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Dear Ann,

Attention please: I’ve had a small but significant breakthrough in my knitting life.

Last week I wrote about how I’d gotten distracted from my year-long temperature blanket project, in which I’m knitting the high temperature from each day of 2022 into a Garter Stripe Shawl, using 22 colors of Felted Tweed. As of early May, I’d just barely gotten through March.

In my defense, in the meantime, I’d started and finished a whole Stepping Stone Throw, a land speed achievement even for a knitter with strong tendencies toward overfocus and overambition. But I felt like my temperature blanket was in danger of getting bogged down in shallow water, and I asked readers for their tips on reviving a flagging project. The comments were super insightful. (Thank you!)

And then: I had a breakthrough. Maybe the reason I’d gotten stuck on my blanket was because I’d been trying to knit on it little by little, every day. Maybe the very practice that I thought would keep me knitting on it was preventing me from knitting on it! Every day was start and stop. I couldn’t get in a groove, and keep knitting, because I didn’t know the high temperature for tomorrow. And with only a single garter ridge to knit each day, I couldn’t take advantage of my usual strategy for project progress: carrying the project around with me and knitting on it in life’s liminal spaces: Zoom calls, public transportation, veterinary waiting rooms…

But now that I’d fallen behind, the temperatures for April and the early days of May were all in the books—literally in my bullet journal.

I went through the daily color chart for April, and saw that there were only 7 colors for the whole month. I put the 7 in a Bento bag, snapped a picture of my color chart for April, and voila: portable knitting!  Seven colors are a lot easier to haul around than 22.

The first day of this new system, my day included a 90-minute Zoom and two 20-minute subway rides. I blasted through the first 11 days of April in no time, and haven’t stopped since.

In the immortal words of the Indigo Girls, “the hardest to learn is the least complicated.” Put the colors in the bag, and tote it. Problem solved.

Blues begone! Everything above the pink stitch marker is April 2022. I love those wide stripes of Mineral (yellow) and Electric Green.

And I’m all packed up for the first half of May, which will see the first appearance of the acidic green Sulphur, and of the long-awaited Pink Bliss.

Olive (who was pronounced “perfect” by the vet) approves.

Here’s a clip and save, in case you want to try this approach for any projects that are languishing at your place.

How To Make a Big Multicolor Knitting Project Portable, in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Fall behind on the project (so you can see which colors are ahead).
  2. Pack those colors and the work-in-progress into a tote-able receptacle, such as a lovely Bento Bag.
  3. Snap a photo of the list of upcoming colors.

And off you go!




Temperature Blanket Special!

For 10 percent off all purchases of Felted Tweed, enter the coupon code TEMPERATURE at checkout.  Cannot be combined with other coupons.


  • I’m making one for the new grandbaby! What are you doing with ends? I can’t spit splice because yarn is superwash.

  • I COMPLETELY LOVE THIS POST. Yes, to reminding ourselves how to make things portable. I just had a similar problem with an improvisational scrap yarn sweater I abandoned last year. For some reason, I started working on it again last night and realized I’d made the whole thing too big and intimidating in my head because I couldn’t figure out how to carry around all of the scrap yarn. And now, that I’ve read this, i have my solution! Thank you, Kay!

  • Love my Bento bag!!! Carrying around the crazy rainbow yarn my 4 yr old grandson chose for his new socks!!

  • When I started my temperature blanket, I wanted a way to keep the completed knitting a manageable size. I also wanted to leave an indication of the solstices and equinoxes. So when I got to the spring equinox, I left the last row live (on an extra cable) and set the whole thing aside. I then started the next section with a provisional cast-on. I’ll do the same for the summer solstice in June, and so on. When I’m done I’ll join the sections, probably with a 3-needle bind off. This keeps each section to a much more manageable size, especially as the year goes on. Easier for me to knit with and much easier to tote around.

    ps: Kay, I’m envious of your cool NYC “highs” – I had to add a color to my chart when we hit 90 last week – in Maine!

    • The joy of spring in Maine ️ from another Mainer

      • Yes! The best time!

  • Pink Bliss…just the sound of it. I think that is the pink I ordered from you. I hope it is! My stash is very disorganized right now so it will take awhile to ascertain. I love how your blanket is shaping up so far. That should add to the knitting-on-it inspiration as well. What a wonderful way to organize this large project. Some of us knitters (who? me?) tend to be a bit willy-nilly with our projects despite best efforts, so yarn management tips are required reading!

  • Kay! I am so excited to hit the Peach and Zinnia rows of my Temperature Wrap this coming week! Since I’ll be traveling for 2 weeks soon, I will estimate which shades to bring in my Big Bento and either track, or knit the rows as I reflect on the day.
    I’m also pinning the separation for each month, and may make wee tassels for each point. May.
    I love Ginny’s idea for sections joined with a 3NBO – next year I will begin on Winter Solstice!!
    Thanks for all the inspiration and getting me going on this great project.

    • Yes – I plan to start next year’s on the Winter Solstice too – didn’t think of that earlier, so I started from Jan 1, but didn’t start knitting until April 1. Took me a month to catch up.

  • I have a question for the wisdom of you all about temperature blankets and how to proceed. I started one in January in spite of knowing that we were hoping to move, and blessedly my husband did get a new job and we are moving from Baton Rouge to Chicago in July. How should I carry on with the blanket? Our move will be right at the halfway point so I am inclined to make some kind of demarcation and then start with the temps for the new place on July 1. My concern about that is that the color scheme was worked out for a hot place and we are moving to a cold place. But I am not sure what my alternative is besides continuing a Baton Rouge blanket through to the end. Any thoughts?

