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Temperature Pi Blanket – 2nd Quarter 2021

The second Quarter of 2021, shows a steady rise in temperature overall, although there were a few blips along the way, notably May which was cold and wet a lot of the time. The 90-day graph for outdoor temperature looks like this:

The quarter comprises days 91 to 181 inclusive. Of those 91 days, we had:

  • 43 days of predominantly sunny weather
  • 28 days of overcast skies
  • 15 days of rain
  • 2 days of snow
  • 2 days of storm
  • 1 day of high winds

[I define stormy days as a combination of high winds and lashing precipitation (either rain or snow).]

The 43 days of sun are no surprise, but only 15 days of rain in 91 days overall is not much. There was no rain in April, just 2 days of snow, but May more than made up for it with 12 days of rain (plus light showers on other days). April had one day of high winds, and May had 2 days of storm, but otherwise the period has been very calm. The rain in May caused everything – fruit, vegetables, grass, and weeds – to flourish, and we benefited in June with good crops of strawberries, currant bushes heavy with ripening fruit, and peas and beans setting lots of pods.

None of the data is particularly surprising; the move of the rainy season from April to May has been happening gradually for a number of years. And I would not expect us to be having storms or high winds at this time of year, they usually happen in late September and October. All in all, a calm period of mostly sunny skies.

Temperature Pi Blanket Right to left: April to June
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Temperature Pi Blanket – June Update

June has been summery . . . sort of. We have had lots of sun here in West Yorkshire, but also lots of cloud, several days of rain, and the temperatures, whilst warm on the whole, have been a little up and down. On the 25th, it was so cold we resorted to extra layers and woolly socks to keep warm!

With the warmth and the wet has come a burgeoning of growth in the garden, the weeds are growing very well, but so are the fruit and vegetables. We are having a bumper crop of strawberries this year, the blackcurrants and redcurrants are heavy with fruit, and the apples are all looking healthy.

We have also delighted in watching the moorhens raise their first brood of chicks – originally 7, but now only 5. They have rapidly progressed from black pompoms on legs to smaller paler copies of their parents, with flicking tails but as yet no red and yellow on their beaks. The parent moorhens were obviously so pleased with their success that they built another nest and have just hatched a second brood of 5 chicks.

The Temperature Pi blanket is now at half its expected diameter. It is already a good size for a couple of people to snuggle under on a cold winter’s day. Working on it in the summer heat is challenging! There are lots of rounds of yellow, a few days of orange, and some dark green, witnesses to the fluctuating temperatures, which have been quite low for this time of year. The Doulton Border Leicester yarn continues to be a delight to work with. It is bouncy, soft, and light in the hand, the colours have good depth, and the blanket drapes beautifully. In addition to this blanket, I have used it in designing two shawls, and the results are excellent.

I have now completed days 152 to 181 inclusive, continuing with 1,152 stitches per round. I have worked 105,588 stitches, and the blanket is 24.21% complete (in terms of the number of stitches worked).

It’s not too late to join in and knit your own Temperature Pi Blanket, or get the pattern now and start knitting it next year. You can download the pattern and accompanying spreadsheet from https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/temperature-pi-blanket-free-digital-download/

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Temperature Pi Blanket – May Update

May was wet. Wet and cold. Miserable. If it wasn’t raining, it was cloudy and dull, and cold – did I mention cold? And then, in the last few days of the month, the sun came out, and suddenly there was the merest hint that summer might actually happen this year!

You can see how cold it has been in the image below evidenced in the bands of dark blue, and the paler blue haze shows the rain on warmer days. The last three days were a lovely change, with yellow denoting the warmth of the promise of summer.

May’s progress, from the fancy stitch marker to the edge

I have now completed days 121 to 151 inclusive, increasing the number of stitches to 1,152 per round . I have now worked 71,028 stitches, and the blanket is 16.28% complete. This is going to be big!

It’s not too late to join in and knit your own Temperature Pi Blanket. You can download the pattern and accompanying spreadsheet from https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/temperature-pi-blanket-free-digital-download/

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Temperature Pi Blanket – April Update

March finished with a mini-heatwave, but on 1st April the temperature dropped like a stone to 8° and then hovered in the low teens until the middle of the month. We did, however, have a lot of sunshine, and I have already used up more than 2 complete balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Eve Green (well over 420 metres in total) in the first 4 months of the year. In fact, although we had a couple of days of snow/hail showers early in April, and a few light showers that just dampened the top layer of soil, the month has been exceptionally dry, with many parts of the UK reporting near drought conditions, and moorland fires marring the landscape from Devon to Lancashire.

