A couple months ago, my Pinterest feed started filling up with temperature afghans. The concept is that you choose a color for a temperature range, and then crochet (or knit) a row for that day’s temperature. All of the women in my family crochet (and likely spend too much time on Pinterest) so it didn’t take long before we were talking about a family crochet-along for a 2018 temperature afghan.
Once we decided we’d like to do this as a group project, the obsessive planning began and stretched into the wee hours of the morning. Before long I was downloading climate data, comparing color swatches, and building spreadsheets.
Yes, it’s true. I pivot-tabled the crap outta that temperature data. At midnight. So I could choose yarn colors. Crafts are a slippery slope, my friends.
Determining your temperature ranges
My mom, my sister, and I all live in different climates, so we needed temperature ranges that would work well for all of us. I live in the Texas gulf coast (lots of hot days), mom lives in the high desert (gets hot and cold), and my sister lives in mountains of New Mexico (much colder than us). So that means our temperatures will range from the mid 20’s to about 100º F.
I chose a range of 6 degrees for each color. I tried to strike a balance between a very colorful palette and an annoying number of color changes. Here are the ranges I settled on:
Choosing your color scheme
Now that I know the temperature ranges, I needed to find 13 shades of yarn. One reason for 13 ranges was to get softer gradation in the rows, so I wanted a couple of shades for each of the ROYGBIV colors. I’ve done several projects now using Stylecraft Special DK. It’s a bargain brand in the UK. Even with the currency exchange rate, it’s still less than $2 a skein. While it may be cheap it works up great! Plus, it has held up well for me in the wash—with cat and dog hair covering everything in my house, cheap, machine-washable yarn is a must.
Choosing the pattern
I’ve seen several variations of what to map your rows or stitches to in the temperature afghan.
- High and/or low temperatures
- Weather (like white for snow, gray for rain)
- Holidays, special stitches or colors
- Squares or hexagons for each day instead of rows
- Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal designs
Over on Deena’s Craft Corner, her diagonal stripes caught my eye. It’s very different than every other crochet piece in my home. Mom and sister loved it, too, so that’s the pattern we’ll use. There’s also a great overview video, as well as a link to the pattern, on Crochet Corner for this corner to corner design.
To make it a little easier to keep track of daily temps, I created a handy worksheet. I printed it on cardstock so it’s a little sturdier than regular paper, since we’ll need to keep it all year.
Download temperature tracking worksheet
Wait, what about the spreadsheet you mentioned?
I love spreadsheets, almost to the point of fangirling over them. Enough that a friend and I trade examples of spreadsheets that make our OCD hearts go pitter-patter. But in this case, they were a useful tool to help figure out how much of each yarn color to buy for each of us. Here’s how I calculated yarn quantity:
- Downloaded historical temperature data for each of our locations from the NOAA web site.
- Used a pivot table to count the number of days for each temperature range.
- Factored in the yarn gauge and pattern stitches to figure out how much yarn to buy.
Since I needed to do that for 3 projects, the spreadsheet made it super quick. I <3 spreadsheets!
I’ll share periodic updates of my afghan, and my mom’s and sister’s too, I hope!
Let me know if you decide to make a temperature blanket of your own. And feel free to share your own swatches and photos!