knitting a mood blanket
In a fast-paced world, knitting and crocheting lets you slow things down. (Illustration by Sonja Vasiljeva, San Jose State University)

Mood Blankets Can Give You an Opportunity To Reflect

Perfect for a generation in the midst of turmoil, this yarn project lets you examine and keep track of your emotions, as well as create something that will last a long time.

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knitting a mood blanket

Perfect for a generation in the midst of turmoil, this yarn project lets you examine and keep track of your emotions, as well as create something that will last a long time.

Yarn-based hobbies, like knitting and crochet, have long been relegated to grandmas, but the mood blanket makes a compelling argument for younger generations to get involved. On a niche section of YarnTok, a subgroup of TikTok, knitters and crocheters provide updates on intricate blankets used to record emotions. Users pizzapoll and jazzy0451 seem to have the strongest grip on the trend and have documented their progress every step of the way.

The mood blanket is a knitting or crochet project often done over the course of a year. The crafter color codes and records their emotions via yarn and will segment them by day, week or month. These blankets seem to be inspired by the more neutral temperature blanket, in which a crafter color codes and records temperatures over the four seasons in yarn. The temperature blanket is a staple for knitters, but the mood blanket may interest young crafters more.

The last year has been hugely tumultuous to say the least. Young people were kicked off college campuses, and high schools went remote country-wide. We saw the rise and fall of many unusual hobbies, most notably sourdough cultivation. Even though the new hobbies offered excitement, the emotional turmoil was unavoidable and with often limited and inaccessible mental health resources, young people, as well as their more adult counterparts, were left to contend with many large emotions without their usual support systems. Obviously crafting projects cannot fill the void left by appropriate therapy and care, but they can help us remain mindful of our feelings.

The mindfulness craze involves the acknowledgment and respect of emotions, even difficult ones; the mood blanket is the perfect craft to complement it. Yarn selection as well as the repetitive process of knitting or crocheting can be soothing and meditative. Color selection is fun and makes for an easy outing, nothing like the high-stress grocery store scrambles or attending newly reopened and already over-packed theaters. Most of all, the mood blanket creates a conscious record of the creator’s feelings.

By crafting a mood blanket, a creator places a neutral but important value on their feelings. Rows or squares with blue for sad or yellow for happy require the same care and play the same role in a finished project. With each painstaking stitch, one validates the difficulties or triumphs of the day.

The visual record of feeling could also help crafters better understand the reality of their lives. If a color keeps showing up when ideally it shouldn’t, like sadness or anger, crafters are encouraged by their own creation to take stock of what they need and evaluate whether or not they require a change. Blankets could also help crafters make changes.

If you carry around a crochet hook or a yarn bag on a college campus, odds are you’ll attract some attention. The uncommonness of the hobby among young adults means that people, even those who also crochet or knit, are surprised to see others doing so. As with everything, not everyone will be a fan, but whipping out a mean double crochet could at least start a conversation with your peers if you are new to campus.

The lack of pretension in the hobby as well as its association with nice old ladies makes it a wonderful way to encourage others to see you as friendly, and as young adults increasingly embrace DIY and environmentally conscious living, anything that involves even slightly disrupting mindless consumer culture is usually a hit. Sometimes people may ask you to teach them a stitch or talk about your project with you, and you’ll probably be more memorable for it.

Obviously, mood blankets do not require this social element to be worthwhile, or even the benefit of mindfulness. They also provide a real tangible testament to your ability to create and do so practically. Many families have heirloom quilts or Christmas stockings that are passed down, made by some great-great-grandma or aunt, which are used with a certain reverence and appreciation.

Similarly, a mood blanket can become a personal heirloom, a physical reminder of times when things were different and how much stays the same. Because crafters largely decide their own dimensions on these types of projects, one can custom build a blanket to drape over the sides of any bed, or a compact throw whose festive threads can stick out of any moving box. Either way, the mood blanket can follow crafters wherever they choose to go and remind them to value their emotions regardless of the setting.

Writer Profile

L.R. Staples

Sarah Lawrence College
Creative Writing

LR Staples is a rising junior at Sarah Lawrence College. She loves dogs, fresh laundry and feminist horror books. Her writing process involves looking pensive and scrolling through autocorrect options.

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