Thursday, February 1, 2018

2017 Temperature Afghan

Late in 2016 I heard about something called a "Temperature Afghan" -- where you choose a spectrum of yarn, assign each color to a temperature range, and then stitch one line per day, the color being determined by the high temperature. It seemed like a ridiculous, grandiose project -- and yet one that was "do-able" because, hey, what's one row of crochet per day?

I didn't always get to my rows -- in fact, due in part to our trip to Africa, at one point I was EIGHTY-FIVE days behind. But in the end, I finished the crocheting right on January 1 -- so as to capture an accurate temperature for December 31, of course!

But first, I had to get started. 

I knew I wanted to make my afghan in greyscale -- I love the rainbow effects other people, including my friend Suz, crocheted, but for me I knew it had to be grey. I wanted the shifts to be subtle, which meant I wanted 15 shades from white to black. But would I be able to find them?

I went to Jo-Ann in mid November and walked around and around in the yarn section, grabbing skeins of every black, grey, and white yarn I could find in "worsted weight / 4" and throwing them into my cart. 

With a lot of trial and error, some trips to the front of the store to compare colors in daylight, and some "well, it will have to do" attitude adjustments, I came up with 15 shades. 

I wasn't 100% happy, but I was probably 95% happy with my choices and spectrum. I purchased one skein of each color, and was lucky that I was able to buy additional skeins as I needed during the year, even if I needed to go to a JoAnn that was farther away.

I got home and made a plan / yarn chart.

Just seeing how the yarn was laid out made me happy. It still does. It was a real challenge to wait until January to get started. So I let myself stitch two foundation rows in black, just to give myself a little taste. 

I had decided to do a very simple pattern -- just HDCs across, with the occasional "spike" down 2 rows to add some extra interest. Just that little texture really makes the afghan, I think. I think each row was about 250 stitches wide -- wide enough to cover a queen sized bed, with a little bit of overlap on each side. 

Within a the first week I was completely hooked -- pun intended, I suppose. And by the end of January, I knew this was one of the most satisfying craft projects I had ever done. 

I tried to record most "month end" progress, but didn't always quite make it. Here's January's work, as recorded on February 1, 2017:

And here's January and February, as recorded on March 1:

I loved seeing the different colors, and how pretty they looked together. Here's a close-up of March and part of February, as recorded on April 1, 2017:

New high temperatures meant new colors -- and cause for celebration. On April 4 we hit 63 degrees, which meant using "Red Heart Super Saver - Grey Heather" for the first time.

On May 1 I recorded that we were 1/3 of the way done with the year ... and that the afghan was already 33 1/3" long. #gonnaneedabiggerbed was born.

And a couple of days later we topped 70 -- the warmest day of the year so far -- so I recorded this to celebrate using "Red Heart Soft - Light Grey Heather" on May 3.

On June 1 I showed some of May -- and the "warming trend with some cold days thrown in". January is peeking through behind. Not really sure why I showed the back, buuuut.

June 25 we had a little "hot snap", hitting 93 degrees, and triggering my first use of "Baby Steps - Elephant". Oddly enough, that was the hottest day all year, and we only hit 90 or above three more.

I was a few days behind, but recorded the January - June results. I spread the blanket out and Bubble -- our great big Maine Coon mutt cat -- immediately colonized it to provide a sense of scale.

July didn't have a lot of temperature changes -- I only used three shades the entire month. But when I put it on our bed this time, it's clear how long it's getting. With smaller cat, Squeek, for scale (and our pillows clearly visible...)

Our trip meant I didn't work on the afghan for a few months -- as I said above, at one point I was 84 days behind. But on December 4, I had wrapped up November. Lots of colder days here.

I had given up trying to capture the blanket spread out, so borrowed an idea from Suz and made a very lumpy jelly roll.

Then, finally, I finished the stitching. And with a couple of evenings spent weaving in the ends and stitching a few rows of black border, it was complete. And massive.

I cannot say enough how much I loved this project. I had given myself all of January to wrap up the finishing, but ended up completing my 2017 temperature afghan on January 6, 2018.

One downside -- and I suspect anyone who has done this sort of project has had the same issue -- is that I have a TON of leftover yarn:

That said, I have an idea of how to use it up -- but that's for later.

Finishing the afghan was the one of my #101in1001 projects, and the first I completed. A huge huge win.

Would I make another one? Probably not -- there are only so many blankets I need! But I loved making this and can totally recommend this sort of project to anyone.


  1. WOW. This is gorgeous! I've never seen a temperature blanket done in greys before but i think this might actually be my favourite temperature blanket ever! HDC i know but how did you do the spikes?

  2. Thanks, Jessica! I believe the "spike" is really called a "front loop double crochet"? Basically, I YO, then insert my hook into the second row below, then make a DC. I then keep going with HDC in the next stitch. (The FLDC replaces the HDC, if you see what I mean.) I've spaced my 25 stitches apart to attempt to keep them even. I got the idea to use this stitch this from this gorgeous (yet very different) pattern here: