place a marker on Row 95, there is already a marker placed on Chart row 22.

Along the edge of Square 13 place a marker on Row 110.

Match the marker on Row 95/Square 6 to the marker on Row 110/Square 13, easing in 3 rows.

Beginning at Row 94/Square 6 and Row 111/Square 13, match the marker on Row 22/Square 6 to the top of Square 13, easing in 10 rows.

Option Two: sew Square 6 (61 rows) to Square 13 (75 rows): you need to ease 14 rows of Square 13 into Square 6.

The rows for Squares 6 & 7 are counted from the cast-on edge up to the cast-off edge.

Along the edge of Square 6 place a marker on Row 95, there is already a marker placed on Chart row 22.

Along the edge of Square 13 place a marker on Row 112.

Match the marker on Row 95/Square 6 to the marker on Row 112/Square 13, easing in 4 rows.

Beginning at Row 94/Square 6 and Row 113/Square 13, match the marker on Row 22/Square 6 to the top of Square 13, easing in 10 rows.

Sew Square 7 (66 rows) to Square 14 (62 rows): you need to ease 4 rows of Square 7 into Square 14.

The rows for Squares 6 & 7 are counted from the cast-on edge up to the cast-off edge.

Along the edge of Square 7 place a marker on Row 33, there is already a marker placed on Row 66 (which is Chart Row 22).

Along the edge of Square 14 place a marker on Chart Row 28.

Beginning at Chart Row 22/Square 7 and Row 1/Square 14, match the marker on Row 33/Square 7 to the marker on Row 28/Square 14, easing in 3 rows.

Beginning at Row 32/Square 7 and Chart Row 29/Square 14, sew Square 7 to Square 14 finishing at the cast-on edge of Square 7 and the cast-off edge of Square 14, easing in 1 row.

TO FINISH OFF THIS MONTH, I HAVE TWO MEMBER STORIES TO SHARE WITH YOU. THE FIRST ONE IS FROM JILL BIGNELL FROM DYNNYRNE IN TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA, who’s sister was so inspired by one of the squares in the 2021 Mystery Blanket that she knitted this gorgeous vest!

Jill says: My sister liked your Plush fairisle pattern in last year’s Mystery Blanket. She is working her way through a tea chest of knitting wool and knitted a vest based on Plush. It’s not blocked yet but the pattern is interesting on different coloured backgrounds. She lives in Japan and loves knitting. 

Your pattern has proved to be a great stash buster! Changing the background colour meant many more scraps could be utilised.”

Wow Jill, what a super design this is, the colours are so lovely! And you are right, it’s a great stash buster too. Maybe it will inspire some of the other members to see what they can do with their odds and ends. Thanks for sharing!

THE SECOND STORY IS FROM JANE MUGGLETON FROM BIRSTALL IN LEICESTERSHIRE, UK. Some of you who are long term members of my Clubs may remember Jane from previous blogs when she took on her first Mystery Blanket having very little knitting experience but embraced it with oodles of enthusiasm and a ton of determination and successfully completed the project. Well, several years on and a couple of Mystery Blankets and Cushions later, Jane has grown into a totally brilliant knitter and here is the evidence with her 2022 Mystery Blanket knitting – it's all up to date too!

Jane says: This year’s blanket is an absolute joy to do, I adore the patterns, colourway and design - what an amazing talent you have! I haven’t guessed the theme of the blanket yet - part of me doesn’t want to - but vintage/retro are so my thing, which hopefully I’m right about! Anyhow I wanted to tell you that I feel that I have learnt so much from doing your blankets, this is my third now and I can see how addictive they become! I have much more confidence this year in doing the blanket. I redo my square if it’s not measuring up right by the half way mark. Getting those first few squares right in their sizing is crucial for the rest of the blanket and makes it easier too for good judgement of needle size choice to complete new squares. This year I’m completely up to date with the knitting, which is such a nice feeling! Thank you so much Debbie for taking me to a very happy knitting space in so many ways!”

It is so rewarding for me to hear how much Jane has learnt from her Mystery Blanket knitting and to see her skills progress to such a high level – well done Jane! The Mystery Blanket squares are a great way to learn new knitting skills, and at the end of it you have a beautiful blanket too – what could be better!?!

AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE SIXTH 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 SIX (AUGUST): this month’s winner is member 479, Zita Van der Meulen from Driel in the Netherlands. Well done Zita! 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 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 Zita to let her know the good news!

With instalment number six underway the blanket is really beginning to take shape, and those of you who are familiar with my designs can probably guess what some of the repeat squares are going to be – I do love my symmetry! However, I wonder if anyone has any ideas about the centre square? If you do, then please write in and share your thoughts with us – I always find it fascinating to hear what you are thinking! In the remaining four instalments there will be some more repeat squares, but there will be some brand new ones too to keep you motivated right through to the end of the project and the final reveal! I wish you all a happy month and hopefully a sunny one too. Don’t forget to watch out for our 2023 Mystery Blanket Club launch which will be dropping into your inbox on 26th August - I hope that you decide to join me again next year! In the meantime, take care and I look forward to seeing you back here next month for the seventh instalment!  Debbie x


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