WELCOME TO THE FIRST INSTALMENT OF THE 2019 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! And for those of you who are new to my ‘mystery’ clubs, this is the place to come to on the 15th of every month for all your Mystery Cushion news and advice. It’s a good idea to read my blog before you make a start on each month’s patterns as it has lots of helpful hints and tips which will guide you through the project.
All of my Clubs are global projects and this year the Mystery Cushion Club has members from all around the world including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Israel, Denmark, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Ireland and the UK. Isn’t it exciting to think that people from all these countries will be knitting up the Mystery Cushion at the same time as you!
ALL OF THE PARCELS HAVE NOW BEEN POSTED! We included a list of the posting dates in the email we sent to you on the 15th June with your first pattern download. If you have not received your parcel it should be with you very soon. Please note that this is the only parcel you will be sent for the project and it contains everything that you need for your cushion cover (with the exception of fastenings). I would suggest that you check the contents of your parcel when it arrives against the list of what should be in it on page 2 of Mail Out 1. And if there is anything missing, please contact Sue and she will get the items posted to you straight away: firstname.lastname@example.org
BEWARE OF THE LITTLE COLOURED ENVELOPE IN YOUR KIT! – this has your woven label inside it. The label has the name of the cushion on it, so if you don’t want to spoil the surprise it would be best to put this in a safe place until you have guessed the theme.
YOUR UNIQUE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB WOVEN BAG has been packed with your knitting kit. In most of the parcels it has been packed in the clear plastic bag with the yarn and beads. But in some of the overseas parcels it has been packed in the outer white mailing bag OUTSIDE of the clear plastic bag. So please check carefully when you open your parcel and make sure that you don’t throw away the packaging with your woven bag inside it!
PRINTED PATTERNS HAVE BEEN POSTED OUT IN A SEPARATE CARD-BACKED ENVELOPE. So if you opted for this you will receive them very soon. Each instalment will be posted to arrive by, or close to, the 15th of the month, from June – October. All of the members will receive the five sets of monthly patterns by email, which will be scheduled at 12:15am on the 15th of the month. So keep your eyes on your inbox!
PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU DON’T RECEIVE THE EMAILED PATTERNS – it might be because we have made an error with your email address in our database, which we can correct immediately. But sometimes our emails go into a spam folder instead of your inbox, so please make sure that you check this before contacting us.
These are some trouble-shooting steps that you can take to make sure that you are set up correctly to receive our Mailchimp newsletters:
- add our “From” email address to your email contact list or address book
- check any spam filter settings to be sure that your content isn't being flagged
- find the email in your spam folder (if this is the case), and mark it as “Not Spam” or “Not Junk”. This will help register that our content is safe for receiving into your inbox
If you do not receive the June patterns from us then please try some or all of these checks. And if you need further help then please contact Sue at: email@example.com and we will investigate further.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NEVER ON YOUR OWN IN A DEBBIE ABRAHAMS MYSTERY CLUB, and you can always get in touch if you have any queries – although I will do my best to cover as many things as I can in my monthly blogs. Please send any correspondence to Sue (my right-hand lady!), at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sue will do her best to answer your query, but she will forward it onto me if she cannot answer it herself. In addition to our services, there is a Debbie Abrahams group set up on Ravelry which you can join free of charge to get lots of help and advice. The group on there are really lovely and are only too happy to pass on any help they can give if you get stuck with your Mystery Cushion knitting.
YOU HAVE ALL BEEN GIVEN A UNIQUE MEMBERSHIP NUMBER which is printed on the address label of your yarn parcel. It would be very helpful if you could take note of it and quote it when contacting us as it means we can locate your details in our database much more efficiently. If you are not sure what your number is and want to know, all you need to do is get in touch with us: email@example.com .
IF AND WHEN WE HAVE ANY IMPORTANT NEWS TO TELL YOU, (such as an addendum), we will send all of the members a newsletter by email. So don’t forget to check your inbox on a regular basis so you don’t miss them.
