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Mystery Cushion Club 2021: post 4, September

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE 4TH AND PENULTIMATE INSTALMENT OF THE 2021 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! It's starting to feel very autumnal here in Nottingham with the evenings gradually drawing in and the leaves beginning to turn. It's one of my favourite times of the year, not least of all because those darker evenings lend themselves to a perfect night in knitting!

So, this month there is just one panel to knit, it’s the Upper Back Panel which is larger than the Front Panel squares. But you should find it quite an easy knit as it’s a plain stocking stitch stripe with embroidered vertical lines. If you need help with the Swiss darning then you will find a video demo for that below.

There are six technical videos to help you knit the Upper Back Panel, including a demo of Mattress stitch to assist you with the sewing together of the Front Panel squares. So here goes, beginning with my intro and followed by these vlogs:

  • Mattress stitch (sewing together the Front Panel squares)
  • How to Chain stitch
  • Picking up stitches to knit the Upper Back Panel
  • How to knit a neat buttonhole
  • How to Swiss darn
  • How to sew down the picot edge hem

THE THIRD SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH SEPTEMBER, so you should find them waiting for you in your inbox. The printed patterns (for those who paid for them), were posted to overseas members on the 1st September and to the UK members on the 13th September.

You can also download your pattern files from your account on our website.

MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2022 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ARE NOW ON SALE IN OUR ONLINE SHOP! And, if you sign up before the 30th September then you will be given the choice of one of three special gifts which will be included in your first Mystery Blanket parcel in February. In addition to this, Earlybirds will also receive a 10% discount that can be used in our online shop.

The Mystery Blanket is a much bigger project than the Mystery Cushion and patterns are sent to the members in ten instalments, beginning in February and ending in November – so that’s almost a whole year of knitting! If you’ve enjoyed knitting the cushion this year – and maybe this is your first ‘mystery’ knitting project with me – then you might want to think about signing up to the blanket. It works in exactly the same way as the cushion with the kit posted to the members and pattern emailed monthly. So it’s easy as everything you need is delivered directly to you.

I don’t like to give too much away about the project, but if you are wavering then maybe this glimpse of what I have in store for you next year might help you decide…

For the 2022 Mystery Blanket, luxury, elegance and sophistication are key elements, so I have chosen to use the beautifully soft Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino, which is combined with two shades of Kidsilk Haze. The yarns will include four bespoke shades of Baby Cashsoft 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 trickier squares which will enable knitters of all skill levels to take part.

The colour palette is a collection 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 I am going to keep them a mystery!

If preferred you can choose to spread your payments over several months rather than paying in one go by opting for our Splitit payment plan. There will be no administration or interest fees for this so you will pay the same amount as those who make a single payment.

You can sign up today in our online shop with various options to choose from 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.

I HAVE A COUPLE OF UPDATES ON FORTHCOMING NEW KITS AND PROJECTS (and changes to some of the launch dates):

  • Friday 1st October: Twinkle Twinkle Festive Stocking kit – a fairisle and beaded design using the ultra-soft and luxurious Rowan Alpaca Soft DK in shades of Teal and White. This was the kit that was included in the 2020 Festive Mystery Knit Box.

  • Friday 29th October: Festive Mystery Knit Boxes – the perfect idea for a gift or a treat for yourself. Debbie’s Mystery Box includes ten ‘mystery’ items including knitting accessories, bespoke gifts and a brand new festive knitting kit.

  • Friday 5th November: Lavish Cushion Cover kit –a fairisle and beaded design knitted in the round using Rowan Kid Classic, Rowan Felted Tweed and Debbie’s Merino Light DK, inspired by the 2021 Mystery Blanket.

THERE IS JUST ONE PANEL TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

UPPER BACK PANEL: Pyjamarama – plaid effect stocking stitch striped pattern with Swiss darning:

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

This panel is knitted by picking up stitches along the cast-off edge of the completed Front Panel. So, before you can do this you need to sew together the nine squares for the Front Panel as instructed on page 6 of your September mail out. There is a new vlog this month which demonstrates Mattress stitch, so this might be worth a watch before you make a start on it.

