Mystery Cushion Club blog: post 2, July

WELCOME TO THE SECOND MONTH OF THE 2018 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! And as we prepare this week for the inevitable here in the UK – (England reaching the World Cup finals?????) – it’s time to take some time out to catch up with this month’s “Mystery” news…

THE SECOND SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH JULY, so hopefully you all received them ok. The printed patterns (for those who paid for them), are also on their way, with both overseas and UK being posted out this week. Please remember that the knitting kit for this project was sent to you in one parcel when the Club began on the 15th June, so please note that there are no further yarn parcels to be sent out and you have all of the materials you need for the cushion.

MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2019 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB WILL BE ON SALE FROM THE 1ST AUGUST, 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 be sure to visit my online shop to purchase your membership. As with the Mystery Cushion, memberships are limited and when they have all sold out the Club will be closed. And to date all of my Clubs – that’s nineteen altogether – have sold out.

Above: Mystery Blanket "Nordic Adventure" from 2013.

Below: Mystery Blanket "Back To The Country" from 2014.

I can tell you a little bit about next year’s blanket design, without giving too much away…so here goes…

After a very colourful and vibrant 2018 Mystery Blanket design, I have decided to go in the opposite direction next year with a design that has a much softer and quieter colour palette. So, for those of who have been waiting for something more serene and calm to come along, this could be the Mystery Blanket for you! I am returning to wool-based yarns with an emphasis on soft, cosy fibres, and I have selected some gorgeous yarns from the Rowan collection to work with, including their brand new Alpaca Classic, Felted Tweed and Alpaca Soft DK. And of course there will be plenty of beads in it too as this design needs a ton of sparkle! I am not going to say too much else about it at this point, apart from that there will be lots of fairisle patterns in the design as well as stripes, textures and embellishments. So if you haven’t tried the fairisle technique before, this blanket would be a fabulous introduction to it. But remember that there is always that second option offered on colour-work squares which gives you the opportunity opt out and knit something a bit easier.

Above: Mystery Blanket "House of Aphrodite" from 2011.

The Club will run exactly the same way as this year, with patterns spread across ten months and the knitting kit split into two parcels, posted in February and May. As memberships are limited, the patterns will only be available to those who have signed up to it. So if you want to be part of next year’s very exciting new Mystery Blanket, don’t forget to secure your place by visiting the web-shop on my new website as soon as it launches in a few weeks’ time. You will find memberships with various options for UK, Europe and World Zones 1 and 2 to purchase in my online shop. Every year my Mystery Blanket Club has sold out, and next year I expect it do the same. There is a signing up deadline of 31st December 2018, however, the Club will close if the memberships sell out before this. 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 more information: http://www.debbieabrahams.com/mystery-clubs/mystery-blanket/

I hope you decide to join me!

PLEASE NOTE THAT 2018 MYSTERY CUSHION MEMBERS DO NOT GET A DISCOUNT ON THE 2019 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB, however, if you join the 2019 Mystery Blanket Club you will get a discount on the 2019 Mystery Cushion Club.

THERE IS ONE PANEL TO KNIT THIS MONTH – THE UPPER BACK PANEL. So you can leave your Front Panel squares to one side for now and make a start on a brand new piece of knitting this month:

UPPER BACK PANEL: Kaftan – stripe with textured stitches, fairisle, and hooked-in and slip-stitch beads

TO HELP YOU KNIT THE UPPER BACK PANEL I HAVE CREATED A SHORT VIDEO FILM.

The video demonstrates the cast-on followed by the first two rows of the panel:

There is a quite a lot going on in this panel and there are a few things to be careful of, so here are a few bits of advice to guide you safely through it. First of all there is a beaded cast-on, which is demonstrated on the video. So for this you need to thread the Tangerine Dream beads onto the Persimmon yarn before you start casting on. This is followed by two rows which are basically buttonholes – some of them are functional and will be used to fasten the cushion-cover, and the others are purely decorative. Again these two rows are demonstrated on the video.

Watch out for a decrease of two stitches on Row 4, which is followed by a change of needle size. After that you are onto the main pattern which is a mixture of fairisle, hooked-in beads and textured stitches. I have added some notes about the fairisle technique to page 9 of the July mail out, so if you need some guidance on this, take a look at my hints and tips. When you have completed all 56 rows of the Upper Back Panel you need to cut off the Persimmon yarn and leave the stitches on a spare needle or holder – do not cast them off as they will be used to join the Upper Back Panel to the Front Panel later on in the project.

IF YOU LIVE IN THE NOTTINGHAM AREA THEN YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED TO KNOW THAT YARN IN BEESTON ARE HOLDING MONTHLY MEETINGS - for both the Mystery Cushion and Blanket. The meetings are usually held on the first Wednesday of the month between 4-6pm in Sarah's lovely shop, where members meet up for a bit of knit-chat over a hot drink and a biscuit. This month's meeting was on the 11th July, but I am not sure if there will be a meeting in August because of the summer holidays - we will let you know as soon as it is confirmed. Yarn is at 55 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EN, tel: 0115 9253606, and if you want to contact Sarah to be added to her mailing list then you can email her at the following address: info@yarn-in-notts.co.uk. I do hope that you can come and join us at the next meeting!

WE HAVE HAD A CANCELLATION ON OUR HELL BAY IN THE ISLES OF SCILLY KNITTING HOLIDAY IN OCTOBER. So if you would like to join me and lots of lovely knitters on that trip, we now have the following suite available:

Spring Tide First Floor suite with surrounding views. The cost of the suite is £885 (which does not include the cost of your travel): https://www.hellbay.co.uk/our-rooms/spring-tide

If you are interested in booking this suite then please contact sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com for more information.

