WELCOME TO THE FINAL INSTALMENT OF THE 2023 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! So this is it, the end of another mystery knitting adventure and the reveal of the final piece of the puzzle. It’s been a busy five months with some challenging squares to knit. But all the effort will be worth it, and very soon you will have your own completed cushion to use and enjoy!
In this final blog, as well as all the latest club news, hints and tips, the cushion title will be revealed. You need to tune into my intro vid (which is just below) to find out what it is, plus I talk about the inspiration for the design, so it’s worth a watch. So why not pop on the kettle, get comfy and settle down to watch it before you start knitting. Then you’ll be prepped and ready to begin the final part of the project!
THIS IS A 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)
- How to add Swiss darning to your knitting (August blog)
- Square 49: Flora, Option Two (September blog)
- Mattress stitch (vertical) (September blog)
IF YOU’VE WATCHED MY INTRO VID THEN YOU WILL NOW KNOW THAT THE TITLE OF THIS YEAR’S MYSTERY CUSHION IS...
P I C N I C P A R T Y
Watch my vlog (link above) to find out more about the design. I talk about the theme and how it inspired this year’s Mystery Cushion!
THE FIFTH AND FINAL SET OF PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL THE MEMBERS ON 15TH OCTOBER, so you should have an email from us with a link to Mail Out 5. 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 4th October and to the UK members on the 12th October. If they have not yet arrived, then they are on their way and should be with you soon.
THE FINAL PANEL YOU ARE KNITTING THIS MONTH TO COMPLETE YOUR MYSTERY CUSHION IS...
UPPER BACK PANEL: Picnic Party! – chevron stripe pattern with buttonhole band:
Here are some helpful tips which are worth a read before you begin…
UPPER BACK PANEL, Picnic Party!: this brightly coloured panel uses seven out of the eight colours in the cushion and is an all-over chevron stitch stripe with contrasting stripes of garter stitch.
This tech vid will help you with this square:
- How to carry yarns up the side of the work (June blog)
Due to the number of stitches in this panel, it might be easier to knit it on a circular needle.
The Upper Back Panel is knitted separately and then joined to the Front Panel by a three-needle cast-off. It begins with the buttonhole band which is knitted in a simple two-colour garter stitch stripe.
There are six buttonholes which are created by casting off stitches and then casting them back on, on the following row. I have a great tip for getting a really neat finish to buttonholes which you can see if you follow the link below. This tech vid is from a previous Mystery Cushion blog (2021) and demonstrates a 3-stitch cast-off buttonhole worked in stocking stitch. In Picnic Party, the buttonholes are 4 stitches wide and worked in garter stitch. However, if you watch the tech vid you will be see the nifty little ‘wrap’ that is worked before casting on the final stitch - this is what makes the top edge of the buttonhole really neat. Just remember that when knitting your buttonholes for Picnic Party, you are knitting all the stitches, casting off 4 stitches for each buttonhole, and casting them back on knitwise.
After the buttonhole band there is a change to a larger size needle for the start of the chevron stitch stripe. Your buttonhole band will have a straight edge at this point, but after you’ve worked a few rows of the chevron pattern the edge will start to change to a gentle ‘wave’. The chevron pattern is a very simple 2-row pattern repeat and it is created by balancing pairs of increases with pairs of decreases. On Row 1 of the pattern, the increases are created by ‘inc 1’ (knit into the front and back of the stitch), and the decreases are skpo (slip one stitch, knit one stitch, pass the slipped stitch over and off the needle). Row 2 is really easy, you are simply purling back across all the stitches.
There are three blocks of two-colour stripes, separated by garter stitch stripes. When working each block, carry the unused colour up the side of the work. Summer, which is used for the garter stitch stripes, will need to be cut off after each striped section is completed (as instructed in the pattern).
After Row 54 you are instructed on page 8 of your mail out to transfer the stitches onto the other needle (this is quick and easy if you are using a circular!) so that the RS is facing again. You then knit 5 rows in total using Summer yarn before cutting it off.
Leaving this to one side, you then return to the Front Panel and pick up 124 stitches along the top (cast-off edge), following the instructions on page 8 for guidance.
When this is completed you are instructed to transfer the stitches back onto the other needle so that the RS is facing. And then you are ready to join it to the Upper Back Panel by working a 3-needle cast-off. If you are unsure how to do this, follow the link below to a tech vid from a previous Mystery Cushion blog (2022) which will guide you through the technique:
FINISHING INSTRUCTIONS ARE ON PAGE 8 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 colours for this - choose whichever colour you have plenty of. It doesn’t matter which one 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 right under the Upper 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. You can use the images of the completed cushion in the mail out to help you position them. I started and finished with a pink button, but you can place yours in whichever sequence you want.
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 45cm x 35cm cushion-pad for my cushion-cover, however, if you did not match the recommended 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 these steps your 2023 Mystery Cushion is finished and ready to enjoy! Well done for getting to the end of this year’s project, it’s a fabulous achievement and you should feel very proud of yourself for completing such a challenging piece of work!
SO AS ONE PROJECT COMES TO AN END, YOU MIGHT BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN KNIT NEXT. AND WHAT BETTER THAN ANOTHER MYSTERY KAL! MEMBERSHIPS ARE OPEN NOW FOR OUR 2024 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! So if you’ve enjoyed this five-month mystery project, why not consider taking on a bigger challenge…it’s twice the fun and you get twice the amount of time to knit it in.
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.
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.
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!
WE’VE GOT SOME NEW KIT LAUNCHES COMING UP SOON WHICH YOU MIGHT WANT TO MAKE A NOTE OF IN YOUR DIARY (some of these dates have changed since they were last published).
- Friday 20th October: Cowl kit promotion –the 2021 Hell Bay project, Fraggle Rock in its original colourway and last year’s Festive Mystery Box project, Snowflake (see below) will be available to purchase for the first time as kits. A second colourway of the Fraggle Rock Cowl will be available in a few weeks’ time.
- Friday 10th 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 18th 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).
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)
OUR MYSTERY CLUB MEETINGS ARE HELD ON THE FIRST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH, so if are able to get yourself over to Carrington in Nottingham, you are very welcome to join us in Doreen’s fabulous yarn store, Yarn Loft, for a couple of hours of knit and chat.
Our next gathering is on Wednesday 1st November and I will be bringing with me my completed 2023 Mystery Blanket and Mystery Cushion, which I am so excited to be able to take out of the house for the first time after hiding them away all year! 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 email@example.com 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 check out the October blog, you can read all about what we got up to at the most recent meeting. It was a lot of fun, as always!
MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE 2024 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’ve already made a start on the design and am very excited about what I have planned – a totally different theme, colour palette and yarns! So if you fancy it, keep an eye on your inbox in the Spring and you can get yourself signed up for another exciting mystery KAL!
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.
I want to finish by thanking you all for your amazing enthusiasm and commitment throughout the whole of this project. There’s nothing better for me than to hear that your projects are progressing so well and to see the enjoyment it brings you. It’s been a pleasure having you on board, and I hope that you have enjoyed your mystery KAL experience as much I enjoyed designing it. Whether it’s been a steep learning curve or a bit of a breeze, there’s always something new to learn along the way! Enjoy your Picnic Party! Take care, Debbie, x