WELCOME TO THE JULY MYSTERY BLANKET BLOG! And in this sixth instalment there is plenty to get excited about with six more squares to knit up, at the end of which two whole strips will be completed.
This means that if you want you can get ahead and sew them together. In this blog I give you advice about how to do this, plus there are lots of other things to keep you inspired and motivated including news about our forthcoming Inspired Minds knitting holiday to Hell Bay, Russ West’s beautiful hand-crafted beading bowls (I have one and it is gorgeous!), some lovely new colourful kits from BeadyKnits, and a return visit for one very mischievous cat!
So, let’s start with my introduction which is followed by two technical videos:
- How to pick up stitches from a selvedge (side) edge to knit a square (needed for Square 7).
- How to join squares together – three-needle cast-off/bind-off (needed to join Square 13 to Square 14)
THE PRINTED PATTERNS HAVE BEEN SENT – with the overseas patterns posted on 22nd June and the UK posted on the 28th June. Every member has been sent the patterns by email but remember you can also download them from your Debbie Abrahams account.
IF YOU LIKE A BARGAIN THEN WE HAVE SOME GOOD NEWS – OUR SUMMER SALE BEGINS ON SATURDAY 3rd JULY! For two weeks you can enjoy 10% off absolutely everything in our online shop! Simply select your items, place them in the basket and the discount will be automatically applied at checkout.
We have a great offer on our bespoke Debbie Abrahams Merino Light DK yarn – buy 10 balls of your choice for just £30 or 5 balls for £15, and you will get the 10% discount on top of this too.
(Please note that it’s only one discount per order so you won’t be able to use your MBC21 member discount for Debbie’s yarn in conjunction with this offer).
Although our Summer Bag kit is currently out of stock you can still place an order for it and we will ship it to you as soon as it is back in stock (mid-July), so you can still claim your discount on this too!
And there are two new bead colours in our glass bead collection, Frosted Peach (09ma) and Petrol (code 541). Both are available in sizes 6 and 8. Check them out – they might be just the colour you need for your next project!
So go on, treat yourself!
HOW DO FANCY A 6-NIGHT BREAK AT THE LUXURIOUS HELL BAY HOTEL IN THE ISLES OF SCILLY? Well, if you do then you are in luck as two suites have become available on our knitting holiday that runs from Tuesday 19th October – Monday 25th October 2021.
Hell Bay Hotel is situated in a secluded cove on the island of Bryher, which is the smallest of the inhabited islands of Scilly. Set in private grounds the hotel has twenty-five suites, and we have booked all of them for our stay.
As well as an award-winning restaurant (three AA Rosettes), there is also a spa treatment room, yoga classes, a private outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna for guests to use.
During the daytime the hotel’s restaurants and bar are open to the general public. However, after 6pm the entire hotel will be for the exclusive use of our knitting group, with several public areas including a large bar, sitting room and outside terrace available to knit and relax in.
You will be given a knitting kit to work on during your holiday, and to support this Debbie will be running workshops at the local community centre. However, there will be plenty of time too to explore the island so that you get the very best out of your stay in the Scillies.
During the week we will be visited by local textile artist Emma Humphries who designs and makes the most beautiful buttons. Not only is she going to give us a demonstration of how she makes them, but at your request she will make bespoke buttons for the guests, so that you can have your very own unique set.
The two suites that are available are priced at £1050 per person and are the choice of either a Garden or High Tide suite. This price is for single occupancy, however both suites can be made up for double occupancy and additional roommates are offered a discount.
Please note that this price does not include travel. You will need to organise your own travel with Skybus or Isles of Scilly Travel. Departures are from either Exeter, Newquay or Land’s End, with the option of a ferry, boat or helicopter. For boat transfers from St Mary’s to Bryher we advise that you contact the Hell Bay Hotel.
Due to the current unforeseen circumstances with international travel we are only offering these two remaining suites to UK residents.
For more details please contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be able to discuss the booking with you. We are asking for a £400 deposit to be paid when you make your booking, and then the remaining amount of £650 will need to be paid by Monday 2nd August.
