WELCOME TO THE FIFTH AND FINAL INSTALMENT OF THE 2017 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! And in the final blog for this year the theme of the Mystery Cushion is finally revealed as the last set of patterns are given to you to complete the project. We didn’t get a great number of correct answers, so I expect that many of you will be keen to know what it is…so read on and you will find out later on in this blog…
But before I give you my final Mystery Cushion Club news for this year, here’s a last look at what little Seth has been up to since the last blog. He has just come back from a week in France where I was running a knitting workshop with Knitting Holidays in France. He had a marvellous time and spent a lot of time relaxing in the lovely warm sunshine and going for long walks in the countryside while I knitted festive bunting with the ladies. Here he is on one of his walks, taking a break in his pushchair before heading back to the gite…
You can read more about my knitting holiday in my November Mystery Blanket Club blog, just follow this link: https://debbieabrahams.com/blogs/news/mystery-blanket-club-2017-post-10-november-the-final-instalment
(Above: the garden at La Nougerie in Bercloux, France).
THE FINAL SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL OF THE MEMBERS ON THE 1ST NOVEMBER, at the usual time of 12:15am. So if you have not received them, please let us know immediately and we will forward the file onto you. The printed patterns for both UK and overseas members were posted on the 30th and 31st of October, so if you have not received them yet, they should be with you soon. I usually send the overseas patterns ahead of the UK ones, however I was unable to do that this time as I was away in France. So apologies if there is a bit of a wait for them, but in the meantime you have the emailed patterns if you want to crack on…
AND SO…THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION! And as I said earlier on, this year’s title has remained a “mystery” for many of you until the very end of the project. Four members managed to guess it correctly last month, and they were Gail Coles, Lesley Shaw, Pauline Keys and Rebecca Renfrew, so congratulations to you all! But now, without any further hesitations, I will reveal that the title of this year’s Mystery Cushion is…
The design was inspired by the Art Deco movement which dominated the Spring/Summer trends this year, and its strong geometric patterning and sophisticated décor and embellishment leant itself perfectly to my design style. “Metropolis” was the title of a science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang in 1927. It was set in the futuristic year of 2026 and took inspiration from the New York skyline, dominated by high-rise buildings and skyscrapers:
So this became the underlying theme for the Mystery Cushion, focussing on the elegance and opulence of this dynamic movement which influenced the design of everything from fashion to furniture in the 1920’s and early 1930’s. It was luxurious, glamorous, and modern, using the finest and most expensive materials to create the most exquisite objects. And this is what I strived to achieve in my design, with intricate lace patterns, button and bead embellishments, sophisticated stripe patterns and beaded tassels.
All of my previous Mystery Cushions have used double-weight knitting yarns. However, for this design I chose to work with a finer weight yarn as it enabled me to create more complex and detailed patterns which were essential to achieving the Art Deco style. It was a wonderful theme to work with and I really enjoyed the challenge of designing the patterns for it. Now all you have to do is finish your cushion-cover to bring the Art Deco style into your own home!
THESE ARE THE BLOCKS AND PANELS THAT YOU WILL KNIT IN THE FINAL MONTH:
BACK PANEL, Block 17: Jazzier – garter stitch stripes
INSIDE CUSHION FLAP, Block 18: Clarice – lace pattern with hooked-in beads
TOP EDGING – garter stitch stripes
KNITTED TIES – fourteen moss stitch ties with beaded tassels
BLOCK 17, JAZZIER, IS CREATED BY PICKING UP THE STITCHES ALONG THE CAST-OFF EDGE OF THE BACK PANEL and knitting a garter stitch stripe. (The Back Panel is created by sewing together Blocks 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 in numerical order from left to right. I have advised on pattern page 5 that you refer to the October Mystery Cushion blog in which you will find detailed instructions about how to sew these blocks together). In the pattern instructions for Jazzier, also on page 5, I have listed the amount of stitches that you need to pick up along the cast-off edges of Blocks 12-16 to achieve the 139 stitches that are required. At the end of this block you do not cast off the stitches but leave them “live” for the Top Edging.
BLOCKS 18, CLARICE, IS A NARROW PANEL WHICH IS SEWN ONTO THE INSIDE OF THE CUSHION-COVER, providing a decorative cover for the pad insert. The lace structure gives the panel a lightly undulating edge which can be emphasised when pinning it out to block. At the top of each pattern repeat on Row 12, there are three size 6 Lime beads hooked into the pattern. These are the large beads in your kit (and not the small Lime beads). This Block is not shown on the Piecing Diagram.
