Knitted Blankets

Posted on November 25 2021

image of blanket square


Many of you may already be aware of the Mystery Blanket and Mystery Cushion Knitting Clubs instigated by Debbie Abrahams. These are still going strong and the 2022 Blanket Club is already sold out. I enrolled in the 2015 and 2016 Blanket Clubs and what follows is my personal feedback and experience which I hope will help others considering such projects in the future.

I have just checked out Debbie's website and the offer is still very similar to the one that I experienced: you receive 2 packages of yarn during the 10 month period and a monthly email with the patterns for the squares you will be knitting in that month. There does now seem to be some additional information via online tutorials and monthly blogs.

It is really rather nice to receive a mysterious package of yarn and beads through the post not knowing what the finished project will end up looking like. However, with mystery can come disappointment. The first blanket I made was predominantly orange which is my least favourite colour and did not really complement any of my existing décor. I noted that on the website, Debbie now gives an indication of the colour way used for the projects so that is definitely a bonus.
Finished Mystery Blanket 2015
Finished Mystery Blanket 2015

There are two options given for the Mystery Blanket design and everyone is sent the pattern instructions for both options. Most of the squares are the same for both options, but when there is a choice it is clearly stated. Option One includes textured stitches like cables and knit and purl stitch patterns, intarsia colour work, fairisle colour work, stripes and some beading. Option Two includes all of the above, but any fairisle and intarsia squares are replaced by either stripes, beaded or textured designs.

I am no fan of intarsia because I simply always seem to end up in knots! For this reason, I chose Option Two when I came to knit my first blanket. Unfortunately, by the time you realise that you have made a mistake and that the blanket using intarsia is much nicer, it is too late to change. With blanket number two, I opted for the intarsia version and whilst I did manage to get myself in a bit of a muddle during the knitting process, the squares are sufficiently small that any issues (i.e. tangles!) could be sorted. I believe that the end result of those blankets using intarsia is definitely superior and worth the extra effort.

Knitted blanket square
A square from my 1st blanket using beads and embroidery
This year whilst attempting, and failing, to declutter, I came across my 2016 blanket which was sadly only about a quarter completed. I decided I had to finish it off before embarking on any new projects and got to work. The first mistake I made was not to finish off each square properly as I went along. This meant that when I had finally completed all 49 squares I had several days of work sewing in ends and completing the embroidery. I would strongly suggest that each square is finished before embarking on the next one - far less daunting!

Knitted blanket square 
A square from my 2nd blanket using beads and embroidery
Back in 2015, I had not started 'The Knitter's Yarn' and so I had more time for the blanket project. I blocked each row of 7 squares as they were completed and this definitely made a better finish compared to this year's finishing when I steamed each square before sewing. Spending the time blocking is definitely worthwhile.
knitted blanket square
A square using intarsia and beads
I have never understood why beginner knitters are encouraged to make scarves. I realise they are a good way to get into the rhythm of knitting but after a while, rows and rows of any stitch can become extremely tedious and off - putting. That is why I am in favour of beginners knitting cowls or cushions to start with. For the more ambitious, a blanket using squares of different patterns is also a great way to expand your knitting repertoire. Debbie's blankets are certainly excellent as a means of learning new stitches in a relatively small format - most squares are roughly 42 stitches by 50 rows. There are cables, lace patterns, bobbles, stripes, fairisle, intarsia, beads and embroidery as well as picking up stitches and finishing off. Any newcomer to knitting will have gained a pretty full arsenal of techniques and stitches by the end of the project and upon completion, will have an impressive piece of work to be proud of.
knitted blanket square
A square using cables and beads


corner knitted blanket square
A corner square showing intarsia, beads, stripes and the finished edging

Overall, I did enjoy both Mystery Blanket experiences and it was really nice to receive deliveries of the unknown project through the post and email. I think they provide a great way to learn new techniques and, if you stay committed to knitting your designated squares each month, the project is very manageable in the 10 month time scale. Just remember to check the colourways to ensure you will be happy with the final result and I would definitely recommend that you completely finish each square before moving onto the next one. I would also recommend blocking each line of 7 squares before sewing up and finishing off the borders.
Finished blanket
Whilst kits make all the decisions for you and provide the yarn, pattern and accessories, they are quite an expensive way of knitting blankets. Many of us have odd balls of wool laying around which could be used to make our own blanket although I would recommend that the yarn you choose is all of the same weight and material to ensure the best results when knitting and washing.

It is easy enough to make up one's own design by planning the sequence of the squares prior to making. Personally, I like to knit squares in strips to minimise the sewing up at the end. This method entails picking up the cast off stitches of one square to start the next. There are many books available to help you design or make your own knitted blanket and a simple search on the internet will provide plenty of options.

Knitted blankets are great projects to have on the go as squares take relatively little time to complete. The design options are endless and they are a great way to use up left-over yarns from other projects. The finished size is completely down to your own ambitions but you can always start small with a baby blanket - always a welcome gift to new mothers.

I hope this post has inspired you to think about  knitted blankets and the endless possibilities they offer. If you are new to knitting then individual squares provide a great learning opportunity for new patterns and techniques to come together in a really lovely and useful finished item. They make a great gift to family, friends or yourself...who doesn't love to snuggle under a warm blanket on a chilly evening?

Happy Knitting!

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