Mystery Blanket Club 2023: post 1, February

Mystery Blanket Club 2023: post 1, February

WELCOME TO THE 2023 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! We are about to embark on the 16th Mystery Blanket adventure since the Club began in 2008, and I am just as excited about it as I was way back then! I love a new project and can’t wait for you to make a start on the first set of squares. But before you grab your knitting needles, I would recommend that you have a good read, and listen, to my blog which has lots of very important information in it about the Club. The tips and advice will help you to set off on this journey on the right foot, making your Mystery Blanket KAL an enthralling experience, super charged with challenges and surprises to keep you motivated right through to the final square!

I will write a blog at the beginning of each new instalment, so this is the place to come to every month before you start knitting your squares. Good preparation is the key to successful knitting, and each blog will be filled with tips and tricks so that you can get the best out of your Mystery Blanket adventure.

In addition to the written blog there will be knitting technique demonstrations included in the blogs which will help you learn new skills or master your existing ones. You will find all the tech vids for this month below, beginning with my intro. This month there are ten tech vids:

  • Debbie’s intro!
  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch
  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (Option One): the Fairisle technique
  • How to knit the decorative loop stitch
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work
  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal)
  • How to cable
  • How to knit a contrast-coloured bobble
  • Square 16, Forager: how to knit the exaggerated decorative purl stitch

Mystery Blanket Club 2023 Debbie's Intro:

Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch:

Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (Option One): the Fairisle technique:

 How to knit the decorative loop stitch:

How to bead, the hooking-in method:

How to carry yarns up the side of the work:

How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge:

 Mattress stitch (horizontal):

How to cable:

How to knit a contrast-coloured bobble:

 Square 16, Forager: how to knit the exaggerated decorative purl stitch:


THE MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB HAS ALWAYS BEEN A GLOBAL KAL, AND THIS YEAR IS NO EXCEPTION! I am delighted that we have members signed up from all over the world including USA, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the UK. Wow! – isn’t that amazing!?!

ALL OF THE PARCELS HAVE NOW BEEN POSTED AND MANY OF THEM HAVE ARRIVED SAFELY. However, we are aware that some are still in transit. The impact of the cyber incident at Royal Mail which happened over five weeks ago is still causing delays to overseas parcels. Having said that, all of the parcels have been posted and we have been assured by Royal Mail that they will arrive. So if you are still waiting for yours, we ask that you remain patient, it will be with you soon. We totally understand your frustration but are keeping a close eye on the situation and will forward any updates to you as soon as we get them. Please note that the tracking numbers for the first batch of parcels that were posted just before the incident are not working and if checked will say that there is no movement. However, please do not panic as we know that this is not the case and that these parcels are moving through the system. We are just not sure where they are, but they are on their way.

When you receive your parcel we ask that you check the contents of it against the list on page 2 of your February mail out. And if anything is missing, please let us know immediately and we will post it to you.

FOLLOWING THE CYBER INCIDENT I DECIDED TO DELAY THE START OF THE CLUB TO THE 17TH FEBRUARY to enable as many of us as possible to start knitting on the same day. The second instalment will be sent in three weeks’ time on the 10th March. And then after that the launch day will shift to the regular date of the 1st of the month, giving four weeks between the remaining instalments.

You should find an email from us in your inbox with a link to the first set of patterns for the blanket. If you cannot find this email then please check your Spam folder. Often our emails end up in there and are not seen. However, if you are still unable to find it please contact Sue and she will check that we have your correct email details in our database.

MEMBERS THAT PAID FOR PRINTED PATTERNS will receive them each month in a separate card-backed envelope. If you did not sign up for printed patterns but have changed your mind, you can contact Sue and she will be able to set this up for you for an additional cost. All members, including the printed pattern members, will be emailed the remaining nine mail outs each month from March - November.


  • Log into the website with your username and password:
  • Under "MYSTERY CLUB DOWNLOADS" click "View all downloads"
  • Your latest available mail-outs will be visible here in PDF format to download

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. We have done our best to make sure that the colours are as accurate as possible, however some discrepancies might occur. Therefore, it is always best to read the name and shade number of the colours rather than going by the photographs of the knitting.

THE PIECING DIAGRAMS ON PAGE 4 OF YOUR MARCH MAIL OUT SHOW WHERE THE SQUARES ARE POSITIONED IN THE BLANKET. There are two diagrams – one for Option One and one for Option Two. Each month the new squares will be added to them so that you can see how the overall design is progressing. This year we have added in square numbers to the images which will hopefully make it easier to keep track of which ones you have completed.

