How to Plan a Temperature Blanket
This post contains step by step instructions for how I planned out my temperature blanket, which I will be making over the entire calendar year!
With the new year less than a week away, it’s time to start planning some resolutions. For me, I want to invest in a massive project. There’s no better project to try than a temperature blanket! If you haven’t heard of a temperature blanket, it’s a really cool concept. Yarnspirations and The Crochet Crowd have some great posts about it (check some out here and here). You define a yarn colour for a specific temperature range and then every day (or whatever defined period you choose) you knit or crochet a row of that colour! It doesn’t have to be a blanket, it could be a scarf or any other project you want! And it doesn’t need to be a year, you can do whatever works for you. I love the idea of seeing the season changes in a blanket.
Sounds fun, right? I sure think so! But it takes planning… and since I love planning… I’m diving right in! I’ll tag all my posts so you can easily see them over time and follow along. Join me if you would like, check my Instagram for a hashtag that you can use so I can see the progress! Here are my steps to planning the blanket.
Join me throughout this project, follow my Instagram to see the progress and check out the Temperature Blanket category on my blog for regular updates as it progresses! Let’s give it a go together!! I’ve included my working template, which may need adjusting over time.
Summary of Steps
- Colour Selection
- Define a Temperature Scale
- Test it!
- Decide on a Plan
- Pick a Pattern
Step 1: Colour Selection
(Disclaimer: I’m Canadian. I’m not spelling “colour” wrong… it’s just how we spell it!) 😉
I ran to Michael’s on Boxing Day for a boxing day sale. They had a great sale on one of my favourite acrylic worsted weight yarn, Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids, so I jumped on it. Regular price, $4.99/skein and I paid only $1.88/skein CAD. That’s more than 60% off! *happy dance*. Choose yarn colours that you love and with a gradient. It doesn’t need to be a broad spectrum of colours – most people choose colours to match the weather (cold = blue, hot = red) but I’ve seen beautiful temperature blankets that are all in the jewel tones or all in one colour spectrum!
Step 2: Define a Temperature Scale
Here’s my finalized one for reference. First, I drafted one I thought I would use but it got adjusted through the planning process. More details about that are below.
To construct this I created a table in Excel. Note the temperature ranges are in Degrees Celcius. I filled the cells with a colour as close as I could find to the actual yarn colour. I eyeballed it. Later on I found this handy website that would have made it easier to match the colour because it gives the RGB values! Initially all the temperature ranges were in increments of 5 but I adjusted this based on additional planning.
Now, where I live (Southwestern Ontario, Canada) has pretty massive weather fluctuations so I can choose bigger ranges and still have lots of colour changes. However, if you live somewhere with more constant temperatures then you should choose smaller ranges so that you don’t end up with huge stripes of the same colour (unless that’s what you want!)
Also, when you’re thinking about temperatures, you need to figure out how you will define the temperature for each day (or whatever range you’ve picked). Will it be the highest temp of the day? The lowest? The average? The average in daylight hours? The temperature at noon? There are actually tons of options, you just need to pick one and stick with it, making sure your data source allows you to properly get the data. And keep in mind, you will inevitably miss days here and there due to LIFE getting in the way, so make sure it’s a piece of data you can go back into the past and extract.
Step 3: Test it!
This blanket is a year-long investment (or whatever duration you decide), so you don’t want to just jump in without having some kind of plan in place. It’s best to find a way to test it by using old data. If you live the US, good news! You can use this website to generate it based on your zip code. You can also use other sources like Weather Underground or your local college/university or local weather stations. Find the data and test your colours!
For me, I want to see what the blanket could look like and make sure I’m sizing it well. To do this, I decided to use 2016 as a “test”. Again, using Excel, a tool which I use daily in my full time job and am quite familiar with it so my method of creating this chart is a bit technical. Basically I found 2016 data from my local university weather station, created a pivot table based on the data and used conditional formatting to highlight the cells.
For Excel-savvy folks, here’s a few extra details on how I did this:
- Exported the data from my local university; this had a temperature reading from every 15 min interval
- Created a pivot table with the date a the rows and the average temperature as the column
- Created conditional formatting on the average temperature column as per my chart
- Zoomed out and expanded the column as wide as possible
- Went to Print Preview and fit it to one page and saved as a PDF
- Used the Windows snipping tool to grab a picture of it (my quick and dirty method!)
