HELLO EVERYONE! I AM HUGELY PROUD TO PRESENT THE MEMBER’S GALLERY, WHICH SHOWCASES THE BRILLIANT WORK DONE BY MY LOVELY MEMBERS! Some of the projects in the gallery are Mystery Blankets and Cushions from 2022, but there are lots of other lovely pieces of work to browse through as well that have been lovingly made over the past year. There’s some great ideas for stash-busting too, so take some time out, settle down with a cuppa and immerse yourself in a wealth of beautiful projects…
…and I begin with the 2022 Mystery Blanket, Deco Dreams, which was knitted up by 600 members last year. It was a challenging design with lots of intricate patterns, a ton of beads and plenty of sparkle. It was embraced wholeheartedly with enthusiasm and determination, and the results are stunning.
First up is Kelly Symons from Alexander in Arizona, USA and she sent in these wonderful pictures of her completed Deco Dreams blanket which looks incredible. What an amazing backdrop to the blanket and so lovely to see it out in all that glorious Arizona sunshine. The cat seems to be loving it too!
Kelly says: “Thank you for such a beautiful blanket! I think it is a truly inspired design. I love, love, LOVE the beads and all the sparkle! It is hard to pick a favourite square between the little beaded swags, the tiny cables, sparkly yarn and rhinestones…it was a beautiful journey all year long.
This blanket will go to live in Oklahoma with my mom, and I am proud to give it to her. She is excited too, she often called making sure I was knitting!!
Thank you again for a beautiful design, I am in love with it.”
Annabel Casey from Banbury in Oxfordshire, UK has knitted many of the Mystery Blankets over the years, and every one of them has been knitted beautifully. Deco Dreams is another one to add to her ever-growing collection. And she’s all signed up for next year too!
Annabel says: “Some squares this year took a long time, but it was worth it in the end. It’s very heavy! It’s going to my friend Linda who’s very excited at the prospect of being the owner of a Mystery Blanket. Which reminds me I must sew on the label!”
Another Mystery Blanket Club regular is June McBain from Edinburgh in Scotland, UK and she was thrilled with her Deco Dreams blanket! Doesn’t it look gorgeous, especially on that garden bench in the natural light. The edgings look lovely too, so neatly knitted, great job June!
Jane Boyd from Leigh in Worcestershire, UK sent in regular updates on her Mystery Blanket knitting last year, and you may remember that she knitted the blanket alongside a group of knitters who decided to take it on together as a joint project. It was so successful that they have decided to do it all over again this year, under the guidance of Jane who keeps them on their toes! This is Jane’s lovely blanket, complete with a very content looking cat!
Jane says: “I just wanted to thank you for yet another absolutely gorgeous blanket. I don’t know where your inspiration comes from but it’s limitless! Looking forward to starting the 2023 MB!”
I am always amazed at how many blankets one can knit, and Catherine Pope from Nottingham, UK has knitted at least six from the collection, plus Mystery Cushions and many other Debbie projects too. I met Catherine several years ago at Yarn in Chilwell (how I miss that lovely shop!), and she regularly came to Mystery Club meetings and workshops there. She’s a fabulous knitter and is always so happy to share her completed projects. And here’s another one, her beautifully knitted Deco Dreams!
Catherine says: “I managed to finish the 2022 blanket just before Christmas and am delighted with it. Here's a picture of it as I know how much you like to see the finished products!”
Beverley Green from Mill Hill in London, UK has a unique way of completing her Mystery Blankets which makes them larger and more suitable for a bigger bed. I think it’s a great idea, and all the extra hard work is definitely worth it. Check out her Deco Dreams and House of Aphrodite (from 2011!) blankets, don’t they look amazing!
Beverley says: “Here is a picture of my completed Mystery Blanket for 2022. As I have knitted all mystery blankets (except the first one) and given them as gifts for my children and grandchildren, I sew them onto a larger bedspread and replicate the border onto the larger bedspread to finish them off. This one I made for ourselves. I knitted the whole bedspread and inserted the Mystery Blanket into the centre. I am now looking forward to starting the 2023 Mystery Blanket!”
Can you imagine knitting not just one Mystery Blanket but two of the same design?!? Margaret Hall-Craggs from London, UK did just that, but decided to stash-bust and knit one of them using all her left over bits and pieces of yarn. I am amazed at what she has come up with. It’s a truly beautiful piece of work, and the colours all work so well together. What a great project and a brilliant way to make use of all those odds and ends!
Margaret says: “Alongside my lovely Mystery Blanket I have used almost all my bits of left over wool to make a parallel blanket. I only needed to buy some of your beads and the metallic thread. As I gave my Mystery Blanket away as a present I am really pleased to have this one to save on my energy bills! Blanket knitting is a wonderful way of relaxing and being productive. Like growing vegetables!”
Julia Green from Bristol, UK has also been busy knitting two Deco Dreams blankets, and wow – look what she has come up with! Like Margaret, she decided to use up bits and pieces of yarn from her stash and had a strict rule that nothing extra could be purchased for it. What a brilliant idea and a wonderful project! This is such a great stash-busting project, and it’s resulted in the creation of a whole second blanket – genius!
