Temperature Blankets & Knitting as Journaling
The beginning of the year is a good time to embark on an ambitious knitting project. The ability to impose daily, weekly, or monthly goals onto a calendar year is straightforward and satisfying. Dividing up a blanket, a complicated lace shawl, or even a sweater into goals like “knit 10 rows per week” makes large projects feel achievable. But have you ever thought of recording day-to-day events like the weather in your knitting?
If you haven’t heard of it, the temperature blanket concept is to spend an entire year knitting or crocheting one row each day in a color which corresponds to the temperature outside that day: for instance, dark purple means 0-10 degrees, light purple means 10-20 degrees, dark blue means 20-30 degrees… and so on. You pick the pattern (stockinette, ribbing, single crochet, or something fancy), you pick the colors, and you pick the rules. You could use the high, low, or mean temperature for the day. You could use the temperature for your home town or the temperature for wherever you happen to be each day. You could make it a scarf rather than a blanket if you prefer. The point is that it’s not a pattern; it’s a concept. If you’re interested in catching up, wunderground.com tracks temperatures and other weather data for every day, and it’s easy to look up past days.
In the past weeks, I’ve seen a number of people on the internet sharing their completed temperature blankets from 2016. They all have a pleasing rhythm with a dash of randomness. They tend to have cooler colors on either end and warmer colors in the middle (if they were knit in a northern climate).
I think we all have the feeling that we imbue our work with memories of the time we spent creating it, but knitting a temperature blanket is a deliberate attempt to capture memories in your work. It’s like a snapshot in stitches. It’s like knitting as journaling.
Lea Redmond, author of Knit the Sky, first published the temperature blanket idea along with several other whimsical and inspiring suggestions for capturing a period of life in a knitted object. She suggests a mood scarf with colors corresponding to your daily moods, and she suggests a sky scarf with shades of blue and grey corresponding to the color of the sky.
Maybe it’s a bit late in the season to get started this year, but for football fans, the Scoreboard Scarf by Michelle Hunter uses a similar idea. You knit your team’s scores into the scarf by knitting a row of one color for each point your team scores and a row of another color for each point the opposing team scores, and you break up the games with a single row of a neutral color. Well, either that or you make up your own knitting rules.
Here’s a thought – why don’t you knit a scarf in which you think of something you’re grateful for at the beginning of each row? How about transitioning to a new lace motif at the beginning of each new week or month?How about combining a sky scarf with a mood scarf by knitting a different stitch based on your mood in the color of the sky? How about writing in an actual journal about what you thought about while knitting each day?
Knitting as journaling is a concept one could run wild with. It might challenge you to think about knitting in a new way.