Here is some advice about sewing together the three Front Panel strips. It is important to note that these are my suggestions but please feel free to use your own method and sequence if you prefer.

Before sewing two squares together, mark the centre point (by counting rows) along the two edges to be joined. When you reach this point, you can check that the seam is even on both sides and if needed make any necessary adjustments.

These instructions are based on Mattress stitch and taking the needle under 2 ‘bars’ (rows) on both edges when sewing together vertical seams.

Strip 1 (sewing together Squares 1-4, 2-5 and 3-6):

Sew Square 1 (40 rows) to Square 4 (38 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 1 into Square 4.

Along the edge of Square 4 place markers on rows 13 and 26. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 4. You are doing this twice so it will ease in 2 rows.

Sew Square 2 (56 rows) to Square 5 (40 rows): you need to ease 16 rows of Square 2 into Square 5.

Along the edge of Square 2 place markers on rows 4, 7, 9, 14, 16, 20, 23, 25, 30, 32, 36, 39, 41, 46, 48 and 52 (rows 4, 20, 36 and 52 are the textured stitch rows using Dolly yarn, and the other rows are the garter stitch stripes using Milky and Cuddle (2 knit rows). When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 5. You are doing this sixteen times so it will ease in 16 rows.

Sew Square 3 (40 rows) to Square 6 (38 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 3 into Square 6.

Along the edge of Square 6 place markers on rows 13 and 26. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 6. You are doing this twice so it will ease in 2 rows.

Strip 2 (sewing together Squares 4-7, 5-8 and 6-9):

Sew Square 4 (38 rows) to Square 7 (40 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 7 into Square 4.

Along the edge of Square 4 place markers on rows 13 and 26. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 4. You are doing this twice so it will ease in 2 rows.

Sew Square 5 (40 rows) to Square 8 (56 rows): you need to ease 16 rows of Square 8 into Square 5.

Along the edge of Square 8 place markers on rows 4, 7, 9, 14, 16, 20, 23, 25, 30, 32, 36, 39, 41, 46, 48 and 52 (rows 4, 20, 36 and 52 are the textured stitch rows using Cuddle yarn, and the other rows are the garter stitch stripes using Milky and Dolly (2 knit rows). When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 5. You are doing this sixteen times so it will ease in 16 rows.

Sew Square 6 (38 rows) to Square 9 (40 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 9 into Square 6.

Along the edge of Square 6 place markers on rows 13 and 26. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 6. You are doing this twice so it will ease in 2 rows.

The Upper Back Panel is easy to knit, it’s a plain stocking stitch stripe pattern which is embroidered with fifteen vertical lines of Swiss darning. Before you embroider it you will need to complete the whole panel including the buttonhole band and the picot edge and hem, and block and press it to size. The Upper Back Panel should measure approximately half the depth of the completed Front Panel, which is approximately 20cm (to the buttonhole row). But don’t worry if your Upper Back Panel measures slightly more or less than this, just make sure that when you sew the buttons onto the Lower Back Panel in next month’s instalment, they are in line with the buttonholes.

Note that the image of the Upper Back Panel does not show the full stripe pattern as it was too large to fit in. So some of the striped rows at the beginning of the pattern are not visible.

It would be a good idea to sew in the ends when you have completed the Front Panel and the Upper Back Panel so that they are nice and tidy and ready for the final panel next month.

AND FINALLY, IT’S TIME TO HAVE ONE LAST GO AT GUESSING THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION! We have had three more correct guesses this month, so well done to Julie Smith, Myra Sharp and Ruth Simmons for getting it right. However, if you are still not sure what it is, here is one last letter to give you a clue, and it’s an ‘E’:

_  E  S  T  O  _  E

With only two letters left to guess, can you work out what it is? Please email your suggestions 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 October blog.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and I hope that the videos and the written advice this month have been helpful. We are now very close to the end of the project, and if you’ve managed to keep up with the monthly instalments then very soon you will have your very own Mystery Cushion to cuddle up to. Please don’t forget to keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. And if you have any stories or photos of your progress then send them in and I will share them in the October blog. Enjoy your knitting this month and I will see you back here next month with the final instalment and the reveal of this year’s Mystery Cushion! Take care everyone, Debbie x


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