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What is the color key for temperature blankets?

Temperature blankets have become a popular crochet and knitting project in recent years. The basic idea is to track the high and low temperatures each day for a certain period of time, like a calendar year, and assign a color value to each temperature range. Then, you crochet or knit one row per day using the corresponding color. When the blanket is finished, the color patterns show how the temperatures fluctuated over the time period.

While blanket makers can choose any colors and temperature ranges they like, most follow general guidelines to make the blankets both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Here is an overview of the common approaches to color keys for temperature blankets.

Basic Temperature Blanket Color Key

The most basic and common color key uses just three colors – one for hot, one for moderate, and one for cold temperatures. For example:

Hot (75°F +) Red
Moderate (55°F – 74°F) White
Cold (Below 55°F) Blue

With this simple key, red rows indicate the hottest days, blue rows the coldest days, and white rows more moderate, comfortable temperatures. The color variations show the temperature fluctuations throughout the blanket.

5-Color Temperature Blanket Key

Five colors allow for a more nuanced range of temperatures. A common 5-color key is:

Hot (80°F +) Red
Warm (70°F – 79°F) Orange
Moderate (60°F – 69°F) Yellow
Cool (50°F – 59°F) Green
Cold (Below 50°F) Blue

With this palette, red indicates the hottest days, while blue is for the coldest days. The orange, yellow, and green rows add nuance for mildly warm to mildly cool temperatures.

7-Color Temperature Blanket Key

Seven colors provide even more granularity:

Very Hot (90°F +) Red
Hot (80°F – 89°F) Orange
Warm (70°F – 79°F) Yellow
Mild (60°F – 69°F) Light Green
Cool (50°F – 59°F) Light Blue
Cold (40°F – 49°F) Blue
Very Cold (Below 40°F) Purple

The addition of very hot (red), mild (light green), and very cold (purple) categories captures more subtle temperature changes. This creates a blanket with more color variation.

10-Color Temperature Blanket Key

For even more detail, some blanket makers use a 10-color key. This typically divides the day’s high temperature into 10-degree increments:

90°F+ Dark Red
80-89°F Red
70-79°F Orange
60-69°F Yellow
50-59°F Green
40-49°F Blue
30-39°F Navy
20-29°F Purple
10-19°F Fuchsia
0-9°F Gray

This captures subtler temperature gradients throughout the year. The blanket will have a wider range of colors.

Custom Color Keys

Beyond these common options, makers can create a custom color key based on their own temperature preferences and desired color palette. For example, someone in a very warm climate may set up color ranges like:

Sweltering (100°F+) Red
Very Hot (90-99°F) Orange
Hot (80-89°F) Yellow
Warm (70-79°F) Olive
Mild (60-69°F) Aqua
Cool (50-59°F) Blue
Cold (40-49°F) Navy
Frigid (Below 40°F) Purple

This puts more emphasis on differentiating hot temperatures. Someone in a colder climate may use more shades of blue and purple for freezing temperatures.

Other makers may pick palette themes, like rainbow colors, pastels, or their favorite sports team’s colors. The options are endless for creating a unique color key.

Tips for Choosing a Color Key

When deciding on a color key for your temperature blanket, keep these tips in mind:

  • Match the number of color ranges to your climate. More color categories allows you to capture more temperature fluctuations.
  • Choose a palette that fits your style. Pick colors you find aesthetically pleasing.
  • Use darkest colors for extreme temps (very high and very low) to make them stand out.
  • Allow enough contrast between color ranges so rows are clearly distinguishable.
  • You can refine the key as you work. Feel free to tweak color choices if needed.
  • Consider colorfastness. Some yarns fade over time, especially darker shades.
  • Check your key works with your fiber craft. Some yarn or crochet stitch types show color variations better.

With some thought about color theory and personal style, you can create a color key that makes your temperature blanket visually engaging and meaningful.

