WELCOME TO MY FIRST EVER MYSTERY BABY BLANKET CLUB BLOG! And what better way to start the Autumn season than with a brand new knitting adventure! We have over three-hundred members in this Club – many of whom are also knitting this year’s Mystery Blanket and/or the Mystery Cushion as well (you brave souls!). But there are a lot of new knitters too who are embarking on their first ever ‘mystery’ project with me, so welcome aboard!
And in case you are one of those brand new members, the first thing you need to know is that this is the place you need to come to every month to read my monthly newsletter and find out all the latest updates about the Club, including lots of tips and advice on the squares you are knitting. So it would be a good idea to make this your regular port of call at the beginning of each month before you make a start on your squares.
THE MYSTERY BABY BLANKET CLUB IS A GLOBAL PROJECT and this year we have knitters signed up to it from all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, China, Israel, Norway, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Iceland and the UK. I would like to say a big thank you to every member for signing up - wherever you are! - and I hope you enjoy the journey…
1st SEPTEMBER IS THE OFFICIAL START DATE OF THE 2019 MYSTERY BABY BLANKET CLUB and on this day the first patterns for the blanket have been emailed to the members. All of the knitting kits have been posted too, the dates of which were emailed to you a couple of days ago in a general newsletter about the Club. If you have not received your parcel yet it will be with you very soon. We kindly ask UK members to wait for at least a week after the parcels were posted before you contact us, and for overseas members we would ask that you give your parcels at least two weeks to arrive. We have a tracking number/barcode reference for all the members who opted for Tracked & Signed Delivery or Special Delivery, so if you would like us to email it to you please let us know. And if any of you have any worries about your parcel then you can contact Sue at: firstname.lastname@example.org and she will do her best to help you.
WE MADE EVERY EFFORT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE SENT THE CORRECT KNITTING KIT – ‘CLASSIC’ OR ‘CONTEMPORARY’ – however, if you have received the incorrect colourway, please let us know as soon as you can and we will check your order.
Below: Classic (Colourway 1)
Above: Contemporary (Colourway 2)
ALL MEMBERS THAT HAVE PAID FOR PRINTED PATTERNS will receive them in a separate card-backed envelope in seven separate monthly instalments.
In the printed brochure (and in the emailed file too), there are additional pages for making your own notes - a useful place to record anything you need to remember as you knit up your blanket squares.
All members, including the printed pattern members, will be emailed the remaining patterns on the 1st of each month from October - March. So please keep your eyes on your inbox and if nothing turns up please remember to check your Spam folder before talking to us as often this is where they end up.
EACH MONTH, IN ADDITION TO YOUR EMAILED PATTERNS, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD THE FILE FROM YOUR ACCOUNT ON OUR WEBSITE. This is a quick guide to how you can do this:
- 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
YOU HAVE ALL BEEN GIVEN A UNIQUE MEMBERSHIP NUMBER so please can you quote it in any correspondence to us. We can locate your details such as postal address and email much more quickly if we have your number, and this means that your query will be dealt with more efficiently. Your membership number was included in the confirmation email we sent to you when you signed up, and it is also written after your name on the address label of your parcel and printed patterns.
YOU HAVE A COLOUR CODER IN YOUR PARCEL and I would advise that you set this up before you start knitting as it will help you to identify all the different colours. It’s a good idea to tie a small amount of each yarn onto the card and write the name and/or shade number next to it. It is essential that you use the correct colour when instructed in the pattern otherwise you could run out of yarn.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COLOURS IN THE MAIL-OUTS MIGHT NOT BE COMPLETELY ACCURATE TO THE COLOUR OF THE ACTUAL YARNS – both in the printed paperwork and in the digital files. So please be aware of this when working each square. We have done our best to make sure that the colours are as accurate as possible, however some discrepancies might occur. So it is always best to read the name of the colours to use in the pattern instructions, rather than going by the photographs of the knitting and the graphics in the mail-outs.
THE SECTION IN THE MAIL OUT ON PAGE 3 CALLED “WORKING THE MYSTERY BABY BLANKET” has some important information which I recommend you read before starting to knit your blanket. Here you will find information on tension, the size of your squares, how to knit the squares in vertical strips (highly recommended!) and how to block and press your knitting. On pages 18-19 of the September Mail Out there is some further information on knitting techniques including intarsia, embroidery on knitted fabric and an abbreviations list.
THERE IS AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON PAGE 3 OF YOUR SEPTEMBER MAIL OUT WHICH TALKS ABOUT THE TWO COLOURWAYS, and it is advisable to read this before you start knitting. Each month’s patterns include the instructions for both colourways – ‘Classic’ (Colourway 1) and ‘Contemporary’ (Colourway 2).