    • I would check the weather for Baton Rouge every day, and complete the Baton Rouge blanket. It will bring lovely memories in years to come. You can begin Chicago next January 1~

    • I like the idea of black and white checks for the move and then a different (but perhaps related) color scheme for the new location. And yes, it is good to fall behind!

    • I would do the temperatures for both places, but maybe do a row of black to divide the two.

    • I’m envious of your temperature blankets, I live in FL so mine would be pretty monochromatic reds! But for changing areas in the country why not do something really obvious, like a few inches of B&W checks or a couple of rows of eyelet- something to really show the demarkation of zip code! Or is that’s too much to contemplate, how about a few simple rows of a different stitch or a little intarsia design that uses the colors from the old location and merge it into a few additional rows of the new Chicago temps? One more idea- just simply insert the rows of temperature where you are on any given date. Skiing In Saskatchewan in November- add that temperature for the days there! Belize vacation in January- a few rows for those days in the local temps! Fun to see the stripey abnormalities in years to come! (Guess I will start a FL temp piece after all…)

      • I suggest that you have each color represent a smaller range of temperature; instead of a color representing, for example, a range of ten degrees you could change color at five degrees. And you get to decide what is winter for your local weather – perhaps in the 60s you switch to blues.

        You can also incorporate colors for rain and thunderstorms, adding a fine second strand in a different color to those rows, or just change colors for a section of a row to represent them.

      • I was just coming to post the same thing! My blanket would be pretty darn boring. Maybe we could spice ours up to add in something for summer rains. Heavy downpour = x color & light drizzle = y color….

    • Don’t worry, it will be hot in Chicago in July!!!!

    • I am also relocating in July, from Norfolk to Western Massachusetts. I’ve been taking a screenshot of the temp wherever I am at 2pm and will continue with that, but am concerned that the coming winter won’t have enough variety with my original layout. My lowest temp shade is for 40 and below. I think I’ will search for some new shades of dark grey and black?
      I’m interested in know what your solution will be and cood luck with the big change!

      • Oooh, when you are not shipping from MDK, you can go to Webs!

  • Yay Olive on your good check up!!

  • Nothing to do with the knitting (which is awesome as always!) . . . just wanted to say how sweet Olive looks in that photo and I am happy that the vet has pronounced her “perfect” 😀

  • Congratulations Olive! You are perfect and I’m glad your vet recognized that fact.

    Love the blanket colors Kay!

  • Kay, I loved this post~. I am slowly working through my temp blanket, and, like you, i have found i actually knit more when i get 2-3 weeks behind- which i of course found out by accident when life got in the way of my plans. You edges look much neater than mine, and i am admiring from afar in Denver. PS We have high temp high fire warning for today, and SNOW coming in tomorrow and Saturday. Should make for an interesting stripe in the May blanket, whenever i get there. Mid-April now, and i too am loving the greens. Thank you again~

  • I can relate to your comments about stop/start; especially since my blanket is going to be king-size (love my son-in-law)! I live in south-western BC and am up to mid-May. Unfortunately, all my colours are blue and green so far. Very pretty, but we want some yellows and reds too. Right now it’s been a cold spring, and after looking at historical averages (highest for our area was 23 C (74F) I revised my colour palette to guarantee some yellows and reds. Sheesh.

  • Thanks for this idea! I have a couple of bento bags to use. Now I can take those types of projects with me.

  • i love step 1… Fall behind on the project. haha done!

    • Check that off your list

  • Great idea! BTW, are you weaving in ends as you go and are you slipping the edge sts for a neater border?

    • Not slipping the edge stitch. I’m spit felting the color changes.

  • Of course Olive is perfect. We all knew that. Glad her doctor woke up. (That red corset is very chic.) The blanket being knit by the Terrier’s Assistant looks very good. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when the temperatures start getting into the Zinnia range!

  • Brilliant!

  • Brilliant method! Congrats to the very poised Ms. Olive. Love the girl.

    • Lovely Alabama Chanin under the Bento bag!

  • Am thinking – temperature sweater?

  • I wanted to take my pandemic blanket* on a trip, so 80 ridges in, I took it off the needle, weighed it, and divided by 80. This told me how many grams per row, so I could weigh out mini balls of appropriate size in each color to throw in my bag. Worked great, and knowing grams per row let me figure out how many balls of each color I’d need to knit through spring 2022.

    *I’m knitting each year as a strip about a foot wide, with the colors representing the Covid cases reported per day in California.

    • That is amazing Kristi. A tactile creative outlet to process this incomprehensible time. And I think you’ve sparked an idea for me. Thank you

  • I too will be moving soon. For my temperature blanket I have decided to modify my colors looking at the mean temperature for the two locations. My current home in SC has an annual mean temp is 62.4; my new home in CT has an annual mean temp is 49.0. Starting July 1, I will shift the colors I use for each temp bracket so that the color I currently use for 62 degrees will be used for 49 degrees and all the remaining colors will follow, If I need to add new colors top or bottom I may do so, but I really don’t anticipate it will be necessary.

  • i made a temperature coat, not a blanket, and as it was an ASJ, with a cast on of 300+ in worsted weight, it was never really a travel project, BUT i do agree with the ‘fall behind’ method, which was my approach from the start as i made this “covid coat” over summer 2021 tracking the temps of my 4-month lockdown and emergence back to the new normal in summer 2020, then leading up to seams featuring the temps on my vaxx jabs in spring 2021. fyi, the history tab on is a lifesaver!! see a pic here:

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