YOU HAVE A COLOUR CODER IN YOUR PARCEL and it is important that you use it to identify the colours in the cushion. The shade numbers on the ball–bands correspond to those stated in the patterns, beside which I have written the Rowan name for each colour. If you do not use the correct colour for the correct block then you may run out of some of the yarns, so please take some time to set up your colour coder to avoid getting the colours mixed up. Tie a small amount of each yarn onto the colour coder and also write the name of each yarn and its shade number beside it. And then remember to keep your colour coder near to you at all times when you are knitting so that you can make sure you have picked up the correct colours to work with!!!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BUTTONS TO FASTEN THE CUSHION COVER ARE NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR KIT. Details of the number, size and type of buttons that I have used for the project will be included in the October instructions.
THERE IS A TIPS AND TECHNIQUES SECTION IN YOUR MAIL OUT. You will find it at the back of your first set of patterns. It includes important information on things like knitting with beads and embroidery on knitting, as well as an Abbreviations list. Information on tension, construction, blocking and pressing and advice about how to read the document can be found towards the beginning of the Mail Out. To ensure that you make no errors when knitting up the patterns, I would suggest that you read through the whole Mail Out thoroughly before you make a start. That way you can familiarise yourself with the instructions and enjoy trouble-free knitting! And those of you have joined the digital age and have a tablet should find that the file is compatible with your device, so you can read your patterns directly from your tablet instead of using a printed copy.
I HAVE ALSO INCLUDED ON EACH PATTERN PAGE A HANDY LIST OF ‘PATTERN NOTES AND TIPS’, which give you extra advice about the block you are knitting and alert you to anything that you should watch out for, such as needle size changes, changes in tension, when to cut off or carry yarns up the side of the work, and special techniques and abbreviations. So I highly recommend that you read through these notes very carefully before you start knitting each piece. It will prepare you for the task ahead and ensure that you are fully aware of what the pattern entails, avoiding any unexpected shocks along the way!
IN EACH MAIL OUT (ON PAGE 4) YOU ARE GIVEN A PIECING DIAGRAM WHICH SHOWS YOU WHICH BLOCKS YOU ARE KNITTING EACH MONTH, and where they are positioned in the design:
The Front Panel of the cushion cover is constructed as follows, it is made up from nine blocks which are worked in three separate strips and then pieced together. Unlike the Mystery Blanket, the stitches for each block are left on a holder after they have been completed so that the next block in the strip can be knitted onto it. I decided to do this because a cushion cover – unlike a large heavy blanket – does not need the extra strength that is created by horizontal seams. The Back Panel is knitted in two halves – an Upper Back Panel and a Lower Back Panel.
IT IS ADVISABLE NOT TO PURCHASE YOUR CUSHION INSERT UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED KNITTING THE CUSHION COVER as the finished size of it will depend on your own tension. If your tension differs from what I achieved then it will result in the cushion-cover knitting up slightly bigger or smaller than the size I have quoted in the pattern instructions.
THESE ARE THREE MYSTERY CUSHION BLOCKS TO KNIT THIS MONTH:
FRONT PANEL, Block 1: Fresco – fairisle pattern with slip-stitch and hooked-in beads:
FRONT PANEL, Block 2: Mosaic – ribbed pattern with stripes and hooked-in beads:
FRONT PANEL, Block 4: Papyrus – cable pattern with hooked-in beads:
Here’s some extra advice on these blocks…
BLOCK 1, FRESCO: this is a busy square to start the cushion off with two different methods of beading, fairisle and chain stitch.
Rows 1-9 are given as worded instructions, and then you knit rows 10-30 from the chart. After completing the chart you continue to knit rows 31-42 from worded instructions again.
At several points in the pattern you are instructed to transfer your stitches onto the other needle – this is so you can knit two rows beginning with a right side row. This creates a garter stitch ridge (rows 8-9, 31-32 and 40-41). But be aware that after you have transferred the stitches onto the other needle, the next row in the pattern may be an even numbered row with the right side of the knitting facing you – usually in knitting all right side rows are odd numbers and all wrong side rows are even numbers. Also note the change to a smaller needle size which will keep the rows of garter stitch neat and even.
