Mystery Blanket Club 2023: post 2, March

Mystery Blanket Club 2023: post 2, March

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE MARCH INSTALMENT OF THE 2023 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! And as we brace ourselves here in the UK for another short snap of icy cold weather, it’s the perfect time to settle down with the next batch of Mystery Blanket squares. There are four squares to knit this month and two of them have an option, which means you are going to have to make some choices. Will you go for fairisle and intarsia or will you opt for textured decorative stitches? It’s time to stick the kettle on and have a ponder while you catch up with all the latest club news…

After my intro there are six new tech vids this month to help you with the March patterns, but you can also go back to the February blog if you need a reminder of any of the other techniques that were used in the first instalment:

  • NEW THIS MONTH: Debbie’s intro!
  • NEW THIS MONTH: Understanding lace stitches
  • NEW THIS MONTH: How to thread beads onto your yarn
  • NEW THIS MONTH: How to bead, the slip-stitch method
  • NEW THIS MONTH: The intarsia technique
  • NEW THIS MONTH: How to add Chain stitch to your knitting
  • NEW THIS MONTH: How to add Swiss darning to knitting

This is a reminder of the techniques that were covered in the February blog:

  • 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

I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE DELAYED DELIVERIES OF SOME OF THE OVERSEAS PARCELS IN MY INTRO, but I just want to clarify a few things so that if you are still waiting for your parcel to arrive, you are clear as to what the current situation is.

In the past week I have had confirmation that many of the parcels which have been stuck in the system following the Royal Mail cyber incident in January have been successfully delivered. And each day I am hearing more and more good news. I am keeping a close eye on each parcel that is still to be delivered and am checking the tracking information every few days to see if there is an update. And I am happy to say that for the majority of them there are reports of progress which show that many of them are now in transit in their destination country. There are a few parcels which are showing no movement since January, however, please be aware that this is probably not the case as I have had several delivered despite this, so these parcels are in transit, we are just not sure exactly where they are - but they are on their way.

I am incredibly proud of the patience and resilience that the overseas members have shown in these challenging circumstances. I truly understand how frustrating and disappointing this is if you are one of the members who is still waiting. However, after speaking daily to advisors at Royal Mail, I have been reassured that they all will arrive, in time, we just have to wait a bit longer. So I am asking for your continued patience and support with this while the parcels make their way to your doorsteps. And as soon as you your parcel arrives, please let me know (if you can remember in all the excitement!). I am waiting each day for this good news from you and hopefully that won’t be long now.

I have been assured that going forward from now deliveries to overseas destinations are much more efficient following the installation of a brand new modernised tracking system at Royal Mail. So you don’t need to worry about your second parcels or any other items you order from us arriving safely. These improvements mean you should receive them in much better time too.

Printed patterns for overseas members were posted on the 24th February (using the new modernised postal system) and the UK were posted on Wednesday 8th March. Printed patterns are posted in a card-backed envelope, and from April onwards will be delivered at the beginning of each month.

BALL-BAND ALERT! It has been reported to me that some balls of Pumpkin yarn have been banded incorrectly with Elfin bands. So please check your yarns very carefully before using them. Elfin is blue, shade number 027. And Pumpkin is orange, shade number 032.

If you find that yours do have incorrect bands on them, just make a note so that you don’t use the wrong colour in error.

IF YOU ARE HAVING ANY TENSION ISSUES WITH YOUR SQUARES, THEN DON’T DESPAIR! There are a lot of different stitch structures in the blanket, and sometimes this means that there is a change of needle size or a different number of stitches to cast on to achieve the correct measurement of 18cm x 18cm. However, as we all knit differently, it isn’t unusual for this to not work out for everyone, and so you might find that while tension using the main needle size is working out fine, some of the other needle size changes are not working out. Therefore, if this happens to you, it is important that you correct it by changing to a needle size that achieves the correct tension, and then make sure that you make this same needle size change again if the square is repeated. It’s a good idea to jot down any changes you make while you are knitting, and the perfect place for this is on your mail out if you’ve got a printed copy, or if you are working digitally, in a notebook. That way you will have a record you can refer back to as and when needed.

