Mini Project, Mini Blanket

I had been making little 2×2 inch squares with scraps from my temperature blanket the whole year. I didn’t know what to do with them but I thought why not make a doll blanket?

This is my first and favorite Cabbage Patch Kid from when I was a kid. My grandpop gave her to me and made her the cotton cord necklace she is wearing. My mom made the nightgown she had wearing and a matching one for me.

She lives in a chair in my craft room turned husband’s office and I figured she could use a little blanket.

I did a random order, no temperature tracking! It’s a little silly to make my old doll a blanket but why not? It was a tiny project. I don’t know any children or I’d make more!

Completed Temperature Blanket!

Woo! I’m excited it is done and (most) of the ends are trimmed off.

It took some planning but I ended up including my birthday this year as a square and adding some triangle squares in order for each temperature in the final row as a “guide”. I also wove three variegated “blank” squares to finish off the row. Each row is two weeks long. I would sew together a row then attach it to the next one. I marked the first square each row with a bit of pink yarn and had a safety pin through the very first square so I didn’t get confused about the direction.

Each square reflects that day’s high temperature and the colors were in 5° increments. I have seen a lot of blankets where they take the average and it makes no sense to me! That is not a reflection of any temperature you most likely actually experienced! I lived all these highs.

I was happy we got up to 100° once so I could use that color which had always been on the chart. I was less happy that we had highs in the 20s so I had to add in an unplanned color! We had a lot more 30-34° days than I had expected which was unfortunate because it was my least favorite color. I had only chose it because it seemed like it would only represent 1-2 days and hopefully would be next to the greys which were the only colors it really looked good next to. That did not happen!

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I don’t think I will make another pin loom blanket this size. I am glad I did the project because it was fun having something little to make every day (did not miss a day!) but the yarn bin did take up a lot of room in the living room and sometimes I was just tired or didn’t feel well. It was easy enough that I felt like I should do it so I did as not to fall behind but sometimes it was a real chore.

Part of this is is that I found that the 4 inch pin loom is quick but not the quickest. I found my favorites are the 2 inch square and the bookmark loom which I found to be quicker and easier to work up. It was easy to start a square, get distracted and put it down and somehow, without touching it, it would get tangled. 4 inches is just wide enough that it was easy to make one mistake and feel like it was too far gone to want to start again. I do think during a square each day really helped me internalize how weaving works but it was a lot of squares to do!

I am not sure if I am going to do a backing. It is a little bumpy but I think it looks fine. I washed it in the tub and then had it out on our big table outside to dry. That really pulled the squares together and gave it a uniformed look. I also don’t know how much actual heavy use it will get although the dogs love lying on it while I am working on it.

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I have some little 2 inch squares I made with scraps from the yarn. I think I might make them into a tiny blanket for my first Cabbage Patch Doll that lives in the former craft room turned office. Right now she has a sleeping bag I made when I was around seven so maybe it’s time for an upgrade.

I have a good bit of yarn left. A few whole skeins and a pretty full ball on the go for almost all the colors. I had spent a lot of time researching the occurrence of each temperature range over the previous three years but we had an unusually cold winter and then few than usual “in between” days in the 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s than what appeared to be common in the past.

I turned some of the smaller scraps (too small to weave any size square out of) into pompoms along with other scraps from other projects. About 20 of these are from the blanket! Maybe more!

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It’s a little weird not to have it to work on! I’m hoping to spend that time on trying some other projects. Not that it took long each day but it was hard to pick up something else to do in the evenings when I had the blanket waiting.

I did a little Tiktok of it to get a better idea of how it looks. It’s too big for any table I have!

Temperature Blanket update #5: Final Week!

I’m in the home stretch! I started the blanket on my birthday (August 19th) last year. I had found a chart that showed how make an elongated rectangle blanket with 4 inch pin loom squares that was 14 squares wide. That appealed to me because it was a clear two weeks in each row, other configurations did not have anything remotely resembling an actual week. What’s the point of a temperature blanket if you can’t get a rough idea of what day happened when?

As I got closer to August however I realized that the wording was so strange in the “pattern” that I didn’t realize that doing this didn’t give you a full year of squares. It had you ending 2-3 days early. What? What is the point? Who would do this?

