WELCOME TO THE FINAL INSTALMENT OF THE 2022 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! And after four months of working on your cushion-cover we are now at the end of the project with just the final panel to knit. This month the focus is on fairisle with a two-colour floral pattern in juicy orange and cool purple, with a scattering of beads and some contrast coloured embroidery. It’s a colourful end to a colourful journey, so sit back, relax and enjoy!
In this month’s blog I reveal the cushion title, which has really challenged most of you with only a handful of the members guessing it correctly. So if you have not guessed it, all will be revealed very soon. There is also some advice on how to assemble the cushion-cover. And if you fancy a new ‘mystery’ adventure in 2023 there’s a reminder about the 2023 Mystery Blanket Club which is almost sold out, but if you’re quick you can grab yourself one of the last remaining places.
Unfortunately there is no intro vid from me this month as I had a fall a few weeks ago (which I mentioned in my October Mystery Blanket blog) and although I am feeling a lot better, I am still struggling a bit with talking due to very painful front teeth. So it’s a read-only blog for this final instalment, which I hope you will find just as interesting and inspiring! So let’s go!...
INDEX OF MCC22 VLOGS BY SUBJECT AND MONTH, to enable you to locate them more easily as and when you need them.
There are no new tech vids this month, but you might find these ones in previous blogs helpful:
- How to thread beads onto your yarn (JUNE blog)
- How to bead, the slip-stitch method (JUNE blog)
- How to bead, the hooking-in method (JUNE blog)
- How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (to knit the next square) (JUNE blog)
- Square 1, Hearts & Flowers: the fairisle technique (JUNE blog)
- Square 1, Hearts & Flowers: how to work rows 12-17 (JUNE blog)
- Square 4, Crazy Cable: intarsia cast-on (JUNE blog)
- Square 4, Crazy Cable: how to cross yarns over on a right-side row (with increases) and a wrong side row (JUNE blog)
- Square 4, Crazy Cable: intarsia cables (c7b) on a right-side row (JUNE blog)
- Square 4, Crazy Cable: intarsia cables (c7b) on a wrong side row (JUNE blog)
- Square 5: the Intarsia technique (AUGUST blog)
- Square 5: how to knit contrast coloured bobbles (AUGUST blog)
- Square 5: chain stitch (AUGUST blog)
- Square 6: how to pick up stitches to knit Square 6 (AUGUST blog)
- Horizontal Mattress stitch (SEPTEMBER blog)
- Vertical Mattress stitch (SEPTEMBER blog)
- How to knit a three-needle cast-off (SEPTEMBER blog)
THE FIFTH AND FINAL SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH OCTOBER, so you should find an email from us in your inbox with a link to the October file.
Due to ongoing postal strikes by Royal Mail in the UK our printed patterns may arrive late again this month. There are three postal strikes planned for October which are creating huge backlogs and consequently severe delays across the country. So if they are not received by the 15th please don’t panic because they are on their way to you. The printed patterns were posted to overseas members on the 11th October, and to UK members on the 12th October.
Don’t forget that you can also download your mail outs from your account on our website where you will find your digital files ready and waiting.
SO NOW IT’S TIME TO REVEAL THE TITLE OF THE 2022 MYSTERY CUSHION! And after five months of suspense, I can reveal that the title is…
My inspiration for the Mystery Cushion is always taken from the current Spring/Summer trends so I take a look at all the seasons stories - there are usually a fair few to choose from! – and I focus on the one that excites me the most. I chose Pure Nouveau because it is all about hi-energy and optimism, and I thought we could all do with a large helping of that in the current global climate!
Above: one of my mood boards for Pure Nouveau.
Below: purples and oranges dominate in the Spring Summer 2022 collection by Matty Bovan.
My aim was to create an intensely colourful and busy design that shouted positivity and confidence, was loud and proud and was certainly going to be noticed! So for anybody that is shy of colour, it takes hold of your hand and takes you on a giant leap into colour and pattern. Be confident and brave and push all the boundaries! Life is to be loved and enjoyed, it’s one big adventure, and this is your chance to escape!
Those of you who have knitted my designs before will know that I am a real stickler for symmetry – I just can’t help myself! So there is a strong element of this throughout the whole design. The front panel squares are a mix of different patterns, which at first glance may appear a little chaotic. However, the layout is actually very structured and organised, and this gives the busy design an underlying reassurance.
I designed four fairisle patterns for the front panel squares, which are symbolic of peace, love and joy: flowers, hearts, leaves and butterflies. These are positioned in the four corners with the bands of patterns switching round, so it’s symmetry with a bit of a twist!
The colour palette for the beads and the yarns is based on the colours of the rainbow, but I swapped out bright red for vibrant pink (I think every rainbow should have a shot of pink in it!). These bright vibrant stripes in Squares 2 and 8 are balanced by the intarsia cables in Squares 4 and 6. I just love the super intensity of multi-coloured cables. When different colours are introduced, it gives them an added dimension. And although they were tricky to knit, hopefully when they were completed, they filled you with an enormous sense of joy – what an achievement!
