Mystery Blanket Club 2023: post 3, April

Mystery Blanket Club 2023: post 3, April

WELCOME TO THE APRIL INSTALMENT OF THE 2023 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! I’ve just returned from a wonderful knitting evening in the beautiful Cheshire countryside with my lovely friends Jane and Andy Crowfoot, where we spent three delightful days knitting and crocheting with a group of fabulous people, some of which were Mystery Blanket members. So those of you who joined us at Nunsmere Hall Hotel, I hope you enjoyed your time there - we certainly did!

So now it’s back to my desk here in Nottingham to tell you all about the latest Mystery Blanket Club news! In this month’s blog there are more helpful tips plus one new tech vid to assist you with your April squares. Plus there are some member stories, an update on the overseas parcels and news of an Easter promotion (get your shopping baskets at the ready!). So grab yourself a cuppa, sit back, relax and take half an hour to find out what’s going on this month before you pick up your knitting needles and yarn…

After my intro there is one new tech vid this month, but you can also go back to the previous two blogs if you need a reminder of any of the other techniques that have been used in the squares so far.

  • NEW THIS MONTH: Debbie’s intro!
  • NEW THIS MONTH: How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge using several colours

This is a reminder of the techniques that were covered in previous blogs:

  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (both options): how to knit the decorative slip-stitch (February)
  • Square 8, Pixies & Nixies (Option One): the Fairisle technique (February)
  • How to knit the decorative loop stitch (February)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February)
  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (February)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February)
  • How to cable (February)
  • How to knit a contrast-coloured bobble (February)
  • Square 16, Forager: how to knit the exaggerated decorative purl stitch (February)
  • Understanding lace stitches (March)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (March)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (March)
  • The intarsia technique (March)
  • How to add Chain stitch to your knitting (March)
  • How to add Swiss darning to knitting (March)

AS OF THIS MORNING I AM RELIEVED TO SAY THAT THERE ARE NOW JUST TWO OVERSEAS PARCELS STILL TO BE DELIVERED, with all of the other overseas knitting kits safely received. I am keeping a close eye on these two parcels and following their progress daily, and they are slowly moving through the system. So all being good they will be received very soon and then all 560 members will be knitting. What a joyous moment that will be!

I want to send my heartfelt thanks again to all of my truly lovely overseas members who have been so patient during this very frustrating time. No one has been negative and indeed the mood has been quite the opposite with the camaraderie of the other members helping everyone through it with positive messages and good humour. So thank you to all the members for creating such a lovely knitting community. It has been a lifeline for many people and helped to make a bad situation much more bearable.

Just a quick note on the printed patterns. They were posted to the overseas members on the 18th March and to the UK members on Wednesday 29th March. Printed patterns are posted in a card-backed envelope, and from now onwards will be delivered at the beginning of each month.

WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF PARCELLING UP THE SECOND PART OF YOUR KNITTING KIT, AND WE WILL BEGIN POSTING THEM TO THE OVERSEAS MEMBERS NEXT WEEK. So it’s not quite time yet to pounce on your postie, but do keep an eye out at the beginning of May. The second parcel will contain all of the remaining yarn and beads that you need for the project. There are two new colours of yarn and two new colours of beads too, plus more of some of the yarns that were in the first parcel. So there’s plenty more excitement to come!

PATTERN ADDENDUM AND INTRO BLOG ALERT! I have just noticed that on the chart for Square 9 Toadstool on page 7 of the April mail out, it says in the key that the Black beads are hooked in and the Velvet beads are knitted in using the slip-stitch method. However this is incorrect, it is the other way round. You thread on 12 Black beads and they are knitted in using the slip-stitch technique. It is the Velvet beads that are hooked in. If you look closely at the image of the square on page 6, you can see that the Black beads sit horizontally across the stitches (pb), and the Velvet beads sit vertically on stitches (hb).

I talked about this is my blog and followed what the chart said, so please ignore this and follow these amended instructions instead. I will also add this to the Addendum list on our website:

I apologise for this error and hope I’ve caught you before you make a start on this square.

THE 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB HAS BEEN ON SALE FOR A MONTH AND WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE SOLD THREE-QUARTERS OF THE MEMBERSHIPS ALREADY!  So I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has decided to climb onboard and join me in June when all of the fun begins. There is still time to sign up if you haven’t made up your mind yet, so let me see if I can tempt you…

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: 2016 Mystery Cushion Club, Geo Jungle.

