26 October 2023


I was so confident on October 7 that we'd experienced our final 85+ temperature of the year, I took the pinks out of my crochet temperature project bag. This was a pretty big deal because we were about to travel to my mother-in-law's house for a week, and I wouldn't have my pinks if I needed them.

I decided to take a chance because I also needed my vacation time to finish my annual Halloween snowflakes for the grands. I'd already gotten quite a few days behind on my crochet temperature project, thanks to a pinched nerve in my back, and I'd caught up. (Thank goodness!!!) I would be gone nearly as many days as I was unable to sit when I was in pain, so I knew I could catch up if I got behind again because I took no pink thread.

Thankfully (because I am no fan of hot weather), I didn't need pink while I was gone! And, I got to reintroduce some of my favorite spring colors!!!

They say it's not "Indian summer" unless you've had a freeze. We'd had a great streak of cooler highs but not freezing nights before we left town, which made me think we were done with summer. Temperatures were unseasonably warm at the beginning of October, and that dreaded dark pink (only because I don't like hot weather) in my crochet temperature project made three more appearances when, in my mind, it should have been packed away until next year. UGH!

While we were gone, the little foothills village where I live had its first freeze (and first hard freeze) of the season!!! The sudden cold did in all my (pleasingly pink) cosmos that was remarkably rampant in many places I did not plant (but treasured!) and all my pepper plants and tomato plants. (I'd harvested all veggies and put them in the window to ripen before we left, and they were perfect when we returned home!)

Now, I thought, we finally were done with summer! Gonna miss my veggies and flowers, but not gonna miss the 80s and 90s one bit!

Then, darn it, back came those blasted 80s! Very thankful to still not be using pink in the crochet temperature project, but I had to pull out the maroon again (80-84 degrees) several times. Luckily, I didn't need it until the day we got back home, because I'd left it at home. Very fortunately, we missed the expected high of 85 one day last week by just one degree! (85 degrees and up are all pink.)

Quite thankfully, because I don't like high temperatures, not because I still have so much pink in my hand-dyed stash, I never used two of the pinks in my 2023 temperature chart.

One of my goals with this crochet temperature project was to use up some of my hand-dyed crochet thread because there's just so much of it. I love to dye, but I can't use up the stuff I dye fast enough. I've been mostly good about keeping the new year's resolution I made pre-pandemic to not dye anymore until I use up what I have.

As I run out of crochet temperature project colors, I've been diving into the stash to get as close as I can to the color that ran out. I had to dye purples earlier this year because I used up ALL my medium to dark purples. That made me look a little more closely at the original goal to use up as much hand-dyed thread as I could because the colors I'm running out of are colors I love using.

Now I'm about to run out of my pale sage, which I probably will need to finish out the year. (Shoot, I'm going to need more of it this week, for both highs and lows!!!) I have no other shades of sage or anything even remotely close at all left in my stash. And I love the hue. So I'm dyeing more, and I'm hoping to get a gradient collection of at least three shades. I'd be happy with four if I can get them!

I try to reuse each dye until there is no pigment left.

And now, thanks to our true and often predictable Indian summer (getting hot again after a freeze), I'm about out of my only maroon, too.

Maroon isn't really a shade I adore or even use as much when I'm crocheting, but it's SO hard to achieve. When I do use it, it's typically for patriotic, Christmas or Valentine's projects. All three of which are coming up! So I guess I need to try my hand at dark maroon again, too. Darn it! Did not plan that aspect of my temperature quilt out well at all. Not once did I fret at the beginning of the year at the prospect of running out of any of the colors I'd selected.

A long-term goal (not started yet) close to my heart for decades is to create thread crochet tapestries of some of my favorite photos. Can't very well do that if I've used up all my hand-dyed thread.

My crochet temperature project has been teaching me so many lessons. I'm making a list of things I've learned for an end-of-project wrap-up. I've learned so much about snowflake surgery (thanks to booboos I discovered too late and could not live with), crochet techniques such as joining, thread end-burying and difficult stitch mastery. I am really thankful I took on this project, even though there were times when the pinched nerve in my back made me wish I didn't have make a motif every single day (and catch up when I got so far behind).

Earlier in the year, I'd actually considered trying to use up my hand-dyed blue crochet thread in an all-blue 2024 crochet temperature project. Although I think that would be a stunning work of art, I don't think there's any way I could part with the entire collection now! Crazy me. I just want to add more to it!

Most importantly, I've learned it's okay to have a good stash with great selection. It's okay to take up space at home for things most important to me. And perhaps it's even okay to dye a bit more, even though I've still got at least 80 colors left in my stash!

more maroon and sage

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