Temperature Blanket: Deep in the Rabbit Hole

By Kay Gardiner
February 3, 2022

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  • I do like those little squares. And I actually don’t mind seaming – but only up to a point, and 360 little seams plus three long ones is past that point for me. I think I would modify the design of the squares so I could pick-up-and-knit to start each one. Wouldn’t be a log cabin but still fun and a lot less seaming. And spit-joins are definitely the way to go! Thanks for this, Kay!

  • I’m sorely tempted now for the garter stripe – the month of January (and now Feb) would have some interesting stripes here in Dallas — 50°-70° highs, punctuated by 30°-40° episodes! (71° yesterday and today 25°!!). In the interminable summer consistency, I could unnoticeably skip a few. . .

    • I’m knitting a garter stripe version for my sister who lives in Kansas — a very colorful start to the year thus far in terms of temperature fluctuations! I added icord at the sides and that’s where I’m hiding most of the ends. It’s working great!

      • Brilliant idea! That lil tube of icord will absorb so many ends! Bravo!

    • Ooooo! I could not love this more! I’m not going to play catch up, but I just might plan this for next year. I like the garter stitch, but I’d add a few rows of seed stitch all the way around just for interest.

  • I am making my blanket but for two places – our new home in West Virginia and our cottage in northern lower Michigan. I have a white dead stitch border on either side and down the center between the two locations. I am also using different stitches with different colors so I won’t get bored.

    • I love your spin on it. We have a place in NOLA and a place in western NC so I may steal your plan when a temperature blanket bubbles to the top of my queue.

  • I love those January colors!! You are an inspiration. My wheels are turning……

  • You inspired me to try this project! I am doing the garter ridge blanket using 21 shades of Wool of the Andes worsted yarn. I am going with each day’s high temperature. My family is also fascinated by this project; at this point, I am anxiously hoping with a day of 34-35 degrees as the high temperature because I haven’t got to use that color yet. But we love the way January looks.

  • “Reliable moments of joy are what life is all about”. Thank you for expressing it so perfectly Kay.

    • This jumped out at me too. It’s going to be my mantra for the rest of the year.

      • What a joy to read this chilly Colorado day! My stash consists of mostly fingering yarn. Believe I’ll put two together…. Would that be worsted? Ravelry thoughts also for ideas. Thank you. Well written?!

    • Yes, I loved that sentence, too! I try to seed in “reliable moments of joy” throughout my day, but didn’t know what to call those times until now! Reading MDK in the morning with a cup of cappuccino is my first “reliable moment of joy”, this morning being a prime example. I LOVE this column today, Kay. You write so beautifully and “joyfully”. Thank you for sharing. We knitters are so blessed to be able to read these wonderful inspiring ideas.

  • The blankets are and will continue to be beautiful!! You are so clever! I especially love the little squares..PERFECT!!
    Perhaps show your audience once a month your progress!!

  • Who doesn’t knit a little bit every day?? That lady doesn’t know what group she’s talking to.
    I know my knitting self, and I have not yet been drawn into the temperature blanket. However, I am currently making a garter stitch marled blanket for my cat and marling randomly with stash yarn. It’s so fun and colorful. I think a temperature blanket with marling of the high and low temperature would look pretty cool. Maybe for my other cat’s blanket…

    • I’m marling a garter stitch blanket using up many super wash yarns too! It so soothing and satisfying. But I love your temp blanket ideas Kay!

    • Our first “Pandemic Kitten” would bring me a ball of yarn every day. When I had enough, I started his first blanket. He now has three blankets, and a baby brother.

  • I’m curious…will you seam your little cabins together or will you knit them with a coordinating color like quilt sashing?

    • For now I’m seaming them into columns of 20 blocks, mostly just to keep them in order! I’ll see when I’ve got more columns whether sashing will happen or not. I don’t want it to get too big!

  • If we ever start traveling normally again, I think it would be fun to do a temperature blanket with the temps wherever I am that day. There would be splashes of warms in the middle of winter color and stripes of cools to break up the sultry summers (depending on where one is going). I am still working of my stranded stripe throw – and will be for quite a while as I do it in fits and starts – but a temperature blanket might next in the large blanket category.