All of the beads on the chart are hooked-in to the knitting. When you come to a bead symbol on the chart, you hook in the bead onto the stitch and then knit the stitch. This means that the bead actually sits on the stitch on the row below where the bead symbol is on the chart. That is why the beads on chart row 12 look as if they are off-centre, but in fact they sit in the middle of the pattern on row 11.
Embroider the horizontal lines using chain stitch and Sienna yarn onto chart rows 6 and 16. The embroidery will cover a row of Aqua on each side of the central fairisle block. I embroidered over one knitted stitch with one chain stitch, beginning between the first and second stitches of the row, and finishing between the last two stitches. Make sure that you cut a length of yarn which is long enough to embroider each line in one go as it is very frustrating if you run out before the end!
BLOCK 2, MOSAIC: although this block is quite straightforward to knit, it did take me quite a long time to complete it as there are a lot of hooked-in beads in it. I found using a piece of Oral B Superfloss (dental floss) was much quicker and easier to use then a crochet hook for hooking in the beads, so I would suggest that you give this a go if you are struggling with a hook. And if you can’t get hold of the Superfloss then beading or florists wire works just as well.
I have just noticed that in the first Pattern note and tip for this block on page 8 I say, “if you are not using the suggested needle size of 2.75mm…”. - this should say 3.00mm instead of 2.75mm. This refers to the needle size that you are asked to test your tension on for the project. So if you are not using 3.00mm needles as your main needle for the project you will need to change the needles used in this block – 2.75mm – down two metric sizes from your main needle size. I hope that makes sense!?!
One last thing about this pattern is to watch out for the stitches which are knitted ‘K1tbl’ and ‘P1tbl’. These two abbreviations mean that you knit/purl the stitch through the back of the loop, thus tightening them up and making them neater.
BLOCK 4, PAPYRUS: instructions for this block are given in two different formats – as a worded pattern and as a chart. You begin by casting on and working the increase row on page 10, before continuing using either the worded instructions or the chart.
There are five cable panels in the pattern and read them carefully as they swap between twisting to the left (c6f) and to the right (c6b).
To make the edges of the cables really neat and tidy, the first and last stitches on all the rows are worked through the back - except for the rows on which the stitches are cabled (rows 5, 13, 21, 29 and 37). This is represented as a forward slash on the chart and written as ‘K1tbl’ or ‘P1tl’ in the worded instructions.
The colours of the Bronze and Shell beads on the chart are quite similar so check them very carefully before you hook them in. If in doubt you can read these rows using the worded instructions instead which confirm the colour of the beads to be used on rows 8 and 9, 16 and 17, 24 and 25, and 32 and 33.
THERE WILL BE MONTHLY 'MYSTERY' CLUB MEETINGS IN BEESTON IN NOTTINGHAM FOR BOTH THE CUSHION AND THE BLANKET, so if you fancy a couple of hours of knit and chat contact Sarah (formerly the owner of Yarn in Beeston) to find out the details. Sarah has very generously offered to hold the remaining meetings for this year in her house in Beeston. You can contact Sarah by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The next meeting is on Wednesday 10th July from 16:00-18:00. I will be at the meeting and I hope to see some of you there too!
AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH … THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! This is just a bit of fun each month and something to think about while you are knitting your cushion cover. Each month I will give you one letter in the title, then it’s over to you to let us know what you think it is. Although you have only seen a small part of the design so far, there are plenty of clues in this first mail-out, so you might have some ideas already as to what the theme is. So, in true “hang-man” style, here is the first clue, which is the letter “M”…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ M _ _ _
Any ideas?!? Email Sue at email@example.com to see if you are right, otherwise the theme will continue to be a 'Mystery' for you until the next clue in another four weeks’ time!
Thank you for taking the time to read my first Mystery Cushion blog and I hope that you have found it informative and helpful. We always love to hear from our members, so if you have any knitting stories, tips or photos to share with us, please send them in - they are always welcome! I wish you a very happy four weeks of knitting and look forward to seeing you back here mid-July for all the latest Mystery Cushion Club news. Until then…take care, Debbie x