Mystery Blanket Club 2017: post 5, June

Seth playground

THIS MONTH WE ARE HALFWAY THROUGH THE 2017 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB… so hopefully you are well and truly stuck into this year’s design and starting to see where I am going with it this year. There are still some new squares to come, but you will see that there are some repeats beginning to happen – which are essential to balance the design (I do LOVE my symmetry!!!) But before I set off with all the Mystery Blanket Club news this month, just a quick word on little Seth, and a photo to show you what he has been up to since you last saw him. Here he is, steering the ship through the local adventure playground. And as you can see, his best friend Mousey is also on the ship, but he is laying down as he doesn’t like the bumpy ride! Seth loves it at the park, and hopefully if we have some more nice sunny days here in Nottingham, he can climb aboard again and take to the seas!

SINCE I LAST SAW YOU HERE LAST MONTH I HAVE TUTORED TWO WORKSHOPS… one with Inspired Minds (my events collaboration with Jane Crowfoot), and a Mystery Blanket Club workshop at Jane’s lovely studio in Barnet. At the Mystery Blanket workshop I was joined by ten very enthusiastic students which included members and non-members: Gail Coles, Sally Hart, Orla Brady, Sheena Crompton, Peter and Sue Bartlett, Dani Liebeck, Andrea Gostick, Jayne Fowler and Catherine Munroe Kerr. I designed a small purse inspired by designs from the 2013 Mystery Blanket, “Nordic Adventure”, which was just the right size to accomodate the Mystery Blanket notebook and pen you all received as a free gift this year. It involved many different knitting techniques including fairisle, cables, contrast colour bobbles and beading. Everyone embraced the project whole-heartedly and did really well. I was thrilled with the results! Take a look at the lovely purses that Peter and Sue knitted…

Peter and Sue JunePeter and Sue liningSays Peter on completion of their two purses: “We’ve completed the wee bags and have found uses for them….mine will hold passports and EHIC next month when we go to Ibiza. Sue’s hold the notebook, eventually it will contain her notions. Sue has sewn linings, mine has a wee pocket to hold the EHIC cards securely, and Sue’s is personalised ‘SEB17’.”

Thank you so much for the photos of your lovely completed purses and I am thrilled to see that they are already in use! And if any of the other members are wondering how to get their hands on this pattern, then I will be sending it out to all the members at the end of the project. So if you have any bits and pieces of yarn left over, you will be able to put them to good use!

The second workshop event was held a couple of weeks later at the lovely Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth, which I have been to several times with Jane Crowfoot to run our Inspired Minds knit and crochet weekends. And there we were joined by over thirty ladies, plus one non-knitting husband. We ran the same workshop that we did at Rudding Park a couple of months ago, and it was just as successful, with some beautiful mandalas being created, using amazing colour combinations of yarn and beads. This is just a selection of what the ladies achieved:

Bournemouth mandalas 2Bournemouth mandalas

ONE SMALL ERROR HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE JUNE PATTERNS, however, it should not affect your knitting of the square as it is purely a bead code typo. It is on Square 22, Option Two on page 17 of the Mail Out. The Lime beads are listed as code 41, when in fact they are code 48. So just to clarify, it is the Lime beads, code 48, that are used for this square.

THERE HAS BEEN A LITTLE BIT OF CONFUSION OVER WHY THERE ARE TWO OPTIONS FOR SQUARE 11, so I am going to explain wy there are two options and then which option it would be preferable to knit. There is just a very small difference between the two, and that is the button in the middle of the centre star in Option Two. Option One in comparison has a Gold bead in the centre and no button. So this is what I would suggest you do regarding the options. If you knitted Option One for Square 4, then I would choose the same option for Square 11. This will mean that you have a button sewn onto Square 4 and not Square 11 – which will even out the distribution of the buttons in the completed design. Therefore this means that if you knitted Option Two for Square 4 and you then knit Option Two for Square 11, you will have a button sewn onto Square 11 and not Square 4. If you have already knitted Square 11 this month and have swapped options, then I would suggest that you either remove the button and sew on a Gold bead, or crack off the Gold bead and sew on the button – depending on which way round you have done it! And despite my advice, if you really don’t want to change your square, then you can leave your squares exactly as they are. I should have put a note about this on the pattern page, but I must admit that I missed it out. But it is something can be easily changed  – or not, as the case may be?!?

THE GUESSING OF THE THEME FOR THIS YEARS’ MYSTERY BLANKET CONTINUES FOR SOME OF YOU.. so if you haven’t already guessed it, (or opened your little purple envelope!), then here is another letter to help you. The letter I am giving you this month is “S”:

  • _  _  T  _  O S  P  _  _  T  I  _  _
  • Please send your guesses to Sue at sue@debbieabrahams.com. There are no prizes for the correct answer – it is simply a bit of fun each month!

