Mystery Blanket Club 2024: post 6, July

Mystery Blanket Club 2024: post 6, July

WELCOME TO THE SIXTH INSTALMENT OF THE 2024 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! And as the temperatures begin to rise here in the UK and summer seems to have finally arrived (I’m keeping my fingers crossed!), it’s the perfect time of year for sitting out in the garden with your Mystery Blanket squares, knitting the hours away… 

There are six squares to knit this month with some repeats of previous squares – some given a new lease of life in a new colourway – and a brand new square too, so there’s plenty to keep you going for the next four weeks. This month is a read-only blog so there is no intro vid from me and there are no new tech vids. But if you need any technical guidance for the July squares, you can locate the technique in the list of blogs below and scroll back to the one you need. There are now fifteen tech vids that you can go back to as and when needed.

  • How to knit star stitch (June blog)
  • How to cast on using several colours (April blog)
  • Square 22, Lunar (Option One), how to cross over the yarns (April blog)
  • Square 1, Capricorn (Option Two) (March blog)
  • How to knit intarsia (March blog)
  • How to cable (March blog)
  • Square 8, Tranquility: Japanese short-row shaping (February blog)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)
  • How to add Swiss darning to your knitting (February blog)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (February blog
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (February blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)
  • How to knit fairisle (February blog)
  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)

THE JULY PATTERNS HAVE BEEN SENT TO ALL THE MEMBERS, so you should find an email from us in your inbox. However, if you cannot see it then please check your Spam folder first before doing anything else as sometimes our emails end up in there.

We’ve recently set up a new system for downloading your monthly patterns for the Mystery Blanket. The email we send you is simply to notify you that the patterns are live in your online account – there is no longer a direct link to the file.

These are the steps that everyone needs to follow in order to access the new patterns each month:

  • Log into your Debbie Abrahams account on our website with your username and password.
  • Click the "DIGITAL DOWNLOADS" buttons to view your mail outs.
  • Your latest available mail-outs will be visible here in PDF format to download

If you are having a problem with logging into your account, please contact Jason on our tech team and he will be able to assist you: support@debbieabrahams.com

THE PRINTED PATTERNS HAVE BEEN POSTED TO THE MEMBERS WHO OPTED FOR THEM. The overseas were posted on the 26th June and the UK on the 27th June. All being well they are speedily making their way to you and hopefully you will have them by the 1st of the month. However, if the postal system in your area is a little slow, there might be a slight delay in their delivery to you. But please do not panic, just sit tight and they will be with you soon.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK THE ADDENDUM PAGE ON OUR WEBSITE BEFORE YOU START TO KNIT EACH SQUARE - any corrections that are reported to us are immediately published on there. Everyone dislikes a pattern correction – no one more so than me – but they do happen from time to time, despite our stringent knit tests and numerous checks.

In MO5 (June) these corrections were found, most of them minor things, but still worth a mention:

Page 6: in the picking up instructions it should say to use Iris and Serenity (and not Fjord and Baby Blue).

Page 12: the Velvet beads care code 224 (and not code 244).

Page 13: the square is cast off using Sublime yarn (not Uranus).

IF YOU FANCY A SMALLER PROJECT TO WORK ON ALONGSIDE YOUR MYSTERY BLANKET, THEN KEEP AN EYE OPEN FOR OUR NEW TUSCANY CASE AND COSY KIT! This is the project that I talked about in the June blog, it’s the one that I ran in Italy for The Watermill knitting holiday in May of this year. Each kit includes the yarn, beads, magnetic clasp, Kaffe Fassett lining fabric and rhinestone studs to knit up two projects – a large case and a small cosy (perfect for a mobile phone). The geometric design is similar to the Carnival Case which we have now discontinued. So if you have had your eye on that kit, you will soon to be able to knit it up in this brand new colourway which combines together a rich palette of colours from Rowan’s wonderful Cotton Glace range inspired by Italian architecture and hot summer sunshine.

The kit goes on sale on Friday 5th July, so be sure to mark this on your calendar if you don’t want to miss out. Initially we will have forty kits for sale, so if you want one of them, make sure you watch out for an email from us hitting your inbox as soon as it is launched!

