On January 6, 2013, I cast on the edge of a “weather scarf.” This is a concept-knitting project in which you really don’t know how it’ll look until it’s done. The pattern is called the “My Year in Temperatures” scarf, by Kristen Cooper. The pattern is basic: select in advance a different color yarn for each range of temperature your area receives. For example, in a year the highs in Chicago might range from below 0 to above 100 degrees. Break the temperatures into bands of 10 degrees each, and assign one color to each band. Each day, you will look up the previous day’s temperature and knit two rows in garter stitch (k across, then k across) in the color that corresponds to that temperature.
I liked the idea of the scarf, because I like meteorology and physical geography. I also liked the fact that this would introduce me more intimately to the weather cycles in Las Vegas– something I am not so familiar with, and would like to be.
I made the following changes to the design:
- I tracked both highs and lows and used double knitting to use both colors and create a reversible scarf. Because double knitting is not inherently connected, I twisted my yarn strands together periodically so they piece would not slip around.
- Each day was represented by only one row, not two.
- Between months, I knitted two rows in a neutral yarn (white for the highs, grey for the lows) so I can navigate the scarf easily.
- When it rained, I purled the rows instead of knitting.
- At the end of each month, I wove in my ends. I did this as a sanity-preservation technique, since it would have been easy to get to December 31, look at all those ends, cry, and run away from the project for a full year.
- I posted updates to Facebook every week on Tuesday. This kept me accountable, and my friends regularly mentioned the scarf when we met up or talked, so I knew people were cheering me on to completion.
- This morning, at the bottom of the scarf, I knitted “VEGAS 2013” into the border.
I chose yarns from my stash that are cotton or cotton blends. I am not a huge fan of cotton for warmth garments, but I have come to embrace the fiber as being particularly well-suited to living in the desert. Cotton doesn’t breathe when wet, but so what? If the humidity is above 11% here, people cry and complain about it being “muggy.” Cotton isn’t as insulating as wool, but again, so what? Today is January 1st, and our high was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
On December 8th, I realized I was running out of the yarn that I was using for the temperature range representing the 40’s (technically, 41-50 Fahrenheit). This was in part because the 40’s is used in both the highs and lows, sometimes on the same day. I was stymied. The yarn in question is Dale of Norway’s Lerke in “Petrol,” a color that defies description. It is a dark teal with slate overtones and tiny flecks of purple. It is impossible to reproduce easily. I pulled out several yarns from my stash, but had no luck finding a perfect match. I borrowed a skein of teal from a friend’s stash, but I wasn’t satisfied with the results.
There are two stores online that sell Lerke, and both had Petrol in stock. I didn’t care too much about the dye lot, since this is such a riot of color anyway. I eventually, on December 27th, caved in and ordered a skein of it for $15– $8.75 plus priority mail shipping from KidsKnits yarn. I despaired of it arriving before New Years, since I’d waited so long to order, and it was coming from New York State. But 2013 had a holiday miracle waiting for me.
It arrived on Tuesday, December 31, shortly before I got off of work early for the holiday. With hours to spare before my NYE parties, I knitted on the scarf until I was all caught up.
This morning, I finished the last row– highs in the 60’s, lows in the 40’s, and knitted the “VEGAS” border to commemorate the year and location. I finished completely this afternoon, weaving in the last ends and wearing my scarf out to lunch today! I can still wash/block it, but it doesn’t strictly require it.