My sister and I live in two vastly different countries. I live in Scotland, in Europe, in the Northern hemisphere; my sister lives in Zimbabwe, in Africa, in the Southern hemisphere. When it is winter in Scotland, it is summer in Zimbabwe. I grew up with hot, sometimes humid, Christmases.

Because it is warm for a lot of the year, houses in Zimbabwe are built to be kept cool, while our homes in the UK are insulated in anticipation of cold winters. It’s difficult to explain, but I’ve long suspected that this makes our perception of ‘temperature’ a bit skewed. But I’ve never been motivated to sit with data and see if I’m right. But a crochet project… well, that’s a different story altogether!

For example, when my family came to spend one Christmas with me in Scotland, my brother in law, who hates the cold and was slightly dreading experiencing a Scottish winter, commented that he was much warmer in Scotland in winter than he was in a Zimbabwean winter.

Another example: the air conditioner in the room where I stay when I’m back in Zimbabwe is set to 18C. In Scotland, I experience 18C as a very comfortable temperature; in Zimbabwe, when I walk into the room from outside, I shiver and feel as if I need to put on a cardigan.

Mood board for temperature comparison project
Project moodboard

My husband is of the view that Zimbabwean winters are like Scottish summers. I dispute this: I have memories of being very cold at night, and of crisp frosts crackling under my feet early in the morning, while walking to school. But is it really cold, or does it feel very cold because the houses are built to let heat escape?

My sister and I chat ‘crochet’ and the weather via Whatsapp. Her ‘Its swelteringly hot here at the moment’ gets an unhelpful, ‘Well, it’s freezing here’. When I started thinking about doing a temperature blanket, I realised how different my sister’s would be if she did one too. It would also be an opportunity to maybe find answers to the ‘temperature perception’ questions which I’ve always had. This is how our temperature blanket comparison project started, and the planning from then on related to making something we really could compare through the year.

The basic premise

We will make a temperature blanket each, but in order to compare them properly, we’ll keep everything else constant. The only variable will be the temperature. This means we’ll crochet the same blanket designs, use the same temperature scale, the same yarn, and the same colour palette.

The temperature scale

We are working our blankets – recording our temperatures in crochet – in two degree increments. To accommodate both countries, the scale starts at -16C (the coldest temperature recorded at our house in Scotland was -15C), and ends at 40C to accommodate the outside possibility of an extremely hot day in Zimbabwe.

I set up a ‘temperature tracker’ spreadsheet, using Excel, that would keep us both on track: more about that here.


It’s difficult for my sister to buy yarns covering a wide spectrum of colours, so I knew the yarn would have to come from either South Africa or the UK. My preferred choice for crocheting blankets would be Stylecraft Special DK, Yarnsmith’s Create DK and Scheepjes Colour Crafter DK. I buy my yarn from Wool Warehouse, and the links above will take you to these yarns on their website. Choosing from within these ranges gives me a huge range of colour choice. I also happen to have yarn pegs for all of these colours, which really helps with colour selection. My yarn pegs were purchased from Etsy, made by Bauhinea Crafts.

The colour choices

Spiral of yarn pegs forming a rainbow
Temperature blanket colour choices

My scale required me to settle on a choice of 29 colours. I felt a bit daunted by this (I wrote about my colour anxiety in a lot of detail here), so I enlisted the help of a friend (Pixie-Sarah) and together we came up with a very pleasing set. ‘Proper purple’ represents -16C and ‘Plum Purple’ 40C. My blanket won’t see any from the upper range, while my sister’s is unlikely to ever see the extremes of the lower range. But I think both will be very pretty.

We chose Scheepjes Colour Crafter DK ‘Hasselt’ as our joining colour. It is a gorgeous neutral.

I am most curious to see what happens during Zimbabwean winters, especially to see how cold it really gets. I also wonder if there will ever be a time where our colours start being, for a small amount of time, within the same colour range..? For example, when Zimbabwe starts to slide into their winter, and Scotland heads into summer, will there be a point where we cross over? We’ll, see. That’s what it is all about.

What we will be recording

Our weather station

We’ll be recording the maximum, minimum and average temperature values on each day of the year through 2024. In addition, I will be highlighting family birthdays on mine. We’ve each had to find our own source of data. I am incredibly lucky: my husband was given a meteorological weather station for one of his milestone birthdays and it generates a wealth of information. In fact, I’m barely scratching the surface of it by choosing to record only maximum, minimum and average temperature values. But the really lovely thing, for me, is this means the blanket I am making will be a record of temperatures in our garden.