Julia says: “Just a quick note to say how much I have enjoyed the journey and how much I have learned doing my first Mystery Blanket. I am delighted with it and very proud. Encouraged by my knitting group I made a parallel blanket from my stash of yarn. This was a real mix of colour, weight and fibre from cotton to acrylic and 4 ply to chunky. I used few beads, the rule was just reuse, recycle and buy nothing. And as the MBs design is known only to you Debbie, naturally there was no planning of colour and quite a bit of running out and clashing. All in all I am really pleased with the zany results, and so pleased to finally use some yarn that’s been around over thirty years. I am looking forward to this year’s launch, the first delivery is here and I am about to do a tension square.”
Sarah Johnston from Newport on Tay in Fife, Scotland, UK was thrilled to have completed her Deco Dreams blanket and made a small change to the design, which makes it much more personal and unique. This is something I love to see and always welcome with any of my designs. So thanks Sarah for sending in your photo and sharing your ideas!
Sarah says: “I have finished my blanket! I have loved every moment of the knitting. It's in the process of its final blocking in our back bedroom. I went my own direction with the centre square! And by the way, not one knot, I loved the yarn!”
Alison Riddell from Worcester, UK successfully completed her Mystery Blanket and already has a new project lined up and ready to go! She has a knitting companion to work alongside her this time which I am sure will make the experience so much more enjoyable!
Alison says: “I just wanted to say thank you for the free pattern (Nordic Village Hot-Water Bottle cover) which is plugging the gap while waiting for the start of the 2023 Mystery Blanket. It has inspired me to put together a knitting kit for my ninety-three-year-old Mum. She loves my 2022 blanket and wants to have a go at something smaller. We are going to knit alongside each other, and I can’t wait to see how much she can do after so many years away from knitting. Thank you for giving me more motivation and for inspiring me to do this.”
If you fancy working on two Mystery projects then did you know that there is an annual Mystery Cushion Club which runs in a similar way to the Mystery Blanket? Myra Sharp from Reading in Berkshire, UK took on both challenges last year and was thrilled to get them completed before the start of the 2023 Mystery Blanket. You can see her One Thousand & One Nights Mystery Blanket in one of the photos, and it looks so good coupled with the Pure Nouveau Mystery Cushion – what a great combo!
Myra says: “Here is my 2022 Mystery Blanket and Mystery Cushion! I thoroughly enjoyed making them and got finished just in time for the 2023 blanket. I did Option One throughout, but I did add a few extra buttons to my blanket, and I actually liked what I am sure was meant to be the reverse side, so I went a bit rebellious and sewed them on probably upside down! This mystery blanket was quite different to last year’s but it wouldn’t do if they were all the same. I do keep hoping there will be a pictorial blanket one year, either animals or flowers, as I have missed previous ones as last year was my first blanket. So here’s hoping, but I do look forward to the mystery. Thank you so much for such enjoyable projects. Ooh, I am so looking forward to this year’s Mystery Blanket!”
And while we are talking about the Mystery Cushion, here is another splendid Pure Nouveau, completed by Jane Campbell from Ellon, Aberdeenshire in Scotland, UK. This was Jane’s first ever KAL, and by the sound of it, she may be hooked! Her intarsia skills are to be commended – it’s not easy dealing with all those bobbins at once. Well done Jane!
Jane says: “This is the first time I have taken part in a mystery KAL and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would get quite excited when I knew the next patterns were due! I particularly enjoyed the chevron stitch pattern but also had a lot of fun with the bobbins dangling as I used the intarsia technique. The video technique explanations were very helpful.”
Jan Quigley from Skibbereen in Co. Cork, Ireland decided to take on the 2022 Mystery Cushion as her first Debbie project, and what an amazing job she’s made of it! This was quite a complex design that mixed together lots of different techniques including fairisle, chevron stitch and intarsia, so for Jan this was a real adventure into the unknown. But look how brilliantly she’s done. I’m not sure that I would have been quite so brave!
Jan says: “Here is my completed cushion! I thoroughly enjoyed this five month project - my first from you - and am looking forward to next year’s Mystery Blanket. I’d not done intarsia or beading before so this was new to me. I had done fairisle but not ‘properly’ - I used to run it along the back over far too many stitches - so the weaving in was also new to me. As you can see from the photos I went a bit ‘rogue’ on the upper back panel with the s2kpo (I slipped and knitted individually rather than doing both stitches together) but it seemed to work ok! I can see some mistakes (one of my beads went a bit wonky) but that’s me being picky - on the whole I’m quite chuffed with my effort. It adds so much colour and brightness to the dark winter evenings and I love the colour mixes which I would never have been brave enough to put together myself. Trying to get my head around crochet now for the next few months until my Mystery Blanket comes knocking!”
When you have several grandchildren it is likely that you are going to be asked to knit the same thing several times so that each child has their own handknitted gift from grandma. And this is exactly what happened to Andrea Gostick from Purley in Surrey, UK. Here is her pair of I Feel Love cushion covers, one knitted in the original pink colourway, with the second one knitted in a vibrant leaf green. Andrea used the same colours of beads on both projects, but was pleasantly surprised at how different the background colour makes the beads look. I had to look twice as I thought she had recoloured the beaded hearts too! They look tremendous together and I am sure will be much loved by her grandchildren.