    • That is an incredible idea!

    • LOVE THIS.

  • I’m doing the log cabin squares in cotton for a summer weight throw. My blanket will be 15 squares by 24 rows with a 3 needle bind off (pick up and knit) to join the rows.

  • A temperature scarf is a project I can handle. I first thought of using Kaffe’s coin pattern and changing colors in the coins every row. A quick sketch shelved that idea. Now I’m doing a garter stitch scarf in the round.

    • I love someone’s idea of doing Kaffe’s coins, one stripe representing each week of the year, using the average high for the coin motif and the average low for the background. I’ve got that on in mind for next year!

  • I’m enjoying this project so much! I’m about 20 days behind, but I’ll catch up. Yours are beautiful Kay!

    • I’m tempted to start but I’d make mine in small mitered squares, starting in one corner, thus no sewing! I will have to decide whether to make solid color squares or two tone for high and low temps! Such decisions. Mitered squares are my jam, thanks to MDK

    • I am many days behind, too. I’m doing the low temperature in Nashville and mine has a lot of blues, too.Trying hard to catch up and really enjoying this project.

      • I got 10 days behind and then I wanted to take these pictures! I really enjoyed not having to put it down after just one ridge!

  • I love that your >95° color is Rage.

  • Oof. You might have gotten me with those baby log cabins.

  • What about…
    a log cabin – each square a month? Each strip of log cabin-ing a day? (with filler strips to even out the pesky, not every month having the same number of days). At the end you have 12 squares to make into a nice little 4×3 layout blanket. Less seaming.
    Now I think I’m changing my original; garter stripe format to this…

    • That’s brilliant. It’s amazing how many ways there are to have fun with this and adapt it to your preferred way of knitting.

  • I love this project. It is the embodiment of the idea that a few small, enjoyable, everyday commitments can add up to something meaningful. This is true beyond blankets.

    I am definitely going to take this approach when I make my Kaffe Fassett Garter Stripe Blanket. Break it down into stripes. Have it as an ongoing, background project. (Because I am somewhat driven by deadlines and a need to finish things.) I would normally look at a blanket like this and think, “I love the way that looks but making it would just take way too much time.” But if it is just found time, or enjoyable moments of coffee time, and I think about enjoying the journey rather than racing to the finish….With that approach I will have my blanket in no time.

    And, last but not least. Thank you so much for the suggestion of putting the balls of yarn for colorwork projects in a bowl. Not having to sort through a tangled mass (mess) of yarn stashed in a bag has been a game changer in my most recent work on a Kaffe Fassett colorwork scarf.

    • I owe the tray/bowl trick to Ann, I agree it changes the experience a lot! And I love how you’ve expressed how a big project can become so light to carry if it’s framed as a daily practice that is enjoyed for its own sake.

      • Would you mind sharing that “trick” again (or linking to where you shared it already)? I am always dealing with tangled messes of yarn!

        • It’s simply using an open container like a tray or shallow basket to hold all your colors, so you don’t have to fish in a bag for them. It’s very pleasant.

    • “Enjoying the journey” . . . this! So much.

  • Where can I find the history of high/low/average temperatures. My google search did not give me what I’m looking for. I had no intention of making one of these but now….shaking fist in your direction…..anyhow. It all starts with the temp info, right?

    • Wunderground.com has historical temp data and so does the National Weather service. However, my favorite resource for illustrating temperature change over a number of years is https://showyourstripes.info/. On the left side of the screen, choose the region … narrow all the way down to a specific state or country if you want to. Available temperature data, in some cases well over 100+ years, will be displayed as bars of color. Download the image and use for any application (crafting, professional presentation, school work, …) where you’d like to illustrate how the average temps have changed over the years.

      • Thank you! I just found the NOAA website and downloaded January but the site is not easy to use and is enough to make me want to track it myself from my phone. I will try your suggestions (although really, I’m trying to avoid this blanket thing. But I’m a lizard and I love blankets….)

    • Accuweather Monthly view has daily record of temps

  • I love your idea of 18 in the log cabin … it’s kindof life affirming – chai – in this crazy time.

    Me – I spent more time w graph paper and colored pencils for my Daytripper last night, as I made a newbie-to-fair isle mistake. Hope to cast on tonight.