AS MENTIONED IN MY INTRODUCTION, RUSS WEST’S BEADING BOWLS ARE AVAILABLE TO ORDER, and you can see more of his beautiful work on his Instagram page: russelljwest. On there you will see some absolutely divine handcrafted accessories, all hand carved out of wood. If you are interested in placing an order, please do go and take a look and get in touch with him through his Instagram page. I adore my beading bowl and it is incredibly useful as well as lovely to look at!
Here is Russ and his beading bowls!
BEADYKNITS HAVE LAUNCHED TWO NEW COLOURFUL CUSHION COVER KNITTING KNITS, in a collection inspired by sunkissed holidays to the Greek islands. There is a bright orange and pink design (Zinnia) and a matching one in a cooler palette of aqua, teal and turquoise (Athena). If you fancy another project to keep you busy this summer, then this could be the answer!
The designs combine ancient Greek architectural structures with patterns featuring the ‘Greek key’ (Athena, see image above) and the ‘modern Greek diamond’ (Zinnia, see image below)), with ocean waves and battlements.
They are perfect for a back support on a garden chair, a holiday project or a special gift for someone.
The designs include these knitting techniques:
- Beading, slip-stitch and hooked-in (hooked-in on Zinnia only)
- Stocking stitch
- Garter stitch
The kit contains over 5 balls of quality Rico Cotton Essentials yarns, Debbie Abrahams size 6 glass beads, 5 acrylic buttons and full colour pattern instructions for the chosen design, (you must supply your own knitting needles and a sewing-up needle).
Knitting kit: £37 plus shipping.
If you are interested in ordering a kit, please contact Jenny at: email@example.com or visit her Etsy page: BeadyKnitsbyJenny.
Please note that these kits are not available to order through the Debbie Abrahams Ltd website and they are not subject to any discounts that we may be running in our online shop.
OK, SO THIS MONTH YOU’VE GOT A SIXTH LETTER TO HELP YOU GUESS THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET, and this might just be enough for you to work out what it is. We’ve had more correct guesses from all these people who deserve a big round of applause: Myra Sharp, Kathy Sasson, Shirley Simpson, Jackie Wilcock, Julie Killoran, Barbara Hathaway, Andrea Harman and Georgia Herring-Trott. Well done ladies! However, if you are still not sure then here is the sixth letter, which is an “E”:
_ _ E / _ H _ U _ A _ D / A _ D / _ _ E / _ I _ H _ _
Please send your guesses to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a bit of fun each month. And if you do guess it right, with your permission we will include your name in the next blog.
THERE ARE SIX SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH:
Square 6, The King’s Palace (part 11) – striped pattern with a decorative beaded border and lace panel (same for both options):
Square 11, Sumptuous 3 –: striped pattern with decorative braids, textured stitches and slip-stitch beads (same for both options):
Square 12, Lady Zubeida Returns – cable pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):
Square 13, Option One, Magic Carpet 2 – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads:
Square 13, Option Two, Magic Carpet – striped pattern with moss stitch:
Square 14, The King’s Palace (part 12) – striped pattern with a decorative beaded border and lace panel (same for both options):
Square 46, The King’s Palace (part 13) – striped pattern with a decorative beaded border and lace panel (same for both options):
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 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.
SQUARE 6, THE KING’S PALACE (PART 11): it's the fifth repeat of this square so you should be able to knit it in your sleep! Just watch out for the beaded border, it is identical to Square 44 but slightly different to Squares 2, 4 and 46.
SQUARE 7, SUMPTUOUS: this square will also be familiar to you, however, be aware that it is not exactly the same as the other Sumptuous squares in the design, Squares 1 and 43. The sequence of the colours of the knitted-in braids is the same as Square 43, but the stocking stitch sections in Turquoise and Serpentine have been swapped round.
