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Mystery Cushion Club 2021: post 2, July

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE SECOND INSTALMENT OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! It’s mid-July so it’s time to move on to the next set of patterns for my 2021 adventure. And with three more Front Panel squares to knit this month, you are well on your way to completing this first panel.

I’ve had some great feedback about the project so far, and many of you have said how much you are enjoying knitting with the Rowan Cotton Wool. Its softness and cosy feel is perfect for this project and the theme – which reminds me, have you guessed what it is yet? If you haven’t then I am going to give you another letter in this blog to help you. It’s only a very short word for the title – just seven letters – so you might get it right with this extra bit of help from me – we will see!

In this month’s blog there are two technical videos to help you with your knitting techniques, plus there are tips and advice for each of the three squares, news about the forthcoming launch of the 2022 Mystery Blanket Club, a lovely story from one of the members, and a reminder about our Summer Sale which ends on 16th July at 23:59 – if you are quick then there might still be time to grab yourself a bargain with our 10% off everything offer.

So here we go, starting with an intro from me, and followed by two videos to help you with this month’s knitting techniques:

  • How to pick up stitches to knit Square 2
  • Square 2, Treats: how to knit rows 3 and 4

AS FAR AS WE ARE AWARE, ALL OF THE KITS FOR THIS PROJECT HAVE BEEN RECEIVED. However, if you are still waiting for your kit and have not contacted us about it, please email Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com so that we can look into it for you. In the current situation some of our parcels are still taking a lot longer to arrive at their destinations than usual, however, we expect all of them to arrive safely, if not a little later than anticipated.

THE SECOND SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH JULY, 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 5th July and to the UK members on the 13th July.

Don’t forget that you can also download your pattern files from your account on our website.

CHANGE TO 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB LAUNCH DATE! MEMBERSHIPS WILL BE ON SALE FROM SATURDAY 28TH AUGUST, which is a month later than what I said in my intro video. We have made this last minute change to enable us to get our new automated system for instalment payments set up and tested properly. So apologies if you had it marked on your calendar, but you will have to move it forward and wait just a little longer to sign yourself up.

So, if you are enjoying the Mystery Cushion Club so far and think that you might want to treat yourself to another knitting adventure with me next year, then we would be delighted to have you on board!

Above: Mystery Blanket Club 2020: Our Precious Earth.

In my video intro this month I give you a few clues about the design – but without giving the ‘mystery’ away, of course! So, if you have not watched it yet, simply scroll back and press the ‘play’ button.

For next year’s design, luxury, elegance and sophistication are key elements, so I have chosen to use the beautifully soft Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino for my 2022 blanket, which is used alongside two shades of Kidsilk Haze. The yarns will include four bespoke shades of Cashsoft Baby Merino which have been dyed specifically for this project. Plus, there is plenty of sparkle going on with a touch of shimmering lurex, glittering rhinestones and lots of Debbie Abrahams beads!  Techniques will include some fairisle and intarsia, but the emphasis is on texture with cable, Iace and intricate stitch structures combined with relaxed stripe patterns.  And as with my previous Mystery Blankets, 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 2018: Casa Battlo.

As for the colour palette, without giving too much away I would describe it as vintage with a modern feel (I know, I'm contradicting myself but it's the only way I can describe it!). It’s a combination of the most beautiful shades ranging from soft green, blush pink and silver, to royal navy, gold and ochre. There are other shades in it too, but that’s all I am going to say for now!

We are going to offer an instalment plan for this project so that if preferred you can spread your payments over several months rather than paying in one go. There will be no administration or interest fee for this so you will pay the same amount as those who make a single payment.

We are expecting a high demand for memberships, and with the Club memberships limited it would be wise to secure your place early to make sure that you don’t miss out. From 28th August you will find in our web-shop memberships to purchase with various options for UK, Europe and the World. There is a signing up deadline of 31st December 2021, however, the Club will close if the memberships sell out before this.

Above: Mystery Blanket Club 2019: Winter Wonderland.

EARLYBIRD ALERT!!! If you sign up before the 30th September then we have a very special offer for our ‘Earlybirds’. We will send you an email on the 28th August with all the details, so make sure you keep your eye on your inbox for more news on this and how to get yourself signed up and onboard!

OUR SUMMER SALE IS ABOUT TO COME TO AN END, BUT IF YOU ARE QUICK YOU MIGHT STILL BE TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR SPECIAL OFFER! Until 16th July, 23:59pm we are offering 10% off absolutely everything in our online shop! Simply select your items, place them in the basket and the discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

We have a great offer on our bespoke Debbie Abrahams Merino Light DK yarn – buy 10 balls for just £30 or 5 balls for £15 and you will get the 10% discount on top of this too.

Although our Summer Bag kit is currently out of stock you can place a pre-order for this and it will be shipped as soon as it is back in stock (mid/end July).

And there are two new bead colours in our glass bead collection, Frosted Peach (09ma) and Petrol (code 541). Both are available in sizes 6 and 8.

Check them out – they might be just the colour you need for your next project!

