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Dear Everybody,

It’s a joy to extend a warm (temperature) MDK welcome to Cara Davis.  Cara may be new as an official contributor to these pages, but we’ve been reading her words and enjoying her photography since our earliest days as knitbloggers. We’re in for a treat!

—Ann and Kay

This time last year I was obsessively crocheting granny squares, my lockdown craft of choice, when I began to see temperature blankets pop up all over Instagram. People were finishing projects, planning new ones, and I decided I wanted in.

A temperature project tracks the daily temperature of a location and records it within the parameters of the project.

For example, a scarf where you knit a row based on the average daily temperature for a given year. Or a crochet blanket where each motif represents the high, low, and average temperatures of one day. Perhaps a daily cross stitch square of color. The possibilities for temperature projects are truly endless. (Check out #temperatureblanket on Instagram for tons of inspiration!)

When picking your project, remember, this is a marathon not a sprint! Can you knit long blanket rows every day for a year without losing interest? Maybe a scarf is a better choice. Can you happily crochet a motif over and over again? Experiment to find the one that works for you.

Swatch for success.

I absolutely encourage you to swatch for this project. Take up some yarns and needles or hooks and dive in!

As you swatch yarns, imagine how you will feel about each one after a month. What kind of finishing will this project need? Invest the time swatching yarns and working through the following questions so that you have the best chance of success.

What’s your method?

Will your project will be worked up in real time, collecting data as it happens, or will you commemorate a special year using historical data?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of projects. A real-time temperature blanket is exciting because it’s unpredictable. I have become obsessed with the weather in ways I never thought possible—how cold will it get? How hot will it get? Each new temperature means new colors! Also, you don’t know what you’re going to get—you don’t have a lot of control as to how this project develops.

If you choose a historical temperature project, you have more influence over your final product. Because you have all the information at the start, you’re able to strategize color distribution and temperature buckets. I’m making a blanket for my nephew’s birth year and my sister wanted the red colors we chose to be more prominent. I was able to analyze the data and place the reds in the color/temperature groupings where they would be used the most.

Here comes the Fun Part.

OK! You’ve chosen your project and the year you’re going to use—let’s get down to the fun part. Time to gather our temp data and choose colors.

Weather data on the Internet is abundant and easy to access, with any number of reliable sites. I have been using, but is also very good. And I recently discovered, which has temp data and helps you plan your project—one stop shopping! Pick your favorite and stick with it, maintaining consistency throughout the project.

Now it’s time to match your temperature ranges to colors. Are you making a huge king-size blanket where you want to use as many colors as possible? Did you decide on a scarf where a limited palette will work better? Will you record the low, high and average each day or just one temperature?

I always want as many colors as possible. For my blanket, I looked at the previous year’s data to see the highs and lows. I live in the Northeast United States so it can get crazy cold, ridiculously hot and all the temperatures in between—which for a temperature-based project is like hitting the jackpot!

I decided that one color would represent 19°F and below and and one color would represent 95°F and above. From that low and high it was really easy to add a new color to represent five degree ranges: 20–24°F, 25–29°F, 30–34°F, etc. I ended up with 17 different colors for my real-time blanket.

What if you live in a place where the weather doesn’t change very often? If you are blessed to live in a climate like Hawaii where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate throughout the year—maybe find some other measure to use for your project. Humidity? Dew point? Become an amateur meteorologist and find what works for your climate.

Or make a historical blanket that represents the year you visited Paris and use those temperatures. And don’t be afraid to play with your ranges. They don’t have to be consistent. If you have a lot of temps in the middle range, shorten the range of temps each color represents to three degrees or two. Whatever gets you the color spread you want. You make the rules!

It’s your rainbow.

The most popular color inspiration for temperature projects is a rainbow, from hot reds to cold violets. It makes sense, but it’s not the only way. For my nephew’s blanket I used the color palette of his favorite children’s book. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a gradient you really like. Start with that and add colors as you see fit. I’ve also been dreaming of a really neutral palette. If you can, order a color card for the yarn you’re using to mix and match for your best color range. You might also want to use different colors to represent the change of season, daylight shifts, or special days in the year.

By making lots of decisions up front, it’s easy to just sit back, watch the weather and do the work starting January 1. With less than two weeks to finish my 2021 blanket, I can honestly say this is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable projects I’ve ever made. It’s extremely personal, unique, and a valuable reminder that I made it through another year. I highly recommend that everyone create their own.

Here’s how to save this article in your MDK account with one click.


Thinking about a knitted temperature project?

Look no further. The MDK Shop stocks a huge range of colors of Rowan Felted Tweed, and Kaffe Fassett’s Garter Stripe Shawl pattern in MDK Field Guide No. 13: Master Class is an easy template for a year’s worth of garter stitch ridges—1 ridge per day, with a few to spare.

Special offer!