Which brings me to the centre square of the Front Panel, Bliss. I wanted this to be a bold and confident square, and in contrast – both in colour and pattern – to the other squares around it. So it’s a large single flower motif which uses two of the least used yarns in the front panel – Amethyst and Garnet. And this is what gives it so much impact. Boom! It’s a brave statement, full of courage and shouting out, I am here, look at me! It’s the focal point of the front of the cushion and it wants to be seen!
The rainbow stripe sequence from the front panel squares is duplicated in the Upper Back Panel, with soothing stripes of violet between each colour. The wavy edge which is created by the Chevron stitch pattern softens the stripes, giving them movement and freedom. It’s a happy stripe pattern, easy-going and hopefully fairly easy to knit due to the short pattern repeat. It’s easy to learn and you know where you are with it, it's a real confidence booster!
The final panel which you are knitting this month is a mass of vibrantly coloured floral motifs which fill the whole piece of knitting from top to bottom. And although I was tempted to knit the rows of flowers in different colours, I put the brakes on here and opted for just two – the Upper Back Panel is super busy and I needed to create a contrast between the two. However, there are little pops of colour in the beads and small circles of chain stitch embroidery. They are subtle but these details add that little bit of extra sparkle to the flowers.
I love describing my design process to you and unlocking the mystery at the end of a project. And maybe you will now look at your Pure Nouveau cushion-cover in a whole different way! This has been a great project for me to design – you know how much I love colour! – so I hope you have enjoyed knitting it as much as I have enjoyed designing it. And if you were a little afraid of colour and pattern before you started this project, it may have tempted you into a whole new world! Be happy, be brave and positive! Think of what you can achieve now – the world is your oyster!
ARE YOU READY FOR ANOTHER MYSTERY KAL IN 2023?!? OUR 2023 MYSTERY BLANKET MEMBERSHIPS WENT ON SALE AT THE END OF AUGUST, AND HAVE ALMOST SOLD OUT - THERE ARE UNDER THIRTY LEFT! So, if you want to get on board, you can sign yourself up today by visiting our online shop. It’s easy to do and in a few minutes you could be booked onto another exciting knitting adventure with me. Fancy it? Here is a reminder of what I have in store for you next year…
Debbie is thrilled to be using her own bespoke 100% Wool DK yarn for this project which she has combined with a few of her favourite Rowan yarns – Felted Tweed, Alpaca Soft and Soft Yak. The colours are bold and bright and have an Autumnal feel, with rich shades of rust red, emerald green, gold and deep turquoise included in the palette. There are plenty of sparkling beads in it too, giving the blanket an extra sparkle!
Each member will receive a knitting kit which includes over thirty balls of premium quality yarn (a combination of Rowan and Debbie's own brand, Light Wool DK), ten sets of emailed patterns (with the option to purchase additional printed patterns), Debbie Abrahams size 6 beads and a woven label. The kit will be posted in two halves with the first one delivered in February, followed by the second one in May.
The blanket design will include the techniques of intarsia, fairisle, lace, textured stitches, stripes and beads, offering you a feast of squares to knit up over ten months. There will be a choice of two options for the trickier squares (fairisle and intarsia), enabling both novice and experienced knitters to participate in this unique knitting experience.
CHOOSE TO SPREAD THE COST OF YOUR MEMBERSHIP
For those who would prefer to pay in instalments we have a payment system in place called Splitit which enables you to choose to make your payment between 2-4 months. Simply select this option at checkout when you make your first payment and then your remaining payments will be taken automatically from your account.
Above: Mystery Blanket 2012: Celebration of Sport.
Join today and continue your ‘mystery’ knitting experience next year with a brand new project – it’s going to be a lot of fun so I hope you decide to join me!
THIS MONTH YOU HAVE THE FINAL PANEL TO KNIT:
LOWER BACK PANEL, Happy Flowers! – fairisle pattern with hooked-in beads and chain stitch embroidery:
Here are some tips to help you knit the Lower Back Panel:
LOWER BACK PANEL, HAPPY FLOWERS!: this panel begins at the cast-on edge of the completed Front panel where stitches are picked up along Squares 1, 4 and 7. There are some extra stitches picked up across Square 4, see page 5 of the October mail out for the picking up instructions.
You need to read the written instructions on page 6 and read the chart on page 7 at the same time. The chart is abbreviated – it has a 12-stitch pattern repeat - so the colours of the hooked-in beads are not identified on the chart, only in the worded instructions. They are on hooked in on rows 7, 17 and their subsequent repeats. Chart rows 1 and 2 have been written out so that you can see how the pattern repeat in the chart is read.
On Chart Rows 1 and 11 and their subsequent repeats, there is a plain knit row using Iris yarn only. It would be advisable on these rows to carry Coral across the back of the work so that it is ready to pick up and use at the beginning of the following rows.
Remember to use a size larger needle for this panel. The suggested main needle size is 3.50mm and the fairisle pattern is knitted using 3.75mm needles so that’s one metric size larger. This will accommodate for the tighter tension that is usually achieved across a fairisle pattern.
At the top of this panel are some rows of garter stitch which help to stabilise the upper edge. When sewn into place, this section will be tucked under the Upper Back Panel. So if you think your Lower Back Panel is knitting up too short, knit a few more rows of garter stitch until the required length is achieved.