  • I keep thinking that I shouldn’t start another project, but my marled blanket is almost done and I love your garter blanket. So easy…… one question – how do you figure out where to do the spit join? The thought of weaving in all of the ends is depressing. Thank you!

    • I do it 8 stitches before the color change, you don’t have to hit it exactly, at least not in Felted Tweed, which is kind of blendy to begin with.

      • Kay, I don’t understand how you spit splice 8 stitches before the color change. Do you mean spit spicing the old and new color together? Rebecca

        • Yes!

    • Thank you for asking this question. Also appreciate the answer!

  • Want to create your own temperature blanket that illustrates climate change for the whole globe, or just a certain geographic region? Check out https://showyourstripes.info/ Use the drop-down menus on the left to specify a region and … VOILA! … all temperature data for over 100 years is displayed in the window as colored stripes. Each color corresponding to the amount of temperature change in a year. You can download a labeled copy of the image and decide how many rows of knit or crochet will correspond to each stripe in the image. A very cool way to capture how climate has changed for the Earth, a continent, a country, or your home state. My LYS has kits for a shawl showing temp changes in my state from 1985 – 2021.

  • Ohhhhh! Now you’ve got me noodling. Just started a garter stitch version for my son and his fiancé (they’re getting married in Sept.). Had hoped to do high and low temps, but could not figure a way without making a throw for the Jolly Green Giant. All of a sudden I think I need a blanket of my own .

  • I want to do a temperature blanket but the pre knitting decisions are paralyzing. How much yarn do I get? What colors do I choose? I like the idea of using the felted tweed but I’ve never used and I don’t know what it feels like. So many decisions!

    • If you live in a climate with all 4 seasons, you could use the same shades that I’m using. We have 2 posts linked below that give guidance on how to set up your own temperature project, one by me and one by Cara Davis, who got me started on this adventure.

  • I checked the link for your color scheme in felted tweed as I’m currently working mine out. Had to chuckle a bit as your lowest temp is 20 degrees. I’m a born Minnesotan, last night was -23 wind chill. I’m starting with coins so I can have an entire row to knit each day

  • I am making the garter stitch Kaffe blanket, but after I began, I saw some photos online of garter stripe temperature blankets knit on the bias (increasing each row until the middle of the year and decreasing each row from there on). If I make another one, I will do that! It looks really cool!

  • I made a weather scarf about 7 years ago – I knit it in the round so the ends are “inside” and grafted the ends together. It’s beautiful and interesting, if I do say so myself. I love these blankets – such a good way to pay attention to the world.

  • I LOVE this project. It’s very meditative while also being fun. We are going to Mexico in 2 weeks and I can’t wait for the splashes of reds and oranges in the midst of all my blues and purples!

  • Kay Gardner, temptress of New York City. OK 2 at once, I’m in!

  • The creativity that is emerging in this project is just amazing. I’m so inspired by everyone’s ideas and work.

    And nice Gloria Gaynor reference Kay.

  • I was inspired to do the garter stitch blanket and off to a good start. Minnesota had some temperature swings which makes it interesting. I am going to break up my months with a neutral color. Also going to use colors that are more reflective of the 4 seasons we have here. If there are only two or three days between rows I carry my yarn up the side.

  • I love the log cabin but know I would NEVER join 365 squares. I can ALMOST imagine joining 52 squares (one per week with weekly high and low). A blanket at 8×7 squares gives one free for each corner to do whatever I want – possibly reference squares catching all the colors in order. But I could also look at months to get a 3×4 and then increase the detail in each square. And then i wonder about (very) long log cabin rectangles – so long they are blanket width and can be knitted w/o having to join. Which is really my way of saying there are a gazillion different (BIG RABBIT HOLE!) ways I could go with choosing how to represent a temperature history.

  • Kay, I am not the type of person who is Likely to do a little bit of knitting every day (I skip around a lot) but I am the type of person who is always looking for ways to use up my stash, most of which consists of purple, pink and red (I’m good for knitted Valentine gifts for decades to come). So your temperature blanket campaign has me thinking of using just those colors with purple being coldest and so on. Nuances could be done with marling. And I am thinking boomerang shawl rather than blanket. (That’s about as much stick-to-it’ve-ness as I can handle). See what you started? …And the person who wants to transport her blanket from one major location to another? Holy smokes. That’s a lot of weightlifting!

