Temperature Blankets–A Fun Way to Chart the Weather

January 23, 2018
By

temperature afghan (2)The start of a temperature blanket by Maria Blanco. Photo by Maria Blanco. 

When my friend, Maria Blanco, told me she was making a “Temperature Blanket” I was–believe it or not–absolutely thrilled! For weather bugs like me, this is such a fun and exciting idea. I could imagine making such a blanket for a family member who is pregnant, or for the baby–a baby blanket and record of every day of the baby’s first year. Cloud Watchers, Meteorologists, Storm Chasers–I can think of so many people who would love a gift of a Temperature Blanket, and it’s a creative and unique idea. Certainly not something you’ll find at the mall!

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There are so many possibilities when it comes to choosing yarns, colors, and patterns! Photo by Maria Blanco.

I was surprised to learn that Temperature Blankets are not new, though I don’t know how long they’ve been around. Maria Blanco was given the idea by daughter, Nina, who also crochets. Nina suggested that it would be an interesting project to “make a blanket that charted the variations in temperature throughout a year.” Blanco’s daughter also thought of the same gift ideas that came to my mind. In addition to a nice keepsake, it would also be a unique way to record the first year of a child’s life, or the first year of a marriage. Imagine the blanket tucked away in a box marked as the 50th anniversary gift for your children.

How does it work? 

According to Blanco, “The basic idea is that you knit or crochet one row of a blanket, per day, in a color that coordinates with that day’s temperatures. If you use from eight to ten different colors, you’ll get a beautiful variation of color changes throughout the year. Depending on the climate where a person lives, each color will probably represent a temperature range of from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.”

I live in Colorado and considering how often the weather changes here I can imagine a wildly colorful blanket!

Blanco also explained, “A person would typically choose either the high or low temp for each day and use that rule throughout the making of the blanket. I had considered doing two rows per day (one low temp, followed by one high temp), but because my stitch gauge was too large using the yarn I had chosen, this would have resulted in a blanket that was far too long to be practical.”

“Another possibility for charting both the high and low temps for each day would be to “double strand” each row by combining the two yarns in the course of stitching a single row.”

Blanco lives in Louisiana, where they also experience frequent weather changes, so she tried to make adjustments to her color choices to accomodate. “Because I live in an area that has some temperature extremes, but where most of the year the temperatures are quite hot and vary only a little, I chose to use the low temperatures for as long as the weather folks are talking about “wind chill factors” and to use the high temperature readings as soon as the meteorologists begin talking about “heat indexes”. …which actually suggests another way of approaching the project: You could decide to use the “feels like” temperatures rather than the actual temperatures.Since I just finished writing a book about weather disasters, it occurred to me to ask about including weather extremes in the pattern. Not surprisingly, Blanco had considered this, as well.

“I have not chosen to mark those events on the blanket I’m currently making, but it seems that many people do,” she said. “In the area where I live, hard freezes and snow (being rare) or floods and hurricanes (being memorable and impactful) would be natural choices for weather events that might deserve a special color or stitch pattern. I’ve seen that some folks have a special color or a different stitch that they use for “snow days” or rain events, and some people commemorate holidays, births, and special anniversaries as well.” This is something I hadn’t considered–marking events in the pattern as well as the weather.

Pattern Choices and Guidelines

As mentioned earlier, Temperature Blankets are becoming popular and the original idea is not Blanco’s, but she did create her own pattern and has offered suggestions. “A person might choose to either knit or crochet the blanket, and within those bounds there are any number of stitches, color combinations, and varieties of yarn and thread from which to choose. For example, a person might choose to make his blanket either bulky or lacy, thermal or light–it’s a really nice opportunity for self-expression.”

“For my particular blanket, I chose a variety of soft 100% cotton medium weight yarn. I’m crocheting it using a 5.25mm US size “I-9″ crochet hook (UK size 5), and the moss stitch. My blanket has a foundation 200 stitches wide and results in a stitch gauge of 13 stitch x 14 rows equaling a 4″ x 4″ square. This should give me a light twin-sized thermal blanket that breathes very nicely, and that can be comfortably used in my area year-round.”

Blanco has also considered making a blanket using the actual hourly temperatures/conditions utilizing an intarsia technique for carrying and changing colors within a row.

Choosing Colors

“I change yarn colors when the day’s temperature has exceeded the bounds of the temperature range I’ve designated for a given color,” Blanco continued. “For example, if I had chosen to follow the chart below, today I would be switching from Peacock to Eggplant because our temperature yesterday was in the low 40s and today we will drop down to 19 degrees.thumbnail (2)
According to Blanco, color choice is “purely a matter of personal taste and aesthetics. A person could select a range of monochromatic values, neons, heathers…you name it. For my blanket I chose colors that represent the various temperature ranges in terms of traditional color theory, which takes into account the inherent warmth or coolness of any given color.”

“The difference between warm and cool colors is related to the observed contrast in landscape light; like between the warm colors associated with daylight or sunset, and the cool colors associated with a gray or overcast day. These can also be categorized as environmental colors — where we inherently associate with real world elements and how they make us feel (temperature, humidity, etc.).”

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“Warm colors are the hues from red-violet, through red and yellow—browns and tans included. By contrast, cool colors are hues like blue, blue-green and blue-violet, and include most grays . Furthermore, warm colors are said to appear more active, while cool colors tend to recede or fade into the background.”

Researching the Weather

Blanco is making this particular blanket for herself. “It just struck me as something that would be interesting to do; a simple long-term project that would only take a few minutes of work each day; and a project that would result in a practical (and hopefully pretty) outcome. But before the year is over and the blanket is done, I will probably think of someone I’d like to give it to!”

Marias weather blanket january to march

Maria Blanco’s weather blanket, January to March. All photos are property of Maria Blanco. 

However, she has also considered ways to research the temperatures during past years to make gifts for others. For instance, Weather Underground and other online weather websites archive weather data. Blanco prefers Weather Underground because of its convenient format. She finds this database very helpful. As Blanco explains, if a person falls behind in recording temperatures or has to stop work on their project for an extended period, they can locate the missing temperatures. “In fact, using it, a person could even go back in time and create a weather blanket using historical data for nearly any given year in the past,” Blanco said.

Maria H. Blanco, CFH, is also a nutrion professional and the author of two books available on Amazon.com:

Books by Maria Blanco:

 

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Coconut Oil Diet                    The Complete Idiot's Guide to the pH Balance Diet (Complete Idiot's Guides)

 

 

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