You can either cast this square on or pick up stitches to knit it onto Square 6. As you will see in the Pattern notes and tips on page 8 of your July mail out, stitches are picked up along a side (or selvedge) edge. This is something that you have not done yet in the blanket, so if you need some guidance please watch my video at the beginning of this blog. You are picking up 45 stitches (for Square 7) along 62 rows (of Square 6), so this is the sequence I suggest you use for picking them up:
[pick up 3 stitches, miss 1 stitch] 10 times, [pick up 2 stitches, miss 1 stitch] 7 times, pick up 1 stitch.
SQUARE 12, LADY ZUBEIDA RETURNS: you’ve knitted this exact square before, it’s the same as Square 38 from the May mail out so it should be pretty straightforward. Just keep your eye on the cables which twist to the back and to the front. And remember that the cables are worked on both right side and wrong side rows so if you need a reminder of how to do this, check out my videos of how to c4b and c4f in the April blog. Plus you’ve got the Abbreviations on page 27 of your July mail out to refer to.
You can choose to work from the chart or the worded pattern – or use them both! They are identical so it really doesn’t matter which you decide to go for.
SQUARE 13, OPTION TWO, MAGIC CARPET 2: this is the same as Square 37 from the April mail out, and I would advise that you go for this option if you knitted Option One for Square 37. This will keep the design balanced.
If you need a reminder of the fairisle technique then you can check out my video in the March blog.
Oh, and watch out for decreases on Row 49. The reason for this will become clear when you join it to Square 14…
SQUARE 13, OPTION TWO, MAGIC CARPET: this is exactly the same as Squares 9 and 37, hence it is Magic Carpet and not Magic Carpet 2! Go for this option if you chose Option Two for Square 37.
SQUARE 14, THE KING’S PALACE (part 14): this is the third repeat of this square. It is identical to Square 36 from the April mail out with exactly the same beaded border. However, you are instructed to knit it separately and not to cast off the stitches as it is joined to Square 13 using a three-needle cast-off/bind-off. There is a video in this blog to help you with that if you are not sure how to do it.
SQUARE 46, THE KING’S PALACE (part 15): apologies everyone but it’s another King’s Palace square to knit. I had to include this again as we are running out of months to get all the ‘border’ squares knitted. But the good news is that you would have already knitted this (or very similar) twice already, so this one really should be a complete breeze!
AFTER COMPLETING THIS MONTHS SQUARES YOU COULD GET AHEAD BY SEWING TOGETHER STRIPS 1 AND 2. If you have knitted your squares separately then you will need to join these together first to create strips 1 and 2 (these are the two vertical rows of squares on the left side of the Piecing diagram on page 4 (Squares 1-7 and Squares 8-14). Once you have your two strips you can make a start. This is a guide to how to ease the squares together using Mattress stitch. If you need a reminder of this technique you can check out my Mattress stitch video in the xxx blog.
Very important! Before you make a start make sure that have your strips the right way up and that they are not upside down - it has been known!
You will notice in the image above that there are lots of loose ends left after sewing together the squares. I have sewn some of the ends into the back of the knitting but I will sew these remaining ones into the seams.
It is important to note that these are my suggestions as to how to sew together the squares, but please feel free to use your own method and sequence if you prefer.
Before sewing two squares together, mark the centre point (by counting rows) along the two edges to be joined. When you reach this point in your sewing you can check that the seam is even on both sides and if needed make any necessary adjustments.
These instructions are based on taking the needle under 2 ‘bars’ at a time if sewing rows (ie, a side edge), and under 1 stitch at a time if sewing stitches (ie, a cast-off edge). Use a blunt ended needle.
Sew Square 1 (66 rows) to Square 8 (62 rows): you need to ease 4 rows of Square 1 into Square 8.
Along the edge of Square 8 place markers on rows 13, 25, 37 and 49. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under 1 less row on Square 8. You are doing this 4 times so it will ease in 4 rows.
Option One: sew Square 2 (43 stitches) to Square 9 (49 rows): you need to ease 6 rows of Square 9 into Square 2. (There are 43 stitches and not 45 stitches as a stitch each side has been taken into the seam. This is the same for Squares 3, 4, 5 and 6).
Along the edge of Square 9 place markers on rows 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under ½ stitch on Square 2. You are doing this 6 times so it will ease in 6 rows.
