When I was at the very last stage, the one where I had to fold the neck in half and sew it in place, I received a message from my cousin, Joan. Joan is my first cousin and lives in New Brunswick. We spent our summers together as children and remain connected and close to this day. Joan messaged to tell me about a project she, her mom, sister and several sisters-in-law and nieces are doing, and she invited me to join.
They are each going to make a Temperature Blanket in 2022. I had never heard of this but was intrigued with the thought of a new and, Joan promised, easy, project! The basic idea of a Temperature Blanket is to crochet or knit a specific number of rows, one or more, on a blanket each day for a full calendar year. The colours used each correspond with the temperature outside. It seemed like the exact kind of project I was ready for.
I emailed and texted a few friends I know who might like this project too, and also offered it as a potential project for our little knitting group. We are a bunch of dancers who have a problem with yarn; it collects in our bins, and we are always looking for ways to use it up. We make hats and scarves, baby outfits and slippers, blankets, and shawls, all to donate to those who might benefit from our incurable habit. By the time the sun had set, I’d already picked my yarn, created my temperature gauge, dusted off my 5mm crochet hook, and begun.
As I worked away the first evening, I found myself hoping for some predictable weather. The twelve colours I had chosen didn’t exactly match, but they followed a nice progression. I had pictured my winter colours, the blues, becoming lighter as the months unfolded, giving way to the greens of springtime. If the weather in Calgary would only cooperate, my blanket would be a nicely organized progression of hues. Alas, this is Calgary, and the weather is not often predictable. In the first two weeks of this year alone it ranged over 30°C!
The blanket, it turns out, is not only going to be a record of the temperatures of the year, it will also reflect the beauty variety brings to our lives. My blanket will be dotted with rows of unexpected colour at unexpected times. No doubt it will be much more interesting than anything I could have planned.
So it is with life.
We try to line it up, create neat compartments, and then pride ourselves with our careful control over our moments, days, weeks, months and even years of our lives. But as I reflect over my life, some of the most memorable, most satisfying, most interesting, and most wonderful moments have been at times when God has laughed at me, throwing unexpected circumstances my way that I could never have imagined, much less planned. At those times, I could do nothing but knit with whatever colours I had in my basket.
Even though the blanket I’ve started is called a Temperature Blanket, and even though the colours represent changes in temperatures, as I work away on these easy, early rows, my mind wanders to thinking about what a blanket of this year of my life might look like. What might it look like if each row represented the temperature of my bravery? Or kindness? Or self-acceptance? Or willingness to fail? Or adventure? Or satisfaction?
With the Temperature Blanket, now that I’ve chosen my colours and set the gauge, I have no control over the rest. If the temperatures are predictable and boring, so too will be my blanket. If they are variable, so too will be my blanket. I think I’ve chosen colours pretty enough that either way the result will be good.
My life, on the other hand is not tied to such a predetermined gauge. At the end of each day, certainly I will have to use the colour of yarn that represents my day. But at the beginning of the day, before the dye is cast, I have full control over the colour I’ll pick from my basket to add to the blanket of my life.
I want to look back on this year and see some vivid colours. I want to see some that I might never have chosen based on my past experiences. I want to create a collection of colours that reflects the truest version of myself. And then, if all goes well, I’d like to add this years blanket to the blanket of my life and give thanks for being able to live a life that offers me choice and the opportunity to grow.
Whether you knit or crochet, or not, I hope you’ll take some time to envision your 2022 blanket. May you find the courage to design it exactly as you wish, then have the grace to allow life to add a few sparkly threads of her own.
My inquiry for you this week is, “What colour am I adding to my blanket?”
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations and for conducting leadership reviews. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to create your best life blanket.