Mystery SAL Tips

I do two kinds of patterns here on my blog - slow year long SAL's where sometimes it's a new section of pattern a month or sometimes a new pattern every month, and I also do the high speed Mystery SALs that mostly get given over the course of a (long) weekend. This is for the latter type of SAL to help you know how to prepare, what to expect and what to do each time.

  1. First of all take time to read the information page - it's the first post for the SAL and is linked at the top of the box for Mystery SALs in the left hand sidebar.
  2. Decide what size and colour fabric you want to use - this makes it easier to know how much thread you need.
  3. Pick your threads - if you are using coloured fabric make sure you can see the thread easily on it, even if it's just the one stitch. (The fabric meant as a framing allowance is handy for tests, you won't have to rip it and you can clearly see how well it will work.
  4. Don't like the colours I picked? That's fine! I encourage people to check their stash for threads for these smallish SALs. I often include some pictures with colour suggestions to help your creative juices flow. 
  5. If I suggest using a particular colour no matter what then it's for a reason, feel free to ignore me but expect different results if you do. (This is no necessarily bad, some alternate results have been fabulous!)
  6. If you want help or opinions after picking your fabric and threads head to the Facebook group! We are a nice bunch of people who are happy to help - it's a safe place as I don't tolerate nastiness.
  7. Gridding your fabric is no luxury - even if it's just the outline and a + to indicate the centre as that will help you with your stitching (I do an outline and + but often remove it after the first part or two as the threads annoy me) 
    A simple gridding job
  8. Generally speaking you use:
    1. Two or four strands of thread for 14ct/28ct
    2. Two strands of thread for 16ct/32ct and 18ct/36ct
    3. One strand of thread for 20ct/40ct
    4. But adjust that to your personal liking - if you are working over 1 you probably only need one strand.
  9. If a pattern has the same thing on each side or corner it might be a good idea to use a new thread for each side/corner - it's not guaranteed but often the colour may repeat in that same bit so it's easier in the end to just have extra threads going.
  10. Read each post for information of which colours I used in each part and how many stitches there are to do of each. If you see a colour on the blog post and don't see it instantly in the pattern have a closer look, especially if the colour you can't see is a light colour. I do this as a way to double check to see if you got everything.
  11. Read the information sheet of the patterns carefully - I usually tell you where to look for the stitches there. You don't need to print this page but keep it to hand when you look to see where the new stitches are on the new pattern.
  12. Can't find something? Ask! It might be that you overlooked something but it could just as well be on my side of things. I'm human and occasionally make mistakes though I do my utmost to avoid them. Normally this happens because I changed something and didn't move it through all of the patterns for the SAL.
  13. Expect to be behind, I like to make sure everyone all over the world has a chance at feeling the excitement of rushing to my blog to check for the new part shortly after it got posted - if I only gave new parts during my own waking hours (CET (Amsterdam/Paris/Berlin) time) many people would miss out of that feeling. 
  14. I expect you to eat, sleep, hydrate, work, and have a life - this is the second reason why you should expect to be behind.
  15. Post new pictures to the fb group - don't reply to yourself - more people will see your progress and they are very supportive both when things go right and when things don't go right (and sometimes spot mistakes before it leads to worse!)
  16. Have a question? Ask - either on the post of the pattern that is causing your problems or in the fb group.
  17. I usually post a link to the first part of the SAL proper (often part 3) to the group - after that I expect you to know where my blog is and be able to refresh the home page for new patterns.
  18. When I'm awake I'll add links to the new parts in the sidebar to the left - if I'm busy it may take a little longer but not too long.
  19. Remember to look carefully in the blocks of posts for the part you are looking for - the blogger platform groups posts from the same day together, this is not something I can change.
  20. If it's not on the sidebar and older than the posts on the front page then click "older posts" to go back a page, look there and you will probably find it.
  21. At the time of writing this - 21st December 2019 - I still haven't finish finished the 2018/2019 NYE Mystery into something (I only just finished the backstitched outline!) and I didn't finish the stitching of it till some time in January, so don't worry too much if it doesn't get finished straight away during the SAL.
That's all I can think of for now - it's a LOT longer than planned! If you have any more questions please ask in the group, I've turned comments off for this post.