Temperature Blanket

What’s a temperature blanket? Is it a blanket you plug into the wall, or is it something less likely to short out and burn down your house? I had never heard of temperature blankets until a few weeks ago when @LionBrandYarn tweeted this:

Discovering temperature blankets for the first time!

Discovering temperature blankets for the first time!

When I looked into what a temperature blanket was, it seemed to be a nifty and fun idea, especially since Calgary can have some pretty wild weather at any time of the year!

A temperature blanket (or temperature afghan), as I came to understand, is a project where colors of yarn are made to correspond to brackets of temperature, and every day for one year you crochet or knit one row of a blanket based on that day’s high temperature (or average temperature, or low temperature, depending on personal preference) where you live. This makes it a long-term but low-pressure project.

I mentioned this to my mom and she liked it too, to the extent that we’ve each decided to make a blanket for ourselves starting at January 1, 2018 (no time like the present to plan ahead). She will knit hers and I will crochet mine.

Neither of us wants to do the rainbow concept, though. I mean, Rainbow Brite was cool and all…when I was four. For this? We’d both rather end up with blankets that still reasonably match the decor of our homes or use colors that we really like. So, I came up with these temperature charts:

My temperature blanket chart. Mom's temperature blanket chart.
My temperature blanket chart (left) and Mom’s (right). Click to enlarge.

As the charts show, I’ve decided to use Bernat yarn (specifically, their chenille Blanket label) for mine, while Mom will use Red Heart yarn for hers. I really love Bernat Blanket yarn because of how soft, squishy, and cuddly it is!

Bernat Larksfoot Blanket

Bernat Larksfoot Blanket

Mom hasn’t picked her pattern yet. I’ve picked the Bernat Larksfoot Blanket pattern because it specifically calls for the chunky Blanket yarn I already adore. I also like that it’s not a plain block stripe or zigzag. The neat thing is each finished stripe “hooks in” to the stripe after it which I think could create a really nice effect for the gradient my chart uses, depending on how the weather turns out next year!

Just one problem…

The Larksfoot blanket is supposed to measure about 46″x58″ when finished. To achieve the right look for this pattern I should actually do two rows per day rather than just one (as each colored stripe is two rows to get the shape correct). In the picture, the finished blanket appears to have about 25 stripes (or 50 rows). If the height of 50 rows is 46″… That would make my temperature blanket about 14.6x longer after one full year (730 rows, or 672″, which is…56 feet). Yikes!! Even if I do one row per day and potentially change colors halfway through a stripe the finished blanket would still be 28 feet long. Still yikes!

I really like this blanket, and I really like the yarn, so how can I make this work? What if each “circle” in each stripe were to represent one day? Not a bad idea, except…365 only divides evenly by itself, 1, 5, and 73. A 5×73 piece of work isn’t much of a blanket! (A leap year wouldn’t be better. 366 divides evenly by itself, 1, 2, 3, 6, 61, 122, and 183. A 6×61 piece of work is still too narrow.) Arg!

If the photo can be trusted as reliable (that the finished blanket is supposed to have about 25 stripes to get to 46″ tall) and if I make the blanket, say, 33 “circles” wide, I could dedicate one stripe to each month of the year (12 stripes total, or 24 rows) and have alternating stripes on each side to get to 25 total, like this:

Excel, where would we be without you?

Excel, where would we be without you?

This should then be representative of the finished size of the blanket, more or less, and it’ll be pretty close to the intended original. The raggy ends for those months that are shorter than 31 days (especially looking at you, February) don’t look that great when presented like this, but in the actual blanket they shouldn’t be too bad because all the colors in my chart are fairly muted to begin with. This will make it a bit easier to identify which month is which without stitching labels on too.

Black (Coal) is already in my temperature chart but though I live in the Great White North, the odds of the high on any given day being -25°C or below, even in the thick of winter, are not that good unless Old Man Winter is really going to beat the shit out of us next year, so I should only end up with a few “circles” here and there in each stripe that bleed into the blanket’s background.

In order for this to work, I think I’ll have to track the high temperatures every day for a month and then do the stripe for that month (thank god for Excel), because each “circle” will only be half-finished in each row otherwise. When we have chinooks, the temperature can swing anywhere from -20°C to 15°C or more in a few hours, so in winter I could be color changing a lot and will want to minimize having ends to weave in wherever possible.

I’m looking forward to this project! It will be nice to see how my blanket evolves compared to the one my mom will do. I’ll be tagging future entries for this project with temperature-blanket so if you want to follow along, you can bookmark that URL or add the tag-specific RSS feed to your reader. The project will eventually be added to my Ravelry profile too!