SO NOW FOR THE GUESSING OF MAY’S FIVE SQUARES (for which there is a prize). This is the monthly bit of fun where I invite you to guess from which Mystery Blanket each of the squares were inspired by. The May quiz was won by Julia Knowes from Worcestershire, so very well done to you!

These are the correct answers for the May patterns:

Square 8: Untitled – Arabian Nights (2009)

Square 9, Option One: Nordic Folk – Nordic Adventure (2013)

Square 9, Option Two: Frosty #2 – Nordic Adventure (2013)

Square 10: Petit Fleur – A French Romance (2016)

Square 17, Option One: Untitled– Beneath The Sea (2010)

Square 17, Option Two: Petunia– Back To The Country (2014)

Square 49: Untitled – Arabian Nights (2009)

Just as a reminder, we accept all correct answers which are emailed to us anytime up until the next blog is written with the previous month’s answers, and then all of them are put in a hat and a winner picked out. That way everyone has a fair chance of winning.

THESE ARE THE SQUARES THAT YOU WILL KNIT THIS MONTH (JUNE):

Square 11, Option One: Untitled – beaded star motifs and textured stitches

Square 11, Option Two: Untitled – beaded star motifs and textured stitches and a button

Square 12: La Belle France – lace pattern with beads and bobbles (same for both options)

Square 18: Oslo – slip-stitch pattern with cabled stitches and hooked-in beads (same for both options)

Square 19, Option One: Wild Rose – flower motif using the intarsia technique, chain stitch, a bobble and beads

Square 19, Option Two: Petunia #2 – stocking stitch, moss stitch and garter stitch stripe pattern

Square 22, Option One: Triangles #3 – geometric intarsia motifs with textured stitches, swiss-darned details and a button

Square 22, Option Two: Untitled – striped cable pattern with beads

Advice on How to use this document, Working the Mystery Blanket, Knitting techniques, Knitting with beads and Embroidery on knitting fabric are NOT included in this mail out.

I HAVE A GENERAL TIP TO GIVE YOU ABOUT THE PATTERNS, FOLLOWING A FEW QUERIES I HAVE HAD ABOUT TECHNIQUES. Below the title of each square there is a decription of what it is so it is clear what you are knitting and which techniques are involved. So for example, on Square 19, Option One, it says in the description that it is a “flower motif using the intarsia technique…”, so this is the technique which needs to be used to knit this square (and not the fairisle technique). So if you are in any doubt about which technique to use – especially with regards to colour knitting – then I do tell you this information, and not only in the description on the first pattern page, but also in the Pattern notes and tips for each square.

YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN BOTH A CHART AND WORDED INSTRUCTIONS FOR SQUARE 12, LA BELLE FRANCE, but just be aware that with the chart you work two rows (Row 1: knit; Row 2: purl), before you start working from the chart. After these two initial rows you then repeat Chart rows 1-12 as many times as instructed. With the worded instructions you work Rows 1-14, then repeat only Rows 3-14. At first glance, when comparing these two versions, you may think the number of rows don’t add up – but they do and they will knit up exactly the same – regardless of which version you choose to work from.

JUST A REMINDER THAT IN SQUARE 18, OSLO – WHICH HAS HOOKED-IN BEADS – you do NOT purl the stitch after hooking in a bead (which is what you would usually do, as explained in the Knitting Techniques section of the Mail Out). I have mentioned this in the Pattern notes and tips for this square, but this is just an extra reminder to make sure you don’t forget!

ON SQUARE 49 YOU MIGHT FEEL A BIT DAUNTED ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF EMBROIDERING THE FIVE STAMENS ONTO THE WILD FLOWER FOR SQUARE 19, but panic not! It really isn’t as hard to do as you might first think. Use both the chart and the photo as guides for the chain stitching, and if your stamens look a little bit different to mine, then I would advise you not to worry. After all, it’s a natural form and no two stamens are alike on any flower, so yours are perfectly ok if they are slightly different too!

I HAVE BEEN ASKED OVER THE YEARS ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PURCHASING THE KITS FOR PREVIOUS MYSTERY BLANKETS AND CUSHIONS, and my answer has always been the same and will remain that way (which, by the way, is a very definite “no”!). However, I suspect that there are some members out there who have joined one of my Clubs and never actually knitted the project up. So if this is you, and you are willing to part with it and sell it another knitter, then please let me know. I do not get involved with the sale of a kit, but I am happy to work as the “man in the middle” to get the sale started. I have already been told by a member that they are willing to sell their 2016 Mystery Cushion kit (Geometric Jungle), and I am happy to put anyone in touch with that person if they would like to buy it. And if there are any more Mystery Blanket or Cushion kits out there that would benefit from a new home, then let me know. I will then publish a list of what is available on my next blog (minus any details of the seller), and I will then put you in touch so you can sort out the sale. All of my Mystery Blanket kits are limited edition and exclusive one-off projects, so you could make someone very happy if you have a kit that you don’t want as someone else may be looking for it! However, please note that if I list a kit for you on my blog then this is not a guarantee that I can find a buyer for you, but I will certainly put the word out there for you.