There were no increase rounds this month (the next is due on the 14th May). I calculate that, in the first four months of 2021 I have worked nearly 43,000 stitches; as a percentage of the total number of stitches for the year, I have worked 9.81%.

The temperature blanket continues to enthrall me, with its lovely spring greens echoing the view from my window as I knit. The trees are in leaf, the damson and plum trees are in blossom, and the blackcurrant bushes are providing nectar and pollen to the many bumblebees that hover around them. The moorhens that live on our pond have produced a brood of tiny black pompoms, and the sparrows and bluetits have been busy building nests in our nestboxes. I love Spring!

It’s not too late to join in and knit your own Temperature Pi Blanket. You can download the pattern and accompanying spreadsheet from https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/temperature-pi-blanket-free-digital-download/

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Temperature Pi Blanket – 1st Quarter 2021

The first 3 months of 2021, 90 days in all, have been very interesting weather-wise, here in West Yorkshire. The temperature graph for these 90 days looks like this:

Of those 90 days, we had:

  • 30 days of predominantly sunny weather
  • 21 days of overcast skies
  • 16 days of rain
  • 12 days of snow
  • 5 days of storm
  • 3 days of high winds
  • 3 days of fog

[I define stormy days as a combination of high winds and lashing precipitation (either rain or snow).]

This data has come as a bit of a surprise, as I my impression of the same period in previous years is of cloudy skies and rain, lashing rain, or drizzle. We have even had prolonged and heavy snowfall in late March, notably in 2012, when were were cut off from the outside world for a week! So this year, with its 30 days of sunshine, has altered my perceptions of my environment.

January saw a few warm(ish) days, but on the whole it was cold, with only 7 days of sunshine. February, normally relentlessly wet and miserable, surprised us with warmer sunnier days towards the end of the month, reaching a high of 13.25° on the 24th. March started with three days of thick fog and ended with a mini-heatwave (23°!).

The Temperature Pi blanket began with pale icy blues and ended with greens and yellows.

The fancy clip-on markers in the image above mark the end of each month, the small calabash pins mark every 10 days as a reminder of my progress.

Every month, I blog about my progress with this project here on the Granary Knits website; I would love to see examples of other knitters’ temperature blankets, so please post photos on Twitter using hashtag #TempPi2021.

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Temperature Pi Blanket – March Update

There is a saying that “If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb”, and vice versa. March certainly arrived tamely with three days of dense fog, not unusual where I live on the side of a hill; we often find ourselves up in the clouds, and the accompanying lack of wind means it can last quite a while.

The blanket is getting big! I am already using two 150cm circular needles to comfortably accommodate the 576 stitches. The first half of the month was cold, but by the 16th temperatures were beginning to rise, and the month ended in the low 20s and very sunny. In fact the temperatures on the last two days of March were a UK 50-year record for the month.

The warmth at the end of the month – reaching just over 23 C on one day – is certainly helping to dry out the soil and open the buds on the trees and bushes. The daffodils are colouring the border of our driveway and the leaves are unfurling on the apple trees. Suddenly, it is all looking very green and yellow!

The colours of the blanket have changed from shades of blue to shades of green, too, even veering to yellow on the last two days of the month, and there have been a lot of sunny days, even if they have not been particularly warm. I have used nearly an entire ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Eve Green (denoting sun) just for the first three months of the year! In fact, there have been 30 days in the first 90 days of the year when the weather was predominantly sunny. That seems like a lot, given our latitude, and my experience of more than 20 years living in the same place!

I am now up to day 90, and have 576 stitches on the needle; the blanket is approximately 72 cm in diameter (unstretched), and I am very happy with my progress.

It’s not too late to join in and knit your own Temperature Pi Blanket. You can download the pattern and accompanying spreadsheet from https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/temperature-pi-blanket-free-digital-download/

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Temperature Pi Blanket – February Update

Good progress has been made this month, and it has been interesting to see the temperature variability. We had a week of really cold days, when the temperature rarely rose above zero, followed by almost balmy days of 10 – 13 degrees Celsius to close out the month.

The old name for February, in some parts of England, was Filldyke, and we can certainly get a lot of rain. This year, we had snow and ice instead, which of course fills dykes and ditches when it thaws! The soil is waterlogged, although a good few days of wind and sun have dried out the surface.

