Mystery Blankets with the latest project now complete!
I first found out about ‘Mystery’ Knitting projects by accident when I discovered the knitting and crochet website ‘Ravelry’ . It’s an incredibly useful site for anyone who’s interested in knitting and crochet. It describes itself as a community site, an organisational tool and a yarn and pattern database for knitters and crocheters – I find it invaluable! My first venture into the ‘Mystery’ world was to make a ‘Mystery Cushion’ in 2014 (see my page on ‘Mystery Cushions’) by the hand-knit designer, Debbie Abrahams – since then I’ve been hooked and annually now knit her Mystery Cushions and Mystery Blankets . . .
What I enjoy about the Mystery Blankets (and cushions) is that all you know before starting the project is a vague hint at the yarn and colour palette that will be used, then over ten months the theme begins to be revealed as the blanket starts to take shape. Every month the pattern for the squares to be knitted up that month are sent to you and you can try and guess the theme . . . The squares use a huge variety of ‘new’ stitches and colours and many have beautiful class beads incorporated into their design so, as you can imagine, the finished design is always eye-catching and as the project is designed exclusively for members there’s a uniqueness about your finished project.
I’m just finishing off the most recent 2018 Mystery Blanket – which I worked out has the theme, ‘Casa Batlló’ – Though you are given a label with the theme name in a sealed envelope near the end of the project so you’re not left wondering if you can’t work it out for yourself!
Casa Batlló will be recognised by anyone who has visited the centre of Barcelona in Spain (I’ve not been but have it on my ‘Places to visit list’). It’s a weird and wonderful house designed by the famous artist Antoni Gaudi in 1904. He uses beautiful colours and inventive ways of bringing light into the building and not many straight lines, which you can see in the design of the blanket! The oval windows are unusual and are reflected in the blanket as are the front of the building with its colourful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles (trencadís). Even the roof which is likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. It’s definitely worth scrolling down the Wikipedia entry as it’s a fascinating article and would inspire many to want to visit. Anyway, photos to follow, I’m just finishing off the border! . . . And here it is, all finished!
As you can see the design uses plenty of beads and interesting stitches and really captures the themes seen in the Casa Batlló in Barcelona.
Waves using striped cable pattern with gradually decreasing textured stitches and another wave pattern below the cabled square, this time using Japanese short-row shaping with beads and chain stitches.
Waves using different colour ways . . .
Cables, cables and more cables . . .
More waves . . . with plenty of beads too.
The central square . . .
Intarsia motifs . . . star and curves.
Lace pattern with hooked-in beads – the beads really catch the sun.
Flora – the flora motif uses hooked in beads with chain stitch, swiss-darning and a bobble; completed in two colour ways.
The front of the famous artist Gaudi’s house, has oval shaped windows, here reflected in the ‘Mask’ squares . . .
These squares are called ‘Trencadis’ and are very reminiscent of the front of the famous house, with its colourful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles (trencadís).
. . . these photographs also show the wavy border . . .
With the 2018 Mystery Blanket complete – it’s time to enjoy a cuppa in front of the fire . . .
2017 Mystery Blanket has the title ‘Retrospective’ and is one of my favourites – it turned out to be a look back at the ten years Debbie Abrahams has been designing mystery blankets, thus incorporating ideas from previous blankets but with a new twist . . .
I really like the intarsia used for the four central squares: the flower; sheep; fish and butterfly.
A combination of interesting stitches were used. Here you can see a cabled stitch with beads; then the hearts created with beads and yarn over stitches and swiss darning and the final square here using slipped stitches, fairisle and beads which results in a beautiful texture and interesting colours.
A close up of some of the intarsia squares . . .
. . . this intarsia square of the sheep has to be my favourite!
Marking the ten years that Debbie Abrahams has been creating these ‘Mystery Blankets’.
I loved the variety in this blanket . . . the fairisle squares are among my favourite.
I love the beading too, when it catches the light they look really exquisite I think.
The flag edging is quite different and I think it works quite beautifully.
2016 Mystery Blanket has the title ‘French Romance’
The titles of the squares give the clue to the theme as do the beautiful French patisserie squares . . .
Titles of the squares such as . . . Petit Fleur, Moonstruck and Le Jardin with their lace patterns, bobbles, cables and beads . . .
Others using intarsia motifs with beads, swiss darning and chain stitches . . .
Mmh . . . it’s all making me feel quite hungry . . . what about a piece of gateau?
Definitely a ‘Romantic’ theme . . . ‘Love Affair’.
Here’s ‘Patisserie Stripe’ and ‘Reminiscence’.
The central square is aptly named, ‘The Icing on the Cake’!
The 2015 ‘Mystery Blanket’ has the title, ‘Perugian Perspectives’. Perugia, in central Italy, is the capital city of the region of Umbria and the province of Perugia. It’s a well known cultural and artistic centre of Italy. It’s Medieval centre is known for its defensive walls, its art from the 13th century onwards and its Gothic cathedral houses, Renaissance paintings and frescoes. In Fontana Maggiore, the square’s centre. is a marble fountain with carvings of biblical scenes and zodiac signs. How many of these influences can you trace in the blanket? . . .
This central square definitely brings to mind the central square of the city with it’s marble fountain . . . what do you think? Well, whatever, I think it’s quite beautiful!
The squares frequently use a mixture of intarsia motifs and beads with a variety of yarns as below and have such names as . . . ‘Sun’; ‘Diamonds’ and ‘Star’.
Others have a more sacred sounding title . . . ‘Reverence’ and ‘Splendour’ – using lace patterns and beads.
‘Stone Pillar’ and ‘Cornerstone’.
‘Diamonds and Triangles’.
‘Sanctuary’ with its tessellating triangles and diamond using the intarsia technique with swiss-darning with the almost invisible join to the left-hand adjoining square which forms part of the central motif.