11 January 2017

Crochet Project: Temperature Rugs

On the last day of 2015, a post came up on my Facebook feed about crocheted temperature rugs. The idea is that you crochet one row of a rug per day, using a colour chart linked to the temperature of that day. Intrigued, I did a bit of reading, but discounted the idea. The idea however, was still rolling around in the back of my head, leading to a brainwave one day of making each of my kids a single bed size rug, using temperature data for the first year of each of their lives. Of course, the colour schemes would have to match their favourite colours too.

Miss 7 likes pinks, so that was an easy decision, light pink for the lower temperatures, through to a dark purple for the higher temperatures. For Master 11, green was the clear choice, light through to dark. On consulting each child on colours, they confirmed that these were the right colour choices (without knowing what I had already been thinking).

For the temperatures, I consulted the Bureau of Meteorology's website (handy if you're in Australia, not so much if you live anywhere else. Sorry.) I remembered what a pain it was to find what I was looking for once before, so here's the link to a chart of historical temperatures if anyone else is looking for them. This is set to 2010 in Sydney. It might not help many others reading this, but at least I'll know where to find this again next time I'm looking for this data! It did get interesting when it was missing 2 days of data. I went with the next nearest weather tracking station, but the data for some days was 2 degrees hotter, others it recorded cooler temperatures. I just used the temperatures minus 2 degrees. I started for the day they were born, through to the day before their first birthday.

I've seen rugs done with the high, low and mean temperature of each day, and although they are beautiful, I was looking for something a little simpler for my first foray into crocheting rugs, so decided to just stick to the maximums. The temperatures for Miss 7 did not go below 14 degrees Celsius, and for the higher temps up to 41 degrees. Master 11 meanwhile had a high of 44 degrees and a low of 12.

I decided on doing 4 degrees per colour, which resulted in seven different colours for the Miss, and 9 colours for the Master.

I found it very hard to find enough shades of greens in the same yarn, so left that rug aside for the time being, and decided to search for pinks instead. The great thing about doing an historical rug is that you can work out in advance how much of each colour you need to buy. I did a swatch to work out how big to make the rug, and then undid it to find out how many metres of yarn I would need per row.

The temperature splits, numbers of rows for each, and numbers of balls were as follows:
14 - 17     39 rows     3 balls (white)
18 - 21     100 rows   7 balls (cream)
22 - 25     115 rows   8 balls (light pink)
26 - 29     82 rows     6 balls (dusty pink)
30 - 33     23 rows     2 balls (hot pink)
34 - 37     3 rows       1 ball (wine)
38 - 41     3 rows       1 ball (violet)

For this rug I used Carnival Soft 8 ply acrylic from Big W. My starting chain was 240, and I used a 4.00mm crochet hook, with 10 stitches between stripes. The finished rug ended up just going over the edges of the bed, despite me thinking that it would hang down the sides a bit more. I'm not too worried about this though, as I have a rug that my grandmother crocheted for me over 30 years ago, and it initially fit on a single bed (hanging down the sides of the bed), but has now stretched out to cover the top of a queen size bed. I know that this rug will stretch out in time too, and she's only little now, so it doesn't need to be huge.

The finished dimensions are 95cm wide (excluding fringe) and almost 160cm long. For the next one I am doing the same pattern, but with more stitches, and using the next size up crochet hook. It will be interesting to see the difference in the final dimensions.

The pattern that I used is the groovy-ghan. My only change to the pattern as written was to reverse the direction of the diagonal stripes at the start of each new month, giving a zig zag pattern. To make the rug a little wider, I opted to tie the ends off on the edges to make a little fringed edge. I knotted two rows together, then took one yarn from each of these and knotted two together again, then took a bundle of two with one extra from each side to knot four together. Then I cut them all of the same length (unless it was already shorter!)

It wasn't without it's mistakes, and I did manage to lose stitches on occasion, and get extras at other times. Not that you can tell! I was going to fix some of my mistakes after the fact, but that's what gives a hand made rug more character, plus I just couldn't be bothered!

Spot the mistakes!
By the time I got myself organised and had bought all my yarn, finished my last knitting project and had the time to start, it was April. My aim was to have this finished by Christmas, and even though I took a month or so off when I started my new job, I got it all done in time, although I was still tying off knots on Christmas Eve. I still haven't managed to crochet an actual thermometer with my colours on it, but it will come eventually. I've already started on Master 11's rug now. My aim for that one is Christmas 2017, when he will be Master 12.

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