Option Two: sew Square 2 (43 stitches) to Square 9 (64 rows): you need to ease 21 rows of Square 9 into Square 2. (There are 43 stitches and not 45 stitches as a stitch each side has been taken into the seam. This is the same for Squares 3, 4, 5 and 6).
Because there are so many rows to ease in I am going to present this instruction a little differently. Use this sequence: [sew 1 stitch to 2 rows, sew 1 stitch to 1 row] 10 times, [sew 1 ½ stitches to 2 rows] twice, [sew 1 stitch to 1 row, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] 10 times. This will ease in 21 rows.
Sew Square 3 (43 stitches) to Square 10 (62 rows): you need to ease 19 rows of Square 10 into Square 3.
Use this sequence: [sew 1 stitch to 1 row, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] 10 times, [sew 1 ½ stitches to 1 row] twice, [sew 1 stitch to 2 rows, sew 1 stitch to 1 row] 10 times. This will ease in 19 rows.
Option One: sew Square 4 (43 stitches) to Square 11 (49 rows): you need to ease 6 rows of Square 11 into Square 4.
Along the edge of Square 11 place markers on rows 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. When you reach each of these markers take the sewing needle under ½ stitch on Square 4. You are doing this 6 times so it will ease in 6 rows.
Option Two: sew Square 4 (43 stitches) to Square 11 (53 rows): you need to ease 10 rows of Square 11 into Square 4.
Use this sequence: [sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] twice, [(sew 2 stitches to 2 rows) twice, sew 1 stitch to 2 rows] 8 times, [sew 1 stitch to 1 row]. This will ease in 10 rows.
Sew Square 5 (43 stitches) to Square 12 (62 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 3 to Square 10.
Option One: sew Square 6 (43 stitches) to Square 13 (49 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 2 to Square 9.
Option Two: sew Square 6 (43 stitches) to Square 13 (64 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 2 to Square 9.
Sew Square 7 (66 rows) to Square 14 (62 rows): follow the instructions for joining Square 1 to Square 8.
Hey! - that's two strips sewn together. Well done!
YOU MAY REMEMBER BENJI FROM THE APRIL BLOG – he’s a gorgeous Ragamuffin who has a very naughty side and is prone to stealing Debbie Abrahams yarn! Jill has sent in an update about her beloved pussycat to let us know that his yarn stealing days are hopefully over and that he has not been naughty since.
Jill says: “I thought it might be nice to receive an email that wasn’t complaining about the lateness of wool or beads. Here are the latest pictures of the mischievous Benji enjoying the sunshine. Thankfully he has not stolen any more balls of yarn!”
That is great news Jill and thank you for the pictures which certainly cheered up my day! Let’s hope that he keeps his paws to himself and that no more yarn goes missing!
AND FINALLY FOR THIS POSTING, THE SIXTH 2021 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 FIVE (JUNE): this month’s winner is member 180, Anna Hirst from Newbury, Berkshire, UK. Well done Anna! Please choose a prize from the following selection:
- A signed Debbie Abrahams book: 25 Beaded Knits/Kaleidoscope/Blankets & Throws To Knit/More Blankets & Throws To Knit
- Four packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads (size 8/0 or 6/0) from the selection on http://www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk
- A £15 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club: 2022 Mystery Cushion Club; 2022 Mystery Blanket Club
- Four balls of Debbie’s Rowan Merino Light DK (any colours).
With just four months to go after this instalment, this year’s project is now well on its way. And if you’ve managed to keep up with the squares then it won’t be long before you will have a brand new blanket to snuggle up under – just in time for those cold winter months! But in the meantime, with a summer of sunshine to enjoy and the forthcoming holidays to look forward to, I am planning to keep myself busy with plenty of new projects. And with fingers crossed that our Covid restrictions will be lifted soon, I will be enjoying the company of fellow knitters on a knitting holiday to the Isle of Wight in August. Let’s hope that this is the case as I can’t wait to get together with you again in person - it's been a very long eighteen months!
Until then, please keep safe and well and enjoy your July squares!, Debbie x