ANOTHER NEW PROJECT THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO KEEP YOUR EYE OPEN FOR IS THE LAUNCH OF MY 2025 MYSTERY BLANKET, WITH SIGN-UPS STARTING AT THE END OF AUGUST. I can hardly believe that it’s almost this time of year again – it comes around so quickly! But yarns have already been decided, the colour palette is almost finalised, and the sampling has begun. So as you can imagine, I am super excited as I always am about embarking on a whole new design for next year’s knit-a-long.

Above: MBC16, A French Romance.

The 2025 Mystery Blanket will use some of the most beautiful yarns from the Rowan collection including Felted Tweed, Summerlite DK, Denim Revive and Soft Yak. I won’t be producing my own yarn next year for the blanket, so it will all be from the Rowan collection. It’s a very different choice of yarns and colours that I’ve opted for in comparison to this year’s Mystery Blanket, with a whole new theme too, of course. I’m going much softer, subtler and calmer – a move away from bright vibrant colours to something much more quiet and soothing. There’s going to be a real mixture of fibers – smooth, soft cottons with grainy textures and felted wools. And there will of course be beads too, in subtle colours, adding the odd twinkle here and there to the design. Think back to Our Precious Earth from 2020 and you’re on the right lines…

Above: MBC20, Our Precious Earth.

When we open the sign-ups at the end of August, we will be giving all Early Birds a very special offer. This will be in collaboration with Rowan yarns who we are thrilled to be working with on this project. The Early Bird offer will be given to all members who sign up to the club by the end of September, and is available to everyone, including members who opt to pay in instalments meaning you can sign yourself up and enjoy the Early Bird benefits for as little as £72.50.  

Above: MBC17, Retrospective.

Interested?!? Then keep an eye on your inbox and watch out for the launch next month. And in next month’s blog I might just give away a few more snippets about next year’s design – but not too much, after all, it is a ‘mystery’!

LOOKING AT THE LETTER CLUES BELOW, THE TITLE IS ALMOST REVEALED, WITH JUST A FEW LETTERS MISSING. Many of you have guessed it correctly (did you see the blog I wrote last month that listed everyone – it’s a very long list!), but not everyone has sent in a guess yet. Apologies to Jacqui Taylor who did guess it within the first month, but unfortunately I omitted her from the list (sorry Jacqui!). And congrats go to Pauline Keys and Karen Bass who have guessed it correctly since that blog was written, so well done to both of you!

However, if you are still playing the guessing game then here’s another letter to help you if you need a clue…

This month the letter I am giving you is “H”:

_  T  ‘  S  / _  R  _  T  T  E  N  /  _  N  /  T  H  E  /  S  T  _  R  S

There are only three more letters to add to the title to complete it, so if the new letter this month has given you an idea, please send in your guess to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com. And if you do get it right, with your permission we will include your name in the next blog. Good luck everyone!

THERE ARE SIX SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:

Square 6, Cosmic 3 – textured stripe pattern (same for both options):

Square 12, Stargazer 2 – textured stripe pattern (same for both options):

Square 13, Solar 2 – cable pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 18, Inner Peace – moss stitch and garter stitch stripes (same for both options):

Square 39, Starry Starry Night 2 – textured stripe pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 45, Aquarius (Option One) – fairisle pattern with textured stripes and slip-stitch beads:

Square 45, Aquarius (Option Two) – slip-stitch pattern with textured stripes and slip-stitch beads:

On each pattern page there is a list of Pattern notes and tips that are worth reading before you start to knit each square. These bits of advice will help you and give pre-warnings as to what to look out for in the pattern instructions. Also take note of the description under the title of each square as this tells you what the stitch structure is.

You can use the tech vids from previous blogs to help you knit your squares. But here are a few extra tips to assist you:

SQUARE 6, COSMIC 3: this is a re-colour of squares 2 and 44 and swaps out the blue and green shades for pinks and purples as the colours change from cool and calm to warm and vibrant towards the top half of the blanket.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • Square 1, Capricorn (March blog)

For the sparkly sections in this square you will be using Gold Pearl in place of Silver Ghost, and Lilac Lavender in place of Turquoise Daisy, with Baby Blue replaced by Hyacinth. This is the first time that all of these new colours from the second part of your kit have been used. Isn’t it lovely to be venturing into a different colour palette – especially if you love purples and pinks!