  • Kay, I just loved the detail of your post. Thank you for being so specific so ALL of us could understand and appreciate your work. You have inspired me to actually think again about a temperature blanket.

  • Log cabin temperature blanket is a GENIUS idea.

  • Kay, will your log cabin have a frame/ border? That would be a good place for your last 5 days. Four sides with a few rows each of high and low and an outer border around the whole blanket- a marled high-low Cro-Kay or i-cord perhaps? Either would give a nice finish to the year in yarn.

    • That’s an excellent idea, Tish! Log cabin blankets always need a log cabin border and an i-cord edge!

  • For some reason I just can’t surrender myself to the randomness of a temperature blanket, but those little blue and green squares are really calling out to me! I might have to start a new log cabin blanket soon, and, for me, planning out the colors ahead of time is the most fun part.

  • I made a not-quite-temperature table runner on 30 stitches. I used the sky instead of the temperature; gray for cloudy, white for snowy, various shades of blue for other weather. i happened to start it on my Dad’s birthday, and that year my brother-in-law died, so I was able to figure out the weather on that day, and gave it to my sister with the day marked. She was so grateful to have this remembrance.
    Start any day that is important to you, CO 30 stitches, 2 rows garter stitch every day, BO on the last day you choose.

    • I did something similar and it also spanned two significant dates so that gives it added meaning for me. I love your project description.

  • Totally addicted to my 2022 temperature blanket knitting. Considering knitting a second blanket for my birth year, just so I can compare blankets.

  • I’m working on my 4th weather scarf. I keep track of the daily temp where I live and compare it to the daily historical high temp from the NOAA website. If the temp is higher than average you knit one pattern, if it’s lower you knit another pattern, if it the same different pattern.
    There are 7 colors that correspond to the temp.
    It’s 49 stitches, first row always knit, second row is the pattern.
    Sometimes I knit the pattern in a day (doesn’t take long) other times I forget about it and have to play catch up. Either way, it’s enjoyable. I love looking at the change between the years…. it’s getting warmer and warmer….

    • The numbers for “normal” are scheduled to be adjusted so they will now be based on the warmer temperatures. You won’t have a consistent comparison if you rely on the new standard, but you also won’t have a panic attack every time you look at your blanket.

  • You are the Henry Darger of knitting.

    • Thank you!

    • Well, I’ve just returned from a Wikipedia rabbit hole on Henry Darger. Still thinking about whether I agree with your comparison.

      • Not sure I understand the comparison, but then I kind of adore the unique pleasure Kay brings to our world.

  • I have the stockinette temperature blanket going here in Michigan. Without really planning it I did a smart thing by having my favorite, beautiful colours for the cold temps. So now when everyone else is bitching about below zero days I am secretly happy I get to use my ice blue yarn!

  • On Tuesday it was almost 80 degrees. Wednesday night, it was down to 20. A Texas blanket would start and end with wildly different stripes and have a monotonous, blazing hot expanse in the middle.

  • I agree with what you were saying about the ending and having to weaving the ends in being thicker, when you spit sliced the ends, did you start before you finished the row or what was your technique! Thanks.

    • I asked the same question above – great minds wonder alike! The answer was 8 stitches before the end. With felted tweed, the colors muddle especially nicely.

  • Loved your letter Kay very inspiring as I am in Perth Western Australia with a run of 40 degrees Celsius days in January and more to follow. I think I will choose Cool colours for the Summer as it makes me feel cooler.

  • I’m actually doing a 2 tone temp blanket like your log cabin one. I’m crocheting granny squares with a daisy in the middle though. Mine will be 19×19 with the blocks going back and forth diagonally. I think it will gradient best like that.

    I also plan to do a boarder where each side is 2 tone for the last 4 days. I’m going to have the solstices and equinoxes cause I want the different colours. I did consider the last 4 days so the year is wrapped up in the end kind of thing.

    I love the idea of temp blankets and I have ideas for more in the future.