IN SOME OF THE PATTERNS YOU ARE ASKED TO TRANSFER THE STITCHES ONTO THE OTHER NEEDLE SO THAT THE WS/RS IS FACING AGAIN. In the March patterns you are instructed to do this in Square 22 for both options. This instruction is given to reduce the number of times you cut and rejoin yarns by enabling you to pick up the colour you need at the beginning or end of a previous row. And I have a handy trick that can speed this up. It uses double-pointed knitting needles which need to be long enough to accommodate all the stitches for the square. You need to use these needles to knit the whole square and then when you reach the instruction to transfer stitches you simply slide them to the other end of your double-pointed needle and voila! - you can continue with the next row. It’s a simple idea but it could save you a lot of time, so why not give it a go!?!

I HAVE BEEN ASKED A QUESTION ABOUT BLOCKING AND PRESSING. And it might be something that you are not sure about too, so I am going to clarify. If you work in strips then I would advise that you block each square as you knit it, rather than pressing the completed strip. Even though this is probably more time consuming, you will find that it is much easier to do it this way. And I think you get a better result too.

THE 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB IS NOW ON SALE IN OUR ONLINE SHOP and offers you the opportunity to sign up to a brand-new Debbie Abrahams Mystery project! All 2023 Mystery Blanket Club members who join receive a fabulous 10% discount off the cost of their membership. A unique discount code for this was included in the emailed newsletter we sent you on 1st March. However, if you did not receive it (or can’t find it), then no worries - send us a quick message and we will let you know what it is.

Above: Mystery Cushion Club 2016: Geo Jungle

If you are an Early Bird and sign up before March 31st then you will receive a knitting kit for a small sparkly purse called Precious. The kit includes a ball of Rowan Cotton Glace yarn - choose from four shades, Nightshade, Silver, Precious or Azure - and Debbie Abrahams beads.

It’s a small, easy-to-knit project that is the perfect size to carry credit cards or other small items and will be sure to add a touch of glamour to your evening out! The kit will be included with your Mystery cushion knitting kit.


Above: top to bottom: Silver, Precious, Azure (purse knitted in Nightshade).

For every Mystery Cushion sold we are making a donation to the mental health charity, Mind. Last summer we tragically lost a dear friend of ours and his last wish was for any money raised in his memory to be donated to Mind, so from the profit of each membership we are donating £5 to this charity. Mind gives support and help to those in need and works tirelessly to raise awareness of mental health issues. You can read more about this and about our friend Kyle in our blog:

Thank you for your support.

If you’re new to the Mystery Cushion then it’s a 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 as well which will include knitting technique videos, so you can get all the help and support you need as you knit along.

Above: Mystery Cushion Club 2018: Eastern Promise.

The theme of the Mystery Cushion is, as always, a ‘mystery’. However, I can tell you a few snippets about the project that won’t give the game away! This year’s design uses one of Rowan’s most popular summer yarns, Summerlite DK, in a colour palette of sweet, sugary colours that are vibrant and cheerful. Debbie has combined together a mixture of pretty fairisle patterns, beading and textured stitches that will take you on a calm and pleasant knitting excursion this summer, giving you the perfect project to pack away and take on holiday or relax with in the garden.

The knitting kit includes ten balls of Rowan yarn, Debbie Abrahams Beads and buttons for fastening.

Are you tempted?!? You can sign up to the 2023 Mystery Cushion Club now in our online shop. There are packages for UK, Europe and the World - it’s a global project and everyone is invited to join in! But don’t delay as memberships are limited and are selling every day!

If you want to spread your payment then you will have the option to pay in 2-4 instalments using our Splitit payment plan, or you can simply pay in one go. There are no admin fees for splitting your payment so you can choose whatever is easiest for you and your finances.

I hope you decide to join me!

THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY BLANKET is a fun guessing game and each month a new letter in the puzzle is given to help you discover what it is. Some years it is much more tricky to guess than others, however this year I’ve already received loads of correct guesses, so big congrats go out to…wait for it…63 members (and huge apologies if I have missed anyone): Brynne Baruch, Catherine McDonald, Margaret Hall-Craggs, Felicity Miller, Liz Bishop, Catherine Pope, Emma Dixey, Kathryn McClurg, Nancy Ferrier, Julia Green, Jennie Mathur, Viv Fox, Jane Waters, Lyn Fitzsimons, Angie Divaris, Julie Rennie-Doran, Sarah Robertson, Caroline Evans, Mary Leeson, Jane Routh, Debra Gombert, Karen Johnston, Gillian Bridge, Hazel Lackie, Mabel Farrar, Maggie Crompton, Sheelagh Kendra, Donna Calabrese, Lindsay-Brooke Hessa, Lisa Filatov, Elizabeth Webber, Alexandra Treiber, Jane McKeag, Sue Hayes, Anne Sutton, Paula Barham, Linda Howarth, Carol O’Brady, Tania Ashton-Jones, Emma Stroud, Maggie Fallon, Sandra Hand, Christine Chamillard, Debby Sutcliffe, Steve Booth, Jennifer Williams, Linda Allen, Alison Cossons, Jan Quigley, Marguerite Curran, Vanessa Briscoe, Valerie Briant, Sylvia Borrows, Rosemary Deacon, Christine MacDonald, Kay Underhay, Christine Thomas, Kate Nowak, Rita Dias, Sheila Jones, Gail Coles, Susanne Ihmig and Christina Schoeller. Phew, that’s a very long list!!! And if I did miss anyone, please let me know and I will include you in the list next month.