Daphne Cavanah from Wadebridge in Cornwall, UK has been super busy knitting accessories and garments and sent in pictures of her huge collection of recently completed projects. She must have been knitting non-stop to produce so many items! Daphne made some of them for gifts which I am sure were very gratefully received. It’s lovely to see such a prolific portfolio of work and all knitted so beautifully too. It’s a very inspiring collection which I am sure will motivate others to get their knitting needles clicking. Thanks for sharing your wonderful collection with us Daphne!
Daphne says: “The cardi was inspired by knitting your Mystery Blanket 2022, using Baby Cashsoft Merino and the yellow was some Felted Tweed I had left over. It is a Martin Storey design adapted by me. My cardi was very gratefully received. I was very happy with the way it worked out.
This hat was inspired by Summer in Cornwall, sea, sand and sky. It’s knitted in Felted Tweed, Baby Cashsoft Merino, and a multi coloured yarn that I bought years back. I just dig out my odd yarns and put them together. I used a simple graph and adapted Martin Storey's Lattice hat pattern.
The next hat has the same patterning but is inspired by Autumn leaves. The yarns used are different shades of Felted Tweed.
And this hat uses Alpaca Soft DK in Green Teal and Rainy Day. The patterning is the same as the other hat. I knitted it especially for my granddaughter.”
And here is another super collection of knitted items which spans across many years of Debbie projects! Jo Rawlins from Norfolk, UK has been knitting up blankets, cushions and bags since I met her well over ten years ago. And as you can see, she has a huge collection which she is very proud of. Jo is always up for learning new techniques and improving on her existing skills. So it’s great to see such a professionally finished and polished collection of projects. Many of them I can hardly remember myself as I designed them so many years ago. So it’s good to see them again – like old friends! - and so beautifully knitted too. Well done Jo, there’s enough there to fill a small museum!
Cynthia Wenden from London, UK has been extremely busy and not only knitted up many Mystery Blankets, but she’s made cushions to match them too! I love the way that Cynthia has combined together different selections of patterns and colours from the blankets to make the cushions. The choice of squares for the front panels work really well. And the abstract patterns on the back of the cushions are just brilliant, I really love the large blocks of colour and the bold patterns – they look so dynamic! And the choice of random buttons is just perfect and finishes them off beautifully. These are a joy to see!
Cynthia says: “I have been knitting Mystery Blankets since 2012. I have seven grandchildren and decided that I would give them a blanket each when they went to university - they were allowed to choose the one they would like. As there is always plenty of wool left so I knitted each of them a cushion to match their blanket and gave it to them at Christmas. This year grandchild numbers five and six both started at university. One had chosen the 2019 Blanket, Winter Wonderland, and the other chose 2020, Our Precious Earth. I had two cushions to finish by Christmas so I am very behind on the 2022 blanket. Luckily the final grandchild doesn't leave school until 2024, so hopefully I can catch up by then!”
To conclude the Member’s Gallery is this lovely contribution from Ximena Verdugo Mozo from Valparaíso in Chile, who some of may remember knitted the 2022 Mystery Blanket, One Thousand & One Nights, and regularly sent in updates of her progress for the blog. For the past year she has been working on the Picnic blanket from my first book, Blankets & Throws To Knit, and has created this most beautiful gift for her grandson. I am sure he will absolutely love it and treasure it forever.
Ximena says: “I want you share with you the Picnic Blanket which I have just finished knitting for my oldest grandson Mateo, who is now living in Mainz, Germany with his family. He chose this blanket from your wonderful book “Blankets & Throws to Knit” which I bought last year and enjoy every time I look at the different amazing projects.
I knitted it with yarn I found here in Chile in similar colours as I didn’t find the exact jeans denim blue and had some trouble with the beads because I couldn’t find the 6 mm size… but as I’m a very persistent woman I did it with silver and pearl beads of 2mm (hard to put on the yarn but I did it!). I also adapted it to six instead of nine rows of nine squares each because Mateo didn’t wanted it so big. It looks beautiful and I feel really happy and proud! I could follow all the instructions and had no problem to achieve the goal! The instructions in the book are very clear and precise.
As I live so far away in Viña Del Mar, Chile, I think it is better to buy the yarn and beads here as it takes time and much more money to buy it from you in the UK. But I thought you would like to know that although I live really far away from your place I’m really inspired by your beautiful ideas, techniques and projects. I’ve learned many new ways to knit and use beads!
So, thank you very much and good wishes to you! I’ll be checking your news at Instagram and YouTube as well as in my mail!”
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the Member’s Gallery and made it such a vibrant and exciting collection of work! It is wonderful to see the projects that have been knitted up and to hear such lovely positive feedback. I hope that you all stay creative and inspired throughout this year and continue to make lots of beautiful things with your yarn and needles. Don’t forget to keep in touch. Happy knitting everyone, Debbie, x