To help you get the jump on a 2022 temperature project, we’re offering 10 percent off by-the-ball purchases of Felted Tweed, from now through January 15, 2022. Just enter the coupon code TEMPERATURE.  (Our Felted Tweed bundles are always 10 percent off.)  Fine print: this offer cannot be combined with other coupons.
We’d love to know how you’re organizing your temperature project, so we’ve started a topic in the MDK Lounge for Temperature Project Sharing and Caring. All temperature projects—be they knit, crochet, embroidery, or other—are welcome. Let’s go, 2022!


About The Author

Cara Davis has been knitting obsessively for 20+ years, ever since that rainy day with her grandmother and some bright orange yarn. Over the past couple years, she has widened her horizons and fallen in love with crochet, embroidery, and spinning.


  • I made a temperature quilt for my new grand daughter for her 1st birthday gift. I used the high and low for each day of her first year of life in her hometown. It was so fun and pretty when finished.

  • I love this. All in for this project in 2022.

  • Beautiful! What pattern and yarn are you using?

    • The photo up top is gorgeous.

    • I don’t know that I have the commitment to do a temperature blanket, but I have thought about doing a football score scarf…each stripe represents the scoring by each team in the games all season. That seems a little more manageable to me, LOL! Kudos to you for completing the marathon project!

    • Thanks so much! I used Knitted Wit DK yarn and the pattern is just a crochet circle (12 dc stitches, 24 dc stitches, 36 dc stitches each round) turned into a heaxagon. And I joined as I went. Thank you!

  • Cara! I followed your progress on IG this year, and love seeing your inspiring project here too! There’s a bag of yarn for this project tucked away, and now I have some new thoughts on how to arrange it – to begin in January (on your birthday) xo

    • Thank you so much!!

      • What is your IG name? I’d love to follow you, too

  • Because January One is coming!! Nice to see you, Cara Davis, I used to love following your blog. Prettttttty blankets, thanks for sharing all those resources.

    • Thank you so much!!!!

  • Hi Cara, nice post. Hope you continue to contribute to the blog.

    • Thank you!!

  • I began a garter stitch temperature blanket in August 2020. I lived in Minnesota but visited Florida twice. I used the high and low for each day in each location. At the end of every week I used 4 rows of black. I worked from a color-coded EXcel spreadsheet that I created. While Minnesota is bitter cold all winter, the other seasonal transitions are short but easy to see. All together the blanket is king sized. I had a great time changing colors and making a one of a kind masterpiece. (I had to bind off every two & a half months and cast on for a new section because she was so heavy.)

  • I love this idea and your blankets are beautiful. I have been trying to get back into some type of yarn work. I have many unfinished projects. Maybe this will be my inspiration.

  • This site will give more data to your weather obsession.

    • Very cool site!

  • I have to admit, seeing your blanket from this year makes me verrrrry tempted.

  • Wow! I’ve seen a lot of blankets but these are certainly among the most beautiful – and inspiring! Maybe even enough to make this knitter take on a mammoth crochet project. But all those temperatures (three per day times 365!) make my head spin. On the other hand I love spreadsheets so it might be right up my alley. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you!!!

  • How did I not know about this?! OMGosh, I’ve been looking for an excuse to learn how to crochet… Thank you!!!

  • As a loyal follower of Cara, I’ve been very tempted to dive into a temperature blanket. Cara is so inspirational and her work is so beautiful! But I have so.many.projects…. This article may have thrown me over the edge.

    • Thanks so much!!!

  • I highly encourage you to follow Cara’s advice! I got excited last year and dove right in. I started a temperature scarf, but my temperature ranges were too wide. I was using leftover yarn and started to run out of one color! Then I figured out that my scarf would eventually be way too big to wear! Needless to say, it now sits in its project bag untouched. The cool part was the random rows, and like Cara, I learned a lot more about the weather!

  • I’ve been meaning to start a Color Explosion Throw, and now I’m thinking of incorporating the temperature concept. High and low of a given day or week could help with the planning, which is where I’m stalled.

    • I love this idea!

  • I made one in 2020, using a modified African Flower granny square. I used the recorded lows and highs for the day, and black as the last round. I sewed every three blocks together into a strip, then sewed that strip to the main body. I had to add 12 extra squares to get a full rectangle when I was done. Those squares were black and white, and were filler squares after every month of blocks.

  • fund project

  • I’d like to have the instructions for that particular hexagonal motif. Understated and chic – the most pleasing motif I’ve seen in ages!

    • Hi! Thanks! You can check out my Instagram account – I posted some videos about how I make the circles and hexagons and the patterns. Thank you!