- This produced the daily view, then to generate other views I copied the same format but right clicked on the date rows and did a Grouping by 2, 3, 4 and 7 and repeated the steps to get my screen grab
Here are the results:
If I used my temperature scale for DAILY temperatures, based on 2016 data this is what it would look like, starting Jan 1 and going to Dec 26, 2016:
Which looks pretty cool but may be a bit… busy. If I did one row based on the average temperature for each day, this is what it could look like. Here’s the issue: if there are 365 rows, the blanket will probably be REALLY BIG! If doing a row a day, you need to find a pattern using sc rows to avoid ginormous blankets.
Here’s what it would look like if I took an average of every 2 days (so ~182 rows):
This still looks great and is a much more reasonable size! Once I had reviewed this option, I decided to tweak my original temperature ranges because it was quite yellow/green – there were not many days over 25 celcius and I wanted to get more red in there so I made the higher ranges only 3 degrees instead of 5 degrees. Then I redid the testing and it looked much better.
I was also thinking a lot about sizing. This would be ~182 rows. When I did my Ocean Waves blanket (Ravelry link, blog post), it was 160 rows of dc ripples and was perfect for a double bed so I believe this will be a pretty great length for a massive blanket using a double crochet pattern of some sort.
This looks pretty similar to the 2 day but would only be ~120 rows. So it wouldn’t need to be so huge. This would be a great option for a twin/single or even a double bed. Size-wise, after swatching, this is one of the most likely options for me to take on.
This option would be only ~90 rows which may work well for a regular sized blanket! I do miss some of the colour variations that the above options have though.
This one wasn’t interesting enough for me. Too chunky and there would only be 52 rows so I’d likely double up on the rows and that would make the stripes twice as thick! This would be a great option for a scarf though!
Step 4: Decide on a Plan
Now that you’ve tested your data and (maybe) refined your colour scheme, it’s time to finalize the details. What size of a blanket do you want? How often do you want to work on it? What kind of duration do you want to do it for?
For me, I initially tried doing updates 2x/week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) based on the average temp from the last 3-4 days. I thought this would be best for the size I wanted (~double bed size) – however once I started, my heart wasn’t in it! So I ditched that and went for one row a day and am having MUCH more fun! The size is equivalent to a double bed sheet, hopefully it will end up being ~ 96″ long and 81″ wide.
Step 5: Pick a Pattern
There are a zillion patterns you can choose! First decide if you want to do sc- or dc-based patterns based on the sizing of your blanket. For me, initially I had planned to do the Granny Ripple or the Granny Stripes, but once I started I realized I needed to do an sc-based one with rows daily. So I switched the Linen Stitch or Moss Stitch and I’m loving it! Scour the internet for different options: waves, ripples, chevrons, straight stripes…
I’ve also seen some cool knit mitered squares with half representing the high and half representing the low for the day. Or others that have done granny squares with colours based on the temp at specific times in the day. All of these are amazingly cool ideas!
Step 6: Swatching
Never ignore this step when you’re starting a project – especially a big project!! Grab a few different hook sizes that are around the recommended size for the yarn and work through a few rows of the pattern in the yarn you’re using. You’ll use these swatches to determine which hook to use and ultimately how many chains (or CO stitches) you’ll need to start with.
When I switched plans from dc to sc, I did a quick swatch of the moss stitch pattern with a 6 mm and 7 mm hook. I knew I didn’t want it to be too rigid. The gauge seemed almost identical with both but the 7 mm hook made it feel squishier! So I ended up choosing a 7 mm hook and planned my ch 272 based on the gauge from that swatch to make it ~81″ long.
Step 7: Finish the Plan
So here it is folks, the final plan! Using the data from the local university weather station, I’ll get the average temperature for the day based on the data. I’ll put those temps into my template (linked below) and use my colour guide to find the right colour for the row. Then I crochet the row. If I get behind, no problem. I mark which rows I’ve done on my spreadsheet so I can easily pick up where I left off and catch up when life gets in the way!
Summary of my plan:
- Moss stitch (sc-based pattern)
- 7 mm crochet hook
- Loops & Threads Impeccable solids yarn
- Temperature scale as per the picture
- Ch 272 and… go!
Here is my Excel template for the plan: Temperature_blanket_template
Follow along with this project to see the progress over time by clicking here or head over to my Instagram, I’m using #hbgtemp2017 to tag all my relevant posts. If you’re making one too, use the hashtag so I can see it on Instagram!
Step 8: BEGIN!
Don’t put off to tomorrow that which you can do today! Go on… get started!