WELCOME TO THE FOURTH AND PENULTIMATE INSTALMENT OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB FOR 2017, which means that there is just one more instalment to go after this before we come to the end of our “mystery” adventure for this year. There are four panels to knit this month, with one of them completing the blocks for the Front Panel and the other three making up the lower section of the Back Panel. So as well as knitting your way through October, you could also get ahead with some sewing together too…
However, before we get stuck into this month’s Mystery Cushion news, I have a quick update on little Seth, who has been away on his summer holidays, enjoying some much needed relaxation in the sun. He really enjoyed his holiday and didn't want it to end (much like his mummy and daddy!). But all good things do come to an end, and here he is hitching a ride on the suitcase trolley at the airport, waiting to check-in for the flight home. He got a lovely little tan and is hoping he can top it up again next year!
So, on now with the cushion news and other “mystery” banter…
THE OCTOBER PATTERNS WERE EMAILED TO ALL OF THE MEMBERS ON THE 1ST OCTOBER, so if you have not received them, please let us know immediately and we will forward the file onto you. The printed patterns were posted a couple of weeks ago to those members who opted for them, so they should also be safely in your hands too by now. Which means you can all crack on with this month’s blocks, which are…
FRONT PANEL, Block 7: Back To The Savoy – cabled pattern with beads, buttons and swiss-darning
BACK PANEL, Block 14: Tango Stripe #1 – stocking stitch stripes
BACK PANEL, Block 15: Tango Stripe #2 – stocking stitch stripes
BACK PANEL, Block 16: Tango Stripe #1 – stocking stitch stripes
BLOCK 7, BACK TO THE SAVOY, REVISITS BLOCK 5 FROM MAIL OUT 2, but it is knitted in a different colourway and has different coloured swiss-darning in comparison to its sister block. Just make sure that you use the correct size Lime beads for this one – it’s the smaller ones that are needed, size 8, rather than the larger ones. These size beads are more suited to the the slip-stitch technique of beading, whereas the larger beads sit better on the work when they hooked-in.
BLOCKS 14 AND 16, TANGO STRIPE #1, are the same stripe, however, be careful to note that Block 14 casts on 31 sts, whereas Block 16 casts on 29 sts. Other than this they are the same as each other and Block 12 from Mail Out 3.
BLOCK 15, TANGO STRIPE #2, IS THE SAME AS BLOCK 13 FROM MAIL OUT 3, with the same stripe pattern and number of stitches cast on. And if you are wondering whether the change of needle size when using the Lilac yarn is correct, then I can confirm that it is. You need to make this needle size change to ensure that the tension remains consistent throughout this block as the Superfine Merino 4-ply yarn knits up on a different size needle to the Summerlite 4-ply – even though they are both 4-ply weight yarns.
SO WITH FIVE BLOCKS FOR THE BACK PANEL AND THREE STRIPS FOR THE FRONT PANEL COMPLETED AFTER THIS MONTH’S KNITTING, you could get ahead for next month and sew them together to create two larger blocks. To do this I would opt to use Mattress Stitch as this sewing method creates an almost invisible seam and enables you to join together your knitted panels row by row, also allowing for easing in when needed. It is a very precise technique which draws the knitted fabric together row by row, so you can match up patterns exactly. You work with the right-side of the work facing towards you, so at all times you can see how the seam is progressing. If you do happen to go wrong, it is very easy to undo. And you can use any colour to sew up with as it is an invisible seam and you will not be able to see the stitches. So this is how it works. First of all you need to look very closely at your knitting and identify the edge stitch. In stocking stitch this is an open “V”. Then you need to find the bar between the edge stitch and the next stitch in – there is one for each row (stitch). It is these bars, between the edge stitch and the next stitch in, that you need to insert your needle under to sew up. These bars exist in every piece of knitting, even in textured knitting. So you need to get yourself familiar with them and where they are as they are essential if you want to use Mattress stitch. Once you have identified these bars, you can start sewing up as follows using a blunt-ended needle and a choice of any of the yarns in the blanket kit.
Before you start sewing together the three strips for the Front Panel, it is advisable to make a note of the number of rows in each block. Then you will be able to work out where you need to ease in rows if one block has more rows in it than another. I found this a massive help when I sewed together my strips.
I would also strongly recommend that you mark the centre point of each block in the Front Panel along the side edges of each strip. As you can see from the Piecing Diagram, the blocks are sewn together with the beginning of one block matching to the centre of the block beside it in the next strip, so marking the centre points along the edges of all the blocks is essential if you are going to get this right. You can then calculate how many rows need to be eased in to make the blocks fit together perfectly. Use the Piecing Diagram as a guide to help you with this.
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 block. However, if with other blocks 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.
All five of the Back Panel blocks have the same amount of rows, so no easing needs to be done when you sew them together. All I would advise is that you make sure that the stripes match up perfectly –the stripes that are 6 rows deep match up to each other across the five blocks, and the stripes that are 4 rows deep match up to each other across the five blocks. On the Piecing Diagram for the Back Panel, just be aware that the image of the centre block (Block 14) has been placed slightly higher up than it should be which means that the stripes are not matching up correctly to Block 13. So just to be clear, all of the stripes should match up perfectly to each other across the whole back panel.
Now it’s over to you! With careful planning and a few calculations you could soon be whizzing those strips and blocks together to create two complete panels for your cushion-cover! Have fun!...
INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING THE FRONT PANEL TO THE BACK PANEL WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE FINAL MAIL OUT, so please do not join them together yet as there will be special instructions about how to do this.