After blocking and pressing this panel, there are instructions on page 7 to embroider small circles around some of the beads using Chain stitch. If you are not familiar with this technique, there is an explanation of it on page 10 of your October mail out. And if you would prefer to see a demo of it, take a look at the tech vid from the 2021 Mystery Cushion September blog: https://debbieabrahams.com/blogs/news/mystery-cushion-club-2021-post-4-september
FINISHING INSTRUCTIONS ARE ON PAGE 7 OF THE OCTOBER MAIL OUT. Before sewing the Lower Back Panel into place you will need to sew the side seams of the Upper Back Panel to the Front Panel.
I began sewing the Upper Back Panel to the Front Panel beginning at the top (where it has been joined to the Front Panel), finishing at the buttonhole edge. The buttonholes should line up (or be very close to) the centre of the Front Panel, so that’s the middle of Squares 2 and 7. This image shows where the buttonhole-band meets the Front Panel to give you some guidance:
I used Mattress stitch to sew together all my side seams, and I would advise that you use any of the Merino Light DK yarns for this and not Felted Tweed as it is too fragile and could break. It doesn’t matter which colour you use as Mattress stitch is an invisible seam and it won’t be seen.
Next sew the Lower Back Panel into place, beginning at the bottom edge and finishing at the garter stitch edging at the top. The tension of the squares on the front panel will be slightly different to the Lower Back Panel so make sure that you ease the two pieces of knitting together evenly, finishing with the upper edge tucked under the Upper Back Panel.
The Piecing Diagram on page 4 shows the Upper Back Panel and the Lower Back Panel sitting separately from each other with a space between them. However, when sewn into place the Upper Back Panel will overlap the Lower Back Panel.
I would suggest that you mark out the position of six buttons on the Lower Back Panel before sewing them on. You need to make sure that they correspond to the buttonholes on the Upper Back Panel. I have just noticed that I don’t mention in the instructions to sew on the buttons, but obviously you need to do this to complete it – apologies for that!
Finally, you need to stuff your cushion-cover with a pad. It is advisable to take your completed cushion-cover to the shop when you purchase your pad to check that you choose the right size. I used a 40cm x 40cm (16in x 16in) cushion-pad for my cushion-cover, however, if you did not match the given tension in the pattern instructions then you might find that you need either a bigger or smaller pad than this. But that won’t matter – your cushion-cover will look stunning whatever size pad you use!
After you’ve completed all of this your 2022 Mystery Cushion is finished and ready to show off, adding a fabulous splash of colour to your home! Well done everyone!
YOU WILL POSSIBLY HAVE A WHOLE BALL OF CORAL YARN AND ALMOST A FULL PACK OF TANGERINE BEADS LEFT OVER – this is nothing to do with your knitting, I just gave you too much. Depending on your tension, you may have used some of the second ball of Coral, but you will all have a lot of the Tangerine beads left over. So being as creative as you are, I am sure that you can find a use for them, or maybe add them to your stash for a rainy-day project. I am sure they will come in handy in some way.
HERE IS A REMINDER ABOUT A COUPLE OF NEW KIT AND PRODUCT LAUNCHES IN OUR ONLINE SHOP WHICH ARE HAPPENING SOON:
- NEW REVISED DATE! Friday 4th November: Festive Mystery Knit Boxes – the perfect idea for a gift or a treat for yourself. Debbie’s Mystery Box includes ten mystery gifts including a brand-new festive knitting kit.
- Friday 25th November: Let It Snow Wall-hanging kit – a fairisle and beaded design using Rowan Felted Tweed and Baby Cashsoft Merino in soft shades of purple, lilac and white. This was the kit that was included in the 2021 Festive Mystery Knit Box.
MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB OPEN IN MARCH. But don’t worry as we will send you all an email to let you know as soon as it is launched. I have already decided on a theme for next year’s project and it’s a super lovely one using Rowan Summerlite DK yarns, so it has a very different feel to this year’s Mystery Cushion.
Above: 2016 Mystery Cushion, Geo Jungle.
So if you fancy another KAL next year, keep an eye out for that email. It will be dropping into your inbox at the beginning of March. And don’t forget that if you are a member of this year’s Mystery Blanket Club, you will get a discount on your 2023 Mystery Cushion Club membership.
MEMBER GALLERY! At the end of this year I will be creating a Gallery of the member’s work on my website which gives you the chance to showcase your completed projects. I welcome all ‘Debbie ‘ Mystery’ projects (old and new!) plus any other projects of mine that you have made this year. I plan to put it live on my blog at the beginning of January, so that gives you a few months to get them finished and photographed. Please send your photos and comments (a few words – or a lot! – would be lovely!) directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and with your permission I will include your work in the blog.
Thank you all for being such wonderful members this year and for embracing my design so wholeheartedly! It has been an absolute joy to knit along with you, and all being good we can do it all over again in 2023 when I invite you to join me on my new ‘mystery’ knitting adventures! So until then, take care of yourselves, keep creative, be inspired, and keep those needle clicking! Debbie x