So for the remaining 497 members who are still guessing, this month the letter I am giving you is... “D”:

_  _  _  / _  _  _  _  A  _  _  _  D  / _  _  _  _  _  _ 

Any ideas?!? If you think you know what it is, send your answer in to Sue at and she will let you know if you are right. Good luck everyone!

THERE ARE FOUR SQUARES TO KNIT THIS MONTH, with alternative options for two of the squares:

Square 17, Thicket – lace pattern with hooked-in beads (same for both options):

Square 22, Elves & Imps (Option One) – fairisle pattern with stripes, textured stitches and hooked-in beads:

Square 22, Elves & Imps (Option Two) – textured pattern with stripes and hooked-in beads:

Square 29, Autumn Cable – cable pattern with slip-stitch beads (same for both options):

Square 43, Falling Leaves (Option One) – intarsia leaf motifs with hooked-in beads and Swiss-darned and chain-stitch details:

Square 43, Falling Leaves (Option Two) – textured pattern with mini cables 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 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 to help you knit your squares. But here are a few extra tips to assist you:

SQUARE 17, THICKET: so are you ready for some lace knitting? This square gives you a gentle introduction to it and combines basic lace stitches with hooked-in beads to create a complex looking pattern.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (February blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • Understanding lace stitches (March blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)

The first thing to note about this pattern is that it has a variable stitch count as mentioned in the first Pattern note and tip on page 6. This means that you will have an increased number of stitches - 49 stitches - at the end of all right side rows, and the same number you cast on - 44 stitches - at the end of all wrong side rows. This will not affect the width of your knitting which will look uniform all the way to the top.

When knitting a lace pattern it's a good idea to regularly count the number of stitches, and I found myself doing this at the end of every wrong side row - just to be sure that I had the correct amount. In lace knitting it is easy to miss a yarn over (an increase), and if you do then you won’t have the correct number of stitches and this will create a problem with the following rows - the work will have to be undone. So a regular check as you go along will reassure you that you are keeping on track and your lace knitting will look just as it should do, beautiful!

If you are unfamiliar with lace patterns then it would be a good idea to check out my lace tech vid this month which demonstrates the abbreviations skpo, yf, K2tog, P2tog and P2togtbl. They are also explained on page 23 of your mail out.

On last thing to watch out for are the colours of the beads. You will be using Velvet and Indigo, which in poor light might look quite similar to each other. So make sure that you are working in good light and that you pick up the correct colour when instructed in the pattern. They are hooked-in so that they sit in diagonal lines of four which alternate between the two colours as you work up the square.

SQUARE 22, ELVES & IMPS (Option One): so this is the first of the two squares that requires you to make a choice. It doesn’t matter which option you go for, so you can knit whichever one you prefer.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

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

This square has similarities to Square 8, Pixes & Nixies, which you knitted last month. There is a fairisle section at the bottom in a green colourway with Gold beads. Then the upper section is a repeat of the stripe in Square 8, but recoloured.

Remember to watch out for the changes in needle size which are necessary to maintain an even width of knitting all the way to the top. These needle changes are hi-lighted in darker font in the pattern instructions so that you don’t miss them.

Gold beads are hooked into the fairisle section (Rows 10-20), so for this technique no pre-threading is required. If you look at the chart and compare it to the image of the square on page 8 the beads look as if they are positioned incorrectly, too high up on the chart. However, I just want to assure you that they are correct. Beads drop down to the row below when they are hooked in and so this is why the chart doesn’t match what you see when you look at the knitting.

When you are asked to transfer stitches onto the other needle you could try out the tip I mentioned earlier on in the blog which uses double-pointed needles. It certainly speeds things up and makes the knitting of this square a lot easier - which is always a plus in my book!

