This is the year! For several years now, I've been looking at temperature quilts and thinking "I want to make one of those!"
I hear some of you asking ... What's a temperature quilt? It's a record--in fabric!--of the high and low temperatures of a particular spot. Simply put, you assign a fabric color to a particular temperature (or temperature range), and then make a quilt with blocks that have the high- and low-temperature fabrics for that day.
Here is a beautiful example from Jacqueline Skarritt Instagram: @jskarritt. The quilt starts in January on the upper left and ends with December in the lower right. The smaller patch of fabric in each block represents the low and the larger piece represents the high. The small red lines represent a record low or high for that date. She has reversed alternating rows to make a lovely pattern and to add interest. Look at the end of August. One day's high is practically the same temperature as the next day's low, and the resulting patch traverses the rows, connecting and blending them together. That must have been a warm couple of days, and I bet it felt like the warm days were blending together too! It happens a few times throughout the year. Once you know that it's a temperature quilt, there's a ton of fun to be had to interpret it. What a beautiful quilt!
There are tons and tons of ways to make a temperature quilt. Do a quick Google search and see. So many options!
So, what's involved in making a temperature quilt?
The Thoughtful Part: Make Your Quilt Design Decisions
Choose a location. It might be your home or the home of someone you care about.
Choose a reliable source for your weather data, such as the National Weather Service. You will need some information before you can make quilt design decisions. What are the lowest typical temperatures at your location? What are the highest temperatures? For my quilt's location, we're looking at something like 35 - 110 degrees in the span of a year.
Decide on a block pattern for your quilt. You might use a simple split block, half-square triangles, flying geese, or something else. Whatever you choose, it should be something that's fairly easy to sew. You're going to make 365 of them, and you don't want to get discouraged because you chose a block that becomes burdensome. Of course, even though my block design will be simple, I have decided to complicate the overall quilt plan a little. More on that in an upcoming post where I'll share my strategy and pattern.
Choose colors to represent temperature ranges at your chosen location. This is where you get to decide how many fabrics you want to use and, by extension, how many degrees each fabric will represent.
For example, if the lowest temperature of the year at your given location is 0 degrees and the highest is 100 degrees, then you might choose to have 20 fabrics, each representing a 5-degree increment. If your temperature range is smaller, you could choose fewer fabrics or have a smaller increment. I have a (potentially) 75-degree range overall, so I could use 15 fabrics in 5-degree increments, for example. If I wanted more tone variation in my quilt, I could use 25 fabrics for 3-degree increments.
Most temperature quilts tend to use cool colors for cool temperatures and warm colors for warm temperatures, but there's no law saying that you have to do that. If you live in a cool climate but love warm colors, flip them around ... or vice versa if you live in a warm climate and like cool colors. It's your palette, make it however you like ... just keep in mind that your colors should make sense as a gradient when viewed next to one another. One way to do that is to buy fabrics as a bundle where someone else has done the work of combining colors for a nice gradient!
The Repetitive Part: Block Construction
Once you've made your quilt design decisions, it becomes a matter of noting your daily high and low temperatures and sewing your blocks. Repeat 365 times. From what I've read and heard, most quilters make their blocks at intervals. Some make a week's worth of blocks at a time. Some make a month. I think I am more likely to be successful in weekly mode, but my initial blocks will be quite backed up. I won't be back near my sewing machine until the first week of February!
Stay tuned for more on my block and quilt design. And if you are also planning a temperature quilt for 2022, let me know in the comments!