I still wanted a way to show all of the colors I used like a key because again, why wouldn’t I want to make it clear what the blanket is and what the squares mean? I had a really hard time figuring out how to do that. I had thought maybe a pillow but then they might get separated. Doing something on the already seam filled back didn’t seem right.

Finally I think I have come up with a solution. I am going to make triangles of each color using my 4 inch triangle pin loom and stitch them together. Then I am going to finish up the year including my actual birthday. That gives me 8 squares made up of 16 triangles of each color used (we did get up to 100° one day!), 3 date squares and 3 empty squares (color unknown) for the final row. I can put the dates on the blank squares.

Still not sure about a backing but I think the blanket will be cute!

Temperature Blanket Update #4

I finally packed away some of my coldest temperature yarns. I really overbought a couple colors because it was much colder than the last 3 years. In previous years, most winter days had highs in the 35-39 range but this year it was either much colder or much warmer.

It’s still been pretty cold and dreary here but we have ventured into the 80s this week and will probably hit 90 tomorrow. A return to the colors I started the blanket with!

I had kept up with one square a day all year but I’m a tiny bit behind now. I went to Ocean Grove, NJ for a little solo vacation break thought I’d spend the time working on some other pin loom projects. I ended up not doing any weaving at all because it was so windy on the beach and the room was tiny and awkward. Now I’m catching up. I’m doing the temps for Baltimore not where I actually was. I guess that makes sense? I don’t think I will be anywhere else overnight until after it’s finished. Maybe if I was away for longer I’d do the temperature there. But my husband and the dogs were still here in Baltimore so someone did experience that weather! It was cooler where I was.

Once I’m caught up (5 more squares to go!) I will be only 91 days/squares from completing the blanket.

I’m still debating about how to do a backing and if I should attach a key to the temperatures somehow. I asked in a couple Facebook groups and some people had it printed on to fabric or embroidered it on the back. I feel like I should add a key somehow because if I don’t, it just looks like an odd patchwork blanket.

Temperature Blanket Update #4

It was warm today so I took it out to make a little video of my progress through last week.

The weather has been very warm for December and November and lot of variation. It’s been 69° one day and 43° the next. I’m glad I picked colors that work well together overall.

I uploaded a video to Tiktok of it. I’m posting it below but I’m not sure how great it will embed.

You can see below that the back is kind of bumpy so I’m already thinking about how if I will weave a backing and how.

I think it looks great so far! A few loose yarns and I haven’t washed it, of course, but it’s coming together. I wove a design on a few of the squares but nothing fancy. I saw a pattern for a heart I’m tempted by but I’m normally sort of tired by the time I’m doing the squares and don’t want to concentrate that hard.

I have only had one day since the beginning that I skipped so I’ve been keeping up! 115 blocks done. One a day and attaching them to the day before. I do a row of 14 squares (days) then attach them to the rest of the blanket. It’s going to be hot to do that when I finish in August!

Temperature Blanket Update #3: 8 Weeks

I made a little video to show my progress. It’s not washed or blocked so it’s a little bumpy but you can get an idea of the temperature fluctuations.

We were getting into the blues of the 70s but it’s been warm the last few days so the next strip will be back to some purples.

I’m sewing 14 days together and then adding the whole strip at once on top of the previous weeks. You can see the pink square on the bottom left with a safety pin in it—that’s day one. I’ve been sticking a piece of pink yarn through the first day of each new row to keep that straight too. I don’t want any mistakes!

I have a notebook too (of course!) where I track the temps and what block I am on and the over all square number.

So far it’s a manageable project! I’ve found I really prefer it when I can get it done during the day, our house is dark and the bright light makes it so much easier to see. Plus it frees up some time the evenings to do other weaving (I have two projects on the go on my Cricket and Kromski rigid heddles) or something else. When I’m tired I dawdle on the pin loom because it’s a little fiddly once you get towards the end.

Temperature Blanket Update #2: Joining

After the angst of my last post, I decided not to do a decorative crochet join with the squares. I practiced it a lot and got the hang of it but it was so long and tedious. If I was making a small blanket or wall hanging, I’d go for it but it was driving me bananas and that is not the purpose of this project!

