The Quilters and Knitters Who Are Mapping Climate Change

slate.com
6 min read
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"Everyone who has seen the blanket has wanted to talk about how hot the summer was and how late into the autumn the warm temperatures continued."
A "village" of temperatures, inspired by Nathalie Cichon Anonymous Twitter user

Last week, as January became February, I noticed that green shoots from the daffodils in my front yard in Ohio were already poking above the ground. On Sunday, writer Josie George shared a photo on Twitter of a scarf she had been knitting, with a daily row for the temperature and weather in her town. "It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year," she wrote. "A way to notice and not look away."

I decided that this year, every day, I would knit a row on a scarf to mark the corresponding daily temperature/weather of my town. It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year. A way to notice and not look away. Here's January then. pic.twitter.com/XQ9scIMX5c — Josie George 🌻 (@porridgebrain) February 2, 2020

In response to George's viral Tweet, a number of knitters, cross-stitchers, and quilters shared their own projects. The idea of a temperature scarf, it turns out, is at least a half a decade old, and a whole lot of people are trying to chart the "new normal" in yarn. In 2015, Joan Sheldon, a marine scientist, knit a scarf depicting global average temperatures from the 1600s to the present. Last year, the St. Paul Star Tribune covered a knit-along called Weather or Knot, conducted by one of the city's yarn stores, that asked knitters to make a temperature blanket or scarf; that knit-along was inspired by the Tempestry Project, a group founded in Washington state in 2017, that now has chapters across the country. Climate crafting, it seems, has come into its own.

This is my 2018 temperature blanket. Might do another in 2023 and see how different it looks pic.twitter.com/EBDs21uqQV — Rachel Chilton (@labtech666) February 2, 2020

Knitters replying to George's tweet didn't always begin their projects with climate change in mind. "I'm an inexperienced knitter, had seen temperature blankets on Pinterest and…
Rebecca Onion
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