Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Sydney-Decorah Daily Temperature Blanket

My recent knitting and crocheting projects have mostly involved toys, accessories (scarves, fingerless gloves, etc), little hearts, little stars, bunting, apple cozies and baby clothes (NOT for me...I am going to be an auntie!!). I have been looking to do something for myself and have been wanting to make a blanket.

I have been inspired by all of the beautiful colorwork by Lucy at Attic24 (check out this, this and this). I like granny squares, but the thought of sewing all of those squares together makes my blood run cold. I tried making one of her ripple afghans, but it just didn't sit well with me. (By the way, I LOVE her pattern for Granny Bunting Triangles and can't wait to try her recipe for crusty no-knead bread.)

Then I came across this idea for a temperature scarf. What a great idea - assign a different color to a different temperature range. Then record the maximum temperature for each day of the year and knit a row for each day. Fantastic! Except that one of the joys of living in Sydney is that there is not much variation in the daily maximum temperature - sure there are days of extreme heat and relative cold, but not much in the way of variation.

That is when I came up with the idea to do a dual temperature scarf - for each day I would record the maximum temperature for Sydney and Decorah, Iowa (my hometown). Then I would get lots of color variation (a la Lucy from Attic24) and end up with something for me. Great.

I decided that the first day would be my birthday (31 January) and that I would record the data for an entire year. So this scarf would be a record of the maximum temperatures of Sydney and Decorah for the 36th year of my life.

So I worked out my color chart, bought my yarn, worked out a gage, made a plan and started recording the temperatures for Sydney and Decorah.

I chose DK (8-ply) yarn for my blanket. The dark purple corresponds with the coldest temps (-25C). The further right you go, the warmer the temperatures. The light pink on the right is for the hottest temperatures (41+C).

Here is my color-temperature chart, in degrees Celsius.

The one thing I didn't take into account was all of the ends I would have to weave in. At the end of every. single. row. YIKES!!

Not to mention that it was going to be a very long scarf... two stripes for each day for an entire year... do the math... that's 730 rows.

Right. Time to come up with a new plan.

I started trawling for ideas. I decided that blanket would be best. But I wanted something that would make use of my two-colors-a-day color scheme. Granny squares wouldn't really work - plus, I would have to sew them all together. Stripes might work, but it would be a bit mind numbing and I would have the same problem of having to sew the ends in at the end of every. single. row.

Then I came across this idea for a blanket made up of mitered squares. I realised that I could make one square for each day and each square would be made up of alternating stripes of the colors that corresponded with the maximum temperature for that day in Sydney and Decorah.

And, when you do a blanket made up of mitered squares, you have to join the squares as you go. It's part of the pattern.

A close-up picture of what the squares look like.

And, if the starting color of the next square is the same as the starting color of the previous square, you just carry the color along - one less end to weave in.

So I had Paul do some math for me and he worked out that if I made 3-inch squares, then I could make a blanket that was 15 squares by 24 squares. That is 360 squares. Then the last 5 days of the year would be represented in a border around the blanket - 10 stripes in total. And the resulting blanket would be a decent size blanket.

And it would be colorful.


I've just finished the 16th square (the end of the first row + the first square in the second row). Because of the false start with the scarf and a crazy bout of sickness, I am a bit behind. But I am really enjoying the pattern and the colorwork. It is also fun to see how the temperatures are changing (or not) for Sydney and Decorah.

This is sort of what the blanket looks like so far - I've finished the first row of 15 squares and have started the second row. Up to this point, it has been all orange and red for the Sydney colors. For Decorah, it's been 3 shades of blue and some grey.
Here is my temperature data for Sydney and Decorah.

At some point, I will write up a rough description of the pattern and how I am putting this all together.