HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE PENULTIMATE INSTALMENT OF THE 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! After three months of working on this project we now find ourselves heading swiftly towards the end, with the Front Panel revealed in its entirety and all the fun of the back panels about to begin. This month you are going to knit the Lower Back Panel which is a beaded multi-coloured stripe. It’s a simple stripe pattern with enough detail to keep you focused but with a repeat that is easy to remember.
There are no new tech vids this month, but if you need assistance with sewing your front panel squares and/or strips together, then you will find some links to tech vids from previous Mystery Blankets further on in this blog.
So let’s begin with my intro vlog. I didn’t get to see you in August as I was out and about with the family enjoying some time off around the UK. But the school holidays are over now and I’m back to work and ready to tell you all about this month’s instalment, so here goes!...
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 September 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)
- How to add Swiss darning to your knitting (August blog)
THE FOURTH SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH SEPTEMBER, so you should have an email from us with a link to Mail Out 4. Remember though that you can also download this file directly from your Debbie Abrahams account.
The printed patterns were posted to overseas members on the 7th September and to the UK members on the 12th September. If they have not yet arrived, then they are on their way and should be with you soon.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SIGNED UP TO THE 2024 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! We have had a tremendous response to our Early Bird Special Offer and have already sold over half of the memberships in the first few weeks. If this is something you are interested in participating in, then there is still time to take advantage of our special offer before it expires at the end of September. With the cushion so near to completion, it’s time to start thinking about future projects. So why not come on board and give it a go?
If you’ve missed our emails about this new knitting adventure, then here is some information about it with a few hints about the colour palette and the theme - but not too much, after all, it is a ‘mystery’!
What’s in store for 2024?
I am absolutely thrilled to be using my own bespoke Light Wool DK yarn again for this project which has been produced by the wonderful team at Laxtons in North Yorkshire, UK. I have combined it with a few of my most favourite Rowan yarns including Felted Tweed, Alpaca Soft, Kidsilk Haze and Soft Yak. Vibrant shades of emerald green, teal and ocean blue graduate into bold purples and pinks, which are softened with pale turquoise, dreamy lilac and blush pink, laced with flecks of cool silver and pale gold. There are plenty of sparkling beads in it too!
The blanket design includes the techniques of intarsia, fairisle, lace, textured stitches, stripes and beads, offering you a varied selection of squares to knit up over ten months. And there will be a choice of two options - as there is this year - for the trickier squares (fairisle and intarsia), enabling both novice and experienced knitters to participate in this unique knitting experience.
My monthly tech vids have been extremely popular this year, so I am pleased to say that I will continue with these in a dedicated monthly blog so that you have all the help and support you need as you work your way through the forty-nine squares.
The club begins on 1st February 2024 and runs for ten months until November 2024.
The finished size of the blanket is approximately 135cm x 135cm.
What does my membership include?
Each member will receive a knitting kit which includes over forty balls of premium quality yarn, 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.
Below: a glimpse of the 2024 colour palette...
NEW! Download pattern option
For the first time we are offering the ten sets of patterns as monthly downloads enabling you to use yarns and beads from your own stash to knit the blanket. The list of yarns and beads for the first part of the kit will be released a week before the project begins. If you decide to purchase the yarn and beads for the project yourself, the cost of all the materials, like for like, is approximately £340. We are unable to guarantee that all of the colours in my Light Merino DK yarn will be available to purchase so substitutes may have to be used.
Early Bird Special Offer!
Take advantage of our Early Bird Special Offer for everyone who signs up before the 30th September (23:59pm):
- 5% off the cost of the membership (knitting kit option only)*
- A free download for a cushion pattern to complement the Mystery Blanket (emailed to the members towards the end of the project)
- 10% discount voucher for a single transaction in our online shop**
- Entry into our Prize Draw with ten gifts up for grabs!
1st Prize: 2024 Mystery Blanket Club membership (for the package you’ve purchased, we will refund what you have paid in full)
2nd Prize: 2024 Mystery Cushion Club membership
3rd and 4th Prizes: Set of 10 printed patterns for the 2024 Mystery Blanket Club
5th & 6th Prizes: Mystery Festive Knit Box
7th & 8th Prizes: Knitting kit from a selection in our online shop (up to the value of £50)
9th & 10th Prizes: 4 packs of beads (colour/s of your own choice, size 8 or size 6)
*the 5% discount does not apply to the purchase of the 2024 Mystery Blanket download pattern only option.
**excludes Mystery products.
Winners of the Prize Draw will be notified by email on the 1st November.
Below: the 2020 Mystery Blanket, Our Precious Earth.
Choose to spread the cost of your payment
For those who would prefer to pay in instalments we have an easy-to-use payment system in place called Splitit which enables you to make your payment between 2-4 months. This means you can secure your membership today with a deposit with nothing more to pay until next month. Simply select Splitit at checkout when you make your first payment and then your remaining payments will be taken automatically from your account. If you choose this option you will still be included in the Early Bird Special Offer.
