WELCOME TO THE AUGUST INSTALMENT OF THE 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! We are about to begin the third instalment of this year’s project, and things are really starting to get exciting now as the final three squares for the front panel are revealed! If you’re going away on holiday or planning a few days away during the summer break, then this is the perfect project to take with you and will keep your crafting hands busy and happy while you relax and enjoy your time away. Just make sure that you take all the needles, yarns and beads with you that you need for the squares you are knitting, and don’t forget to pack your August mail out too!
We are out and about this summer visiting several different places within the UK with little time spent at home. So there is no intro vlog from me this month, but there is one new tech vid to help you with this month’s squares:
- How to add Swiss darning to your knitting
THIS IS THE REMINDER OF THE TECH VIDS THAT ARE IN PREVIOUS BLOGS. You might find them useful if you need a reminder of some of the techniques that are used in the August squares:
- How to cast on using several colours (June blog)
- Square 1, Summer Cable: how to cross the yarns over when changing colour (June blog)
- How to cable (June blog)
- How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (to knit the next square)
- How to thread beads onto your yarn (June blog)
- How to bead, the slip-stitch method (June blog)
- How to carry yarns up the side of the work (June blog)
- Square 2, Pavlova: how to knit the frill (June blog)
- How to bead, the hooking-in method (June blog)
- Square 7: Knotted Rug (how to knit Row 1) (July blog)
THE SECOND SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH AUGUST, and if you follow the link in the email, it will take you straight to the August mail out. This file can also be downloaded from your Debbie Abrahams account on our website.
The printed patterns (for those who paid for them), were posted to overseas members on the 7th August and to the UK members on the 11th August.
THIS IS A FINAL REMINDER THAT SIGN-UPS FOR THE 2023 MYSTERY BABY BLANKET CLUB CLOSE AT THE END OF THIS MONTH. So if you want to participate in this brand new KAL, you have just two weeks left to get yourself signed up. We will start posting the kits to members at the beginning of September, starting with the overseas, so that everyone is ready to begin knitting the first squares on the 1st October. So there’s really not long to go before all the excitement of a new knitting adventure begins!
Here is a quick summary of what I have in store for you…
The project is knitted in Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino, which is a mixture of merino wool, acrylic microfiber and cashmere. It is beautifully soft and has a luxurious handle, making it the perfect choice for a baby blanket. It is machine washable.
There are two colour options to choose from. The base palette includes soft green, camel, butter yellow, taupe, cream and faded denim, and to complete it there is a choice of either:
The kit for this blanket will be available to buy in our online shop from 1st June 2024 when the Club has finished, but there are lots of reasons to sign up now and grab yourself a membership. By joining the club you will benefit from:
- 10% off the cost of the membership (£139.50 + shipping after discount)
- 10% discount voucher for a single transaction in our online shop*
- Free fabric gift bag (by Paper Mirchi)
- A dedicated blog and technical support throughout the project
- The opportunity to knit the blanket before anyone else!
*excludes Mystery products.
Each member will receive a knitting kit which includes over fifteen balls of Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino yarn, seven sets of emailed patterns (with the option to purchase additional printed patterns), a fabric gift bag and a woven label. The finished size of the blanket is approximately 72cm x 98cm.
The blanket design includes the techniques of intarsia, fairisle, lace, textured stitches and stripes, offering you an exciting variety of squares to knit up over seven months. (There will be no beads or embellishments in this blanket).
Above: 2019 Mystery Baby Blanket Club, Love You to the Moon & Back.
If you would prefer to pay in instalments you can use our online payment system Splitit, which enables you to make your payment over two, three or four months - you choose what suits you best. Simply select this option at checkout when you make your first payment and then your remaining payments will be taken automatically from your account. It’s that easy!
You have until the end of August to get yourself signed up to the Mystery Baby Blanket Club before it begins on 1st October. We are signing up members from all over the world, so wherever you are, why not come and join me!
SIGN-UPS FOR THE 2024 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB BEGIN AT THE END OF THIS MONTH ON FRIDAY 25TH AUGUST, so mark this date on your calendar if you want to grab yourself a place on next year’s ‘mystery’ KAL! We are running an Early Bird offer for everyone who signs up before the end of September, and details of this will be emailed to you in a newsletter on the 25th. So keep an eye on your inbox!