You’ll most probably remember from knitting the Cosmic stripe pattern twice before that it alternates between stripes of stocking stitch and the textured stitch pattern which is used in the alternative option to the intarsia squares (Capricorn and Virgo) and also Starry Starry Night. There’s a tech vid to help you with this stitch, so simply scroll back to the March blog if you need a reminder.

In this stripe pattern it is not advisable to carry yarns up the side of the work as there are too many rows between them. Instead I have instructed them to be cut off, but if you can, weave in the loose ends as you go to save darning them in later.

SQUARE 12, STARGAZER 2: this all-over textured stripe pattern is a re-colour of squares 10 and 38, with blues and greens swapped out for purples.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • How to knit star stitch (June blog)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)

This is the textured stitch pattern where most of the work takes place on WS rows. The little ‘stars’ are created by P3tog (a double decrease), yrn (which is an increase of one stitch), followed by P3tog again into the same stitches (which creates another increase).

This stitch can be a little hard on the hands – it’s the P3tog into the same three stitches which can be a little difficult to do. But if you take your time with this, then the reward is the following RS row after every WS row on which all the stitches are knitted. Just take extra care on this row to ensure that you knit into each stitch and don’t knit two stitches together in error as they tend to sit bunched up together in each star cluster.

SQUARE 13, SOLAR 2: this square is also a re-colour of a previous square in the blanket, originally knitted using Neptune yarn for squares 9 and 37, but this time you will be reaching for your ball of Jupiter yarn – I just adore this colour!

Videos to watch for assistance:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • How to cable (March blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)

There is quite a lot going on in this square, but once you get into the pattern repeat it’s a really lovely one to knit, with just enough to keep you on your toes without being too overwhelming. I think that the lengthy worded instructions on page 11 and the chart on page 12 make it look more complicated than what it actually is. But once you get familiar with all the symbols, you will be flying!  When I knitted this square, I opted to work from the chart but referenced what the symbols mean for the stitches between the cables – the lacey stitches where the beads are hooked in – from the worded instructions. However, after a few repeats it all fell into place and I could remember what to do so I didn’t need to cross reference them anymore. But if you find it more helpful to have the symbols written out, you coud jot them down on the Notes page opposite for a quick and easy reference. That way the instruction will always be there for you when and if needed.

Another thing to watch out for in this square are the slipped stitches on WS rows, which begin on Chart row 2. These stitches are slipped to create a neater edge to the cables. On the chart they are represented as a short horizontal dash. I found they could be easily missed if I wasn’t careful, so just be aware of them and make sure that you remember to slip these stitches if you want super neat Solar cables!

SQUARE 18, INNER PEACE: this is a new square that combines together moss stitch and garter stitch to create a soft, fuzzy stripe pattern in shades of purples and blues with shots of sparkly gold lurex.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)

Apart from the cast-on/pick up at the beginning and the cast-off row at the end, this whole square is knitted on small needles (2.50mm). This is because moss stitch and garter stitch increase the width of a stitch so if you don’t change needle size the width of the square will be too wide and the stitches will be too loose. The row tension, however, goes the other way and is condensed down, so that it why the row count is higher than other squares in the blanket – it’s 97 rows in total.

When you have knitted a few rows of this square, take a look at the tension to see if it is working out okay. And if you think it is knitting up a bit loose (ie, the square is bulging out at the sides), then you could consider using a smaller needle to knit it. My test knitters had mixed results with this. Two of them found that it knitted up fractionally long, although this was resolved through blocking and pressing. And the other test knitter and myself found that it knitted up to the correct measurements. Tension is such a funny thing and varies from person to person. But if you check yours to make sure you are on track, and change needle size if you are not, then you will be fine.

The good news is that the pattern itself is easy to knit, it’s just the tension you’ll need to keep an eye on.