THERE ARE THREE MYSTERY CUSHION SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

FRONT PANEL, Square 2: Treats – striped pattern with textured stitches and slip-stitch beads:

FRONT PANEL, Square 3: Slumber – cable pattern in two colours:

FRONT PANEL, Square 5: Restful – cable pattern with bobbles in two colours:

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

SQUARE 2, TREATS: to begin this square you will need to cast it on separately and then sew it onto the top of Square 1 or pick up the stitches along the cast-off edge of Square 1 and ‘knit on’. If you go for the picking up stitches option, there is a technical video that you can watch if you need guidance. Just scroll back to the beginning of the blog and you will see it there after my intro video.

Although it might look quite complicated, this square is actually fairly easy to knit. But there are two ‘tricky’ rows which you might need help with – Rows 3 and 4. On these rows you are creating the textured pink swirly pattern by increasing twice into one stitch and then knitting three stitches together (through the back of the loop) on the following row. On Row 3 you are working with two colours – Cuddle and Dolly – so this is basic fairisle because you are swapping from one to the other on alternate stitches. I demonstrate how to knit both of these rows in my other technical video this month, so it’s advisable to watch it if you feel you need some extra assistance.

One last thing. I’ve just noticed that I’ve worded part of Row 3 in a peculiar way that you may well question. It says, ‘using Cuddle yarn K1 into next stitch…’. This should simply say, ‘using Cuddle yarn K1…’, I’m not sure what went on there!!!

SQUARE 3, SLUMBER: this is exactly the same as  Square 7 from Mail Out 1, with the only difference being that you pick up stitches across the cast-off edge of Square 2 (unless you choose to cast it on separately and sew it onto Square 2).

I have not created a separate video to show you how to pick up these stitches, but you can use the video for picking up stitches to knit Square 2 if you need guidance. The technique is the same, you are just picking up a different number. The instructions for it are on page 8 of your July mail out.

Just remember that stitches are cabled on both right side and wrong side rows so you will need to pay attention to the symbols if you are using the chart, or to the written abbreviations c5b and c5f in the worded pattern, and make sure that you cross them the right way!

SQUARE 5, RESTFUL: this square follows the same basic structure of Cappuccino and Slumber with three vertical cables knitted in two colours. But this time all the cables are worked on wrong side rows. Watch out as well because they all twist first to the left, then to the right and then to the left again.

There are bobbles on rows 13, 25 and 37, so you will need to refer to the Abbreviations on page 15 of your July mail out for an explanation of how to knit them. The method I describe creates a bobble without having to turn the work. However, if you find this difficult to follow then you could use this alternative method instead:

knit into the front, back, front of next stitch, turn work so that WS is facing, slip first stitch purlwise, P2, turn work again so that RS is facing, slip first stitch knitwise, K2, then pass the second and third stitches over the first stitch and off the needle (this is my standard way of knitting bobbles and might be more familiar to you).  

You will notice that the stitch directly above the bobble on the following wrong side row is worked through the back of the stitch. This will help to tighten up the bobble so that it sits neatly. But if you find that your bobbles are not as neat as you would like them to be, for both methods make sure that you keep the stitches as close to the tips of the needles as you can as you are knitting them, and then when you lift the stitches over the first stitch and off the needle, be careful not to stretch the stitches. And ta-dah! – you will have lovely, neat bobbles!

JUST BEFORE I SIGN OFF THIS MONTH, I HAVE A STORY TO SHARE FROM ONE OF THE MEMBERS. IT’S FROM ALISON ALLEN, who lives in Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, UK. Alison has knitted up a lot of Debbie projects over the years – not only Mystery Blankets and Cushions, but also workshop projects and home and fashion accessories from my books too. Recently she completed ‘Log Cabin’ from my ’25 Cushions To Knit’ book which was a real blast from the past for me! I’d forgotten all about that design, but Alison gave me a lovely reminder of it with her latest creation!

Alison says: “When I bought the cushion book ten years ago, I flicked through it and thought, never in a million years will I be clever enough to make any of these. Well, you have proved me wrong. I actually knitted the front last summer, as I decided that I have got to finish off some ‘old’ projects before I do any more MB. My stepfather who is ninety-nine next week has recently gone into a care home and I thought I would finish the cushion off and take it in to brighten up his room.

So here it is.  The top of the back is different from the pattern but otherwise I am really chuffed with it considering mattress stitch is one of my worst nightmares! This is all thanks to you Debbie!”

I think that you’ve made a splendid job of Log Cabin Alison! I am so pleased to see this brought back to life after I designed it so many years ago! I am sure that your stepfather will love it, especially all those lovely bright colours. I bet it feels so good too to get it finished. Well done to you!

AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY WORKED OUT WHAT IT IS, IT’S TIME TO HAVE ANOTHER GUESS AT THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION! We have only had one correct guess this month, so big congrats go out to Gail Coles! However, there are plenty of you still guessing, so here is another letter to help you.

This month the letter I am giving you is ‘O’:
_  _  S  _  O  _  _

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. And if you are then with your permission we will include you in the list of correct guessers in the August blog. And if you are not, then it’s time to guess again!

I hope that you enjoy knitting your squares this month, and let’s hope that the weather holds out so that some of us can enjoy some outdoor knitting - wouldn't that be nice!  I am busy, busy, busy working on lots of projects at the moment, with workshop events starting up again next month and, dare I say it, festive projects on my list of to-dos! And with the next Mystery Blanket design in full swing, there’s so much to get excited about! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our 2022 Mystery Blanket Club launch, because hey – it would be great to see you again next year on a whole different adventure! So until next month, please take care everyone and I will see you back here in a month’s time, Debbie x


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