How do I make my purchase?
It’s really easy. You just need to visit the shop on our website and there you will find the 2024 Mystery Blanket Club for sale. There are several options to choose from starting with the basic package which includes the full knitting kit and emailed monthly pattens. Or you can upgrade and add on printed patterns (UK and overseas), and/or Special Delivery (UK only). All overseas parcels are posted by Tracked International Delivery.
Memberships are limited and when they have sold out the club will be closed. So if you want to be part of this unique knitting experience and don’t want to miss out on all the fun and excitement next year, pop across to our shop and get yourself signed up today. And then you’ll have peace of mind that you are onboard again for another great knitting adventure with me next year. I can hardly wait for it to begin!
SO BEFORE YOU CAN MAKE A START ON KNITTING THE LOWER BACK PANEL, YOU WILL NEED TO SEW YOUR FRONT PANEL SQUARES TOGETHER. This is something that you may have already done as I mentioned it in the August blog. However, if you haven’t, then this needs to be done now.
If you have knitted your squares separately then you will need to sew them together to create three separate strips. I would suggest that you use Mattress stitch for this as it gives a really neat result. Here is a link to a tech vid for horizontal Mattress stitch from a previous blanket blog (August 2022) which you might find helpful (scroll down a bit and you will see it): https://debbieabrahams.com/blogs/news/mystery-blanket-club-2022-post-6-august
When your squares are sewn together in strips, the next task it to sew the strips together to create one block. I would use Mattress stitch for this as well, but this time it is a vertical seam rather than a horizontal seam. You will find a tech vid for this in the same link as above: https://debbieabrahams.com/blogs/news/mystery-blanket-club-2022-post-6-august
Here are some extra tips about sewing the strips together. It is important to note that these are my suggestions, so please feel free to use your own method if preferred.
Not all of the squares in the Front Panel have the same number of rows so you will need to ease some of them in. These instructions are based on taking the needle under 2 ‘bars’ at a time as demonstrated in the tech vid for vertical mattress stitch. To ease in a row, you will need to take your needle under one less bar on the side you are easing the extra row into.
Before we make a start, these are some extra tips on easing in rows:
- Garter stitch rows have a tighter row tension than stocking stitch, so for every row of Garter stitch (which is two knit rows), ease these two rows into one stocking stitch row.
- Slip-stitch beads (and slip-stitch patterns) have a tighter row tension than stocking stitch, so if you need to ease in some rows it is best to do this across beaded rows, taking the needle under more of the beaded rows than the stocking stitch rows.
- For a square that has an all-over pattern, such as Square 3, Knotted Rug, any easings need to be spread out evenly across the total number of rows (and not eased in all at one end or unevenly).
SEW STRIP 1 (squares 1-3) TO STRIP 2 (squares 4-6)
Sew Square 1 (42 rows) to Square 4 (45 rows): you need to ease 3 rows of Square 4 into Square 1.
Along the edge of Square 1 place a marker between Rows 21 and 22
Along the edge of Square 4 place a marker on Row 23.
Ease in 3 rows as evenly as you can across the whole length of the squares, making sure that the marker on Square 1 is matched to the marker on Square 4.
Sew Square 2 (51 rows) to Square 5 (41 rows): you need to ease 10 rows of Square 2 into Square 5.
Along the edge of Square 2 place a marker on Row 26.
Along the edge of Square 5 place a marker on Row 21.
Ease in 10 rows as evenly as you can across the whole length of the squares, making sure that the marker on Square 2 is matched to the marker on Square 5.
Sew Square 3 (43 rows) to Square 6 (45 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 6 into Square 3.
Along the edge of Square 3 place a marker on Row 22.
Along the edge of Square 6 place a marker on Row 23.
Ease in 2 rows as evenly as you can across the whole length of the squares, making sure that the marker on Square 3 is matched to the marker on Square 6.
SEW STRIP 2 (squares 4-6) TO STRIP 3 (squares 7-9)
Sew Square 4 (45 rows) to Square 7 (43 rows): you need to ease 2 rows of Square 4 into Square 7.
Along the edge of Square 4 place a marker on Row 23.
Along the edge of Square 7 place a marker on Row 22.
Ease in 2 rows as evenly as you can across the whole length of the squares, making sure that the marker on Square 4 is matched to the marker on Square 7.
Sew Square 5 (41 rows) to Square 8 (51 rows): you need to ease 10 rows of Square 8 into Square 5.
Along the edge of Square 5 place a marker on Row 21.
Along the edge of Square 8 place a marker on Row 26.
Ease in 10 rows as evenly as you can across the whole length of the squares, making sure that the marker on Square 5 is matched to the marker on Square 8.
Sew Square 6 (45 rows) to Square 9 (42 rows): you need to ease 3 rows of Square 6 into Square 9.
Along the edge of Square 6 place a marker on Row 23.
Along the edge of Square 9 place a marker between Rows 21 and 22.
