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Mystery Cushion Club 2019: the final instalment! -post 5, October

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE 2019 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB FINALE! And after five months of mystery knitting, we are finally here at the end of my ninth Cushion Club with the final part of the puzzle and title of the cushion revealed. We have not had many correct guesses for the title this year. So if it’s still a ‘mystery’ for you, read on to find out what my inspiration was for the project, plus there’s lots of tips and advice to help you complete this final instalment.

THE FINAL SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH OCTOBER. And for the members who opted for printed patterns, the overseas were posted on the 8th October and the UK were posted on the 11th October, so if you have not already received them then they are on their way to you.

IF YOU FANCY ANOTHER MYSTERY KNITTING ADVENTURE NEXT YEAR THEN MEMBERSHIPS FOR MY 2020 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE IN MY ONLINE SHOP. I have decided to limit the number of memberships next year to 500. And with just ten weeks to go until the closing deadline, there are now just under a hundred places left.  So if you want to be part of the 2020 Club, get yourself signed up before it sells out. It's easy to do, read on to find out more...

I have approached the design for the 2020 Mystery Blanket in a very different way to my previous blankets, opting for a broad colour palette – over twenty-five colours! – which are very tonal and grade gently from soft sandy shades through to slate greys, turquoise blues and soft greens.

The design focuses on stitch structures and combines together a mixture of beautiful cotton and wool blend yarns 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. 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.

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

Come on board and join me next year – it will be fun!

I HAVE SET UP A BRAND NEW INSTAGRAM PAGE, WHICH IS – debbieabrahams_knitting. So please come and follow me for all the latest updates on what is going on in my world, plus some sneak previews of things to come!

THERE IS ONE FINAL MYSTERY CUSHION PANEL TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

LOWER BACK PANEL: Athena – textured stripe with slipped stitches and hooked-in beads:

In addition to the Pattern notes and tips on page 6, here is some extra advice on this panel…

Before you knit the Lower Back panel you need to complete the Front panel by sewing the three strips of nine blocks together. There are instructions for this on page 7. I then advise that the panel is blocked and pressed before you pick up the stitches to knit the Lower Back panel.

Further on in this blog there is reminder about Mattress stitch which is how I recommend you sew together your strips.

The Athena pattern combines together stripes and hooked-in beads with a beaded slip-stitch pattern, so there’s plenty to get excited about here! For some of you the decorative beading may be familiar as it uses the same technique used in the Glisten and Glisten Again squares from this year’s Mystery Blanket. The only difference is that this time I have added beads to the slip-stitch pattern. There is an explanation of how you knit this in the Pattern notes and tips on page 6 under ‘Special abbreviation’. It actually looks much more complicated than what it is, so once you get going I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to do!

It is important that you keep the stitches spread to the correct width on the needle, especially while knitting rows 3-4 and 13-14. So you might find it easier to use a circular needle to knit this panel to accommodate the large number of stitches.

After completing the Lower Back Panel you then need to move onto putting the final touches to your cushion-cover, instructions for which you will find on page 8. This includes joining the Upper Back panel to the Front panel, sewing together the side seams and sewing on the buttons.

These images give you a guide as to how the front and back panels meet up on the side seams:

You will need six buttons for the fastenings. I chose medium-sized shell buttons that had a purple tint. But you can have fun choosing whatever you want to complete your Mystery Cushion!

Finally you need to stuff your cushion-cover with a pad. It is advisable to take your completed cushion-cover to the shop when you purchase your pad to check that you choose the right size. I used a 45cm x 35cm cushion-pad for my cushion-cover, however, if you did not match the given tension in the pattern instructions then you might find that you need either a bigger or smaller pad than this. But that won’t matter – your cushion-cover will look stunning whatever size pad you use!

MATTRESS STITCH REMINDER FOR VERTICAL SEAMS:

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 easings as equally as possible along the seam.

SO NOW, IT’S TIME TO REVEAL THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION! And this year it’s proved to have been a tricky one to guess with only a small number of the members getting it correct including Helen Hill, Catherine Pope, Jennifer Dixon and Kate Wood.

The title is: “CLASSICAL ORNAMENT”

My ideas for the Mystery Cushion were inspired by a Spring/Summer trend which hit the shops earlier this year and caught my eye as it was so super-sparkly! The theme focuses on the intricate patterns and motifs of ancient Greek and Eqyptian frescoes, with tiny repeat geometric borders, papyrus plants and placed patterns providing the base for my cushion design.

The patterns are busy and over decorated, encrusted with beads, opulent and over indulgent. It’s all about excess and adornment, extravagance and luxury, which I interpreted through excessive beading set against vibrant shots of colour.

This theme was significant in the high street shops this summer with patterned garments adorned with embellishments, and jewellery laced with gold, glitter and gemstones to match. It made its way into home interiors too with ceramic vases, pots and plates decorated with geometric repeat patterns and sparkle.

Above: Mystery Blanket 2011, House of Aphrodite.

Classical Ornament is similar in its design to my 2011 Mystery Blanket, ‘House of Aphrodite’, which was inspired by a trip I had to see the ancient ruins while I was holidaying in Cyprus. So if you have this blanket in your collection, the two would sit very well together and be perfect companions!

Below: details from House of Aphrodite.

So now it’s time to crack on with finishing your cushion-cover so that you can add some Classical Ornament to your own home. Enjoy getting sparkly!

SO, ARE YOU UP FOR ANOTHER MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB ADVENTURE NEXT YEAR?!? IF YOU ARE THEN APPLICATIONS WILL OPEN IN MARCH 2020. I am limiting the number of memberships to 200, but you will all be notified when the signing up begins via an emailed newsletter to ensure that you don’t miss out. 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 2020 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.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me, and I hope that you have enjoyed the project and maybe learnt a few new knitting skills along the way too. As my Clubs for this year come to an end, I am super busy in the design studio and looking forward to launching some exciting new projects next year. So there’s plenty of sparkling challenges in store for you all and I hope you decide to join me again. Until next time, take care and keep those needles going! Debbie x


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