My first venture into the ‘Mystery’ world was to make a ‘Mystery Cushion’ in 2014 by the hand-knit designer, Debbie Abrahams – since then I’ve been hooked and annually now knit her Mystery Cushions and Mystery Blankets.  Every month during the project you receive a number of patterns for squares to be knitted that month and as the months go by you can try and guess the theme (though you are told near the end of the project so you’re not just left guessing)!

The most recent ‘Mystery Cushion’ is ‘Eastern Promise’ 2018. 

I love the central square ‘Camel Trail’ with its striped and beaded pattern with fairisle, chain stitch and shisha mirrors.

The corners have the titles ‘Bazaar’ and ‘Back To The Souk’ – have a striped and beaded pattern with knitted-in decorative braids.  The middle square here, is known as ‘Medina’ – which uses a textured basketweave pattern with slipped stitches and hooked-in beads.

The back of the cushion is also quite beautiful.  The top section is titled ‘Kaftan’, a striped pattern with textured stitches, fairisle and hooked-in beads.  The bottom section, ‘Oasis’ – makes use of a striped pattern with eyelets.

I love the final details of the pompoms attached with beaded strands.

The previous year was quite different as you can see below . . . Mystery Cushion 2017 – Metropolis.  Very intricate designs and colours, that I wouldn’t have ever thought to put together, really work to create this beautiful cushion.

The names of the squares immediately hint at the theme.  Titles such as: ‘Gatsby’; ‘Jazz’; and ‘Jazzy’.  These squares use a mixture of lace stitches with hooked in beads to garter stitch.  In the middle square you can see the beaded ties across the top of the cushion.

This lace and textured block using slip-stitch for the lime beads is called ‘Rockefeller’.

I really liked the use of beads in the ‘Razzle Dazzle’ central square . . .

The attention to detail is what makes the difference in these designs – for example the beautiful lace and beaded section known as ‘Clarice’ that creates the inside cushion flap which is sewn onto the inside edge of the cushion-cover, ensuring the cushion inside is completely covered.

The back of the 2017 Mystery Cushion with its ‘Tango Stripes’ and ‘Jazzier’ garter stitch stripes and the beautiful knitted and beaded ties.

The ‘Geometric Jungle’ was the Mystery Cushion for 2016

  Look out for the squares that are titled: Leopard; Elephant and Snake . . . 

The middle square really makes me think of a jungle with the twisting ‘Creepers’.

The lower back panel is called ‘Jungle Fever’ a clever use of reverse stocking stripe with garter stitch stripe with cables and beads.  

The upper back panel is titled ‘Crazy Zebra’  – chevron stripe with garter stitch stripe and buttonhole band.

Then voila! The completed back of the cushion.

2015 Mystery Cushion has a nautical theme – ‘Neon Nautical’ – makes me think of the summer holidays!  This introduced me to fairisle knitting for the first time with the cute little fishes.

In the first month the squares knitted were: ‘Ropes and Shells’; ‘Waves’; and ‘Little Fishes’.

The central square is very cute with its ‘Sailing Boat’ floating on the waves, the sun in the sky and the birds in the distance.

The back of the cushion continues the nautical theme.  The upper back panel, ‘Life Buoys and Waves’.

The lower back panel, ‘Neon Stripe’ has reverse stocking stripes with garter stitch and beads.

. . . And there we are the back panel and the cushion . . . now complete!

2014 and my first ever Mystery Cushion . . . with the theme ‘Sugar Rush’.  This is the cushion that got me hooked into completing the annual Mystery Blankets and Mystery Cushions.

I remember these ‘Fondant Fancies’ from childhood.  The ones I remember were called French Fancies made by Mr Kipling and were little square sponge cakes topped with a blob of buttercream, then covered with shiny, sticky fondant icing with the addition of piped icing  in a contrasting colour on the top and this square really reminds me of them!  Interestingly Wikipedia tells me that the name ‘Fondant Fancies’ is actually the name of supermarket and home-made copies of the original Mr Kipling ‘French Fancies’ that first appeared in 1967 – you learn something new every day!  The ‘Fondant Fancies’ pattern uses beaded motifs with swiss-darned details and reminds me of the more intricate icing you often see on fondant fancies today. 

‘Brighton Rock’ is an apt name for this square don’t you think?  I remember as a child buying rock when at the seaside or getting it as a present when family went on holiday and loving seeing the writing going all the way through the rock – mint was always my favourite flavour, and the only flavour that seemed to be available when we were young, there didn’t seem to be the variety you see now.  It always had a shiny red surface surrounding the white rock with red lettering of the place where it had been bought running through it.  We used to suck the rock till it became sharp and pointed or else, to my mum cries of ‘watch your teeth’, we used to crunch our way through the rock – I should really have listened to my mum!

. . . And here are ‘Candy Twists’ – I remember ‘Cough Candy Twists’ with their very distinctive flavour – they used to last for ages.  Or maybe it’s recalling the twisted colours on candy canes.

I really think this looks like the title of these square – ‘Fondant Icing’ using a textured stripe pattern.  You can just imagine someone holding a piping bag and piping the icing on a cake in different colours.

The central square is ‘Love Hearts’ those fizzy round sweets with a short, love-related message like ‘Love Bug’; ‘Be Mine’; ‘Hot Lips’; ‘All Yours’ etc. on one side of them . . . a great favourite when I was a child.

The back of the cushion.  The lower back panel is called ‘Sprinkles’ – it really looks like cake sprinkles does’t it!  Clever use of slip-stitch and beaded stripes to create the effective.

The upper back panel is titled ‘Lozenges’ using an effective slip-stitch pattern with reverse stitches.

I think this cushion will always make me think of Mila with all its myriad of confectionary, she does have a sweet tooth!

This cushion always makes me smile and will always remind me of Mila!