These Colorful Scarves Are All About Our Changing Weather

A beautiful and relatable way to address a key issue for the future of our beloved planet.


(xuanhuongho /

If you are a craftsy person, there's a good chance you've come across someone knitting a temperature scarf. Whether you think they look cute, fun or overly colorful, it’s important to know that they’re not just a quirky fashion trend. Temperature scarves are the fruit of a conceptual knitting pattern that beautifully combines art with data visualization. They involve lots of work and commitment, and most importantly, convey a clear visual message on a topic that involves everyone across the globe: climate change.

As The Tempestry Project clarifies on its website, these accessories provide a great route to “visualizing climate data in a way that is accurate, personal, tangible [to people] and beautiful”. It is basically like a bar graph through which anyone, even school kids, can understand the temperature pattern for a given year, and the location. 

Each yarn color represents a temperature range, creating a lovely and easy-to-understand mosaic of shades all along the scarf, representing changes over time. The scarves can have different textures and patterns, but essentially, knitters are supposed to knit one row per day, matching the color to the daily temperature. Some people even use beads or special yarns to depict rain or snow.

This new way of looking at climate data has proved its success in raising awareness in an amazing way. The reasons why are varied and multiple: it bridges global climate and our own personal experiences because it is extremely relatable and easy to understand. It also serves as a great tool for educating kids at schools and creates meaningful conversations within communities. And the activity itself gathers people together around a topic with real purpose that requires collaboration.  

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Savannah, Georgia, 2009. Coldest day: February 4th, 41°F. Hottest day: June 28th, 97°F. Custom kits available at link in bio. ❤️

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As more and more people are knitting scarves or tapestries documenting temperature changes year-round, in their own location, a colorful mosaic of climate history is emerging.

But knitting is not the only way to become involved: discussing, teaching, wearing and sharing also enrich this collective art with its goal of a more mindful and active community. 

The temperatures of cities, countries and even national parks can be measured to create these vibrant documentations meant to trigger healthy and necessary conversations, and also to promote collective action that positively impacts our world. In this way, temperature scarves are not just a trend or craft “curiosity”. They are powerful and creative tools for change.

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