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Temperature Pi Blanket – August Update

If July 2021 was a reasonable approximation of Summer, then August has definitely felt like Autumn. On the very first day there was dew on the early morning grass, huge skeins of wild geese flew over the house several times, and the air felt slightly crisper, that little bit cooler. The shortening days became more overcast, there were even a couple of stormy days, high winds and hurrying clouds, almost unheard of at this time of year. The highest temperature achieved during the month was 25°C, the lowest 15°C, and the colours of the blanket reflect this, being largely mid green with a few days of yellow.

I have now completed days 213 to 243 inclusive, continuing with 1,152 stitches per round. I have worked 177,012 stitches, and the blanket is 40.58% 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 – July Update

July weather has been mixed, to say the least. One week, we had temperatures in the low to mid 30 degrees Celsius, the following week, it struggled to reach 13 Celsius, and Storm Evert hit us hard for 24 hours. We experienced a full week of rainy days, and a full week of baking temperatures and relentless sunshine; on the whole, a bit of a roller-coaster. It is important to point out, that I speak only about Yorkshire in the UK. Canada, the USA, Siberia, Turkey have all suffered devastation from uncontrollable wildfires; and Wales, Belgium, Germany, and much of central Europe had to cope with torrential rainfall and flooding that overwhelmed towns and villages. In the face of such destruction, it seems rather trivial to be writing about a knitting project.

The Temperature Pi Blanket has been cosy to knit under for the last few days after the temperature dropped; during the heatwave week, it was a severe trial; but I managed to keep up with the project and completed the month more or less on time.

I have now completed days 182 to 212 inclusive, continuing with 1,152 stitches per round. I have worked 141,300 stitches, and the blanket is 32.39% complete (in terms of the number of stitches worked). I have now used all but one of the colours on my colour/temperature chart, the dark pink/red for 36 – 40 degrees; I suspect that this year we shall not reach such high temperatures, but August may yet surprise us.

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 – 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 – 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 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.

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Sock Yarn Mittens

My second free pattern, designed to help you use up oddments from stash,  is for full mittens with gussetted thumb and an interesting ribbed cuff. This pattern was part of my Love Your Stash Challenge for 2019, in which I aimed to use yarn from stash for a series of simple accessories.

It is knit from the finger tip to the cuff, incorporating the pre-knitted thumb as you go, and uses any standard sock yarn.

You will need:

Any standard sock yarn (I used Regia for the sample , but West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Sock would also be a good choice). If you only have small quantities of multiple different sock yarns, use them up by randomly striping, or use different colours for the thumbs, cuff, or finger tips.

Your choice of circular needles or dpns (or AddiCraSyTrio Sock needles!) in the following sizes:

2.00 mm [UK/Canada size 10, US size 3]

2.25 mm [UK/Canada size 11, US size 2.5]

Stitch markers

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Waste yarn

The PDF version of the free pattern can be downloaded from the Granary Knits Pattern Store. Have a look through your stash, gather your tools together, and happy knitting!

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Incorporating a Thumb in Top-down Mittens

There are, of course, several ways to knit a mitten, and I have tried most of them. My favourite technique, at the moment, is to knit the thumb first, place it on waste yarn, and then begin the mitten at the fingertip end, knitting down the hand until you reach the point when you incorporate the thumb. You can try the mitten on at every stage, to get the most comfortable width for you and the best length before you add in the thumb. It also has the advantage that the technique for casting on for full mittens is identical to that for toe-up socks, so if you are a sock knitter, the method is entirely familiar.

This technique is used in several of my mitten patterns: Fingerless Feather Mittens, Full Feather Mittens, and my free pattern for sock yarn mittens; this photo tutorial is an aid to those patterns. The thumb is incorporated into the mitten and a gusset is then knit to taper the mitten.

Thumb

First, knit your thumb, according to the pattern you are using. This can be a half-thumb (for fingerless mittens) or a full thumb.

Thread the first 2 stitches and the last 2 stitches of the round onto a small piece of waste yarn, and thread the remaining stitches of the thumb onto a longer piece of waste yarn.

Mitten

Work the first part of the mitten, from fingertip/fingerless mitt ribbing, to the point where the thumb joins the palm. The mittens are identical for the purposes of attaching the thumbs. Ensure you have worked the mitten to 2 stitches before the end of the round where you will attach the thumb. Using a piece of waste yarn, thread the two stitches from the beginning of the mitten round and the 2 unworked stitches from the end of the round onto the waste yarn, as you did for the thumbs.

Take one of the pre-prepared thumbs and remove the longer piece of waste yarn as you place half the remaining thumb stitches onto one of the mitten needles and the other half onto the other needle; the 4 stitches still on the waste yarn should be sitting adjacent to the mitten stitches also on waste yarn.

Round 1: Knit around the mitten and thumb once, the start of round now being the last mitten stitch of the round, adjacent to the first thumb stitch.

Round 2: ssk the first mitten stitch with the first thumb stitch, knit across the thumb to the last thumb stitch, k2tog the last thumb stitch with the next mitten stitch. Knit around the mitten to the end of round. [2 stitches decreased]

Round 3: knit

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until all thumb stitches have been decreased.

Knit straight until mitten reaches your wrist bone, then add the cuff of your choice.

Once the gusseted thumb has been incorporated into the mitten, you can close the gap by grafting/Kitchener stitching the 4 stitches of the mitten with the 4 stitches of the thumb. See YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJFRI-_EQeA for a great tutorial on Kitchener Stitch.