WELCOME TO THE FIRST INSTALMENT OF THE 2021 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! And after what seems to have been a very long year since the last cushion club, we are finally here, ready and raring to go!
There are 250 knitters worldwide taking part this year and I would like to say a big thank you to all the new members who have decided to sign up, and ‘welcome back’ to all of you who have been on this journey with me before. It’s a five-month project with the same format as all previous ten Mystery Cushion Clubs, but this year I have added dedicated technical videos to the blog to help you knit your squares. So hopefully you will find them helpful and motivational too!
So here we go, starting with an intro from me, and followed by five videos to help you with this month’s knitting techniques:
- How to cast on using the intarsia technique
- The intarsia technique
- c10b on a wrong side row
- How to make a marshmallow
- How to hook in a bead
ALL OF THE KNITTING KITS HAVE BEEN POSTED, so I am hoping that you are sitting with your kit open and ready to start knitting. If, however, you have not received your kit then please let us know by emailing Sue at email@example.com and we will investigate where it is.
FOR THE MEMBERS WHO PAID FOR PRINTED PATTERNS, these have been posted in a separate card-backed envelope and should be with you too. As I mentioned in my intro, if you decide that you would like to add printed patterns to your order then it is not too late. Email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will guide you through how to make your payment.
THE PATTERNS HAVE BEEN EMAILED TO EVERYONE ON 18TH JUNE, but you can also download them from your account on our website:
- Log into the website with your username and password: https://debbieabrahams.com/account/login
- Under "MYSTERY CLUB DOWNLOADS" click "View all downloads"
- Your latest available mail-outs will be visible here in PDF format to download
From July onwards the patterns will be sent to you (and available to download) on the 15th of the month.
It has been brought to my attention that there is a typo in the Welcome letter you received in your knitting kit. It states that the first set of patterns will be emailed on the 15th June, but it should read the 18th June. Please accept my apologies for this.
PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU DON’T RECEIVE THE EMAILED PATTERNS – it might be because we have made an error with your email address in our database, which we can correct immediately. But sometimes our emails go into a spam folder instead of the inbox, so please make sure that you check this before contacting us.
These are some trouble-shooting steps that you can take to make sure that you are set up correctly to receive our Mailchimp newsletters:
- add our “From” email address to your email contact list or address book
- check any spam filter settings to be sure that your content isn't being flagged
- find the email in your spam folder (if this is the case), and mark it as “Not Spam” or “Not Junk”. This will help register that our content is safe for receiving into your inbox
If you do not receive the June patterns from us then please try some or all of these checks. And if you need further help then please contact Sue at: email@example.com and we will investigate further.
THERE IS A TIPS AND TECHNIQUES SECTION IN YOUR MAIL OUT, it is towards the back on pages 13-15 and it includes important information on things like knitting with beads and embroidery on knitting, as well as an Abbreviations list. Information on tension, construction, blocking and pressing and advice about how to read the document can be found towards the beginning of the Mail Out on page 3. To ensure that you make no errors when knitting up the patterns, I would suggest that you read the whole document thoroughly before you make a start. That way you can familiarise yourself with the instructions and enjoy trouble-free knitting! And those of you have joined the digital age and have a tablet should find that the file is compatible with your device, so you can read your patterns directly from your tablet instead of using a printed copy.
I HAVE ALSO INCLUDED ON EACH PATTERN PAGE A HANDY LIST OF ‘PATTERN NOTES AND TIPS’, which gives extra advice about the square you are knitting and alerts you to anything that you should watch out for, such as needle size changes, changes in tension, when to cut off or carry yarns up the side of the work, and special techniques and abbreviations. So, I highly recommend that you read through these notes very carefully before you start knitting each piece. It will prepare you for the task ahead and ensure that you are fully aware of what the pattern entails, avoiding any unexpected shocks along the way!
IN EACH INSTALMENT ON PAGE 4 YOU ARE GIVEN A PIECING DIAGRAM WHICH SHOWS YOU WHICH SQUARES YOU ARE KNITTING and where they are positioned in the design. The Front Panel of the cushion-cover is constructed as follows. It is made up from nine squares which are worked in three separate strips and then pieced together. The Back Panel is knitted in two halves – an Upper Back Panel and a Lower Back Panel.
BEWARE OF THE LITTLE COLOURED ENVELOPE IN YOUR KIT! – as this has your woven label inside it. The label has the title of the cushion on it, so if you don’t want to spoil the surprise it would be best to put this in a safe place until you have guessed it.
YOUR UNIQUE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB TOTE BAG is included in your knitting kit. I hope that you will find this a useful place to store your all your materials for the project, especially if you are planning to take it out and about with you to knit on the go!
ADDENDUM ALERT (printed patterns only): unfortunately there is an error in the instructions for Square 1 on page 6 of the June mail out, (which I was notified of after I filmed my intro video). The increase row in the last sentence of these instructions should read as follows:
Using Mushy yarn (ball 2) P2, K1, inc once into each of the next 4 sts, K1, P3 (44 sts).
Please note that the emailed file has been corrected, so it is only the printed patterns that are affected.
This correction will also be listed on the Addendum page on my website.