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. I have 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 fastenings.

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 is 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:

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.

It will be a lot of fun and I hope you decide to join me!

IF YOU FANCY A BIT OF A BARGAIN THEN WE ARE RUNNING A SPECIAL EASTER PROMOTION FROM 7th-14th APRIL! During this time you can take advantage of a 10% discount off the full price of products in our online shop. You will be sent an email to let you know that the sale has begun, but it would be a good idea to mark it on your calendar too.


The sales includes beads, books and knitting kits, with Mystery Clubs and Gift cards the only exception to the offer. It’s dead easy to get the discount. Simply go to checkout and it will be automatically applied, avoiding the need for a discount code.

So why not grab yourself a super bargain and set yourself up nice and early for your Spring/Summer knitting. It’s the ideal opportunity to get your projects lined up for the next few months!

WE ARE CONTINUING TO COLLECT DONATIONS FOR OUR UKRAINE WINTER WARMERS APPEAL, and have continued to be overwhelmed by the many beautifully handknitted accessories and garments, and bags and boxes of yarn which have been sent to Sue.

Above: you can see in the photos on the pin-board the lorries that are used to transport all the donations to Ukraine.

Sue and I visited the group in Peterborough about a month ago and we took with us all the donations that we had at that point. They filled up two cars to the roof, leaving just enough room for the driver! It was a very humbling experience as we met some young people who had come over from Ukraine within the last few days, leaving behind loved ones who were either fighting or refused to leave their country. One lady was a doll collector and she had to leave her whole collection back in Ukraine. She was very moved when she saw some of the knitted dolls that had been donated as she said that she would probably never see her own collection again. It was a very emotional visit.

At the moment we are continuing to collect donations, but as Sue has another steadily growing mountain of knitted items and yarn in her house that have already been donated, we are going to pause our collections at the end of April. So if you have anything to send in, please post or deliver it if you can before that date to Sue and it will be taken to the group when Sue visits them again.

Sue’s address is: 1 Mount Pleasant, Spaldwick, Cambridgeshire PE28 0TG.

Thank you in advance for anything you can send in. Everything goes directly to those who continue to be in need in Ukraine.

THE TITLE OF THIS YEAR’S MYSTERY BLANKET HAS BEEN GUESSED BY MANY OF YOU ALREADY, but there is still some guessing to be done. Congratulations this month go to another twenty-three members who have got it right: Jill Bignell, Christina Jones, Trisha Harrison, Susan Cumming, Kelley Coll, Andrea Harman, Kate Wood, Gail Schofield, Sarah Hopping, Venita Parry, Kerstin Hobo, Reena Patel, Sandra Couper, Dorothy Rodden, Ruth Atkinson, Linda Urwin, Sharon O’Donoghue, Linda Carey, Theresa Stredder, Marilyn Powell, Margaret Dunn, Leslie Foote and Mary Jensen.

But for those of you who are still guessing, here is another clue. This month the letter I am giving you is... “H”:

_  H  _  / _  _  _  H  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 9, Toadstool (Option One) – intarsia motif with hooked-in and slip-stitch beads and chain stitch details:

Square 9, Toadstool (Option Two) – textured pattern with hooked-in beads:

Square 10, Bracken – three-colour stripe slip-stitch pattern (same for both options):

Square 30, Forager 2 – striped pattern with rows of contrast-coloured exaggerated purl stitch (same for both options):

Square 44, Hawthorn (Option One) – fairisle pattern with stripes, textured stitches and hooked-in beads:

Square 44, Hawthorn (Option Two) – textured pattern with stripes and hooked-in 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 9, TOADSTOOL (Option One): this is the second intarsia square in the blanket so you will need to make a decision as to whether you want an intarsia challenge or if you would prefer an easier option to knit (Option Two).

Videos to watch for assistance with this square:

  • How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge using several colours (March blog)
  • Mattress stitch (horizontal) (February blog)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)
  • How to thread beads onto your yarn (March blog)
  • How to bead, the slip-stitch method (March blog)
  • The intarsia technique (March blog)
  • How to add Chain stitch to your knitting (March blog)

If you fancy a go at intarsia then this is a good square to start with. And it does not matter whether you chose intarsia for Square 43 - you can choose either option for this square. There are six main blocks of colour for which I would recommend a separate ball for each: two Acorn, one Pasture, two Clay and one Mulberry. I prefer to wind my yarns onto bobbins, but I will leave this decision up to you. You can see the type that I use in the image below. The reason why I use bobbins is because they keep the yarns organised, and I like the weight that the bobbins give which helps keep the stitches neat when crossing them over at colour changes. So they are an all-round winner for me!