Each colour has been given a letter as a reference which you can see on page 2 beside the coloured boxes on the right-hand side. These letter references and coloured boxes are used in the patterns to indicate which colour is to be used for each square. Notice that there are six colours for Colourway 1 and seven for Colourway 2. The extra colour is in Colourway 2 and is referred to as ‘A1’. So watch out for this when you read the patterns as either ‘A’ or ‘A1’ will be used for Colourway 2 in place of ‘A’ for Colourway 1.
You will see a Piecing diagram on page 4 which shows the squares you are knitting this month with ‘Classic’ on the left-hand side and ‘Contemporary’ on the right-hand side. Each month the new squares to knit will be added to the diagrams, consequently revealing the design, bit by bit.
On each pattern page the Colourways are listed in the same way with ‘Classic’ (Colourway 1) first, followed by ‘Contemporary’ (Colourway 2). If you look at page 6 as an example, you will see that under KNIT there are coloured boxes. The first coloured box is always Colourway 1 and the second box is always Colourway 2. You will also see on this page the image of the square in the two colourways, with Colourway 1 at the top and Colourway 2 beneath it. And if there is a chart then they are presented on the following page with Colourway 1 first followed by Colourway 2, as on page 7 (see below):
UNFORTUNATELY I HAVE FOUND AN ERROR IN THE SEPTEMBER PATTERNS. It's on both charts for Square 15 on page 17. The three Swiss darned stitches in the centre of the heart (where it divides into two) are incorrectly placed on both colourways. The incorrect stitches are on chart rows 17 and 18, and 40 and 41. The stitches that should be Swiss darned instead are as follows:
Row 16, stitch 27
Row 17, stitches 26 and 28
Row 19, stitches 25 and 29
Row 39, stitch 10
Row 40, stitches 9 and 11
Row 42, stitches 8 and 12
You might find it helpful to use the image of Colourway 1 on page 16 as a reference for your Swiss darning.
I will get the file revised and emailed to all the members next week. And members who have printed patterns will have page 17 reprinted and posted to them with their October patterns.
I HAVE FOUND ONE OTHER VERY MINOR TYPO IN THE SEPTEMBER MAIL OUT. It’s on page 10, Square 3, in the first paragraph under KNIT. It says to pick up and knit the stitches along the cast-off edge of Square 3, but it should say Square 2. This is pretty obvious as you are about to knit Square 3! But hopefully this note will clear up any confusion.
I apologise sincerely for these errors and hope that they do not spoil your enjoyment of the September patterns.
IN YOUR KNITTING KIT THERE IS A MYSTERY BABY BLANKET CLUB WOVEN BAG, which could be used to keep your yarns in while you are knitting the project. Alternatively, if your completed blanket is going to be given away as a gift then you could use it as a gift bag. Either way round I hope you find it useful!
THE TITLE OF THE BABY MYSTERY BLANKET will be kept a secret until you guess what it is yourself (or you open the little envelope containing your woven label inside your kit!). But as well as clues in the monthly squares, I also give you extra help with your guesses each month by giving you a clue in a "letter" quiz. Here is the first clue for the title of this year’s Mystery Baby Blanket. In each blog I will give you another letter to help you guess the title of the Mystery Blanket. This month the letter I am giving you is “T”:
_ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / T _ / T _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _
Please send your guesses to Sue at email@example.com. There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a a bit of fun each month until you guess it!
THESE ARE THE FIVE SQUARES THAT YOU WILL KNIT THIS MONTH:
Square 1: Sweetheart – intarsia motif with small bobbles
Below: Colourway 1
Above: Colourway 2
Square 2: Soft Chevron – chevron lace pattern
Below: Colourway 1
Above: Colourway 2
Square 3: Candy Cable – stripe cable pattern
Below: Colourway 1
Above: Colourway 2
Square 8: Baby Stripe – stripe pattern with textured stitches
Below: Colourway 1
Above: Colourway 2
Square 15: Sleep Well My Love – intarsia squares with Swiss darned motifs
Below: Colourway 1
Above: Colourway 2
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 with, pre-warning you what to look out for and giving you some useful information about how to knit the square. In the following notes below I am going to give you a few extra tips about some of the squares, which should help you a bit more with your knitting...
SQUARE 1, SWEETHEART: this intarsia pattern has small bobbles inside the motif which follow the shape of the heart. You will find some advice about the intarsia technique on page 18 of your mail out, but basically it means that you are using separate balls of yarn to knit each section of colour. I decided to use bobbins to wind my yarns onto as I find they help keep my tension – and my mind! – in better shape. So before I started to knit this square I wound off two bobbins of yarn A and two bobbins of yarn F. I cast on using the ball of yarn F and then introduced the first bobbin of yarn F on chart row 10. Then on chart row 34 I introduced the second bobbin of yarn F. The first bobbin of yarn A was introduced on chart row 8, with the second bobbin on chart row 36. You may choose to work slightly different to what I have suggested to you here, which is fine. However, it is important to keep any carrying across of yarns at the back of the work to a minimum, only carrying them across when it is absolutely necessary. Remember that you are creating a single-thickness fabric, so double thickness fabric is a no-no!