I MENTIONED IN THE OCTOBER MYSTERY BLANKET BLOG ABOUT THE AMAZING RESPONSE WE HAVE HAD TO OUR “HELL BAY” KNITTING HOLIDAY NEXT OCTOBER! But just in case you haven’t read that blog, I am going to repeat the information again in this blog, as there is still one suite up for grabs…
There was such a huge demand for this knitting holiday that we organised a second holiday to Hell Bay in the Isles of Scilly.
However, after launching “Hell Bay #2” only a couple of days ago, at this moment in time there is only one suite available, with all suites on “Hell Bay #1” sold out. So if you want to join me in Hell Bay next October, there is still time, but you’ll have to be quick to bag that last place. Or if you want to be added to the waiting list in case of cancellations, please email Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here’s some more information about the holiday…
I will be tutoring two five night knitting holidays in the Scilly Isles in October 2018, the first holiday departing on Monday 15th October and returning on Saturday 20th October, and the second week departing on Saturday 20th October and returning on Thursday 25th October. I have booked the luxurious Hell Bay Hotel on the beautiful island of Bryher, which is located in a secluded cove facing the Atlantic Ocean. Set in private grounds, Hell Bay has twenty-five suites, all beautifully appointed with Lloyd Loom furniture and Malabar fabrics. Rooms and public spaces also boast works by some of Cornwall’s leading artists. There is a large terrace with spectacular views and a sunset deck which overlooks Gweal Hill, both perfect for relaxing and taking in the ambience of the island. As well as an award-winning restaurant (three AA Rosettes), there is also a spa treatment room, a private heated outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna for guests to use. During the daytime the hotel’s restaurants and bar are open to the general public. However, after 6pm the entire hotel will be for the exclusive use of our group, with several public areas including a large bar, sitting room and outside terrace available to knit and relax in. During the holiday I will be running three workshop sessions (one whole day and two half days), at the local community hall in Bryher, which is a short five-ten minute walk from the hotel. Each participant will be given a special Debbie Abrahams knitting kit to work on during the week, however, if preferred, personal knitting projects can be brought along instead. Weather permitting, there will be a walking historical tour of the island, plus the option for an additional fee of a boat trip to some of the other islands in the area.
There is one suite available in the second week, it’s a Spring Tide suite, Ground Floor with Garden views, priced at £885 per person. (Please note that this price DOES NOT include flight and transfers. It is advisable to book these directly with Hell Bay).
The price of the holiday includes:
- Full English breakfast and evening meals
- Tea and coffee during workshop sessions
- One whole day and two half day workshops
- Expert tutoring with Debbie covering various knitting techniques
- A Debbie Abrahams knitting kit
- A history walking guided tour of the island
Use of the outdoor heated swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna (if you are brave enough!!!)
If you are interested in booking this holiday then you can make your reservation on the Debbie Abrahams website: https://debbieabrahams.com/collections/events/products/hell-bay-retreat-2
A deposit of £300 is required to secure your booking, with the balance of your payment to be made by 21st May 2018.
I do hope that you decide to join me!
JUST A REMINDER TO EVERYONE THAT MEMBERSHIPS FOR MY 2018 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE IN MY ONLINE SHOP. Memberships are continuing to sell every day, but there’s still time to sign up to the Club if you haven’t already done so. For next year’s blanket I have developed my own range of shades of Rowan Glace Cotton, which means each member will receive a pack of exclusive colours, available to MBC members only. It has been a fascinating process to go through, and I am so excited about having my own unique colours for next year’s design. There are a total of nineteen shades in the colour palette, with seventeen of them being brand new shades that I have developed and two from the existing range. So if you fancy a vibrant and colourful knitting journey with me next year, full of surprises and challenges, why not join the Club for 2018 and be part of another unique and exciting “Mystery” adventure!?!
If you want to find out more about next year’s Mystery Blanket, you can visit the FAQ page on my website where you will find lots more information: http://www.debbieabrahams.com/mystery-clubs/mystery-blanket/
When you sign up to the 2018 Mystery Blanket Club and make your payment you will be sent a confirmation email within seven days which will give you your membership number and ask you to confirm your address and email details. If you do not receive this email, please let us know and we will resend it to you: email@example.com
PLEASE NOTE THAT 2017 MYSTERY CUSHION MEMBERS DO NOT GET A DISCOUNT ON THE 2018 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB, however, if you join the 2018 Mystery Blanket Club you will get a discount on the 2018 Mystery Cushion Club. Applications to sign up for the 2018 Mystery Cushion Club open in March 2018.
YARN IN NOTTINGHAM WILL BE HOLDING THEIR LAST MYSTERY CLUB MEETING NEXT MONTH ON WEDNESDAY 1ST NOVEMBER. The meetings are open to both Cushion and Blanket members, but members from previous years are also very welcome to join us. It’s not only a great way to meet other members, but you can also get help and advice with any of the techniques you might be struggling with in your Mystery projects. I will be attending the meeting, along with little Seth. So if you live locally and have the time, why not pop along between 4-6pm to Yarn at 55 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EN, , tel: 0115 9253606, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH … THE THEME OF THE MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB! ! There must still be a lot of members still guessing the theme as we have not had a lot of correct answers so far. So if that person is you and you need a bit more help, then here's another letter to give you a further clue...the letter I am giving you this month is “L”…
_ E _ R _ P _ L _ _
Next month both the theme and the final set of patterns for the Mystery Cushion will be revealed. And if you’ve kept up to date with the instalments, then soon you will have your very own completed Mystery Cushion! And if not, then there’s still time to catch up. I will be packing my bags later on this month for a festive knitting workshop in France with Sue Culligan (Knitting Holidays In France) - (which reminds me that the season of great joy will soon be upon us!). But before that there’s knitting to be done and Mystery projects to be completed! So I wish you all happy knitting this month and look forward to talking to you for the final time next month in the November blog. Take care, Debbie x