There is a new tech vid that shows how to pick up stitches using several colours to begin the square. But if you are casting on rather than picking up stitches, you could take a look at the tech vid from the 2021 Mystery Cushion Club which shows how you do this:

There are both hooked-in and slip-stitch beads in this square, so watch out for them on the chart. Please make sure that you read and take note of my Addendum which I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. The Black beads are knitted in using the slip stitch method and the Velvet beads are hooked-in. This is the reverse of what it tells you to do in the key for the chart on page 7, so the key is incorrect as written (see below):

There are some small circles to embroider onto the knitting after you have knitted it using Pasture and Barn Red yarns. You can use the image and chart as guides, or if you prefer you can embroider them randomly and to your own liking - you don’t have to follow what I have done. There is also an outline of chain stitch across the bottom edge of the toadstool, and again you can choose to add this or not, or embroider it in a different colour. It would make it unique and I really don’t mind at all, so go off-piste if you want to with this one!

SQUARE 9, TOADSTOOL (Option Two): so you can go for this option if you don’t fancy tackling intarsia. It’s an all-over repeat textured stitch with hooked-in beads. This means that there is no pre-threading to do, but you’ll need to grab your fine crochet hook or dental floss.

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)
  • How to bead, the hooking-in method (February blog)

There is a variable stitch count in this pattern which varies between 61 and 59 stitches. I have included the count at the end of every row. It’s a good idea to count the number of stitches at the end of every row in which there have been increases or decreases made, just to make sure you haven’t missed any. I found the ‘M3’ towards the end of Rows 7 and 15 particularly difficult to remember, so watch out for these.

I don’t think you’ve come across ‘sk2po’ or ‘M3’ so far in this blanket, so these are two new abbreviations that you will find explained on page 23 of your April mail out. The first one, ‘s2kpo’ is a double decrease, and ‘M3’ is a double increase. They are very easy to do, but it would be a good idea to check them out before you knit them as they might vary slightly in comparison to other patterns you have worked on previously.

There’s just one last thing to say about this square and that is that it uses a smaller needle than the recommended main needle size of 3.50mm. So make sure that you pick up the correct size otherwise your Toadstool square will knit up much bigger!

SQUARE 10, BRACKEN: I really enjoyed designing and knitting up this interesting three-colour stripe pattern and was intrigued by the repeat pattern that emerges as you rotate the colours round. There are no options for this square, so everyone is knitting the same version.

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)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)

Now, you might need to keep your wits about you with this one, because although it’s easy once you get going, there is a 4-colour pattern repeat which is worked over a 12-row colour rotation, with each of the three colours worked on four rows.

I found that the only way I could keep up with this was to mark off rows 2-13 on the pattern instructions as I completed them and their subsequent repeats (I don’t work from a digital format). And this kept me right on track with it all the way to the end. I must say that it was a thoroughly enjoyable square to knit, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

SQUARE 30, FORAGER 2: you will recognise this square from the first mail out in February when you knitted Forager 1. But there is a change to the colours.

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)
  • Square 16, Forager: how to knit the exaggerated decorative purl stitch (February blog)
  • How to carry yarns up the side of the work (February blog)

So this is a bit of revision for you as it has exactly the same stitch pattern as Square 16, but the colours have been swapped and changed. If you need a gentle reminder then the tech vid from the February blog will guide you through how to knit the exaggerated purl stitch.  And remember that unless I instruct you to cut the yarns off, carry them up the side of the work to cut down on the amount of loose ends (there is a tech vid for this too!).

SQUARE 44, HAWTHORN (Option One): the final square to knit this month has two options, so you will need to decide whether you want to go for a pattern that has some fairisle in it (this one) or a textured stitch. This one is the trickier option.

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

There are a mixture of yarns used in this square and in particular I really love the combination of Soft Yak and Felted Tweed in the fairisle section. If you decide to go for this option then the fairisle sections are pretty short and sweet with 18 rows in total worked using this technique. So this is a great opportunity to give it a go if you have not tried it before. It does not matter which option you choose, so go with whatever you fancy.