SQUARE 22, ELVES & IMPS (Option Two): this is the easier option and replaces the fairisle section with a decorative loop stitch pattern. It is the same as Square 8, Pixies & Nixies, but knitted in a green colourway with Gold beads.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

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

Remember to watch out for the changes in needle size which are needed to keep the tension nice and neat throughout the whole square.

If you knitted Option One for Square 8, but choose Option Two for this square, you might need to give the tech vid for how to knit the decorative loop stitch a watch. This vid from last month’s blog shows you how to knit this stitch which is worked across 12 rows (8-19).

SQUARE 29, AUTUMN CABLE: this neat, brightly coloured cable gives you the opportunity to try out the slip-stitch beading technique. And if you need help with this then there’s a tech vid to help you.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • How to cable (February blog)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (March blog)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (March blog)

The tech vid for cables does not show you c7f, but it does show you how a cable is knitted. So you just need to apply the same technique to this (that is, crossing over two sets of stitches), replacing the number of stitches with seven stitches held to the front. This will make the cable twist to the left, as you can see in the image on page 14. You will need to reference c7f in the Abbreviations on page 23 which tells you exactly how to knit this cable pattern.

There are both worded instructions and a chart for this square, so choose whichever one you prefer to work from. You begin by working a RS and a WS row which are on page 14. Then on page 15 you opt to continue with either the worded instructions or the chart. Row 1 of the worded 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 (Pumpkin) off the chart and drew it with a plain white background which makes the symbols clearer to see.

You will notice that some of the stitches are worked through the back of the loop (K1tbl and P1tbl). This twists the stitches and tightens them up, making them look much neater.

SQUARE 43, FALLING LEAVES (Option One): the final square to knit this month has two options, so you will need to decide whether you want to go for an intarsia pattern (this one) or a textured pattern. Option one is always regarded as the trickier option because it has colour work in it.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • The intarsia technique (March blog)
  • How to add Chain stitch to your knitting (March blog)
  • How to add Swiss darning to knitting (March blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)

Intarsia patterns are created by introducing separate balls or bobbins into the work to knit each area of colour. So unlike fairisle, there is no stranding or weaving (or very minimal), instead yarns are crossed over each other to stop gaps at the colour changes. It involves fewer techniques than fairisle knitting, so intarsia can appear to be easier to do, but it can be a struggle to get it neat. So practice is needed and this square gives you the perfect opportunity to give it a go. And if you need some guidance, then check out my tech vid in this blog which demos Chart rows 1-4. It will help you with joining in new colours, moving yarns across at the back of the work and crossing them at colour changes.

Like Square 29, I decided to leave the background colour (Maple) off the chart and drew it with a plain white background which makes the symbols and other colours easier to see.

After the knitting has been completed, there is embroidery to add to the leaf motifs. You can see this on the chart on the Chestnut and Barn Red leaves. You may prefer to knit these details in as you go, but I prefer to embroider them on afterwards. The choice is entirely up to you. However, if you choose to go for the embroidery I would suggest that you block and press your square first before you do this as you need the knitting to be beautifully flat to achieve the best results.

SQUARE 43, FALLING LEAVES (Option Two): if you don’t fancy intarsia then you can opt for this square instead. It combines mini beaded cables with a textured pattern in a single colour of yarn.

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • How to cable (February blog)
  • Understanding lace stitches (March blog)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (March blog)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (March blog)

The pattern has a variable stitch count which increases and then gradually decreases back to the original number cast on over a 14-row pattern repeat. The first Pattern note and tip on page 18 advises you to check the number of stitches after certain rows, and I strongly advise that you do this to make sure you are keeping on track. It is very easy in a pattern like this to miss an increase or a decrease and then you won’t have the right number of stitches for the next row. So you need to be vigilant!

If you need guidance with any of the abbreviations then you can look them up on page 23 of your mail out. You will come across yf, skpo, s2kpo, K2tog, P1tbl and K1tbl, all of which are explained on this page, along with c3b. I just want to hi-light yf which is the same as yo (yarn over) and is an increase of one stitch. To do this you simply keep the yarn held at the front of the work as you knit the next stitch, and the yarn goes over the needle and creates a stitch. This is an increase that a lot of knitters get wrong, so I am focusing on this to ensure you get it right.

There is no chart for this square so you are working from worded instructions. Each row has a lot of information so it might be worth striking off the rows as you complete them to keep track of where to are. There’s nothing worse than getting lost in a pattern and needing to be rescued!