  • I’m doing my blanket with mitered squares! I’m looking at the average temperature for where I am and where my husband is. This baby is going to be HUGE though with 13×29 squares each one is 4” wide!

  • I just found a great site for historical temperatures! Old Farmers Almanac Weather History Tool at almanac.com. I decided to base my blanket on 2008, the year we got married, as the blanket will be for my husband. Now I just have to order my yarn and get started!

  • Awesome.. I just finished my year long heat index crochet blanket. I love all the color I used. Kat

  • I love knitting this blanket. Even in sunny Southern California it is interesting to see the changes day-to-day. On January 1, I started with Lime, the coldest day so far, and then we had one warm day (82) and I used Barbara. The summer will heat up and we do get colder days in December than Lime. Having fun!!!

  • I love the idea of a log cabin but would definitely not love all the seaming (heh). I’m also doing a temperature blanket this year, but in entralac. I am making one panel per day, but the beauty of entralac is that they’re all joined together as I go. Tons of ends to weave in (I’m doing a different color every five degrees) but I am doing that a little at a time as I go so hopefully by the end of the year it won’t be too overwhelming.

  • I just started my temperature blanket in February. I did a spreadsheet with a named range with one column for all possible temperatures in my area, and another column for the associated colors. Then I did a vlookup formula to tell me the proper color each day as I enter the high temperature. It eliminates the drudgery of looking it up each day haha! Thanks for the tip on the splicing ends when changing colors.

  • Last year I did a Zick Zack weather scarf. Fingering for temperature with a fine strand of mohair for condition (sunny, rain, overcast or snow). I looked forward to knitting those two rows each day.

  • good luck! last year, i made a temperature-based covid COAT following EZ’s ASJ pattern and using temps (both highs and lows) from my lockdown in spring 2020 and other significant dates. you can see it on my IG: @svm_treks.

  • I am doing a temperature scarf. I have ends hanging and was wondering if you could tell me or direct me to what spit felting is? I am a new knitter and though a scarf would be something I could do. I am also just knitting and then purling the high of the day so I have 2 rows of color.

    • Hi Carol, check out YouTube with the search term spit felting and it should bring up a good video by Very Pink Knits. Welcome to knitting!

  • Thank you for extending the sale price for the temperature blanket. I am going to do the daily lows in the winter, average in the spring, High in the summer and average in the fall for the widest spread of color in the Denver area. My hubby was just diagnosed w Cancer, so 2022 not starting off as we had planned. I should be able to catch up from January as i see many waiting rooms in my future. I am wrangling w how to mark important dates in the next 6 months, or not. Thank you, all.

  • I made a tubular “sky scarf/cowl” last year, representing three winter months of observations at about the same time each morning.

    I loved the challenge of figuring out my variables and constants and how to represent different parts of the sky through yarn. I live in the western US in the country and our skies are vast and ever changing.

    I used colored pencils during my daily observations that closely matched the sampler box of light fingering indigo-dyed Icelandic wool that I used, incorporating Cotswold locks here snd there to represent dramatic cumulus clouds.

    The observations and knitting part of those days was very serene and one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever done.

  • I am planning my temperature blanket and have a few questions. What cast on would be the best to use? So, you cast on and knit back–I am guessing this is considered the color for the first day, correct? Thanks!

  • How much yarn approximately would you need to start the blanket? knitting garter stitch.

  • I would like to make a temperature blanket.
    If I order a kit and need more of a color, can I order it when I need it?
    Thank you, Ruth

    I’m knitting the temperature blanket and loving it! I have a question—I want to add one more color. Living in St. Louis, some summers we get a number of days over 100 degrees. So, I’d like to add 96-99 and over 100 degrees; not just over 95. I’m thinking it may be best to add the color between Sulfur and Pink Bliss, and shift all the colors up four degrees. Making Rage, over 100 degrees. Any suggestions? Possibly Frozen for 76-79 and then move Pink Bliss to 80-83. Or, would Candy Floss be a better option? Would appreciate any and all suggestions. Thanks!!

  • I love this project
    .just heard off it and started few weeks ago..so fun..something to look forward to..yes I live under a rock..haha..also can keep a tallie of our weather to compare..I live in Maine..its a project that you aren’t rushed to do