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How cool is this? 9-year-old designs scarf that doubles as a Seattle weather chart

Rebecca Ryan holds up a thermometer and balls of yarn as she tracks the daily weather by having her mom knit corresponding colors into a scarf.


What to do when you're into knitting and are keenly interested in Seattle weather patterns?

Why, combine the two passions into an awesome scarf!

Nine-year-old Rebecca Ryan came up with the idea as she watched her mom knitting clothes for her over the years.

"My mom knits lots of things for me to wear and I love choosing colors for the projects," said Rebecca, a third grader at Sammamish's Creekside Elementary School.

But then last summer, Rebecca came up with a knitting project on her own.

"People think it rains a lot in Seattle and that it is always cold," she said. "But last summer was so pretty and warm. I wanted to see what it was really like."

Her idea? Make a scarf that tracks each day's temperature reading around Seattle. She assigned a color to a certain temperature range -- for example, a 41-45 degree day was light teal; a 71-75 degree day was a bright magenta. Then each day she would record the high temperature and her mom would knit one more tiny stripe on the scarf.

The result was a colorful scarf that doubled as a photographic record of the year's temperature swings.

"My favorite colors are purple, pink and blue. That is why those are the color of the scarf," she said.

It was the second idea for the scarf. Originally, the project was going to track the sky conditions.

"But it was too easy to forget to write it down," she said. "We decided to do a weather scarf because if you forget the temperature, you can look it up." And with Seattle averaging around 200-220 mostly cloudy days a year, the scarf would probably end up nearly monochrome.

This way, there were brilliant colors! Here's her scarf for 2014, starting first with the January-June side (she went back and used Seattle's temperature readings to fill out the first half of the year.)



Her color choices really help showcase the temperature extremes of the year -- note the magenta stripe at the start of the year -- a balmy 58 degree day! (There will be a lot of those colors early in the 2015 scarf). We then went into a decent cold snap (bright light blues) in early February a streak of days in the 30s and a 29 degree day on Feb. 6. And if you look hard, you can spot the 66 degree day on March 24, the 82 degree day on April 30, the three day 80+ degree streak in mid-May and the rather mundane June to end it.

And as she surmised, the summer had lots of warm colors:



You can see the individual trends stick out -- our 13 day 80+ streak in early July, the occasional cooling marine pushes, the rapid change Seattle has in going from summer warmth to autumn chill in September and October, and the cold snap that ended November and started December followed shortly by the warmest December day on record (66) on Dec. 10 (that big purple-ish stripe on the right end.)

The most common yarn was the marine blue of 51-55 degrees -- 90.3 yards of yarn! That would make sense as that is about the average annual temperature of Seattle. And a testament to the warm summer -- an amazing 66 yards of "warmer than 81 degrees" pink. Seattle did have 45 days at 80 degrees or warmer this year -- second-most on record.



Rebecca has already started her 2015 scarf, which has a new feature -- she's adding beads to the days it rains. That should make it real sparkly on the edges at the start and end of the year while rather blank in the middle during the dry season.

But I hope she kept the receipts for the light teal yarns because we will be quite lacking in the 40 degree blues, that's for sure. The first three days of the year had temps in the low 40s -- and we haven't had any days that cold since and likely won't again until next winter.

By the way, if you'd like to undertake a similar project, Rebecca is selling the pattern for $2.00 to raise money for Seattle Children's Hospital Uncompensated Care Fund. If you're a member of the knitting site Ravelry, you can search "Bex's Infinite Weather Infinity Scarf" or if not a member, you can go to this site via Ravelry that will link you to the PayPal page for the pattern.

I'll be eager to see how this year's scarf compares to 2014! Cold or hot, we know at least Rebecca will be able to stay warm.

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