YOU HAVE A COLOUR CODER IN YOUR PARCEL and it is important that you use it to identify the colours in the cushion. The shade numbers on the ball–bands correspond to those stated in the patterns, beside which I have written the Rowan name for each colour. Please be aware that some of the colours of the yarns are very similar, for example Mushy shade 202 and Tiny shade 203. If you do not use the correct colour for the correct square then you may run out of some of the yarns, so please take time to set up your colour coder to avoid getting the colours mixed up.
Tie a small amount of each yarn onto the colour coder and also write the name of each yarn and its shade number beside it. And then remember to keep it near to you at all times when you are knitting so that you can make sure you have picked up the correct colours to work with.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BUTTONS TO FASTEN THE CUSHION-COVER ARE NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR KIT. Details of the number, size and type of buttons that I have used for the project will be included in the October pattern instructions.
IT IS ADVISABLE NOT TO PURCHASE YOUR CUSHION INSERT UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED KNITTING THE CUSHION COVER as the finished size of it will depend on your own tension. If your tension differs from what I achieved then it will result in the cushion-cover knitting up slightly bigger or smaller than the size I have quoted in the pattern instructions.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NEVER ON YOUR OWN IN A DEBBIE ABRAHAMS MYSTERY CLUB, and you can always get in touch if you have any queries. Please send your correspondence to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will either answer it herself or forward it onto me. Either way round, you will get a response from us. In addition to our services there is a very friendly Debbie Abrahams group set up on Ravelry which you can join free of charge. The group on there are really lovely and are only too happy to pass on any help they can give if you get stuck with your Mystery Cushion knitting.
THERE ARE THREE MYSTERY CUSHION SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:
FRONT PANEL, Square 1: Cappuccino – cable pattern in two colours:
FRONT PANEL, Square 4: Marshmallows – textured pattern in three colours with hooked-in beads:
FRONT PANEL, Square 7: Slumber – cable pattern in two colours:
Here’s some extra advice on these squares to help you with your knitting this month:
SQUARE 1, CAPPUCCINO: this square is a large cable which gently twists to the right (c10b) three times. But this cable has an extra ‘twist’ as it is knitted in two colours. It’s an intarsia cable which means that you will need to wind off three separate balls of yarn to knit it – two of Mushy and one of Nutkin.
If you feel at all challenged by this, please don’t! Watch my tech videos which guide you through it all – the cast-on, the intarsia technique and the cabling.
If you have never tried intarsia before then this a great introduction to the technique as it really is quite simple to knit. There’s just one difference to regular intarsia, and that is to do with the crossing of the yarns at the colour changes. This usually happens on the wrong side of the work but in this square it happens on the right side, resulting in the vertical dotted lines between the colour changes that you can see in the image. That may sound confusing, but please don’t panic. The videos are there to guide you through step-by-step, and after a few rows I know you will be fine. Just follow the instructions – worded or the chart (they are the same) – and you will soon be on your way!
SQUARE 4, MARSHMALLOWS: this repetitive 8-row pattern repeat is a bit of a favourite of mine. Those of you who have knitted some of my previous designs over the years might recognise this stitch structure, but this time I have revised and updated it with hooked in beads. These are a subtle addition which add a little bit of extra texture and colour to the fabric.
Note that in the Pattern notes and tips that you can carry Dolly and Milky yarns up the side of the work, but, cut off and rejoin Mushy. This will help to reduce the number of loose ends you have and means less sewing in – and that’s got to be a good thing!
There is a video that shows you how to knit a marshmallow. They are fun to do and there’s absolutely zero calories in them – a winner all round!
SQUARE 7, SLUMBER: this square uses the same techniques as Square 1 with intarsia and cabled stitches, so you can use the same videos to guide you through these techniques. This time there are five stitches involved in each cable instruction instead of ten stitches. And although this differs from the cables in Square 1, the technique used to cross the stitches over is the same. There is an explanation of how to c5b (cable five stitches to the back) and c5f (cable five stitches to the front) in the Abbreviations on page 15 of your June mail out. So, this combined with your knowledge gained from knitting the cables in Square 1 should be sufficient to see you through.
Stitches are cabled on both right side and wrong side rows so 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 follow the correct instructions for the row you are on and the cable you are knitting.
AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH, IT’S TIME TO HAVE A GUESS AT THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION! Each month I am going to give you a letter in the title. Then it’s over to you to let us know what you think it is. Although you have only seen a small part of the design so far, there are a few clues in the first three squares so you might have some ideas already as to what the theme is. This year the title is only one word, and the word itself is not too long, only seven letters. So I am sure it won’t take you too long to work out what it is!?!
This month the letter I am giving you is ‘S’:
_ _ S _ _ _ _
If you think you know what it is, please email your answer to Sue at email@example.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 July blog. And if you are not, then it’s time to guess again!Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog for this year’s Mystery Cushion Club. I hope that you’ve found it helpful and informative and after reading it and watching the videos feel confident to go forth and knit your first three squares! It is always a complete joy to hear from you, so if you have any images of your cushion knitting or a story to tell, please get in touch and let us know how you are getting on and we will share it with the members in the next Mystery Cushion blog. Until then, please take care, enjoy your knitting and have a lovely relaxing month (hey, is that a clue?!?), Debbie x