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Mystery Cushion Club 2019: post 4, September

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE FOURTH AND PENULTIMATE INSTALMENT OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB FOR 2019! This month you have been given the final three squares for the Front Panel to knit, which means that if you are up to date you can get this whole block completed. You could also make a start on sewing them together, leaving just the Lower Back Panel to knit and the rest of the finishing to do next month. To help you with your sewing up I have included in this blog some tips on Mattress stitch, plus there’s a report on this month’s Mystery Club meeting in Nottingham and a further clue is given to help you guess the theme. We’ve only had two correct answers so far, so you've got just four more weeks to work it out. Maybe this month's squares will give you a hand with that...

THE FOURTH SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH SEPTEMBER. And for the members who opted for printed patterns, the overseas were posted on the 9th September and the UK were posted on the 12th September. So if you have not already received them they are on their way to you.

MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE IN MY ONLINE SHOP. So if want to join me on my brand new knitting adventure next year there is still plenty of time to sign up. The closing date is 31st December, or when it sells out – whichever comes first.

Above: the 2018 Mystery Blanket, Casa Batlló.

This is a reminder of what I have in store for you…

The 2020 design focuses on stitch structures and combines together a mixture of beautiful cotton and wool blend yarns in tonal shades from the Rowan collection. They include the eco-friendly recycled yarn Denim Revive, Felted Tweed, Summerlite DK, Baby Silk Merino DK and Soft Yak. The yarns have been selected for their texture and subtle colourings, giving a tweedy, grainy look to the project. The colour palette I have chosen is soft and calm with an emphasis on blues, greys and neutrals which are complemented by a scattering of sparkling beads. There will be some intarsia patterns in the blanket – in other words ‘picture knitting’ which are multi-coloured patterns using separate balls of yarn. But remember that there is always a second option offered on colour-work squares which gives you the opportunity to opt out and knit something a bit easier.

Below: the 2014 Mystery Blanket, Back To The Country.

You can visit my online shop today to purchase your membership. You will find various options for UK, Europe and World Zones 1 and 2 including Printed Patterns and Tracked delivery.

If you want to find out more about next years Mystery Blanket, it would be a good idea to visit the FAQ page on my website where you will find lots more information under ‘Mystery Club FAQS’: https://debbieabrahams.com/pages/faq

THERE ARE THREE MYSTERY CUSHION BLOCKS TO KNIT THIS MONTH:
FRONT PANEL, Block 3:
Grecian Urn 2 – fairisle pattern with slip-stitch and hooked-in beads:

FRONT PANEL, Block 5: Minoan Temple – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads:

 

FRONT PANEL, Block 6: Papyrus 2 – cable pattern with hooked-in beads:

In addition to the Pattern notes and tips on each pattern page, here is some extra advice on these blocks…

BLOCK 6, GRECIAN URN 2: this block is very similar to Block 7 from Mail Out 3, but there is a difference to the central fairisle section – the Heather and Blackcurrant yarns have been swapped round. This block is at the top of a strip, so, unlike Block 7, you cast off the stitches after completing all the rows.

Rows 1-11 are given as worded instructions, then you knit rows 12-32 from the chart. After completing the chart you continue to knit rows 33-41 from worded instructions again.

At several points in the pattern you are instructed to transfer your stitches onto the other needle – this is so you can knit two rows beginning with a right side row, which creates a garter stitch ridge. But be aware that after you have transferred the stitches onto the other needle, the next row in the pattern may be an even numbered row with the right side of the knitting facing you – usually in knitting all right side rows are odd numbers and all wrong side rows are even numbers. Also note the change to a smaller needle size which will keep the rows of garter stitch neat and even.

All of the beads on the chart are hooked in to the knitting. When you come to a bead symbol on the chart, you hook in the bead onto the stitch and then knit the stitch. This means that the bead actually sits on the stitch on the row below where the bead symbol is on the chart. That is why the beads on chart row 12 look as if they are off centre, but in fact they sit in the middle of the pattern on row 11.

Embroider the horizontal lines using chain stitch and Sienna yarn onto chart rows 6 and 16. The embroidery will cover a row of Spring Green on each side of the central fairisle block. I embroidered over each knitted stitch with one chain stitch, beginning between the first and second stitches of the row, and finishing between the fortieth and forty-first stitches. Make sure that you cut a length of yarn which is long enough to embroider each line in one go as it is very frustrating if you run out before the end!

BLOCK 5, MINOAN TEMPLE: this is a brand new block in the design and has plenty in it to keep you motivated including fairisle, hooked-in beads, and a slip-stitch textured pattern.

There are lots of colours in this block too – in fact it uses the whole palette of yarns bar one. This means that you will have a lot of ends at the side edges where you join in yarns and cut them off. So try and weave in some of them across the back of the work as you are knitting to limit the amount you need to sew in later on.

