PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland and Vancouver areas have had their fair share of wacky weather this year, and one Vancouver woman has helped keep track of it all with a cozy crochet blanket.
Temperature blankets have been around for years. Crafty people from all over the globe annually start the do-it-yourself project, which requires them to add yarn to a blanket in the color that corresponds with the daily temperature.
2022 was the first year, and potentially the last, that Jene McMahon had crocheted a full blanket. She works from home as a medical biller, but inspiration from TikTok, encouragement from her mother and her general love of art inspired her to start her latest project.
“I’ve always wanted to do something everyday for a year since I was a little girl,” McMahon said. “I was on Tik Tok and I saw a girl do a temperature blanket last year. And I thought, ‘okay, that’s something I could do.’ It’s something I could take with me no matter where I went, it would be a great keepsake and my mother is a master-crocheter, so I knew the basics.”
McMahon’s husband is a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration service manager, and her grandmother was a farmer who would monitor the weather every day; thus, her interest in tracking the temperature doesn’t come as a shock.
Something that did surprise McMahon, however, was how early on she was using some of the warmer colors in her crochet key.
“I’m doing what they call a traditional temperature blanket, where I start with creams then grays and blues and greens, then yellow,” she said. “I knew that I wouldn’t use oranges and reds until summertime, but I was shocked how quick. In April, I was using yellow. And green? I didn’t think I was gonna use green until May, and here I am using green in March.”
McMahon hasn’t seen as much variety for the month of December that’s only brought on different shades of gray, but she’s hoping the upcoming cold arctic air can change that.
For McMahon, perhaps the best part of this year-long venture is the community she’s found thanks to #temperatureblanket2022. In addition to posting blanket updates to the Instagram hashtag, people provide tips, tricks and words of encouragement for their fellow crocheters.
“I’ve never met them. I never talked to them in person,” she said. “It’s tough to do something every day for a year, so I’ve really liked seeing their blankets and seeing how they’ve had struggles. And we all feel like we’re eight-and-a-half-months pregnant. We’re over it. We’re ready to be done.”
This project has been a huge undertaking for McMahon who crochets an additional two rows to the blanket each day, which takes up to two hours. She plans on adding her last stitch right as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day. According to her calculations, that’ll be her 154,760th stitch of 2022.
Another Portlander or Vancouverite may have to volunteer to make the area’s temperature blanket next year. In 2023, McMahon wants to dedicate more time to working on projects in her art shed, so this blanket may be a one-time thing.
“I have Afghans that my mom made me when I was a kid in the ‘70s, so they lasted a long time, she said. “It’s a cool legacy for my family to be able to pass down for generations saying, ‘Okay, this is what my weird, cool grandma did in 2022.’”