18 January 2024

Murrumbateman weather recorded as a stitch in time, literally

| Sally Hopman
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Cross-stitch work showing bookshelf with coloured books representing a year of weather in Murrumbateman.

Ann Moloney’s remarkable cross-stitch which shows a year of weather in Murrumbateman, from the hot orange days of summer to the cool blues of winter. Photo: Supplied.

When Ann Moloney moved to Murrumbateman from Canberra in 1996, it was to be the meeting of two passions – the weather and creativity.

Her family had just driven out to the village, between Canberra and Yass, to visit friends for lunch, and as it happens, they saw a house they fell in love with, a home that would give them room for the family – and a better quality of life.

For most people moving out of town, the weather takes on a different meaning, regardless of whether you’re agisting animals, growing something or just don’t want to have to buy water.

When Ann moved to Murrumbateman, one of the first things her husband Michael did was build a weather station where they could measure daily temperatures, wind and rain.

“It’s been really useful for us,” she said. “I keep a temperature chart near the weather station and whoever walks past just jots down the temperature.

“It’s just always something I’ve been interested in.”

A keen craftswoman, Ann said she was aware of what had become a “thing” in the craft world – temperature blankets and crocheted rugs. It’s when you knit or crochet a row of a blanket in a colour you assign to a temperature. Using, for example, blues and whites for the cooler winter months to greens, yellows and reds for the warmer weather. The project takes a year to complete, with many of the finished pieces now starring online across the world as works of art.

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“I had seen some of the temperature blankets and rugs and was talking to my daughter about it,” Ann said.

“But I was never going to knit one … knitting drives me nuts, it’s too slow, so I knew I was not going to do that. We did a little bit of Googling and found the one – I love the concept of a bookshelf.”

Ann has created a stunning piece of cross-stitch, showing levels of the bookshelf, representing all the weather in Murrumbateman for 2023. It starts with shades of oranges and yellows with hints of red down to blues and greens of the colder months and then back to warmer colours again.

When an image of Ann’s work on the Weather Obsessed Facebook page, which has almost 88,000 followers, took off, her bookshelf cross-stitch drew wide praise – and more than 1000 likes and hundreds of comments.

Woman looking at piece of cross-stitch

Ann Moloney of Murrumbateman is drawing wide praise online for her cross-stitch work recording the 2023 weather temperatures. Photo: Michael Moloney.

“Since we moved to Murrumbateman, I have really noticed a big change in the weather patterns,” she said.

“I mean we even had that very cold day in December last year and we’ve only had one 33 so far this summer whilst last year we always seemed to be in the 30s.”

Ann said she had seen a project on a Canadian website where a cross-stitcher was doing a piece on the weather as a 10-year project. “I’d really like to do something like that, too,” she said. “A long-term project like that would really show how the weather has changed.”

But for now, her next project will be a supernova that looks like an iris, with each strand representing a week of weather.

“It will start in the middle of the iris and each strand will represent a week of weather,” she said. “It won’t be ble to pick up individual days, but it will look pretty,” she laughed.

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