ON THE PENULTIMATE PAGE OF EACH MAIL OUT YOU WILL FIND THE ABBREVIATIONS. This will be updated each month with any new additions to the list, so make sure that you always check out the latest instalment for any recent updates.

IT IS ADVISABLE, ALTHOUGH NOT NECESSARY, TO WORK IN VERTICAL STRIPS. Not only does this make it easier to keep track of which squares are which - there will be some repeats. But it also means less finishing off at the end of the project as you will only have seven strips to sew together instead of forty-nine individually knitted squares. Over the ten months you will be sent the squares in such a way that they can be knitted in strips, so this is what I would advise you do. Instructions are included in the patterns for this, it’s done by picking up stitches along the cast-off edge of a square to begin the next one in the strip. And if you’re not sure how to do this, there’s a tech vid this month to help you. So if you don’t like picking up stitches or find it a struggle, hopefully my vid will help you to master the technique, and you never know - you might actually enjoy it once you see how easy it is to do! There is more advice about this on page 3 of your February mail out. You’ll find it on the right hand side of the page under the heading Working in vertical strips.

SOME OF THE SQUARES IN THE BLANKET HAVE A SECOND OPTION. This means that when there is a square that involves a more advanced technique such as fairisle or intarsia, you can opt to knit an alternative square, Option Two, which replaces it with something that is easier to knit. This will be either a textured, beaded or striped pattern. It is clearly stated in the pattern instructions when there is an option – there is a note in the left-hand column of the first pattern page for each square - and you can also see it on the Piecing Diagrams.

Throughout the project you can stick completely to either Option One (pink-headed pages) or Option Two (blue-headed pages), or, if preferred, you can choose to mix your options. Patterns that do not have an option are purple-headed. Mixing options is perfectly okay to do, so you could pick and choose and go for Option One for some of the squares and Option Two for others. This gives the project increased flexibility and means that although you are all working on the same design you can, if you choose, make your blanket unique! Occasionally it is important to repeat the choice of an option to keep the overall design balanced. But when this happens there will be a note in the left column on the first page of each pattern advising you about this choice.

BLOCKING AND PRESSING THE SQUARES IS VERY IMPORTANT, and although it’s not everyone’s favourite task, it really should be done if you want to create a professional looking blanket.  Blocking the squares ensures that they are all a uniform size, which in turn will make joining them together so much easier to do. You might find that you have to ease some of them in or stretch some of them out to get them to the same measurements as other squares, and within reason this is fine - I know I had to do this with some of mine. Alternatively, other squares may block out quite easily with no easing in or out required. If your individual squares are measuring slightly bigger or smaller than 18xm x 18cm, then this should not be a problem either. But you will need to decide on what size you are going to block them all to and stick to this throughout the whole blanket.

Blocking is the pinning out of your knitting, and, unless instructed otherwise, you should always pin it out with the wrong side facing upwards. Pin frequently along each edge, keeping all four edges as flat and even as possible. There is no need to use heat to press your squares. Much more preferable – and safer too – is cold water. So, if you have one available, fill up a plant spray bottle and use this to generously wet down the knitting, making sure that the water is dispersed right across the knitting from edge to edge. And then leave it to dry completely before removing the pins.

Pressing is the process of applying either heat or water to your knitting which relaxes the stitches and softens the fibres, resulting in a much more fluid and pleasant feeling fabric. After pressing you will find that your knitting drastically changes in quality and will feel beautiful and soft.

Blocking and pressing also helps the edges of the knitting stay flat rather than curling over, as is the tendency with most stitch structures.

I would suggest that you block and press your squares after you have knitted each one. I think it’s far easier to do this as you go along rather than leaving them all to the end. It also ensures that as you work through the squares they are all knitting up to the correct measurements.

