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Mystery Cushion Club 2020: post 3, August

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE AUGUST INSTALMENT OF THE 2020 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! It’s been a very hot month here in the UK, and with the sun still shining in some areas of the country, it’s a good time to get outside to knit. Natural daylight is the best way to work, and with some sewing up also on the agenda this month, if you can get outside for a few hours then I think that’s the best place to be!  

This month you have the final three squares of the Front Panel to knit. So if you’ve kept up with the first two instalments, you will have the whole Front Panel completed soon.

THE SECOND SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15th AUGUST, so you all should have received them by now. The printed patterns (for those who paid for them), were posted to overseas members on the 4th August and to the UK members on the 10th August.

DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN NOW ACCESS PATTERN ADDENDUMS ON OUR WEBSITE. So it’s a good idea to check this out before you start knitting a new square. You can access the page by scrolling down to the bottom of the Home page where you will see a link called ‘Addendum’. On this page you will find addendums for the 2020 Mystery Blanket and Mystery Cushion, as well as my published books.

MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2021 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB GOT OFF TO A FABULOUS START THIS MONTH, with our Earlybird discount being offered to all memberships purchased through our online shop before 31st August. Members will receive the pattern and beads for an exclusive Debbie Abrahams accessory design which will only be available to our Early Birds. In addition to this we are also including in the offer a 15% discount voucher which can be used in our online shop. The knitting pattern will be emailed and the beads will be included with the first yarn parcel. When a membership is purchased we will email a code for the discount voucher which can be used once in our online shop at anytime with no expiry date. It can be used for any purchases excluding Mystery Clubs.

Above: Mystery Blanket Club 2014, Back To The Country

If you would prefer to pay for your Club membership in instalments then we are introducing an extended payment plan which means you can spread your payments over five payments with no interest or administration fee. And the even better news is if you sign up to this before the 31st August you too will be eligible for the Early Bird special offer.

Below: Mystery Blanket Club 2011, Beneath The Sea

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. Please note that due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 and possible disruptions to postal services, Tracked and/or Signed delivery is mandatory on all World memberships.

Next year sees a return to a strong, vibrant colour palette, combining together several gorgeous yarns from the Rowan Autumn/Winter collection including Felted Tweed, Alpaca Soft DK and Alpaca Classic. And I am thrilled to be able to tell you that also included in the palette are some bespoke shades of Pure Wool DK which have been dyed up exclusively for this project. These shades will only be available to buy in the blanket kit, so they really are super special! And of course there are plenty of beads in it too to add a touch of sparkle!  Techniques will include fairisle and intarsia as well as textured stitches, cables and stripes. Two options will be offered on some of the more tricky squares which will enable knitters of all skill levels to take part.

Above: Mystery Blanket Club 2014, Back To The Country

If you want to find out more about next year’s Mystery Blanket, then pop across to the FAQ page on our website where you will find lots more information under ‘Mystery Club FAQS’: https://debbieabrahams.com/pages/faq

SOME OF THE DATES FOR OUT NEW KIT LAUNCHES HAVE BEEN PUSHED BACK SLIGHTLY. But don’t worry, it’s only by a few weeks, so you won’t have to wait too long:

Autumn Bag – a beaded drawstring bag in rich Autumnal shades of Chestnut, Moss Green, Ochre and Purple, knitted in Rowan Glace Cotton. Launch date from 28th August 2020:

Festive Mystery Knit Boxes – a box full of treats for you or a great gift for a friend or relative. Includes a brand new festive knitting kit designed by Debbie as well as a minimum of six other mystery gifts. Launch date from end September 2020.

Festive Kit Promotion –  we are offering discounted prices for a limited time on all our Festive kits, including a new colourway of the Let It Snow Mitts and our new wall-hanging ‘Silent Night’. Launch date from end September 2020.

THESE ARE THREE MYSTERY CUSHION SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:
FRONT PANEL, Square 5:
Kinda Kitsch – embroidered motifs with hooked-in beads and rhinestone studs:

FRONT PANEL, Square 6: Lanterns 2 – striped pattern with fairisle, slipped stitches and chain stitch:

 

FRONT PANEL, Square 9: Butterflies – slip stitch pattern with hooked-in beads:

Here’s some extra advice on these blocks to help you with your knitting this month…

SQUARE 5, KINDA KITSCH: this is an easy square to knit, with just 12 hooked-in beads to add onto a plain stocking stitch background. And then the nine floral motifs are embroidered on afterwards using Swiss darning.

Mary our test knitter for the project had some really good advice about this square. This is what she suggested for the Swiss darning:

Mary says: “I cut a length of yarn, folded it in half and darned up one side of a petal and then up the upper petal. I then went to the bottom and used the other length to complete the other side of each petal. I repeated all of this for the second pair of petals to complete the flower. This way there were no floats at the back and no puckering.”

Mary also suggested that the back of a teaspoon is used to close up the claws when attaching the rhinestones to the knitting. The four claws need to be closed down very tightly so that no sharp edges are sticking out.

SQUARE 6, LANTERNS 2: this is almost the same as Square 4 from Mail Out 2, but the embroidered horizontal lines are purple instead of red.

Just a reminder that twice in the pattern you are instructed to transfer the stitches to the other end of the needle. This means that Row 11 becomes a wrong side row, so you should read Row 1 of the fairisle chart from right to left, and Row 2 of the chart from left to right - the usual way to read a chart is from left to right for right side rows, and right to left for wrong side rows. However, as the chart is symmetrical it actually does not matter which way you read it – the pattern will knit up the same whichever way you read it.

SQUARE 9, BUTTERFLIES: it’s time for a bit of revision as this is identical to Square 1 from Mail Out 1.

Remember to spread the stitches to the correct width on the needle on rows where the stitches are slipped to avoid puckering.

And here’s a reminder of how you pick up the strands on Rows 7 and 19 and their subsequent repeats, just in case it was too long ago to remember!

Slide your right needle under the stands from underneath, before putting that same needle into the next stitch to knit it. Then, as you bring the new stitch through you need to slip the three strands to the back of the work. It might sound a little complicated, however, it really is quite easy to do. And as this is the second time you have knitted this square in the project, I am sure you will all breeze through it without any problems!

WITH ALL NINE PANELS NOW COMPLETED FOR THE FRONT PANEL, it would be a good idea to get ahead and sew them together. I would recommend using Mattress stitch for this. Here are some tips on the 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 easings as equally as possible along the seam.

AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH, IT’S TIME TO HAVE ANOTHER GO AT GUESSING THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION! We have had a few correct answers – hurray! - so congrats go out to these very happy members: Susan Cumming, Kate Wood, Lucille Tut, Margaret Townsend, Anna Wallis de Garay, Felicity Miller and Karen Hoyle.

To help those of you who are still guessing, here is another letter. This month it’s the letter ‘P:
_   _  I  _  N  _ / _  _  P  _  _  _  _  

If you think you might know what it is, please email your answer to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com to see if you are right. You never know!?!...

With the Front Panel complete after this month, we are well on the way with this year’s Mystery Cushion and the finishing line is in sight! There’s just two more panels to go and then the 'mystery' of this year's cushion will be revealed! And with new kits planned for our online shop and a Festive kit promotion beginning soon, there’s plenty more exciting things in store to keep you busy. So, until we meet here again next month, have fun knitting your squares, keep busy and take extra special care of yourselves and your loved ones, Debbie x

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