A FEW OF THE MEMBERS HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH WITH STORIES AND TIPS. And I begin with a very helpful tip from Linda Carey from York in the UK. Linda has a great idea for keeping her blanket squares organised and thought you might find it useful.

Linda says:In readiness for this year's Mystery Blanket, I thought your readers would be interested in my method for keeping all those knitted squares/strips in order.

First of all I have a dedicated box to keep my completed (and pressed) squares in.

I allocate seven individual freezer bags for each strip of squares and label them accordingly, ie 1-7, 8-14, 15-21, 22-28, 29-35, 36-42 and 43-49.

As I complete and press each completed square, it goes into the appropriate freezer bag ready for the next square.

Here's a photo of last year's blanket squares (in strips) in their labelled bags before joining the whole blanket together.

I hope some of your readers find this idea helpful in organising their knitted squares/strips.”


Tips like this are invaluable and go a long way to making the experience of knitting and assembling a blanket easier and so much more enjoyable. I think that this is a super way to keep everything in order, and it certainly ticks all my boxes as I love to be organised. Thanks Linda for a really helpful tip!

LIZ BISHOP FROM HERNE BAY IN KENT, UK, HAS BEEN KEEPING VERY BUSY KNITTING UP SEVERAL BLANKETS! Look at these two matching ones she has recently made for twins. I love the way that Liz has used blanket squares from various Debbie projects to create her own unique designs!

Liz says:I am enjoying knitting the new Mystery Blanket but have only just started as my son asked if could knit something for his line manager who is expecting twins.  I thought you might like to see how I combined many squares from your two blanket books combined  with the idea and squares from the 2017 Mystery Blanket that had alternate white squares.” 

The 2017 Mystery Blanket was titled a ‘A French Romance’, and the squares were knitted in pretty soft colours and brilliant white. So this was a great choice to use for baby blankets. I recognise some of the other squares in Liz’s blankets from designs in my blankets books including Afternoon Tea, Retro and Floor Coverings. What a superb choice which all work so well together. I am sure that your son’s line manager will be extremely pleased with these beautiful blankets!

HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE TORTOISE KNITTING CLUB? Viv Fox from Northampton in the UK, is the founder of this brilliant group which she set up on the Debbie Abrahams page on Ravelry. It’s for members who are catching up with past Mystery Blankets and need a bit of encouragement!

Viv says:In keeping with being a founder member of The Tortoise Knitting Club on the Debbie page on Ravelry, I have finally finished your lovely Retrospective design. The delay in the start of 2023 blanket gave me time to deep dive into my UFO's and I extricated this project. I had the centre strip plus all the assembling to do. I knitted two extra pink lace bobble squares, which I like and changed the centre square, although I hadn't intended the Easter egg which seems to have appeared. I thought about omitting the flags on the border but their triangular shape so echoes the shapes in your lovely design, almost as if you had planned it (as of course you did!). Buttons and writing may be added later.

 I really like how this blanket is in the true spirit of patchwork, ie lots of different designs melded into one. So thank you for the beautiful and many coloured design.”


It’s so lovely to see this blanket finished, and it must be a huge relief for you Viv to be able to tick this one off your list! I remember with great fondness designing this blanket. It was for the ten year anniversary of the Mystery Blanket Club and it combined together squares from all the previous nine blankets. It was a real challenge to get them all to work together, but it was an interesting project to work on, and has become one of my favourites in the collection. Thanks for sharing Viv! You might find a few more tortoises joining your club after reading this!

AND FINALLY, I CLOSE THIS POST WITH THE SECOND 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 TWO (MARCH): this month’s winner is member 78, Katharine Henson from Reading in the UK. Well done Katharine! 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 Cushion Club or 2024 Mystery Blanket Club.
  • A Mystery bag of five gifts!

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

As the snow continues to pour down this afternoon, there’s no better time to keep cosy indoors with some knitting. For those of you who have your kits, I hope you feel fully prepped and ready to make a start on the March squares. And for those of you who are still patiently waiting, I hope it won’t be too long before you can get going. Please do keep in touch, whether it’s to tell me the good news that your parcel has arrived, or to share a story or a helpful tip - it’s always lovely to keep in touch with you all. So until next month - which I can’t believe will be April! - I wish you a pleasant few weeks of knitting and crafting and I look forward to seeing you back here on the 1st. Take care everyone, Debbie x

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