So I hope you agree with me - it’s really important to do and should become part of your finishing routine for everything you knit. You and your knitting will be so much happier 😊

NOBODY LIKES AN ERROR IN A KNITTING PATTERN, AND I KNOW JUST HOW FRUSTRATING THEY ARE FOR EVERYONE. However, despite the test knits and numerous checks which are carried out before we sign off each set of patterns, unfortunately they do still occur. When an error is reported it is checked and once it is confirmed it is listed in the ‘Addendum’ section on the website. It can be accessed through a link at the bottom of the Homepage. I would advise that you check this before you start knitting each square just in case anything has been found. It could save you a lot of time.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE YOUR CORRECT CONTACT DETAILS ON FILE, SO PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY IF ANY OF THESE DETAILS ARE INCORRECT. This goes for both your email and postal addresses. Any discrepancies in your postal address can affect the speed at which your parcels are delivered to you, or at worst they might not arrive at all. And an incorrect email address will mean that you will not receive our emailed patterns or club updates. So please let Sue know as soon as possible if we need to revise any of these details for you.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES OR CONCERNS WHILST WORKING ON YOUR MYSTERY BLANKET, please contact Sue at and she will assist you. Sue may pass your email onto me if it is a knitting query, or onto Jason if you need technical support. Throughout the project we will do our very best to assist you in every way we can to ensure that your knitting experience is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. So do get in touch if you have a query, we are always here to help!

I MENTIONED EARLIER ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT GOOD PREPARATION IS BEFORE YOU START KNITTING, so here are a few things I would suggest you do before you make a start on your blanket.

First of all, have a good read of the February mail out and familiarise yourself with the contents. The patterns are laid out in exactly the same way each month, so once you get familiar with them and how the patterns are written, they should be easy to follow.

On page 3 of your February mail out there is lots of general information about the project including information about tension/gauge. It is very important that you test your tension before you start knitting.

The tension for this project is 24 stitches and 34 rows to 10cm (4in) measured over stocking stitch using 3.50mm needles and using Debbie Abrahams Light Wool yarn.

I would suggest that you use Leaf for your tension sample as you will have plenty of this in your kit.

Any discrepancies in your tension could lead to shortages of yarn, especially if you knit looser that the given tension. So please take time to do this. Here are some tips about measuring tension:

  • the tension sample should be longer and wider than the stated tension, so it is advisable to cast on a minimum of 30 stitches and work a minimum of 40 rows
  • use a solid ruler rather than a tape measure to measure your stitches and rows
  • start and finish counting the stitches and rows in from the edges of the knitting and not from edge to edge
  • if your tension is too loose you will need to resample using a smaller metric size needle
  • if you tension is too tight you will need to resample using a larger metric size needle
  • if you need to change your needle size then you will need to change all of the other needles used in the project as well by the same number of sizes
  • stitch tension is more important then row tension, so if you are unable to match both to the recommended tension, choose the needle size that gives you the closest match.

One more thing I would suggest you do before you start knitting is to set up your Colour coder. You will find this in your kit, it’s a piece of card onto which you can tie samples of each of the yarns in your kit and write their colour names and shade numbers. This is such a handy tool to have while you are knitting and means you can easily check yarns against the pattern instructions, especially as some of them are very similar in colour. Watch out for Chestnut (031) and Barn Red (196), and Maple (030) and Mulberry (207), which could easily be mistaken for each another.

It's also a good idea to keep each colour of yarn in a separate bag with either its ball-band or a note of which colour and shade number it is. Then you can be sure to pick up the correct colour and not risk knitting with the wrong one. If you use the wrong colour then you could run short of yarn.

THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET remains a ‘mystery’ until you guess it. But with each instalment comes more clues as you work your way through the squares. If you think you might know what it is, then send in your guess and we will let you know if you are right. However, if you are still guessing in November, it will be revealed in the final instalment.

As well as clues in the monthly squares, I will also give you extra help with your guesses by giving you a clue in each blog. Here is the first clue for the title of this year’s Mystery Blanket. This month the letter I am giving you is “A”:

_  _  _  / _  _  _  _  A  _  _  _  _  / _  _  _  _  _  _ 

Please send in your guesses to Sue. There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a 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.


Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (Option One) – fairisle pattern with stripes, textured stitches and hooked-in beads:

Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (Option Two) – textured pattern with stripes and hooked-in beads:

Square 15, Chestnuts – cable pattern with contrast-coloured bobbles (same for both options):

Square 16, Forager – striped pattern with rows of contrast-coloured exaggerated purl stitch (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.