You’ve come across the decorative stripe pattern before in Pixies & Nixies and in Elves & Imps, but if you need a reminder of it then the tech vid from the February blog is there to refer back to.

There is a little bit of transferring of stitches back and forth which enables you to pick up and carry on knitting with a yarn that has been left at that side of the work, so a circular needle or double-pointed needles would be beneficial to knit this square.

I think I may have mentioned about the positioning of beads on a chart in a previous blog, but I know that some of you will take a look at the chart on page 15 and wonder why they are not positioned on chart row 5 (in the middle). The reason is because beads drop down by a row or two when they are knitted in - and that goes for both methods of beading. So they have to be knitted in higher up so that they look like they are in the centre. So don’t panic, it’s not an error, it’s just how it works.

SQUARE 44, HAWTHORN (Option Two): if you don’t fancy knitting fairisle then you can opt for this square instead. It combines the decorative loop stitch with textured stripes, and it has some hooked-in beads too.

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

This square uses all the techniques that were used in the Option Two versions of squares 8 and 22, but they are in a different arrangement. There are plenty of tech vids to assist you, so make sure that you check them out if you need some assistance. All in all this should be a very pleasant trip down memory lane!

Now it’s time for you to decide…fairisle or decorative stitches?...

AND NOW FOR A COUPLE OF STORIES AND TIPS FROM THE MEMBERS, BEGINNING WITH HAZEL LACKIE FROM BRISTOL IN THE UK. Hazel shares my philosophy that blocking and pressing results in the most perfect squares, and she has a very unique way of doing it which you might find very useful! She has shared with us her tip and some photos of a project she has been working on recently:

Hazel says:When I block a knitted-on square, I block the measurement to the edge of the ‘visible’ knitting - ie leave out the edges. I use short blocking wires that I thread inside the cast-off row and the side selvedges and through the centre of the join.

Here are a couple of pictures. I have marked the square on my blocking mat. I thread the wires through the centre of the joins and they are pinned to the line directly underneath. The edge wires come inside the selvedge and they are pinned to the line where the wire is (leaving the selvedge outside). This way, I get a proper square. Hope that makes sense. I need very few pins and always get a straight edge. 

I will never again knit a blanket in separate squares (I did it with a non-Debbie one once). Besides hating sewing, the extra ends from the sewing up horizontally made the corners very bulky.”

This is a great tip Hazel, and one which has excellent results. Blocking and pressing is so important to finish a knitted fabric as it relaxes the stitches and transforms the physical quality and handle of the knitting. And although I do invest time in it, admittedly it is not my favourite part of the knitting process! So any tips to make it easier and more enjoyable are always very welcome.

JANE BOYD FROM LEIGH IN WORCESTERSHIRE IN THE UK HAS RECENTLY COMPLETED SOME LOVELY ‘DEBBIE’ PROJECTS, and I was thrilled to see her latest achievements. Jane is so good at finishing things - which is something I fail at miserably. So it’s really inspiring to see her latest creations which as usual have been knitted and finished beautifully. She has also been diligently blocking and pressing her blanket squares - great work Jane!

Top to bottom: Chic Case, Lavish Purse, and Square 43 blocking!

AND FINALLY, I CLOSE THIS POST WITH THE THIRD 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 THREE (APRIL): this month’s winner is member 359, Genevieve Le Visage from Rochefort-en-Terre in France. Well done Genevieve! 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 Genevieve to let her know the good news!

Thank you to everyone for keeping in touch and please do continue to do that. I always love to hear from you, whether it’s to let me know that you have received your long awaited parcel, to share your most recent knitting achievements, or to share a tip or story. I have noticed on the Facebook group how many pictures are appearing of our furry friends assisting (or sometimes not!) with the blanket knitting. So I am asking next month for you to send in your pictures for my ‘Blanket Squares and Furry Friends’ feature so that we can share them together here - wouldn’t that be fun! And if there’s any feathers or scales, they are most welcome too! Until next time then, take extra special care of yourselves and remember to come back to see me here at the beginning of May, when, fingers crossed, you will all be raving about your successfully received second parcels! Happy knitting everyone, Debbie x

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1 comment

Thank you to Debbie, Sue, Jane and Andy for another lovely Inspired Minds knitting and crocheting holiday in Chester. Rachel and I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion as we always do. Great company, great project, lovely comfortable room and great craic with old and new friends. Thank you so much! Xxxx

Diane Mulligan

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