Stitching temperatures into fiber art

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Temperatures are being stitched into a keepsake documenting the weather for the year.

Alison Peifer is the recreation supervisor at Centerville-Washington Park District. At first the colors on a blanket she holds up appear random.

“When you knit or crochet something the pattern typically tells you exactly what colors to do,” Peifer said. “Whereas when you do this, every day is going to be different and you don’t really know.”

Each color represents a 10-degree temperature range. Blue is the coldest, while a deep red is the warmest reading. The blanket is made up of rows indicating the temperature each day.

“We just liked looking at it and saying like oh my gosh there was a 60/70 degree day in the middle of January or there was a 50/40 degree day in May or June,” Peifer said. “That’s just really interesting because every year is different, there’s never going to be a uniform amount.”

This year she is leading a group of nine ladies though the project at the park district.  

“We have a lot of public that like to do more intricate art projects,” Peifer said. “So we decided to offer it that way and then we would learn about the weather and the temperatures.

Lorraine Fortner is just beginning her blanket to document the temperature. 

“What I’m doing is called casting on which is basically the first thing you do for any knitting project,” Fortner said.

Previously the largest thing Fortner had made was I scarf. This is her first time knitting a blanket.

“So I need to learn how to do some new tricks for that, and the weather is always an interesting topic,” Fortner said. “To combine the two of them over the course of the year, I think is going to be a lot of fun and we’ll learn weird things.”

Starting with day one, the high on Jan 1 was 52 degrees. By the second temperatures were seasonal again staying in the 30s through Jan 12.   

“This is going to be an interesting project to really see variation day to day to day over the course of the year,” Fortner said, “because we don’t tend to think of it as the whole cycle necessarily.”

Rose Ebel is crocheting her blanket. Like most, she’s starting with yellow due to the warm start this year.

“I would like to see more blue,” Ebel said. “I like the cold weather. I like snow, but you know if we throw a stripe of yellow in at the beginning of the year, it’s what it is.”  

Right now the class is full. Peifer said it is limited to 10 people to follow COVID guidelines. The group will meet once a month through 2021. If the restrictions are loosened Peifer said more people would be able to join.

“You can do it at home and then I can put you on my mailing list to keep you updated with the temperatures and what colors you’re supposed to be knitting,” Peifer said. “So anybody can do it at home and then join us when they feel comfortable and the guidelines allow us to have more people in a room.”

It is a requirement to wear a mask. A temperature check is done at the door. Participants then wash their hands and disinfect the table they are using at the beginning and end of the class.   

“I thought it was a good way to get out of the house and it will chronicle the whole year in weather. It’s fun to live in the Miami Valley and see all the changes day in and day out,” Ebel said.   

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