I never like to give away a lot of advance information about the Mystery Blanket design, but I am going to give you a sneeky peek of the colours I am using. Not all of the yarns you see in this image are confirmed, but they give you a good idea of the colour palette. It’s a vibrant mixture of deep blues, purples and teals with shots of hot pink, combined with a generous scattering of glitter and sparkle. The yarns are cosy and beautifully soft, creating a dreamy blanket that will be the perfect cuddle-buddy through those cold winter months. Interested? Then watch out for our newsletter which will drop into your inbox on launch day to find out more…
Since the Mystery Blanket Club began way back in 2008, it has sold out before our end of December deadline. So if you fancy being part of the club next year, it’s a good idea to get your membership signed and sealed early on to guarantee your place. You don’t need to pay in full upfront, if preferred you can use our payment plan which enables you to spread your payment across 2-4 months - the decision is up to you. But everyone who signs up within the first month will be entitled to the Early Bird offer, so whatever you choose to do, you won’t miss out.
THESE ARE THE THREE SQUARES YOU ARE KNITTING THIS MONTH. There are three front panel squares - two familiar and one new…
FRONT PANEL, Square 3: Knotted Rug 2 – striped textured stitch with eyelets:
FRONT PANEL, Square 5: Polka Dots & Flowers – embroidered floral motifs with slip-stitch beads and sewn on decorative buttons:
FRONT PANEL, Square 6: Al Fresco 2! – decorative stripe with hooked-in beads:
These useful tips are worth a read before you begin…
SQUARE 3, KNOTTED RUG 2: you knitted this square last month, but in a different colourway. Summer and Blushes stay as they are, but Pear is swapped out for Fav Denims. If you need a reminder of how to knit this stitch you can check out the tech vid for it which is in the July blog:
- Square 7: Knotted Rug (how to knit Row 1) (JULY blog)
- How to carry yarns up the side of the work (JUNE blog)
Remember to make the needle size change after the cast on/pick up and Next Row (WS) to 3.25mm, which reverts back to the smaller needle for the last row and cast off. This is important to do otherwise your square will knit up too tightly and consequently will be smaller than the other squares in the front panel.
SQUARE 5, POLKA DOTS & FLOWERS: this is a new square and the focal point of the front panel block. The knitting of it is relatively easy - it’s basically stocking stitch with a scattering of slip-stitch beads. But there is a lot of embroidery on top of the stitches (Swiss darning) which might take you some time to do, but it will be worth it. And there’s buttons to sew on too.
These tech vids will help you with this square:
- How to pick up stitches along a cast-off edge (to knit the next square) (JUNE blog)
- How to thread beads onto your yarn (JUNE blog)
- How to bead, the slip-stitch method (JUNE blog)
- How to add Swiss darning to your knitting (NEW! August blog)
The image on page 8 has been cropped on the left and right edges, so you cannot see all of the embroidered floral motifs. However, there is another image of it on page 9 which does show the whole of this square, so use this for reference if needed.
It is advisable to block and press the square before you add the embroidery. This will relax the stitches making then flatter and neater, and therefore easier to embroider.
I used two lengths of yarn for each motif and worked the two petals on the left-hand side with one length and the two petals on the right-hand side with the second length. To limit the number of loose ends I used both ends of the yarn to embroider each side. It might be worth having a good think about how you are going to do this before you make a start. And then when you find a good method that works for you, repeat it for each motif.
The buttons (the smaller ones in the kit) are sewn on last using the embroidery silks in the kit. The colours to use for this are listed on page 9 - you are told what colour button to sew on and what colour embroidery silk to use. But feel free to mix this up a bit if you want and use whatever combinations you prefer. This is your opportunity to go off-piste if you fancy it!
SQUARE 6, AL FRESCO 2!: this is a variation of Square 4 which was in Mail Out 1 in June.
These tech vids from previous blogs might be helpful if you need a reminder of some of the techniques used in this square:
- How to carry yarns up the side of the work (June blog)
- How to bead, the hooking-in method (June blog)
So what are the differences between Square 4 and Square 6? There are changes to both the colours of the yarn and to the beads. Fuchsia and White remain the same, but Pear is swapped out for Fav Denims. And although the colours of the beads in this square are the same as in Square 4, the sequence of them is different. So read the instructions very carefully and don’t use Square 4 to work from. You need to use the instructions for this square which are on pages 10 and 11.
AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLETED THIS MONTH’S SQUARES, THE FRONT PANEL WILL BE COMPLETED, so the next task is to sew them together to create one block. I will include instructions and tech vids for this in the fourth mail out next month. However, if you want to crack on and get ahead, you can do this now.