You can use the video demos to help you knit your squares. But here are a few extra tips to assist you:

SQUARE 8, PIXIES & NIXIES (Option One): so we begin with you having to make a choice between Option One and Option Two. Option One is the trickier option because it includes colour work, in this case, fairisle. If you have not tried this technique before then it’s a great introduction to it - you’ve only got an 18cm x 18cm square to knit.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch
  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (Option One): the Fairisle technique
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work

There are some changes in needle size to watch out for in this square. These are necessary to maintain an even width of knitting all the way to the top as there are different stitch patterns and structures in it which affect tension. These needle changes are hi-lighted in darker font in the pattern instructions so that you don’t miss them.

Indigo beads are hooked into the fairisle section (Rows 10-21), but because they are dark blue circles on a grey background, they might be a bit tricky to see. So just to be clear, they are hooked in on Chart rows 6 and 9 on stitches 5, 22, 39, and on stitches 14, 31 and 48 respectively. This technique requires no pre-threading so you simply hook them in when indicated on the chart. If you've never hooked in beads before there's a tech vid to help you with this technique.

I have advised in the second Pattern note and tip on page 5 of the Mail Out to carry some of the yarns up the side of the work, and if you do this it will help to reduce the amount of loose ends. No one likes sewing in ends (do they?), so the fewer you have, the easier it is to complete the square. In the fourth Pattern note and tip I suggest that you weave in some of the loose ends as you knit. You can do this using the fairisle weaving-in technique which is demonstrated in The Fairisle technique vid this month. It’s worth doing and could save you a lot of time.

One last thing to mention about this square is the transferring of stitches onto the other needle, which you are instructed to do several times. This is necessary to get you to the correct end of the work for the start of the next row. It saves cutting and rejoining yarns, which in turn saves loose ends and your time. So just in case you're wondering, this is why it’s there in the instructions. You will come across it in other squares too.

SQUARE 8, PIXIES & NIXIES (Option Two): this is the easier option and replaces the fairisle section with a decorative loop stitch pattern. It looks very similar to Option One because the rest of the square is the same with stripes and textured contrast-coloured stitches.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch
  • How to knit the decorative loop stitch
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work

As with Option One there some changes in needle size, so make sure that you pick up the right needles when instructed to keep the tension nice and neat throughout the whole square.

The decorative loop stitch is worked on Rows 8-30 and is one that you may recognise from other Debbie projects. A similar stitch was knitted in the 2022 Mystery Blanket, Deco Dreams, and it also features in the Summer and Autumn Bag kits. I love this stitch and find it very satisfying to do. It might look quite complicated at first but it is easy once you get going. And if you get stuck there is a tech vid to help you, so make sure you check it out if you need some guidance.

I have advised in the Pattern notes and tips on page 8 to weave in some of the loose ends as you knit this square, however, this will involve the fairisle technique. So if you are not sure how to do this, either watch The Fairisle technique vid for assistance or simply sew them in later on.

SQUARE 15, CHESTNUTS: this cable pattern has contrast-coloured bobbles which are knitted in as you go. However, if you prefer you can opt instead to knit them using Chestnut yarn (self-coloured) instead of Barn Red and Maple. You don’t need to make that decision straight away though, the first bobble is on Row 6 so you’ve got a little bit of time to make your mind up. See how you feel!

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • How to cable
  • How to knit a contrast-coloured bobble

The tech vid for cables shows how to knit a variety of different cables including the ones in this square - c4f and cfb. It explains how cables are created and will be helpful for any of the cable patterns in this blanket. If you have not knitted a cable pattern before then this is a really good opportunity to give it a go. They are such good fun to knit and the possibilities are endless. This one is relatively easy too, so it’s a great one to start with.

You are given both worded instructions and a chart for this square, so you can choose whichever one you prefer to work from. Row 1 of the worded pattern corresponds to Row 1 of the chart, and so on, so you can cross reference the two if you prefer. I decided to leave the background colour (Chestnut) as plain white as this makes the symbols clearer to see. There is a key under the chart which tells you what they mean, and there are a few there to get familiar with, so I would advise that you give this a thorough read before you start knitting.

The colours for the bobbles are in colour on the chart, but they might be difficult to see so I have also included initials for them under each bobble, BR is Barn red and M is Maple. If you decide to go for the contrast-coloured bobbles then I would advise that you watch the tech vid for this technique first as it shows you how to introduce the colour on the row before (for example, on Row 6), and then how they are knitted on the next row (for example, on Row 7). Just be wary of the Barn Red yarn as Felted Tweed can be quite fragile, and under duress could break. So when you tighten the bobbles, bear this in mind and pull gently but firmly on this yarn.

