Its cold, crisp and sunny here in Devon today with a brilliant blue sky, miles away from the dark and damp day yesterday. The weather can really make or break a day. I always feel uplifted at the sight of the sun and of warmer days, lounging like a lizard in the garden soaking it up (appropriately protected from the harmful rays of course).
In the crochet world temperature blankets have been around for a long time as a way of commemorating or marking a year. I have viewed these from afar loving how the colours are dictated to by something that is out of our control but also daunted at the commitment and size of some of these creations.
Before even knowing what 2020 would bring us I decided in December 2019 to start a temperature blanket for 2020. Off I bumbled to my local yarn store, Fudges here in Cullompton and chose my rainbow yarns to take me from the lowest to the highest temperature. Hindsight is now a wonderful thing and I should have checked the lowest to highest temperatures for 2019 to gauge how many colours and what temperature steps should be, but hey, its all a learning process. I used Stylecraft Special double knit for the colours going for White, Silver, Palma Violet, Sherbert, Aspen, Cypress, Saffron, Spice and Lipstick with a background colour of Graphite. They looked very pretty in the shop but I had no idea how they would look all mixed up in the blanket.
Now came the decision on how to use this rainbow in a temperature blanket that was not going to break me through its sheer size or bore me because of the length of rows or repeats of a stitch that would drive me insane. To work out a new pattern or design I doodle in a note book, more often than not of an evening with a glass of something appropriate by the side of me. I came up with doing a block or square a month, breaking down the enormity of 365 days or 730 rows as I was going to do the high and low temperatures for each day. The stitch was the easy decision, linen stitch allows the colours to interlock with each other and gives a great fabric to square up and work with.
When you start searching on the internet for temperatures for your area there is a mountain of different places offering all sorts of meteorological information to satisfy the most enthusiastic wannabe weather person. I went for Accuweather, they had weather going back a couple of years and it, to me, was in a good clear format. I simply copied down in my notebook the high and low temperatures each day and then would do a row of colour for them respectively. Simples. I so I thought....
And so the pattern was born, rectangles for each month, two rows per day for high and low temperatures with a few rows of the background colour to make sure each month was the same 'height'. Well, I started off with great enthusiasm and gusto keeping up for the majority of January, but then, as with most January resolutions, I'd forget a day or a week and then months went by. By the time the pandemic and lockdowns had taken over life I was so behind. I have to admit I left it until December with June, July through to December itself to complete. I found it was actually quite a quick rectangle to get into, once you got past the slightly tricky first row where you need to check you're in a chain space rather than on a stitch. I finished the blanket during the first week of January 2021. This now kind of gives me the excuse that you don't have to do a temperature blanket for a whole year as you go and that if you give yourself a couple of weeks solidly at it you could stitch one up in no time. Now I know that isn't the idea of these blankets, that there is some rhythm and regularity about stitching a couple of rows each and every day of the same project, that when all around us is going a bit wrong the blanket would bring us something recogniseable and dependable.
So here we are, 22 January 2021 and the blanket and the pattern is complete. It has not been tested by anyone purely because I tested the rectangle eleven times so am pretty sure it works. I had great ideas of doing a boarder with a single crochet stitch key for the colours giving the temperature range for each, I even worked out a chart on Stitch Fiddle (my go to chart making program) but when it came to it I wanted the dependable rhythm of a simple rainbow stripy border. I've added below my chart in case anyone wanted to give it a go.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing for anyone who is creative. For this project mine would have been to have thought about the colours used and perhaps a rainbow was not the best as I think a hues of one or two colours would have made something to me that was more eye-pleasing. I would also want to add a little silver thread to dates of birthdays, anniversaries etc to really record the year. I also should have added a darker red as we did have a pretty warm early summer when we were outside most days sipping cold drinks under the parasol whilst saying we could get used to the lockdown. Oh how times have changed, there is no sitting outside this time and the temperatures are probably around 20 degrees lower.
I am happy with my thoughts in hindsight. I think as a designer it is important to be critical of work done but not to get too bogged down with it. We have these ideas that make complete sense at the time, it is the execution of them that proves that idea. Some are frogged (ripped back, ribbet, ribbet), some are destined for the YFO (unfinished object) pile in the corner of the room but some are wonderful and finished. All that is absolutely fine in my book. I never feel regret at taking something back, its all about the process and creativeness involved in making something from scratch.
The pattern is here (and over in my Ravelry Store) for free. I've given an idea of my temperature ranges but obviously they may be dramatically different depending on where you live and the entire range you have to contend with. As always I am happy for this pattern to be shared, to be made for either personal or commercial use, all I ask is that I am credited for the design and the pattern writing.
So the question is, will there be another temperature blanket for 2021? I'm not sure, I might leave it until December to decide.....