THE FINISHING INSTRUCTIONS ON PAGE 7 GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SEWING TOGETHER THE THREE STRIPS FOR THE FRONT PANEL, followed by instructions about how to join the Front Panel to the Back Panel. Basically these two panels are joined together using a three-needle cast-off, which you do after picking up the stitches along each cast-on edge. This will become the bottom of the cushion-cover. When you have completed all of this you are then instructed on page 8 to sew the side seams of the back and front panels together. I would advise that you use Mattress stitch to do this as this will enable you to ease in the rows more easily.
THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE TOP EDGING FOR FRONT AND BACK PANELS (ON PAGES 7 AND 8 RESPECTIVELY), are almost identical to each other, and have the same garter stitch stripe patterns and number of rows. As this is the finished top edge of the cushion-cover it is really important that the stitches are not cast off too tightly, but at the same time they should not be too loose. So make sure that you cast them off neatly and evenly, and if you think the edge is looking too tight then use a larger size needle.
THE KNITTED TIES ARE KNITTED SEPARATELY AND SEWN ONTO THE RIGHT SIDES OF THE FRONT AND BACK PANELS, the positions of which are marked onto the knitting after knitting the Top Edgings (see page 8). I included an extra note in your emailed November pattern file which stipulates the needle size you need for the ties as I omitted it in error from the pattern page. So just to clarify, you use 2.25mm needles to knit the ties. And knit them as tightly and neatly as you can so that they are firm and have limited stretch. The beaded loop at the beginning of each tie is easy to knit, and are similar to the loops that were knitted for the Sheep’s fleece in the Mystery Blanket. Just make sure that on Row 2 after the beaded loop you pull the yarn firmly so that the loop is tight and the beads are held in place with none of the yarn in the loop showing.
THE FINAL FINISHING INSTRUCTION FOR SEWING BLOCK 18, CLARICE, INTO PLACE IS ON PAGE 9. I did this using Washed Linen yarn and matched each stitch along the cast-on edge of Clarice to a stitch on the inside edge of the Front Panel at the beginning of the Top Edging. A good tip before you begin is to mark the centre point of the Top Edging and of Clarice, and then to begin sewing with a long tail of yarn in the centre, working out towards each side edge.
JUST A REMINDER TO EVERYONE THAT MEMBERSHIPS FOR MY 2018 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE IN MY ONLINE SHOP. Memberships are continuing to sell every day, but there’s still time to sign up to the Club if you haven’t already done so. For next year’s blanket I have developed my own range of shades of Rowan Glace Cotton, which means each member will receive a pack of exclusive colours, available to MBC members only. It has been a fascinating process to go through, and I am so excited about having my own unique colours for next year’s design. There are a total of nineteen shades in the colour palette, with seventeen of them being brand new shades that I have developed and two from the existing range. So if you fancy a vibrant and colourful knitting journey with me next year, full of surprises and challenges, why not join the Mystery Blanket Club for 2018 and be part of another unique and exciting “Mystery” adventure!?!
If you want to find out more about next year’s Mystery Blanket, you can visit the FAQ page on my website where you will find lots more information: http://www.debbieabrahams.com/mystery-clubs/mystery-blanket/
When you sign up to the 2018 Mystery Blanket Club and make your payment you will be sent a confirmation email within seven days which will give you your membership number and ask you to confirm your address and email details. If you do not receive this email, please let us know and we will resend it to you: firstname.lastname@example.org
AND IF YOU ARE UP FOR ANOTHER MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB ADVENTURE NEXT YEAR, APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2018 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB open in March 2018. You will all be notified when the signing up begins via an emailed newsletter. I am not going to reveal anything about the theme and the yarn yet, but I will give you some pointers in the newsletter that we will send out in March. And don’t forget that if you have signed up for the 2018 Mystery Blanket Club, you will get a discount on your Mystery Cushion Club membership. The discount code to be used at checkout will be given to all Mystery Blanket members when the new Club begins in February.So here we are at the end of the seventh Mystery Cushion Club, which I have thoroughly enjoyed! Thank you for all your lovely emails, photos and comments, and it’s been great to meet some of you too this year! If you have decided to take up another “Mystery “adventure with me next year, then I hope to see you back here in February for the start of the Mystery Blanket or in June for the first Mystery Cushion instalment. Until then, enjoy the festive season ahead, take care and keep knitting, Debbie x