You will notice that some of the stitches are worked through the back of the loop (K1tbl and P1tbl). This twists the stitches and makes them tighter. It will crisp up the edges of the cables and make them look much neater, so make sure that you remember to do this when instructed.

SQUARE 16, FORAGER: the final square to knit this month has no options and is a really fun stripe pattern with a textured stitch. Despite the change of techniques there are no needle size changes to worry about so the whole square is knitted using the suggested main needle size of 3.50mm.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge
  • Square 16, Forager: how to knit the exaggerated decorative purl stitch

To begin this square you will need to either cast it on separately or pick up stitches along the cast-off edge of Square 15. Instructions for both are on page 15 of the Mail Out. I would recommend that you pick up the stitches as it will cut down on the finishing at the end of the project and save you vast amounts of time, but I will leave that decision with you…

The tech vid will guide you how to knit the decorative stitch which is first knitted on Rows 4-5. It’s a two-row instruction which involves slipping alternate stitches and increasing purlwise into the stitches in between on one row, and then slipping the same stitches and purling together the increased stitches on the next row. It results in a really attractive stitch which is easy to knit. However, just watch your tension on these rows and make sure that the stitches are spread to the correct width on the needle so that the knitting doesn’t bunch up.

IF YOU ENJOY SOCIAL MEDIA THEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO JOIN THE VERY FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL GROUPS FOR THE MYSTERY BLANKET ON RAVELRY AND FACEBOOK. Here you will find a bunch of very welcoming 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 if you get stuck and need some quick advice.

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

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.

I also have an Instagram and a Facebook page which include updates on all things Debbie Abrahams, so if you want to keep ahead with all the latest news, please follow us on all our social media platfoms. It’s a great way to keep up with what is happening!

Instagram: debbieabrahams_knitting


ON WEDNESDAY 1st MARCH WE ARE LAUNCHING OUR 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB, offering you the opportunity to sign up to a brand-new Debbie Abrahams Mystery project! And the good news is that all 2023 Mystery Blanket Club members who join will receive a fabulous 10% discount off the cost of their membership. A unique discount code for this will be included in the emailed newsletter we will send you as soon as memberships are available to purchase. So keep an eye on your inbox!

Above: Mystery Cushion 2017, Metropolis

The Mystery Cushion is a much smaller project than the blanket, lasting for five months from June to October.  The theme is different to the Mystery Blanket but it works in the same way with a knitting kit sent out to members at the beginning of the project and monthly emailed patterns. I write a separate blog for the Mystery Cushion which will include knitting technique videos, so like the Mystery Blanket, you can get all the help and support you need as you knit along.

The yarn used for the project will be beautiful summery shades of Rowan Summerlite DK and will be combined with sparkling beads. More details about the project will be released when the product is launched in the shop on the 1st March.

Following the sudden and tragic passing of a close friend of ours, we are donating £5.00 of every Mystery Cushion membership to the mental health charity, Mind. We thank you in advance for your support.

AND FINALLY, I CLOSE THIS POST WITH THE FIRST 2023 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 ONE (FEBRUARY): this month’s winner is member 175, Carol Clark from Truro in the UK. Well done Carol! Please choose a prize from the following selection:

  • Your choice of one of Debbie’s knitting kits up to the value of £28.00 (take a look at them in our online shop).
  • Five packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads (size 8/0 or 6/0) from the selection on
  • A £25 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club membership: 2023 Mystery Cishion Club or 2024 Mystery Blanket Club.
  • A Mystery bag of five gifts!

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and hopefully you are feeling fully prepped and ready to get going on the first set of squares. For those of you who are still waiting for your kit to arrive, we appreciate your continued patience and ask that you keep in touch with us about any progress. We are waiting for the good news from you that it has arrived, which it will do very soon. When it does please let us know. 

We love to hear from our members, so please get in touch if you have any photos or stories that you would like to share, and with your permission we will include them in the next blog.

Now it's time to grab your knitting needles, settle down in your favourite comfy chair and make a start! I wish all of you happy knitting and look forward to seeing you back here on the 10th March for instalment number two! Until then, take care and keep busy, Debbie x

Back to blog

1 comment

And the knitting and beading fun begins!
Thank you, Debbie, for all you’ve done to bring this creative experience to us!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Previous posts