My Weather Blanket by Joy Bell
The idea of a weather blanket is to make a yarny record of an aspect of the weather, such as daily highest or average temperature, over a certain period, usually a year. This idea can be used when making a piece of accessory, garment or cushion cover but I chose to make a blanket.
In undertaking such a project, during the planning process there are few things that need to be considered:
- Decide on a method to use for making the blanket – I chose Tunisian crochet as I wanted to learn a technique new to me
- Decide on weight of yarn – I chose a chunky yarn as I think they work well for blankets
- Make a tension square, of at least 10cm square, in the chosen yarn and method of working so as to calculate the number of rows and stitches would be needed to achieve the desired size. As I had chosen a chunky yarn, in order to achieve the dimensions I wanted to have for the blanket, I would have to have approximately 3 rows for every 6 days rather than 1 row per day, otherwise the blanket would be massive.
- Select colour shades, each representing a range of degrees in temperature from cold to warm. I chose colours that loosely follow the BBC weather forecast temperature predictions, varying from blues (cold) to reds (hot) as follows:
– White representing <= 0 degrees Celsius;
– Dark blue for 1-4 degrees;
– Light blue for 5-8 degrees;
– Light green 9-12 degrees;
– Yellow for 13-17 degrees;
– Light orange for 18-22 degrees;
– Orange for 23-27;
– Red for >= 27 degrees.
I looked up a website (timeanddate.com) to find the daily high temperature for London and filled in a chart which I could use to write the pattern. I chose three days out of each six and coloured them accordingly. By the way I didn’t go slavishly for every other day but rather judged what colours in each section would tell a story.
I found a pattern for a sampler blanket in one of my books, Tunisian Crochet Workshop by Michelle Robinson, showing the different stitches. The pattern repeats 3 times and has lots of variety to keep me interested.
Tunisian crochet is partly worked like crochet in that it uses a hook, but a basic hook is the length of a knitting needle, with a knob on the opposite end of the hook. I am using a slightly different style of hook, one with a long cable attached and a knob at the end of cable to accommodate large number of stitches for my blanket.
Similar to normal crochet, one starts by building a foundation chain. In my case my foundation chain was equivalent to the width of the blanket. Each row has 2 passes: a) Forward Pass where stitches are picked up and retained onto the hook from the loops of the foundation chain or from the stitches in the row below all the way to end of row; b) Return pass, where those retained stitches are worked off like crochet back to the beginning of a row. There are lots of YouTube videos and books which can help one to get going.
We had a very mild beginning of the year so my two “coldest” colours were not used but we still have a month or 2 of cold at the end of the year. On the other hand, the very hot weather of August where temperature soared to way over 30, I didn’t have a ‘hotter’ colour defined either. Any unused colour I can always use on the border.
I am enjoying making my blanket. It is now up-to-date to July but will be a Work In Progress for the next five months. I’m shameful to admit that I have lots of unfinished craft projects around the house but for once with this one I have a good excuse!