SQUARE 39, STARRY STARRY NIGHT 2: this is exactly the same as Square 11 from Mail Out 5.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • Square 1, Capricorn (Option Two) (March blog)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)

If you need a reminder of the stitch pattern in this square, then the tech vid from the March blog for Capricorn (Option Two) will guide you through it. Some of the members who knitted this square found themselves in a pickle on the wrong-side rows where stitches are passed over and off the needle. So make sure that you read this instruction very carefully and follow what it says. And if in doubt, watch the vid.

When Starry Starry Night was first knitted I had a few of the members contact me about Row 58, which is the last row before casting off. The problem was that they ended up with 40 stitches instead of 41 stitches. This is because there is no passing over of the stitch after the last hooked-in bead, which is a change to what you have been instructed to do throughout the rest of this row. So take care not to go onto automatic pilot when you get to this point in the pattern. After the last hooked-in bead you simply purl the last two stitches. And then you will have the correct number to cast off.

SQUARE 45, AQUARIUS (Option One): this is the fifth square in the blanket that has fairisle zodiac symbols, and it’s the last one that you will knit in the green/blue colourway.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (February blog
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (February blog)
  • How to knit fairisle (February blog)

This is the only square this month with an alternative option to knit. I would recommend that you choose the same option that you knitted for Square 3, Libra and Square 5, Gemini.

It follows the same stripe sequences as these two squares, but this time the symbols are for Aquarius, which you can see on the chart on page 19. The chart has been drafted up with a white background so that the symbols in Sapphire are easier to see.

Don’t forget that the needle sizes change from 3.50mm to 2.50mm for the rows of garter stitch in the beaded stripes. This will keep the stitch tension the same as the rest of the square.

SQUARE 45, AQUARIUS (Option Two): this is the easier alternative and uses the same colours as Option One.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Picking up stitches to begin a new square (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (February blog
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (February blog)

This square is the same as Squares 3, 15 and 29, and is the last time you will use this combination of greens and blues in the blanket,

Remember to watch for the Indigo beads which are knitted in across the middle of the slip-stitch sections as they are hard to see on the image of the square on page 20. The instructions for this are on Row 20, and are repeated twice more in the square.

MARY LEESON HAS BEEN A MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB MEMBER SINCE 2009 AND IS A VERY ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE KNITTING COMMUNITY. She attends craft meetings at the library in Nottingham every Monday between 10:30-12:30pm where people have the opportunity to knit, crochet, chat and have a laugh in the company of like-minded people.

Mary says: At the library we are classed as a well-being group, so we are given the room for a couple of hours for no charge. The group used to meet at the old Central Library just up from Parliament Square. Some of those knitters now come to the new library where we meet every Monday. It still has that same friendly vibe, and we all help each other. It's a very supportive group and we stay in touch with our own WhatsApp group. There is an amazing cafe and some of us arrive early to buy tea, coffee and cake. There is always lots of noise and laughter! People bring their knitting and crochet and there's often a show and tell. All are welcome.”

It's really lovely to hear that people are getting together to do their crafts, and the group at Nottingham Library certainly sound very lively! I know that Mary always takes along her lovely knitted and crocheted projects to show to the group and offers a lot of help too when needed. You can see some of her beautiful projects in the photos above. As you can see in the some of the other photos, she is often knitting her blanket squares at the meetings. So big thanks to Mary for sharing this with us, and for spreading the word of the Mystery Blanket and Cushion Clubs! I am sure that others might be encouraged to join after they see all your wonderful work!

I would like to say a big thank you to Nottingham City Council, the British Library and LibraryOn who provided the lovely images of the meeting used in this blog.

IF YOU ARE STARTING TO PLAN YOUR HOLIDAYS FOR 2025, THEN YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN JOINING ME ON A STITCHTOPIA KNITTING TOUR OF COUNTY KERRY IN IRELAND! I am absolutely thrilled to be back on board with the wonderful team at Stitchtopia (formerly Arena Travel), after taking a ten-year break following the arrival of my son, Seth.

My first trip back with them sees me heading off to Ireland for a glorious eight-day holiday in October 2025 on which you will be taken out on several trips including a tour of the famous Ring of Kerry, a guided tour of the Kerry Woollen Mills, a trip to Muckross House and Killarney National Park.  

I will design a special project for the tour which will be supported by workshops in which you will be given the opportunity to learn new knitting techniques or brush up on your existing skills. The project will use Rowan yarns and will include some colourwork, beading and textured stitches.

If this sounds of interest, then hop on over to the Stitchtopia website now where you can book your place on this amazing trip. Places are limited but there is still time to sign yourself up. And all being good I will see you next October for what will be a truly super knitting holiday!

https://www.stitchtopia.co.uk/holiday/knitting-county-kerry

I HAD A LOVELY TIME AT YARN LOFT IN NOTTINGHAM LAST MONTH AT THE MONTHLY MYSTERY CLUB MEETING! I was joined by Mary Leeson, Joan Bray, Vanessa Briscoe and Carol Williams, and we spent a very jolly couple of hours together, knitting and chatting while we knitted our blanket squares.

Doreen was the perfect host and looked after us with hot drinks and cakes (this time it was chocolate eclairs – yum!), while we relaxed and knitted in her wonderful shop. The shop is small but it is packed with hanks and balls of yarn in every possible colour, and she has a vast range of needles, hooks and other accessories too. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave and most times I never leave there empty-handed!

Yarn Loft is at 118 Hucknall Road, Carrington, Nottingham, tel number 07825 702433, website: www.yarnloft.co.uk. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 3rd July. If you are able to join us, then do pop down. It would be lovely to see you.

To cover the costs of hosting the meeting there is a small sub to pay (£3.00), which can be paid in cash to Doreen on the day.

DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW US AND JOIN IN ALL THE FRIENDLY BANTER ON OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS!

If you are not already a Ravelry member, then it is very easy (and free!) to join. Just follow the instructions on their website: http://www.ravelry.com

The Debbie Abrahams Mystery Knitters group on Facebook is another fun way to keep in touch with other members. It was set up a couple of years ago and has grown in size to over 500 members, so that’s well worth joining too.

We also have our own Facebook page where you will find regular updates on everything we are doing from knitting kits to workshops and events!

Instagram: debbieabrahams_knitting

Pinterest: debbieabrahams@debbieabrahamsk

Facebook: Debbie Abrahams Mystery Knitters

Facebook: Debbie Abrahams Handknits

Ravelry: Debbie Abrahams Handknits

AND FINALLY, IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT WHO IS THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH 2024 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB PRIZE DRAW!!! Each month a member is picked at random to win a Debbie Abrahams prize. So it is worth reading right the way to the end of each blog to see if you are that lucky member!

PRIZE DRAW SIX (JULY): this month’s winner is member 104, Alison Jones from Rushden in Northamptonshire, UK. Well done Alison! Please choose a prize from the following selection:

  • Your choice of one of Debbie’s knitting kits up to the value of £30.00 (take a look at them in our online shop).
  • Six packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads (size 8/0 or 6/0) from the selection on http://www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk
  • A £30 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club membership: 2024 Mystery Cushion Club or 2025 Mystery Blanket Club.
  • A Mystery bag of five gifts!

We will notify Alison to let her know the good news!

With the summer now well underway and our thoughts turning to holidays and trips away, your blanket squares are the perfect project to take away with you – just make sure that you remember to pack them in your suitcase! If the sun continues to shine here in the UK, then I am planning to spend some time outside over the next few weeks in my garden knitting – pure bliss! However, I have a busy month ahead with an Inspired Minds workshop at the wonderful Hurds Hill in Somerset, followed by a trip across to Birmingham to a group of knitters for a Lavish Purse knitting day, and then I’ll be heading east to Norfolk to spend a day with the Norfolk Knitting group. And in between all of that I will be busy working on lots of new designs, so there’ll be plenty to keep me going with little time to spare. And with six squares for you to knit this month, you are going to be kept very busy too! So I’m going to sign off now so that you can grab your knitting needles and make a start. Have fun everyone, I hope you enjoy knitting up the June squares, and I look forward to seeing you back here at the beginning of August for the seventh instalment, until then take care, Debbie x
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