Counting crosses

It has really been a horrendously hot summer.

During a long, hot summer of doing not much more than complaining about the heat and watering my vegetable beds twice a day (the peas still died), the extreme weather inspired me to make a temperature chart. When we hit 115 (115! in western Washington! In June!) I knew this was going to be a summer to remember and record.

I went pouring through Google images, looking for inspiration for a crafty temperature calendar. I looked at quilts first, as my usual course of action, but I have several unfinished ideas and unquilted tops already and didn’t want to add to that pile. Plus, sewing at night at the end of the day never really appeals to me. It is more a morning-to-all-day kind of activity for me. I wanted something I could do in the evenings as school was going to be starting up again, and we’re back in the building full time this year (fingers crossed). I also considered knitting a scarf or blanket but didn’t want to lay out that much cash on all the yarn colors right now.

I used to do a lot of cross stitch, back in the days before I became a trifocal kind of woman. And cross stitch is more of an evening in front of the TV activity for me. And I do have those trifocals now, so as long as I didn’t get too fine a cloth . . . I started a deep dive in Google images. There are some amazingly creative patterns out there for this kind of floss calendar! Trees with rainbow leaves, flowers or little houses lined up in rows, butterflies even.

I was really drawn to one of a book case (my librarian heart), and then, even simpler, a half square triangle design. The triangles made me I decide I wanted something geometric and to include both high and low temps for each day. Then I came across one with a grid of little filled diamonds that really appealed. I simplified it even more by not having so many patterns – just an outer color and an inner color for each diamond, representing the highest (outer) and lowest (inner) temperature for each day.

It was July when I decided to do it and found the design, and then made a spreadsheet of the temperatures going back to January 1st with the help of Weather Underground. Then, with some trips to the craft store to get just the right colors, then back to get more needles, and when January turned out to be too green back once more for a couple more colors of floss, I was off and running.

I’ve caught up to nearly the end of May already, and really like how it is turning out. The colors are a little brighter than in this picture – the close up further above is more accurate – but not in-your-face bright. Empty white (cream) blocks mark the beginning of each month, and I’m trialing various designs to fill those with the same charcoal gray I used in the outlining. I get ridiculously excited when I get to use a color for the first time. 88 degrees at the end of May! (Seriously, this heat has been insane. Those poor firefighters and evacuees. . . and this is just the beginning of a new normal.)

I was using a paper with a temp scale and color ID to store the pre-filled needles, but today it dawned on me that they’d slide out a lot less if I used a strip of the same cloth. (I’m slow, but I do get there in the end.)

I pick it up a couple of times a week and add more grid blocks and fill in more days. I’m almost done with May, so there is plenty of time to catch up and then wait while the rest of the year actually happens. In the meantime, I’m looking into more cross stitch patterns to work.

Maybe these, to make up for the vegetables I was so unsuccessful with this year.

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Johnna

Hello from Washington. I am a knitter, spinner, and quilter who is constantly looking for the next fiber hobby to add.

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