I would recommend using Mattress stitch for sewing together your strips. Here are some tips on the technique if you have not tried it before.
If you have knitted your squares separately you will need to sew them together to create three strips. Then before you start sewing together the three strips it is advisable to make a note of the number of rows in each square. Then you will be able to work out where you need to ease in rows if one square has more rows in it than another.
This is how Mattress stitch works vertically:
Vertical (to sew together your strips): with right sides facing and with two strips sitting next to each other, take the needle from the back to the front of the work under two bars at a time, inserting the needle under the bar between the edge stitch and the next stitch in. To keep the edges level at the bottom, begin by taking the needle under the first bar of the first square (the one on the left), then take the needle under the first bar and the next one up (two bars) of the second square (the one on the right). After this take the needle under two bars on each side, zig-zagging back and forth between the two strips, and making sure that your needle always goes back into the same gap between the bars each time you take it under the bars.
So how do you ease in rows? You can do this quite simply using Mattress stitch by taking the needle under one bar instead of two whenever you need to ease. If there is just one row to be eased, I would advise that you do this in the middle of the square. However, if with other squares there are more rows to ease in then you can repeat this as many times as required along the edge that needs to be eased in, dividing the number of easings as equally as possible along the seam.
THERE WILL BE SOME NEW KIT AND PRODUCT LAUNCHES IN OUR ONLINE SHOP SOON, SO HERE ARE SOME DATES THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO POP IN YOUR DIARY…
- Friday 25th August: Mystery Blanket 2024 launch!
- Friday 15th September: Cowl kit promotion –the 2021 Hell Bay project, Fraggle Rock in two colourways and last year’s Festive Mystery Box project, Snowflake will be available to purchase for the first time as kits.
Below: Fraggle Rock cowl.
Above: Snowflake cowl.
- Friday 3rd 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 10th November: our festive kits promotion begins, and you can grab yourself a kit at a discounted price for a limited period (offer excludes Festive Mystery Knit Boxes).
Above: Mini Festive Stockings.
IF YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING US ON SOCIAL MEDIA THEN YOU CAN JOIN US TODAY! Not only will our posts keep you up to date with all our latest news, but the lovely, friendly communities out there are a great place meet up virtually to get help and advice for your project whilst enjoying some good humoured banter!
Ravelry: Debbie Abrahams Handknits
Facebook: Debbie Abrahams Mystery Knitters
Facebook: Debbie Abrahams Handknits (our own FB page)
YARN LOFT IN CARRINGTON, NOTTINGHAM, IS THE PLACE TO BE IF YOU WANT TO MEET UP (FOR REAL!) WITH OTHER MEMBERS AND ENJOY A COUPLE OF HOURS OF KNITTING IN A VERY LOVELY YARN SHOP. There is no meeting scheduled for August, so our next gathering is on Wednesday 6th September between 4-6pm at Yarn Loft, 118 Hucknall Road, Carrington, Nottingham, tel number 07825 702433, website: www.yarnloft.co.uk. To cover the costs of hosting the meeting there is a small sub to pay (£3.00), which can be paid to Doreen on the day.
Just send a quick email to me at email@example.com to let me know you are coming and we will make sure that we have a cup of tea and a cake ready for you!
SO HAVE YOU GUESSED THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION YET? IF NOT THEN HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO HAVE ANOTHER GO! We’ve had a some more correct guesses, so congrats go out to Catherine Pope, Nicola Farr, Jackie Wilcock, Reena Patel, Anne Applin and Phyll Bardsley! For those of you who are still guessing, maybe another letter will help trigger some ideas… this month the letter I am giving you is ‘T’:
_ _ _ N _ _ / _ A _ T _
If you think you know what it is, please email your answer to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you are right. And if you are then with your permission, we will include you in the list of correct guessers in the September blog. Good luck everyone!
So here we are with the Front Panel revealed, leaving just the two back panels to knit before your Mystery Cushion is completed. After this month we are on the downward slope, and before you know it you will sitting back and enjoying your new creation - won’t that be amazing!?! We always love to hear from you, so don’t forget to keep in touch with us and send in any stories, ideas or pics you have of your ‘mystery’ knitting and with your permission we’ll include them in the next blog. I’d like to wish all of you a super summer and hope that wherever you are in the world, your Mystery knitting is continuing to keep you happy and busy! Until next month, take care, Debbie x