The left photo above shows the blanket so far, both January and February. The right photo shows an interesting section of February, 15th to 19th; the temperature stayed within the same band, dark blue 6 – 10 degrees, but the Kidsilk Haze modulates each day – overcast, overcast, sun, rain, wind – in a pleasing way so that no two days look alike.

I am now up to day 59, and have 288 stitches on the needle, and the blanket is approximately 48 cm in diameter. I really like how the colours move and fluctuate, and the Kidsilk Haze gives a lovely halo of warmth and comfort.

It’s not too late to join in and knit your own Temperature Pi Blanket. You can download the pattern and accompanying spreadsheet from https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/temperature-pi-blanket-free-digital-download/

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Temperature Pi Blanket – January Update

I started my 2021 Temperature Pi Blanket project a little late, because I was waiting on delivery of several of the yarns, but I made sure I had recorded temperature and weather each day on my spreadsheet so that, once I had them, I could steam ahead. January represents relatively short rounds and several rounds could be knit in a day, so there was no problem in keeping up with events.

The weather here in January can be very variable; we can be buried in snow or deluged with rain. 2021 started quite mild, and although the overnight temperature dipped below zero Celsius once or twice, the maximum temperature hovered mostly around 4 or 5 degrees Celsius. We had some snow, and the first storm of the year, Storm Christoph, but also several days when it was sunny but cold. As the month drew to its close, it became milder but also wetter with odd flurries of snow, and then the last two days were very frosty and cold.

January

I have completed 31 rounds, beginning with 9 stitches per round, and have now reached 144 stitches per round. It will be interesting to see what February will throw at us!

It’s not too late to join in and knit your own Temperature Pi Blanket. You can download the pattern and accompanying spreadsheet from https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/temperature-pi-blanket-free-digital-download/

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley Pattern

Another new pattern from me, a lovely semicircular shawl called The Wind That Shakes The Barley. It was inspired by the Irish folk song, and features ears of barley blown hither and thither. It has an interesting construction, being knit from the bottom edge of deep picot-tipped scallops to top, but despite the complicated-looking cast on it is a quick knit in DK weight yarn.

The pattern was first published in Knit Now magazine in March 2020.

Available now in the Granary Knits store, https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/the-wind-that-shakes-the-barley-shawl-digital-download/ .

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Temperature Blanket for 2021

I’m always looking for a new project for the New Year, and this year’s project will truly span the whole 365 days. I am going to knit a temperature blanket to reflect the weather where I live. But this won’t be the usual square or rectangle; it is a Temperature Pi circular blanket, based upon the principles laid down by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and I should be delighted if you would like to join me in this enterprise.

To begin at the beginning, you need good data for your locality. I am enormously lucky in that I have an electronics geek for a husband; he created a garden weather station for me some years ago, and since the station outputs its data to a website, I have everything I need to begin. Alternatively, you could use the BBC Weather website or other weather app to gather data. I have prepared an Excel spreadsheet for you to use in gathering data. It is certainly not too late to start.

As well as temperature, I have been recording the predominate weather condition each day. The blanket I have designed can be knit in two ways; you can use just the temperature for each day’s round, or you can add in an indicator of the weather condition to the temperature. I have done this by holding both the temperature yarn together with a strand of fine yarn such as Rowan Kidsilk Haze, to knit each round. This gives a lovely haloed warm texture, as well as a subtle colour modulation.

The second requirement is a good selection of colours for your temperature range and your weather indicator. I selected a palette of 9 temperature colours to range from -5°C to 40°C, in 5 degree increments; you may need to adjust your range based upon where you live; if you generally have temperatures lower than -5°C but never get above 30°C, then alter your range accordingly. I selected seven weather indicators – sun, overcast, rain, wind, fog, snow, and storm (which could be a combination of wind and rain, or wind and sun where I live) – and chose colours to reflect these from the Kidsilk Haze range.

Lastly, you need a pattern to help keep you on track. The Excel spreadsheet helps in keeping track of the day numbers and dates, the pattern gives colour and yarn suggestions, as well as details of increase rounds. There is a pretty lacy edge, charted and written, for the month of December to look forward to. The free pattern has been tech edited, and is available together with the spreadsheet by clicking here.

My progress so far on the blanket looks like this; you can see the marled effect of using the weather indicator thread together with the temperature: Small beginnings, but it will grow!

If you would like to be part of a community of knitters working on the blanket, then please follow @sb97979 (Granary Knits) or @veg_grower on Twitter, or @GranaryKnits on Instagram; post pictures of your progress using the hashtag #TempPi2021.