Ease in 3 rows as evenly as you can across the whole length of the squares, making sure that the marker on Square 6 is matched to the marker on Square 9.
Ta-dah! Your Front Panel is completed! Now you are ready to knit this month’s panel…
THIS IS THE PANEL YOU ARE KNITTING THIS MONTH. There is just one to do…
LOWER BACK PANEL: Sorbet – stripe pattern with slip stitch beads:
Here are some helpful tips which are worth a read before you begin…
LOWER BACK PANEL, SORBET: this pattern combines brilliant white stocking stitch stripes with colourful beaded and garter stitch stripes to create a fresh-looking panel that is good enough to eat (now there’s a clue to the title!).
These tech vids will help you with this 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)
To begin this square you will need to pick up stitches along the cast-on edge of the Front Panel. There are specific instructions for this on page 7 of the September Mail Out, but this tech vid from a previous blanket blog (November 2021) may also help you with picking up the stitches. In the vid I refer to a blanket edging, however, the technique demonstrated is the same for the cushion: https://debbieabrahams.com/blogs/news/mystery-blanket-club-2021-post-10-november-the-final-instalment
There are two needle sizes needed for this panel, so make sure that you make the changes when instructed in the pattern instructions. This will keep your rows of garter stitch super neat, so it’s important to do.
You might find that it’s actually easier to use a circular needle to knit this panel as it has a large number of stitches which are easier to handle if they are spread out rather than bunched up on a straight needle (unless you are using extra long straight knitting needles). Oh, and I have just noticed that in the third Pattern note and tip on page 6 (when I talk about a circular needle), I say that stitches are transferred from one needle to another, but this is an error - there is no transferring of stitches - so please ignore this comment.
Due to the number of colour changes, there will be a lot of loose ends up the side of the work, so it’s really up to you what you do with them. They can be sewn in, or woven in as you knit, but alternatively you could leave them loose. This might be a complete no-no for some of you, but it’s worth thinking about. When the completed cushion-cover is put onto a pad then these ends will never be seen. (Only you will know, and I am sure you can keep a secret!). If you do decide to do this, then just make sure that all of the loose ends are secured with a knot so that they don’t undo. A simple double knot will suffice and won’t be too bulky.
Block and press the Lower Back Panel but do not sew it down into place. The Upper Back Panel will be sewn into place first so that the Lower Back Panel can be tucked underneath it at the top edge.
WE’VE GOT SOME NEW KIT LAUNCHES COMING UP, AND HAVE MADE A CHANGE TO THE DATE OF ONE OF THEM (since the previous blog):
- Friday 13th October: 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.
- 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).
Below: the Fraggle Rock Cowl.
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)
IF YOU LIVE IN EAST MIDLANDS AND CAN GET YOURSELF OVER TO NOTTINGHAM, THEN YOU ARE WARMLY WELCOMED TO JOIN US AT YARN LOFT IN CARRINGTON TO ENJOY A COUPLE OF HOURS OF MYSTERY CLUB KNITTING. There was no meeting held in August due to the Summer holidays, but the monthly meetings are back on now, with our next gathering on Wednesday 4th October. We meet 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you are coming, and we will make sure that we have a cuppa ready for you!
I write a report of the meetings in the Mystery Blanket blog, so if you take a look at the October blog (live on 1st October), you will be able to read all about what we got up to at the September meeting. It was a lot of fun, as always!
SO, FINALLY FOR THIS BLOG, YOU HAVE ONE LAST CHANCE TO GUESS THE TITLE OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION BEFORE THE REVEAL NEXT MONTH. We have had a couple more correct guesses, so congrats this month go to Judith Hart and Ruth Simmons! However, if you are still trying to guess what it is, here is one last clue which might be just what you need to get it right… the final letter I am giving you is ‘’I”:
_ I _ N I _ / _ A _ T _
If you have any idea what it is, then please send in your guess to Sue at email@example.com and she will hopefully be saying a big ‘well done’ to you. And if not, then you’ll have to wait until the October blog when the ‘mystery’ will be revealed in the final instalment!
We are so close to the end of the project now (doesn’t it feel good!), with the front panel completed and just the back panels to knit. And for those of you who have not kept up, it doesn’t matter at all, there are no time limits for this project, and the blogs and tech vids will remain where they are for whenever you need them. So there is no rush, take your time and enjoy the experience!
This is my busiest time of the year with new projects on the table and plans being made for next year’s workshops and events. This week I have been getting myself prepped and ready for my Inspired Minds workshop at Lochside in Scotland which takes place later on this month. I am so excited that some of you are going to join me there for what will be a fabulous few days of eating, drinking, relaxing and knitting. We have ladies (and men) travelling from all over the world, so it’s going to be a truly global event. I just need to get the workshop project completed (I’m almost there!), and then I’m all set!
So that’s it for this month! Have a super September and I look forward to seeing you back here on the 15th October for the final instalment and the big reveal! Until then, take care, Debbie, x