SQUARE 2, SOFT CHEVRON: this all-over lace pattern has all the work to do on the right side rows, while all the wrong side rows are simply purled back.You have a choice to work from either worded instructions or a chart – or indeed both, if preferred. If you are new to reading lace stitches from a chart then it’s a great introduction to it as you have the worded instructions to help you out if you get stuck.
Notice that is uses a slightly smaller needle than the main needle size. So it’s 3.00mm needles for this square which will help to keep the lace stitches nice and neat.
SQUARE 3, CANDY CABLE: this striped cable pattern is also presented in two formats, so you have the choice to work from whichever one suits you best.
You will not be able to carry the different coloured yarns up the side of the work as you won’t be at the correct side to pick them up when you need them. So cut them off when you have completed each whole stripe leaving an end of approximately 8cm (3in) that can be sewn in later on.
All of the cables twist in the same direction which is to the right (cb6). You might find it difficult to see these symbols on the Denim rows on the chart for Colourway 2 (on page 13). However, you can see them much more clearly on Colourway 1, so you could use this chart as a reference instead. Both charts are the same, it’s just the colours that are different.
One final note on this square is that Colourway 2 uses ‘A1’ (and not ‘A’), which is the Silver yarn in your Contemporary colourway kit. So please don’t use the Cream yarn in error!
SQUARE 8, BABY STRIPE: this stripe pattern has rows of textured stitches at regular intervals between the stocking stitch stripes. These textured rows are a mixture of very basic fairisle (you pick up one colour and knit a stitch, drop that yarn and pick up the other colour and knit one stitch, and so on) and slipped stitches (on the next row back). All of the slipped stitches are slipped purlwise, with the yarn taken back and forth between the needles on alternate stitches to avoid any strands occurring on the front of the work. While you are working these rows keep the yarns pulled up tightly to keep the stitches neat.
SQUARE 15, SLEEP WELL MY LOVE: this square is knitted using the intarsia technique, but it is a little easier to knit than Square 1 as there are just four separate blocks of colour. You could knit this square from the whole balls of yarn, however, I chose to use yarn bobbins. I like the weight that they give to the yarn, pulling them down, which in turn helps to keep the crossover between the two colours neater.
The moon and heart motifs are Swiss darned onto the knitting after it has been completed. I did my embroidery after the square had been blocked and pressed which meant that the stitches were neat and even and in their finished state – which is preferable. You might find it difficult to see the Swiss darned stitches on the chart for Colourway 1 on page 17. However, you can see them much more clearly on Colourway 2. So you could use this as a reference instead – both charts are the same, it’s just the colours that are different.
IF YOU HAVE A QUERY ABOUT YOUR MYSTERY BLANKET THEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO JOIN THE DEBBIE ABRAHAMS MYSTERY BLANKET THREAD ON RAVELRY, where you will find a bunch of very helpful and informative members who will be only too pleased to talk to you about your project. It is a great way to get help and answers to your knitting queries. And 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
ALTERNATIVELY, IF YOU LIVE IN THE NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AREA YOU MIGHT WANT TO JOIN ME AT A ‘MYSTERY’ CLUB MEETING. The meetings are hosted by Sarah Doherty who used to own the shop 'Yarn' in Beeston, Nottingham. Following the closure of her shop, Sarah has very generously invited us to her home for our Mystery Club meetings where we are able to enjoy a couple of hours of knit and chat over a cuppa (and usually a cake too!). Members from all three of my Mystery Clubs are welcome, so if you are in this Club and/or any of my others, why not join us?!?
The next meeting is on Wednesday 11th September from 4:00 – 6:00pm, and I will be joining the group with my little son Seth. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Sarah for more and hopefully I will see you there! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, we have reached the end of my first Mystery Baby Blanket blog and I hope that you have enjoyed reading it and found it helpful. Remember that you are never alone in a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club - I am always at the end of an email or phone, plus there is the fabulous group on Ravelry who offer plenty of support to those in need! So why not make yourself a cuppa, sit back and relax, and read through your first set of patterns before making a start on your squares?!? And remember that if you have any stories or photos about your blanket that you would like to share with the group, please send them into us and we will feature you in the next blog – we always love to hear from you! Until next time, take care and happy knitting, Debbie x