Even though I haven’t been posting, I have been crafting quite a bit. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane when work is crazy. I’m too tired to do anything that requires thinking by the time I get home from work (if I don’t have to turn my computer back on and work a few more hours), but I get at least 30 minutes of crochet time in the morning.
When I don’t have to snuggle with cats, that is…
Bob has to lay on my lap and MikMik has to be snuggled on my chest.
One of the projects I decided I wanted to try this year is a temperature blanket. Don’t know what a temperature blanket is? I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but crocheters, knitters and quilters all have their versions of temperature blankets. The idea is that you let the day’s temperature dictate what color you use in your blanket. For crocheters, you pick a range of yarn colors to represent the range of temperatures for your region, and then each row of the blanket represents that day’s temperature. Some use the high temp, some the low, and some the average. Depending on where you live you might have a lot of colors in your blanket, or you might only have a small range. Do a quick image search online for temperature blankets and you’ll see what I mean.
My problem with a temperature blanket, in general, is that you will have about 365 rows so you need to choose your stitch carefully. Some people have made these and they are 48″ wide by 8 or 9 feet. Also, crocheting one row per day seemed very boring to me. I was still intrigued, though. I did some searching and discovered that somebody had used the circle-in-a-square crochet block for her blanket. The circle was the high temp and the square outside was the low. This was what I wanted! I live in a climate where we can start out in the 20’s in the morning, but be up to 60 in the late afternoon. Wouldn’t it be neat to see those kinds of ranges?
MikMik and Toby are bored, but I’ll continue with my tale.
I crocheted a test square to see a) how big it would be and b) how much yarn it would use. My idea was to make a blanket big enough for our King-size bed so I knew I would need at least 730 squares (Jay’s birth year and my birth year). I measured the bed and added length and width to determine how big I wanted it. Then, using the size of the test square, I calculated approximately how many squares I would need. The measurements I used are 90″ wide by 78″ long. My squared measured about 3″, so I determined I would have 26 squares per column (using Excel references) and 30 squares per row.
But how much yarn would I need? Since I’m using historical dates I downloaded the high and low temps for the city where Jay lived when he was born, and the town where I grew up in the year I was born. Then I completely nerded out and started calculating things in Excel.
I hid some columns, but on the left is the year Jay was born and the right High-Low columns are my birth year. I went through and color-coded the temps. This made it easier to filter on the columns when I was counting up how many centers and squares I will have to crochet. You can see my range across the top, also color-coded. When I was crocheting my test square I weighed it after I completed the center, and then after I had completed the entire thing. I used these weights to determine approximately how much yarn I would need based on where the color is used.
Estimating how much of each color would be needed in total, I then went online and found prices of yarn that I thought about using, and the size of the skeins, to calculate how much I would have to spend. Since I have a pile of Hobby Lobby gift cards, I decided to go with I Love This Yarn! Which, I really do… love that yarn. Jay went to the store with me to pick out the colors in person (one skein of each color) and then I ordered the rest online and had it shipped to the house.
Since this is my blanket I wanted to make it using colors I like. I don’t really like reds, yellows and oranges so I left them out. I also added in gray so that I can place them between the months, and the metallic blue will be used for solid squares to go on either side of our birthdays. I thought it would be neat to have those stick out.
I chose a Purple range for my coldest temps.
Left to right:
Less than 0: Blueberry Buckle, 0-10 Purple, 10-19 Amethyst, 20-29 Periwinkle
Since I started with January of Jay’s birth year I’ve used almost an entire skein of Periwinkle and I only have a little left in my tote. Don’t worry, there is more upstairs in the box.
The next set of temps is represented by Blues:
30-39 Navy (this is my 2nd skein I’ve used), 40-49 Country Blue, 50-59 Soft Blue
The warmer shades are in Green (because of green grass):
60-69 Spa, 70-79 Mid Green, 80-89 Dark Olive, 90-99 the dark center of that cake
I think I only have one center that needs something in the 90’s so I didn’t want to buy an entire skein.
Now that I had my yarn and pattern chosen, I needed to figure out how I wanted to lay out the squares. Again, I turned to Excel (I’m an accountant… this is how our brains work).
The first option was to have Jay’s birth year start on the right side (his side) and would essentially cover his side of the bed, so that my side would then be covered by my birth year.
I used the highs to determine the block colors, just to get a general ides of how it would look. At the top right where it says Jay’s name would be Jan 1st, and it goes down to Jan 25th. Jan 26th is actually at the top of the next row (to the left of the gray square, which denotes the start of a month). And that’s how it goes all the way along. About halfway you see a stretch of gray… those are the filler squares between his year and mine, and Jan 1st of my year starts after the long line of gray. I had to work backwards when filling in my colors to determine where it would end up. The gold squares are the accent squares on either side of our birthdays.
The next option, I laid out the squares so that Jay’s birth year temps would be on top, going across horizontally in the same way that I did them vertically on the first option.
I put the red lines in to show Jay’s year and my year. His birth year was a lot warmer based on all the dark green in the summer. There’s also a lot of light purple in my year, and remember these are the highs, so that means we were in the 20’s a lot. I let Jay pick which one he liked best. He chose option #1.
I did the first two rows, slip-stitching the squares together, but I didn’t like how that looked so I tore them all out. I went back through and used a mattress stitch (I think that’s the one) to sew them together. I like that much better. Here are the first four rows of the blanket:
They aren’t perfectly stitched, but I don’t care. This isn’t going to be a show piece. It’s going to be covered in cat hair and my drool. It looks kind of scrappy, and I like that.
So far I am enjoying it. I have the dates printed out with color-coding, then I went through and determined where the rows start/stop. This way I count up how many centers of each color I need, and I do all the centers first. Then I’ll go through and determine how many outsides of each color I need, and do those next. When I have all my squares done for one row, I sew them together. It took me about a month to get this much done.
It’s going to take me a while to complete this project, but that’s okay. I do feel guilty about not getting any charity crocheting done, so I’ve decided that after every fourth row I’m going to put it aside, make a Project Linus blanket, and then do another four rows. This way it will give me a break from the squares, but also motivate me to get through some other blankets.