I really wanted a project with a small, manageable daily goal. Making a square and then crocheting it perfectly into another square every day did not seem manageable.

I agonized over how else to join the squares and went with something both easy and secure. It does create a ridge on the wrong side but techniques that simply stitched them together so they laid flat did not seem strong enough for what will be a pretty heavy blanket and left gaps.

Wrong side
Right side

I set up my lounge chair on a sunny day and stitched them all together- right sides together, stitched through both loops using the tails I had left on and then pulling the yarn through the seam to secure. It only took me a couple of hours to get caught up from when it started on August 19th.

I’m doing 14 across and if my math is correct, this will leave me with a rectangular blanket and one extra square I could embroider the dates on.

I’m adding the square on to the last day’s square every day and then joining the strips once they reach two weeks. Much more manageable! I’m almost at six weeks now.

Pin Loom Temperature Blanket 1 Month Update

It’s been about a month since I started my temperature blanket. I caught up on the “back” squares and have been able to make a square a day which has been great!

Not so great is that I still haven’t been able to join the squares together. I think I am going to use this technique from this YouTube video. I wish you could see what she was doing a little more clearly but her narration was pretty solid. I made a couple of squares with spare yarn and was able to get a good join.

I had been leaving long tails because I wasn’t sure how I was going to join them but I realized I really preferred to have some sort of border between each one rather than having different day’s colors overlap. I found the above technique and decided to use charcoal colored yarn as my connecting yarn. I’m hoping for sort of a stained glass effect.

My husband was on “vacation” a couple weeks ago when I figured this out. We don’t live near a Micheal’s, maker of the yarn I’m using, and last time I made a order for in-store pick up they gave me the wrong color and made a big deal of how I would have to make another near hour round trip to swap it out. Anyway, I kept thinking we were going to do some day trips and didn’t want to tie up a day with finding a Michael’s with this yarn in stock so I ordered it online for home delivery. It said 3 day delivery and it took two full weeks! This really put me behind.

What’s worse is that we actually didn’t end up doing much of anything over his vacation so I could have taken the time and just picked up the yarn myself. Ugh. I am seriously stressed out about joining a whole month of squares together and keeping up with the daily square. There are only so many hours in the day! Maybe I should have picked something smaller for my first pin loom project? It seemed very manageable at the time and I hope it still is.

Part of what I am learning in my adventures down the pin loom/zoom loom rabbit hole is that there is a lot of talk about making the squares (aka “weavies” a term I’m not sure I like) but very little about actually doing anything with them or how to connect them. That’s why I thought the blanket would be fun. It was a manageable task each day.

I was excited when the Holiday issue of Little Looms magazine arrived and on the cover it said there would be directions on how to knit, crochet and cross stitch pin-loom squares.

I was a little disappointed by the actual article by Gabi van Tassell though, she uses crochet terms like “slip stitch” without giving any idea what that is or how to do it. I’m a recipe developer, I know how important clear directions are. Instead we get “keys” and directions like this:

Why are there no tips on how to keep the yarn underneath the fabric? She also doesn’t mention how or if you have to to line the squares up like the video by the other woman does. The pictures don’t show any squares next to each other so there is no way to know. Zoom loom squares (which are the kind pictured) have bumps and valleys that can “hook” together. Am I supposed to line them up? The video woman says its very important to line them up correctly but van Tassell doesn’t mention it at all.

The bumps have two loops. Which loop do I use? Both? At the same time or separate? Any tips on working in from the front? It’s a very counter intuitive way to join something together. What is a slip stitch? I’ve done some crocheting and never had to do a slip stitch nor it is in any of the “beginning crocheter” videos or articles I’ve read.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because I bought a turtle loom from this woman and while she seems very nice, her directions on that were just as horrible. Is there such a dearth of pin loom weavers this is the best we’ve got? Maybe so? Writing directions is an art and I’m surprised these got published in this (very expensive) magazine. I hope it’s not true of all Little Looms patterns! Maybe they don’t have much staff? Or editors? I can see possibly assuming anyone getting the magazine is pretty into weaving but assuming they also know all other yarn crafts seems unreasonable.