THERE ARE NOW JUST A HANDFUL OF MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FOR THE 2017 MYSTERY CUSHION CLUB, so this is your last chance to sign up to it if you haven’t already done so. The deadline for signing up is the 30th June and the Club will then commence on 1st July. To find out more about the Mystery Cushion Club you can read the FAQs page on my website: http://www.debbieabrahams.com/shop/mystery-club-shop/mystery-cushion-club/

Just as a reminder, the yarns I am using this year are a mixture of 4-ply weights from the Rowan collection, including Summerlite 4-ply, Superfine Merino DK and Pure Wool DK. And I can tell you that the colour palette is a mix of “vintage” shades including deep-plum, teal, soap-green and stone. But as always the theme is a “mystery”, so I will say no more!

IF YOU FANCY A RELAXING BREAK IN FRANCE, KNITTING IN THE WARM AUTUMN SUN AND BEING FED AND WATERED WITH QUALITY FOOD AND DRINK FOR A WEEK, then it’s not too late to book your place on my Festive knits workshop with Sue Culligan in the beautiful region of Charente-Maritime. The workshop week runs from the 22nd – 28th October 2017, and we will be working on a festive bunting project. You will be given a kit to work from, however, there will be the opportunity to add in your own designs to the project so that you can create your own personalised bunting! So if you would like to join me on this very exciting knitting adventure, please contact Sue Culligan directly to book your place: Knitting Holidays in France, rue de la Verderie, 17770 Brizambourg, France; Email: sueculligan@gmail.com; T +33 (0)5 46 94 08 53; M +44 (0)7986 199662.

FranceAbove: the knitting group from the French workshop week in May 2014, soaking up the sunshine on a day out. On this holiday you will have time to visit some of the lovely little local towns, as well as knitting away to your heart’s content!

THE NEXT MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB MEETING AT YARN IN BEESTON, NOTTINGHAM IS ON WEDNESDAY 7TH JUNE. And it would be lovely if you could join us there! So if you live in the Nottinghamshire area, why not come along to the next meeting?!? Sarah welcomes all members (and non-members too!) to her lovely shop which is at 55 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EN, tel: 0115 9253606, email: info@yarn-in-notts.co.uk.

I HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS FOR NEXT MONTH! HOPEFULLY, WITH ALL FINGERS CROSSED, I WILL BE LAUNCHING MY BRAND NEW WEBSITE! My trusty web team have been working very hard on creating a brand new website for me, which will be geared up to deal with all of today’s latest technical gadgets, making it a fully “responsive” website. So please don’t forget to take a look at it when it is launched, as it will also have on it…

…NEWS AND APPLICTIONS FOR THE 2018 MYSTERY BLANKET CLUB! The exciting news is that in a few weeks time you will be able to sign up to the next Mystery Blanket Club so that you are all set to go for the new adventure next year! Next month I will tell you lots more about what I have in store for the 2018 project, although as always the theme is kept completely under wraps. I have had a lot of people asking to be added to the waiting list for this year’s Mystery Blanket, so I think that many of them will rush to sign up for next year. So although you all have plenty of time to decide whether or not you want to join up again, the earlier you secure your place the better to ensure your membership. I can’t really believe that I am talking about next year’s design already, but then we are halfway through this year (and hasn’t it flown!!!), and 2018 is only six months away. Dare I say it, some of the high street shops will have their Christmas trees out next month! – although I am definitely not going to get festive just yet!!!

AND FINALLY FOR THIS MONTH’S BLOG, THE RESULTS OF PRIZE DRAW FIVE (JUNE): this month’s winner is member 178, Judy Shoulders from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamnshire, UK. Well done Judy! Please choose a prize from the following selection:

  • a Debbie Abrahams book: Blankets and Throws to Knit/More Blankets and Throws To Knit/25 Beaded Knits/Kaleidoscope
  • a Debbie Abrahams dvd: More Blankets/A Professional Finish
  • 4 packs of Debbie Abrahams Beads from the selection on www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk
  • a £15 voucher towards a Debbie Abrahams Mystery Club (2017 Mystery Cushion or 2018 Mystery Blanket)
  • a knitting kit from the selection on Debbie’s website

I will contact Judy directly to discuss her choice.

I wish you all happy knitting this month, and hopefully some al fresco knitting too if the sun shines! I am very busy getting patterns signed off and parcels packed ready for the start  of my brand new Mystery Cushion Club. And straight after that it’s full steam ahead with the 2018 Mystery Blanket design. So it’s busy, busy, busy for the next few months. And hopefully you will keep nice and busy too this month! Don’t forget to come back at the beginning of July and find out more about next year’s blanket design, plus my new website should be up and running, so there’s lots to look forward to! Until next month, take care everyone, and happy knitting, Debbie x

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