  • Dangit! How many times have I told y’all that it’s a really bad idea to dangle something shiny in front of me! Actually, this is a brilliant idea for my job. We focus on creating climate resilience in underserved communities so we focus a lot (A LOT) on extreme weather. This will be a great auction prize at our 2022 gala. I just did the math on Kaffe Fassett’s striped blanket to see what the right cast on for would be for 377 for ridges (I added a ridge at the end of each month which will symbolize the return of the light), started a spreadsheet, and pulled out the bag of felted tweed. As much as my little punk rocker heard wants to just free grab a color for each temperature category, this one needs some intention so I’ve pulled out the color card as well and will figure out how to supplement my modest stash. I know I’m going to need to add “rage” for the days that go over 100 degrees. I’m going to do actual high temperature every day so will be casting on January 2nd. I’ll weigh the ball when I do the second ridge and then weigh it when I’m done to help with yarn management and I’ll order more as I need it.

    This is also really great for me personally. Both work and life have been pretty crazy and I don’t see it letting up any time soon so my knitting time has suffered. But I have a few morning rituals to keep me grounded (I watch Murder She Wrote every morning–don’t laugh at me) so I will just add the ridge in there for some additional “me” time.

    Am I the only one who see’s a Temperature thread in the lounge soon? Cara? Cara?

    • We must have been typing at the same time, Karen, I’ve added a topic to the lounge AND jinx! The idea to use Kaffe’s Garter Stripe Shawl as the template. I love your idea for separator ridges between the months, and I also love the idea of doing a row of eyelets between the months. Although I may not do either because I might feel like it needs to be all temperatures. Right now I’m trying to work out how narrow my temperature range for each color can be. I want to use THE MOST COLORS and think it will be amazing to have a kind of shimmer from slight differences in shades.

      • I ended up with 23 Comoros and even that doesn’t seem to be enough! I added the monthly divider simply to use more colors. Because that’s how I roll.

  • The temperature blankets out there are so inspiring, and I love your crochet motif.

    • Thank you!

  • The Tempestry Project in Anacortes WA sells kits for a scarf that tracks annual global temperatures from the 1880s to the present. At one point they had similar kits for some of the national parks. I made several of them for kids and grandkids and they were a big hit!

  • Oh you temptress!

  • What a great addition to the MDK team! I’ve been following Cara since before Ravelry. This was a great read. Hoping for many more!

    • Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate it!

  • I love this pattern. Is it available to purchase?

    • Hi! Thank you!!! I sort of cobbled it together so no real pattern. But I just posted some videos on my Instagram showing how I do the circles and hexagons and attach them as I go with the pattern written out in the caption. Thank you!

  • Officially inspired to learn crochet! Beautiful!

  • Cara’s January One was one of the first blogs I ever read way back when, along with Wendy knits and ChicKnits. So much fun to see you here! Your work has always been inspiring to me.

    I made a temperature scarf last year using Holstgarn Coast that I based on the Baktus pattern. All garter rows with eyelet rows to mark the change of month. Not very exciting but great TV knitting.

    I highly recommend swatching and planning ahead instead of just diving in like I did. I had saved the vivid colors for extreme temps, of which we had relatively few. I ended up with a scarf that is mostly brown and moss green representing moderate temps. Very blah… But I did finish it and am thinking of another. Maybe in 2023!

    • Thank you so much!!

  • Wonderful idea that has my brain already working on color and structure for a scarf. Living in the mountains in BC we have snow on the ground 6 months of the year and snowfall every month of the year. Our temperatures go from -20 to 95 so there will be plenty of color play.
    Thanks for all the information on gathering weather data.

  • @Cara, so nice to see you here! Slowly you are pulling me in!

    • Ha! DO IT! Thank you!

  • Such an interesting, intriguing project. Thank you for sharing this. And so nice to be reading you again (was a blog reader from the way before times!).

    • Thank you so much!!! Appreciate it!

  • I made a temperature scarf one year as a KAL with a friend. Even though we only lived about 20 miles apart, our high temps for the day were often different enough to cause our stripes not to coincide. She also carried a fluffy white mohair on any day with snow (even flurries) and again, our days were weirdly different in that respect, too. I had so much fun doing it that I looked for another way to use this idea and ended up knitting the San Diego Padres season wins and losses as a scarf for my daughter (a big fan):–scarf–2

  • What a treat to see Cara’s name!

    • Thank you!!!

  • Hey Cara!! I have been following you on IG and am so happy to find you here in my very favorite spot — MDK! Welcome, welcome and as you know I love, love, love your temperature blankets. I live in Houston. I think mine will be mostly orange and red — but who knows?

    • Thank you so much!!! Very happy to be here! ❤️

  • I’m horrible at crochet, but I can make a granny square! Love this idea.

  • i made a temperature COAT as i wanted to be able to wear it out and about. it’s an adult surprise jacket whose colorful palette was set by the highs and lows of my 4 month covid lockdown (a REAL lockdown as i live in the country, don’t have a car, and was urged not to use public transit). once we emerged from the lockdown and i switched to a hybrid schedule, i continued to track certain days up until i got the vaccine. i call it the covid coat.

  • I am trying to find the tread for the 2023 Temp. Blanket in the Lounge. Please help. I have one started.

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