Is every weaver a proficient crocheter? I highly doubt it. When I watch crochet videos about weaving together granny squares with a slip stitch, it’s clear it isn’t the most common method and that it is done differently than how you have to for pin loom squares. Further confusing the issue is that the US slip stitch is the same as the UK single crochet.

The magazine looks cute but between this low quality and how they argued with me when I reached out for help accessing the digital copies I paid for, I’m not thinking they are the most critical thinkers there. They kept saying I didn’t know how to log in and was the problem when later it was clear the app was just having technical difficulties that were resolved. Maybe I just need to become very good at weaving and take over the industry.

So one month in I’m stressed and cranky. Hopefully I can zoom through some joining and get back on track. My husband keeps saying it’s all pressure I’m putting on myself but I planned the project so it would be very manageable and leave me plenty of time to do other things. Now I’m way behind and have to hustle to catch up through no fault of my own. If I get too far behind I know I will just not catch up and will have wasted a lot of time, effort and money.

Temperature Blanket

My husband bought me a Zoom Loom (4×4 inch pin loom) for my birthday. I think I got the hang of it on the beach yesterday and of course, ended up at Michael’s on my way home to buy yarn to make a Temperature Blanket with it.

I had seen people crocheting or knitting these blankets—the idea is that you stitch one row every day reflecting the temperature—but not weaving. With good reason—I don’t have a frame loom big enough for 365 rows nor do I want to tie one up for that long. It would work on a rigid heddle but again, it would be tying up the loom for a whole year. But why not a pin loom? I’ve made quilts before so piecing together little 4×4 squares sounds reasonable.

I’m going to have the first block be my birthday (August 19th) because I don’t want to wait until January and it was less than two weeks ago so it will be easy to catch up.

I love color so I decided to have yarn for every five degrees which I think will be more my style than bigger groupings. I saw a woman on Tiktok that did like 30° ranges! Why? Half her blanket was the same. I think having shorter ranges will end up using about the same amount of yarn.

I used the slightly annoying and tedious Temperature Blanket tool (I suggest you add all the extra rows you need before inputting any data) to look up the highs and lows of each day from August 19, 2020 to August 19, 2021 to get an idea of what amount of yarn to get. A 4×4 pin loom uses a little under 8 yards but I rounded it up to 10 to account for mistakes and any variations.

I ended up with 3 skeins of yarn for the most popular temperature ranges, 2 for some ranges that were right on the edge (some ranges had about 25 days in them and that was the upper end of what I could get from one 280 yard skein) and just one for the very highest and some of the lowest temperatures. For some of the ranges I did get a coordinating variegated yarn just for fun. The yardage on those were only 183 so I had to get extra of one just to be safe.

I’m using Loop’s & Threads Impeccable acrylic yarn (I think it’s Michael’s brand) because I wanted something easily washed, easy to find and didn’t have the dye lot issues natural yarns would have. It is advertised as a blanket yarn so it should be fine. With a coupon it ended up being under $3/skein for most of the yarns. The variegated was the same price for about 3/4 as much. I saw some people who used it with pin looms to make baby blankets so hopefully it will be fine.

I don’t have a huge table inside that ready accessible so I took all the yarn outside and figured out the order.

Of course there will be some intermingling but I wanted to make sure the colors that would most likely be together looked okay together. I went with what color felt like the temperature to me without fixating on “blue for cold, red for warm”. I wish I had some green in there but I didn’t end up liking any of them when I was at the store. I wanted to stick to one brand for continuity.

I did get some orange, yellow and a bright variegated I didn’t end up loving with the the other colors so I’ll have to find another use for them.

I used post-it notes and pinned them to each color. I then wound the most commonly used colors for right now into cakes and refastened the post-its to the cakes.

I used the site Time and Date to see what the high (and low) was each day. I’m only using the high. I saw some people using the high and low twisted together or using the average but using the high felt right. That’s the temperature I notice most often since it happens during the day when I’m awake! I am tracking the lows just in case I needed it for some reason.

I have a note book set up to track the temperature and I created a little reference board of all the yarn for a quick reference.

I’m not sure how I am going to stitch them together yet so I’m leaving long tails.