There are two charts for this block on page 8 and you are told in the instructions  when you need to work from each of them. Azure and Midnight are a bit difficult to see on Chart 2 as they are quite close in colour. So just to clarify, Azure is used on chart rows 1-2 and 6-9. And Midnight is used on chart rows 3-5.

Embroider the horizontal lines using chain stitch and Sienna yarn onto Row 22 and then on Chart Row 9. The embroidery will cover a row of Azure on each side of the central fairisle block.

BLOCK 6, PAPYRUS 2: this is very similar to Block 4 from Mail Out 1, but the cables twist in the opposite direction. They begin on Chart row 5 twisting (from right to left across the chart), front, back, front, back, front. However, watch out as on the second twist on Chart Row 13 they twist in the opposite direction to the twist below. It might be a good idea to write onto the chart beside each cable what they are – c6b or c6f – so that you don’t knit them incorrectly. With that many twists and turns in the pattern it is very easy to get them mixed up.

SO, WITH ALL NINE PANELS NOW COMPLETED FOR THE FRONT PANEL, it might be a good idea to get ahead and sew them together. I would recommend using Mattress stitch for this. Here are some tips on this technique if you have not tried it before.

Before you start sewing together the three strips for the Front Panel, it is advisable to make a note of the number of rows in each square. Then you will be able to work out where you need to ease in rows if one square has more rows in it than another

This is how Mattress stitch works vertically:

Vertical (to sew together your strips): with right sides facing and with two strips sitting next to each other, take the needle from the back to the front of the work under two bars at a time, inserting the needle under the bar between the edge stitch and the next stitch in. To keep the edges level at the bottom, begin by taking the needle under the first bar of the first square (the one on the left), then take the needle under the first bar and the next one up (two bars) of the second square (the one on the right). After this take the needle under two bars on each side, zig-zagging back and forth between the two strips, and making sure that your needle always goes back into the same gap between the bars each time you take it under the bars.

So how do you ease in rows?  You can do this quite simply using Mattress stitch by taking the needle under one bar instead of two whenever you need to ease. If there is just one row to be eased, I would advise that you do this in the middle of the square. However, if with other squares there are more rows to ease in then you can repeat this as many times as required along the edge that needs to be eased in, dividing the number of eases as equally as possible along the seam.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING THE FRONT PANEL TO THE UPPER BACK PANEL WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE FINAL MAIL OUT, so please do not join them together yet as there will be special instructions about how to do this.

THE MOST RECENT MYSTERY CLUB MEETING WAS HELD ON ON 11th SEPTEMBER, and was hosted as it was last month by Sarah Doherty at her house in Beeston in Nottingham. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours together, chatting and picking up lots of tips and advice from each other as Mystery Blanket (and Cushion!) squares were knitted.

Above: from left to right, Joan, Julie, Kerry and Joan enjoy their 'mystery' afternoon meeting at Sarah's house.

Below: left to right, Mary and Sarah made great progress with their squares!

The ladies kept me very busy this time with advice needed on several things including Swiss darning and that infamous square, Snow Thistle – which as I said last month has been the subject of most of my emails this year!

Above: from left to right, Kerry, Joan (knitting her Mystery Cushion square), Jennifer, and Claire (knitting Snow Thistle).

Liz made a wonderful Bara Brith cake which we all enjoyed with a hot drink while we knitted. And at the end of the meeting I was very lucky to be offered the rest of it to take home - thank you Liz!

It’s such a treat for me to be able to spend a couple of hours a month in the company of my Mystery knitters - everyone is always so upbeat and enthusiastic. If you fancy joining us next time, why not come along?!? We usually meet on the first Wednesday of the month between 4:00-6:00pm. The date for the October meeting is yet to be confirmed. But as soon as it is, Sarah will send an email to let everyone know. If you are not on Sarah’s email list and wish to be so, then you can contact her directly at: info@yarn-in-notts.co.uk

I hope to see some of you at the meeting next month – Mystery Blanket, Cushion and Baby Blanket members are all very welcome!

AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH … THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! We have had just two correct guesses so far. So a big ‘well done’ goes out to Helen Hill and Catherine Pope who both got it right. However, for those of you who are still guessing, here is another letter to help you. The letter I am giving you this month is ‘A’:
_   _  A  _  _  I  _  A  _  / _  R  _  A  M  _  _  _

If you think you know the answer then email Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com to see if you are right. Next month the theme will be revealed so you only have four more weeks to get your answers in. Good luck!

So, the countdown begins to the final instalment and the reveal of this year’s theme for the Mystery Cushion! I can’t believe that we are almost at the end of this project - it seems to have flown by. But as the saying goes, ‘time flies when you are having fun!’ – and hopefully you have enjoyed this journey as much as I have. If this is your first ‘mystery’ knitting experience then I hope it might tempt you to join me on another one of my knitting adventures next year!?! Until next time, take care, keep knitting and I will see you back here in four weeks for the final piece in the puzzle, Debbie x


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