January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

Whoosh! The first month of 2018 has flown by! (It seems to me that as you get older, time seems to pass by more quickly, which is really a drag.) With almost a full month’s worth of squares done, it’s a good opportunity to show off progress on the blanket.

New Year’s Day was cold(ish): -28°C (-18.4°F) for the low and -7°C (19.4°F) for the high. The high was not bad (setting aside whatever the windchill was that day), but that overnight temp is brr! Perfect for staying in and crocheting! We had a few other really cold days this month, but unless Mother Nature or Old Man Winter decide to take one last swipe at us before February 1, the coldest day for January was the 11th, where the overnight low was -33°C (-27.4°F) and it only warmed up to -23°C (-9.4°F) for the day. Frosty! January 12 was a bit better, with -26°C (-14.8°F) for the low and -13°C (8.6°F) for the high. The warmest day was the 16th: a chinook blew in and we managed to get to 8°C (46.4°F) during the day, which meant all the snow melted and the roads were very sloppy.

I’m enjoying the blanket so far. Bernat Blanket yarn works up into such soft, cozy little squares! The Bright and Bulky Bernat Blanket Squares pattern from Repeat Crafter Me is wonderful and so easy to remember that I usually do my squares while watching a DVD or my friends stream on Twitch. My squares don’t quite have the little gaps in them that Sarah’s do though, probably because (as always) I crochet tightly. The holes are there… Maybe they will be more noticeable when I block the blanket after it’s all sewn together.

Daily low on the left; daily high on the right. Conditional formatting in Excel is so handy!

Daily low on the left; daily high on the right. Conditional formatting in Excel is so handy!

I haven’t been able to keep up with “one square a day” this month: work has been kicking my butt and there’s been a lot going on during the week, so by the time I get home I’m pretty wiped and picking up my crochet hook hasn’t always been doable or desirable. Thankfully, keeping track of the weather has been really easy thanks to the historical records available on theweathernetwork.com—without that I’d be screwed!

Since temperatures can fluctuate so wildly in the winter from one day to the next (thanks to those chinook winds), I decided to make my Excel spreadsheet do a bit of extra work for me beyond just keeping track of days I missed: I went through the trouble of putting conditional formatting rules into the calendar so that as soon as I type in the temperature, Excel fills in the required color for me. This makes it a bit easier to see which yarn I need and also creates an alternate visualization of how the year is turning out so far. Once I’ve created the required square for the day in question, I mark the corresponding day cell with green, which helps me keep track of where I left off when I fall behind. When February starts I’ll clear the green fill on the Days column and begin again!

Having this spreadsheet will be handy in April: I’m going to New Zealand for a couple of weeks that month and won’t be able to take my blanket supplies with me, so when I get back I’ll have a whole bunch of squares to catch up on. I can either update the spreadsheet remotely while I’m gone (and see how the colors are turning out before actually making any squares), or just wait until I’m back to fill in all the days I missed!

Since January is almost over, I have enough squares to start to see how Devrie’s Temperature Blanket pattern will shape up.

January 2018 progress.

January 2018 progress.

Pretty cool (literally, heh) and has quite a lot of the same colors repeating, but I like how they are spread out so far. I’m also glad I decided to do the daily low and the daily high together, otherwise I think the squares would be a bit bland (all that grey…). The black square in the lower right corner is the first additional filler square to be used since the initial six. Partway into February the bottom row of the blanket will already be half finished so by laying out the squares like this I’ll have a very good indication of how wide the full blanket will end up being. Of course I know how wide it’ll be based on math but that’s not quite the same as seeing it laid out on the floor. I won’t actually get to do any seaming until the middle of April…after I get back from New Zealand and get caught up.

Mom has been working on her blanket too!

Mom's progress for January.

Mom’s progress for January.

We had originally planned to follow Devrie’s layout pattern together to make it easier to compare our blankets after they’re done but once Mom got started she decided she didn’t want to have to wait to seam her squares together. She could have seamed them in the order shown on Devrie’s pattern but Mom also decided she didn’t like the layout after all, so has been doing her own.

Mom’s squares are roughly 4″x4″ like mine, however she’s using an “Eyelet Square” pattern from a book she’s had since the mid-60s that was originally published in 1950. The squares use stockingette stitch. So far, she’s commented that she’s a bit sick of yellow (yellow corresponds to 5°C-9°C on her chart) and that if she were to do a blanket over again she wouldn’t use worsted weight yarn because it’s too light and curls too easily. She feels she’ll need to sew her finished blanket onto a fleece sheet to make it warm enough for practical use and that it’ll require a border. Still, it’s nice that we’re doing this project together and I hope her experience will improve as the year goes on. :)

My next blanket update will be posted toward the end of February. Until then, happy hooking!


January | February | March | April | May | June | July
For all temperature blanket posts, click here!