I AM RUNNING A FEW WORKSHOPS THIS YEAR IN THE UK WHICH YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN COMING ALONG TO:

  • Saturday 28th July, Mystery Blanket Purse Project: Yarn Loft, 118 Hucknall Rd, Nottingham NG5 1AD, tel: 07825 702433, website: www.yarnloft.co.uk (contact Doreen)
  • Saturday 1st September, Mystery Blanket Purse Project: The Knitting Corner, Curborough Hall Farm, Lichfield WS13 8ES, tel: 01543 415837 (contact Doreen Humphries)
  • Saturday 8th September, Mystery Blanket Purse Project: The Kast Off Group, Barnham Broom Village Hall, Norwich Road, email: j.gosling4dt@btinternet.com (contact Jean Gosling)

Although all three workshops are a Mystery Blanket themed project, you don’t need to be a Mystery Blanket Club member to come along to them. They are open to all knitters who can knit and purl and follow a basic knitting pattern.

To book your place and for further information, please contact the individual shops.

MYSTERY BLANKET MEMBERS ARE CURRENTLY WORKING WITH BESPOKE GLACE COTTON SHADES THAT I HAD DYED UP ESPECIALLY FOR THE BLANKET. And the good news is that I have a plentiful supply of most of the colours which are now available for sale. I am going to get some photos taken of each of all the colours that are available (there are no photos to view at the moment), and within the next week everyone will receive a newsletter with information about the yarn. These are the colours that are available:

Candy (066); Teak (351); Jaffa (316); Rich Red (1006); Azure (410); Lime (256); Sienna (1049); Jade (187); Lilac (869); Pale Blue (1031); Heather (871); Sky (140); Emerald (230); Spring Green (260); Moss Green (281)

(please note that you won’t find these on the Rowan shades cards as they are my own colours).

The even better news is that for a limited period Mystery Blanket and Cushion members will be offered the yarn at a 25% discount! So you can purchase it for £3.71 per ball (plus shipping) (usual RRP: £4.95). At the moment it is only available to Mystery Club members so it is not in my webshop for general sale. So to place your order simply email Sue with the list of colours and quantities you would like to order and she will sort out your payment with you. Payment can be taken using the following options:

  • Paypal: we will send you a Paypal invoice
  • BACS: bank account 29364260 / sort code 77-22-08
  • Cheque (UK only): made payable to Debbie Abrahams Ltd and posted to: 26 Church Drive, Carrington, Nottingham NG5 2BA

Place your order before 1st September to take advantage of this great discount!

I HAVE A FUNNY STORY TO SHARE WITH YOU THIS MONTH FROM DAVE BOWMAN WHO IS A “MYSTERY CUSHION CLUBBER’S HUSBAND". He made Sue laugh out loud when she read a reply from him to one of her emails. It’s Dave’s wife Lesley who is the member, which Sue was not aware of when she sent the email…

Dave replied to Sue: “Lesley's the knitter - I'm just the 'have I got the right beads in the right order?' checking husband. The other great thing was that the wool arrived exactly as hoped on her birthday so I'm also a brownie- point earning husband this year!!”

I wonder how many other husbands and partners out there have been given the same job as Dave?!? Quite a few, I should think! Now, where’s my Steve…???!!! I’ve got some beads that need threading…!!!

JUNE MCBAIN FROM EDINBURGH WAS DELIGHTED TO HAVE COMPLETED HER 2017 MYSTERY CUSHION – “METROPOLIS”. June managed to get one of the very last kits for this that we had for sale, and she has knitted it up in record time!

Above: The front panel of Metropolis.

Below: The back panel of Metropolis.

This is what June had to say: “I have finally finished the 2017 Mystery Cushion, purchased during the Inspired Minds weekend workshop in Bournemouth last year. I'm very pleased with it. Many thanks for designing such a work of art!”

And how perfectly you have knitted it June – no wonder you are so pleased with it! Another one for June's Debbie Abrahams “Mystery” collection!

AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH … THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! This is just a bit of fun each month and something to think about while you are knitting your squares and panels up. Each month I will give you another letter in the title of the cushion cover to help you guess the theme. And this week I am going to give you the letter “T”…
_  A  _  T  _  _  _  / _  _  _  _  _  _  _

Any ideas?!? Email Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com to see if you are right…

I hope you have enjoyed reading my July blog and found the information helpful for your Mystery Cushion knitting this month. I will be back next month on the 15th with all the latest news about the Club, so make sure you drop by again to catch up with what is going on in Debbie’s “Mystery” knitting world! Until then, take care, Debbie x

2 comments

  • A tip for hooking-in the beads is to use dental floss or wire rather than a crochet hook, and you will find that you can hook them in more easily. I hope that helps you! And see you in November for some festive fun knitting!

    Debbie Abrahams
  • Hi Debbie, I nearly had a heart attack when I read the beginning of the pattern for the back panel! I’ve only ever cast on “thumb method” once and think that was in the Scilly Isles.
    However watching your tutorial was a great help and your very calm voice got me through. After many attempts I finally got it and completed I needed a G & T!
    Have now completed and it’s lovely. I did have quite a job hooking in the beads as cotton quite thick. Wonder if you have any tips for that!
    Also, hope we haven’t missed the booking for Bournemouth in November!
    Hope you are managing in the heat!
    Have a great summer!
    Love
    Diane x

    Diane Mulligan

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