Crocheting or knitting a temperature blanket is a fun way to chronicle your year in yarn. If you’ve been considering making a temperature blanket but don’t know where to start, read this post. I’ve got details on how to start, picking yarn, and staying motivated for this year-long project!
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I started my temperature blanket journey in 2019 with my Tunisian Crochet Temperature Blanket. It was so fun introducing new colors to the blanket as the year went on. By the end of the year, I had a huge, squishy throw blanket that I could look on fondly and reminisce about the year.
I made another blanket in 2020, this time using granny squares on the bias. While finishing that blanket, I gathered yarn for my 2021 blanket and I’m in the process of designing it now.
WHAT IS A TEMPERATURE BLANKET?
A temperature blanket is a chronicle of a year in yarn. Create a range of temperatures and assign a color to each range (called a “color gauge”), and you crochet a row/square on your blanket to represent each day in its assigned color.
There’s so much to love about starting a temperature blanket. You get to pick your favorite colors and yarns to make it with, you can pick from dozens of projects to make your blanket unique, and you can watch your blanket grow over the course of the year as you tick of each day.
STARTING YOUR TEMPERATURE BLANKET
Taking some time to plan your temperature blanket is critical. In just a few steps, you’ll be well on your way to knitting or crocheting a journal of your year.
STEP 1: MAKING THE COLOR GAUGE
A color gauge is a key or legend that you’ll reference every time you add on to your blanket. The color gauge will include your color ranges, which you decide based on your local area, as well as the color you’re assigning to that range. You can make your gauge before you pick your colors – just know that the gauge is flexible and you can change it throughout the planning process.
When planning your gauge, I recommend no less than 9 ranges. This will give you variety and ensure that your blanket takes on a random pattern. You can use as many colors as you like – for example, my 2021 temperature blanket will have 12 colors. Also, decide what temperatures you want to use (highs, lows, median, or a combination) and note that on your gauge.
Here’s an example of the color gauge for my 2020 Bias Granny Temperature Blanket using Swish DK from WeCrochet:
Some regions may have less variance in temperatures (I’m looking at you, Florida and California!). In that case, use fewer degrees in each range. Conversely, if your local temperature ranges more than mine, you can put more degrees in each range.
TRACKING YOUR DATES
Keeping track of dates throughout the year is crucial to staying up to date with your temperature blanket. Choose the method that works best for you
- WHERE TO FIND DAILY TEMPERATURES: I worked on my temperature blanket once per week, which meant I’d have to find the week’s temperatures before I could start crocheting. I like to use the website wunderground.com because it offers historical weather data for any region. You can also get daily temps from your local news.
- WHERE TO TRACK MY DATES: This varies for every maker. You can track dates in a calendar, on gridded graph paper, in the note app on your phone, or even in a dedicated temperature blanket spreadsheet [source: Marly Bird].
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR YARN & COLORS
Picking yarn for a temperature blanket is always so much fun for me. There’s lots to consider, so be thoughtful in the planning stage.
I recommend picking your yarn brand first. You should look for a yarn that is easy to source (maybe from an established website or local store) with a fiber content that you will be happy to use all year long. Here are some fibers that work well for a temperature blanket.
- ACRYLIC & ACRYLIC BLENDS: Easily accessible, often offered in a wide range of colors, reasonably priced, machine washable, with lots of variations to choose from (variegated, solid, heathered, etc.).
- COTTON: Lots of options and sources to choose from, often available in vibrant colors, great prices from the established brands, and machine washable. Consider that cotton may get a little heavy and the color will likely fade over time.
- MERINO WOOL: Tons of options and colors to choose from, incredibly soft, look for “superwash merino wool” if you want to machine wash your blanket. Consider that merino wool is a luxury option and can get pricey, especially if you need more yarn throughout the course of the year.
When planning your blanket, you also want to consider the yarn weight. Category 4 – worsted weight yarn is typically used in temperature blankets. If you want to switch it up, go lighter, to a DK or even a fingering weight yarn. This will keep your blanket a manageable size and make sure it’s not too heavy to use when it’s all done.
Conventionally, temperature blankets used a rainbow color palette, directly representing a range from cool to warm colors.
This isn’t a bad idea, but there is a whole world of color out there for you to consider. Once you know what fiber and weight you’re planning to use, you can pick your yarn brand. Try going with a brand that has lots of colors so you can pick a palette that directly represents you.
Colors can range from brights to neutrals, pastels to neons, monochrome to the rainbow. Have some fun with this step and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone to make a blanket that is super special.
NEED MORE GUIDANCE ON CHOOSING COLORS FOR YOUR TEMPERATURE BLANKET? Read my post on Temperature Blankets Yarn & Colors HERE.
STEP 3: CHOOSE YOUR PATTERN
With temperature blankets becoming so popular right now, it’s easy to find stitch and pattern inspiration everywhere. Choosing a pattern you can stay committed to is a must, so make sure you love the design from the very first stitch.
You can find patterns for temperature blankets with a quick search on Pinterest or Ravelry. If you want a jumping-off point, I’ve published two temperature blanket patterns: Tunisian Crochet Temperature Blanket and Bias Granny Temperature Blanket. Both include full instructions to customize your blanket based on the gauge and colors you picked.
Planning to go rogue and create your own temperature blanket pattern? Awesome! Your pattern can be a basic stitch like moss stitch, stockinette, single crochet, or even Tunisian simple stitch. Just make sure your finished blanket isn’t going to be too big. Start by making a gauge swatch and adjust your plan for the finished dimensions you want.
LOOKING FOR PATTERN IDEAS FOR YOUR TEMPERATURE BLANKET? Read my post on 20 Temperature Blanket & Project Ideas HERE!
STEP 4: GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES
Our last step before we start stitching is to gather the supplies we need to actually make our temperature blanket.
I recommend having dedicated notions and hooks (or needles) for your temperature blanket. This way, you always have what you need when it’s time to add rows or squares to your project. Stock your notions pouch with a pair of scissors, a tapestry needle, and a tape measure. Also, keep the hook/needles you’re planning to use with your project at all times.
In addition to your supplies, make sure you have an adequate way to store your temperature blanket project. I love using a basket or reusable shopping bag for my blanket and yarn that’s in use. Yarn that I have yet to use goes on a shelf in my yarn storage unit.
BONUS: STAYING MOTIVATED ALL YEAR
There’s nothing quite like the rush you feel when just starting a temperature blanket. The yarn and colors are new to you, the project is a manageable size, and you’ve put so much planning and care into it. But, if history has taught me anything, staying motivated will be a challenge as the year goes on.
- Stitch With A Buddy: Making is always better with friends. Find another maker or community of makers that are also working on temperature blankets. Check-in frequently to inspire and motivate each other. Join my Facebook group for year-round motivation – CLICK HERE!!
- Share Your Journey Online: I stay motivated on my temperature blanket by posting about it online every month. Not only can I show my progress, but I also get great feedback from the online community. You can join the fun using #CrochetTempBlanket2021 for your project! Follow #CrochetTempBlanket2021 on Instagram – CLICK HERE!!
- Work in Batches: There are very few things I can do every single day, and crocheting on the same project is not one of them. I like to work on my blanket in batches, saving a week’s worth of stitching for Sundays. Choose a day each week (or month) to crank out your rows/squares, then put our blanket aside until you need to work on it again.