Choosing Colors for Specific Temperatures

Once you’ve decided on the number of color ranges, how do you pick which hues to assign? Here are some common approaches:

  • Red/Orange/Yellow for Warm – Shades of red, orange and yellow visually communicate warmth. Darker reds can indicate hottest temps.
  • Blues for Cold – Shades of blue cue coolness or coldness. Dark blues suit very cold temps.
  • Green for Moderate – Greens denote life and nature, fitting for liveable, moderate temperatures.
  • Neutrals for Transition – Whites, tans, and greys act as neutral transition colors between other ranges.
  • Purple for Extreme Cold – Purple can represent freezing temperatures, especially very dark hues.
  • Use mood associations – Yellows seem cheerful, blues feel calm or solemn. Pick colors that evoke the mood of each temperature range.
  • Natural associations – Think of things in nature tied to certain temperatures, like fire and deserts for hot, ice and snow for Arctic cold.
  • Seasonal colors – Connect colors to seasons associated with temps – oranges and reds for summer, blues for winter, etc.

Considering these natural color meanings and associations can help select a palette that logically fits the temperature gradient.

Different Color Keys for Highs vs. Lows

Some blanket makers use separate color keys for the daily high and low temperatures. For example:

High Temp Key

90°F+ Tomato Red
80-89°F Orange
70-79°F Yellow
60-69°F Pale Green
50-59°F Cyan
40-49°F Light Blue

Low Temp Key

Below 20°F Dark Violet
20-29°F Orchid
30-39°F Medium Blue
40-49°F Royal Blue
50-59°F Teal
60°F+ Lime Green

This approach uses different color palettes designed specifically for showing heat vs. cold. It lets you highlight different temperature information in different ways. Some makers will crochet two rows per day, one for the high and one for the low, to incorporate both keys.

Alternative Color Keys

Temperature blankets don’t have to follow the traditional color key models. You can base the color scheme on something completely different if you prefer.

Rainbow Color Key

For a cheerful rainbow blanket, you could assign temperature ranges to ROYGBIV colors in order, with red for the hottest temps down to violet for the coldest.

Random Color Key

Why not use random colors? Assign each new temperature range you encounter to the next color that strikes your fancy for a playful and improvisational blanket.

Non-Temperature Color Keys

You don’t have to color code for temperature at all. Other ideas include:

  • Color by season – winter tones, spring pastels, summer brights.
  • Color by precipitation – blues for rain, white for snow, gray for no precipitation.
  • Color by day length – lighter colors for longer summer days, darker colors for shorter winter days.
  • Color by mood – pick colors reflecting your mood each day.
  • Color by activity – code for time spent on hobbies, exercise, family, etc.

The core idea of tracking a color variable over time can apply to anything meaningful in your daily life.

Changing and Expanding the Key Over Time

One of the nice things about temperature blankets is you aren’t locked into a color key forever. As you work through the project, you may decide to adjust your original color scheme. For example:

  • Adding new colors to capture an unexpected temperature spike or drop.
  • Shifting all the temperature ranges up or down if that season is hotter/colder than expected.
  • Changing a color you realize looks uglier in real life than you imagined.
  • Mixing in a new color category like precipitation or seasons.

Don’t be afraid to modify your original color key. Part of the fun is responding creatively to weather fluctuations as you craft each new row.

Choosing Colors for Warm vs. Cool Skin Tones

When selecting colors, bear in mind how they will work with your skin tone. Some guidelines:

  • Warm skin tones look great in warm, richer colors like peach, coral, golden yellow, and mossy green.
  • Cool skin tones shine in cool, soft colors like pastel blue, lavender, rose pink, and seafoam green.
  • Neutral skin falls between warm and cool, suiting blended hues like teal, brick red, and camel.
  • Contrasting colors can accentuate both warm and cool complexions when used strategically – for example, warm tones wearing cool blues.

Pick your color key with your skin undertones in mind for the most flattering blanket.

Software to Generate Color Keys

Manually selecting all the colors for a temperature blanket key can be daunting. For help streamlining the process, various apps and tools exist:

  • Tempature blanket generators – Enter your location and timespan and they output a custom color key.
  • Weather history sites – Provide temperature data to analyze and determine optimal color breaks.
  • Color palette apps – These let you generate, save and customize color schemes.
  • Excel or Google Sheets – Use these to store and experiment with color keys.

With the right digital aids, you can quickly create a color key aligned with your weather history and style preferences.


Temperature blankets offer nearly limitless options for color keys. While there are some general guidelines, feel free to get creative with colors and temperature ranges that are personally meaningful and aesthetically pleasing to you. Track your local weather, seasonal changes, moods, activities – the possibilities are endless to make your blanket unique. Have fun experimenting with different color combinations and schemes as you craft your temperature blanket row by row.