You’ve probably seen some of the gorgeous temperature blankets that people have made. And who wouldn’t want to make one to commemorate a year’s memories in the stitches of a soon-to-be favorite blanket?
In this article we’ll take you through what a temperature blanket is, when to start it, what colors to use, and more. So, whether you crochet, knit or do Tunisian crochet, we have a pattern for you!
What is a temperature blanket?
A temperature blanket is a multicolored blanket or afghan in which each row (or sometimes half row) represents one day of the year. That day’s temperature is then represented by a specific color.
So, if you use one row to represent a day of the year, you will end up with either 365 or 366 rows in your temperature blanket. Other than that, you can be as creative as you want to be and really let your personality show!
Do I have to start a temperature blanket on 1 January?
Oh no! You may be thinking - I missed starting on New Year’s Day! Don’t worry - there is no temperature blanket police that says that you have to start on 1 January.
In case you didn’t start on 1 January, you have a few options:
- Play catch-up — You can play catch-up and look up the previous temperatures on your local or national weather website. Then all you need to do is work those rows first.
- Make a special occasion or countdown temperature blanket — You can start your temperature blanket on a special occasion or as a countdown to a special occasion. Nobody says you can’t have a pregnancy temperature blanket! (This smaller, nine-month blanket will also be perfect for children. Made from lace weight yarn, you may even manage to make baby-blanket-sized blanket.) A first year of school, college or even marriage can also work. Let your imagination run wild.
How to choose colors for your temperature blanket
With so many colors to choose from, it’s no wonder deciding which colors you’re going to use — not to mention brand of yarn — is so difficult. There are luckily some steps you can follow to make sure that your finished temperature blanket is the work of art you want it to be.
What to keep in mind when choosing your color palette
First of all, before simply following the first temperature and color key that you can find, you need to have a good look at the temperatures where you live. If you live in a hot climate, you will need to focus more on the “warm end’ of the temperature scale. The opposite is true if you live in a cold climate. Someone in Southern California will definitely need a different color and temperature key than someone living in the north of Alaska!
To get an annual summary of your district’s weather, you can again go onto your local or national weather website. Say, for example, your temperatures fluctuate with 60 °F for the whole year. Depending on the number of colors you want to use, you may want to set the color-key at intervals of 10 °F or 5 °F. In the second instance, you will have twice as many basic colors than for the 10-degree intervals.
For example, your color-temperature key for 10-degree intervals will look something like this:
For 5-degree intervals, it will look something like this:
Now that you’ve figured out how many colors you will need for your blanket, you get to the fun part of choosing the colors!
Traditional color palettes for a temperature blanket
Temperature blankets are traditionally made with a rainbow scheme of warm and cool colors (reds, oranges, yellows, blues, greens, and purples). The idea behind this color scheme is to mimic the colors used on most weather forecasts to represent the different temperatures.
In these forecasts, the warmer a place is, the deeper red it is, while the color purple deepens as it gets colder. During summer, then, you’ll work almost exclusively in warm colors, while warm and cool colors start to mingle during spring and autumn. Winter, then, contains almost only or only cool colors.
However, not everyone wants a rainbow blanket for their home and that’s where these non-traditional color palette ideas come into their own.
Non-traditional color palettes for a temperature blanket
You don’t have to pick out a bright red, yellow or blue to make your blanket. You can also choose:
- Pastel colors for your temperature blanket - Pastel colors can work well for a more muted look or baby blanket. Choose soft shades of pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
- Desaturated colors for your temperature blanket - Great for a study or college dorm, these colors with their gray undertones gives a more formal look to an otherwise bright blanket.
- Neutral colors for your temperature blanket - White, cream, beige, and different shades of gray gives a classic look that won’t clash with other decor.
Hues of a single color or two colors for your temperature blanket - You don’t even have to choose different colors for your temperature blanket, but can also use different hues or shades of the same color to represent the different temperatures. Pastels and cool shades are then your “cool colors”, with the warmer shades being your “warm colors”.
You can also take someone’s favorite team colors and use hues of those two or three colors to make the temperature blanket.
- Earthy tones for your temperature blanket - By mixing different shades of browns and greens, you’ll get a temperature blanket of nature-inspired colors that simply begs to be taken on a camping trip.
- Only warm or only cool colors for your temperature blanket - On the other hand, you can still choose bright colors, but choose to use only warm or only cool colors. Then, for example, your coldest temperatures start at white or off-white and yellow and then continue along the color wheel until you reach the deep reds to represent the hottest days of the year.
How to choose the right yarn for your temperature blanket
Now that you’ve chosen the color palette of your temperature blanket, you can think about the yarn that you want to make it out of. That is to say, do you want to use natural fibers, synthetic fibers, or a blend of the two?
Natural fibers include bamboo, cotton, wool, and silk - all from either animals or plants. Natural fibers are also bio-degradable and renewable. If you don’t want to use synthetics, then these fibers are the way to go.
For warmer climates or a summer blanket, rather opt for cotton or bamboo. These plant fibers “breathe” very well and don’t trap air like wool. They are, therefore, not as warm as woolen blankets.
On the other hand, wool and blends of different types of animal fibers (like alpaca, yak, sheep - like merino wool, camel, etc.) can deliver very warm blankets for the coldest of nights.
If you’re unsure what fiber or fiber blend you’d like to use, make swatches of the different yarns first. This will give you a good idea of how dense it is, what the stitch definition is like, etc.
On the other side of the fiber scale are the synthetic (man-made) fibers. These aren’t bio-degradable, but are a lot cheaper than many of the natural fibers. There are also acrylic and natural fiber blends available that is a lot lighter on your pocket, but still gives you the benefits of natural fibers.
Synthetic yarn is also an alternative for those allergic to wool.
Tip! Making a temperature blanket as a gift? Find out from the person it’s for if they have any wool allergies before you start looking for yarn. You can even ask if they prefer natural fibers or acrylic.
Patterns to make your own temperature blanket
Because our readers love to crochet, knit, and do Tunisian crochet, we’ve included patterns for all of these crafts below!
Tunisian crochet - TL Yarn’s Temperature Blanket Pattern
Be sure to share your temperature blanket with us on the KnitPal Facebook Group. We can’t wait to see it!