Friday, November 9, 2018

Tutorial - How to make a Temperature Quilt

Creating a temperature quilt for 2018 has been a lot of fun.  Checking the high temperature at the end of each evening and sometimes cheering for things to warm up just a little bit (or not) in order to make the quilt more interesting!

I am definitely making a temperature quilt for 2019.  Want to make one too?  Here's my hints and tips to get your started on your design plus a great source for your weather information.

Design Choices - The Block
  • Highs only or highs and lows?  A quilt in which you record only the high temperature is easier (read quicker) to assemble and to prep.  A quilt in which you record high and lows, however, would likely make a more interesting final design.
  • Hexies are an obvious choice for just recording high temperatures (like my quilt top) especially since the hexies can all be prepared ahead of time 
  • Flying geese or half square triangles are nice choices for a high / low.  Use the 'geese' part for the highs and the smaller triangles for the low temperatures. 

Design Choices - The Layout
  • Once you've decided on the "shape", time to break out the graph paper and decide on how to assemble.  My hexie quilt uses two columns for each month which will give me a finished size approximately 38 x 32'' when complete.
  • Another example - perhaps the simplest -  uses a rectangle and assemble each week into a row.  A quilt which uses fabric strips which are 5 x 1 '' (finished size) would be 35 x 52'' (finished).

You can find more examples on my Pinterest board.

Decide on your temperature scale and fabrics

Example Range
  • Study the average temperatures for your area.  Do you get some highs in the 20s in the winter and then hit the 90s in the summer?  You may want to consider a range of every 5 degrees.  Live in an area where the temperature is less diverse?  Perhaps you want a range of every 3 degrees.
  • Raid your stash and start laying out the fabric in gradient, mapped to color ranges.  I tried to stay in the same color family (ex - two shades of orange for the 80s) but you can really do whatever you want.   Before you cut any fabric, leave your fabric gradient on a table or design wall for a few days and make sure you are happy with it.  Better yet, ask a friend what they think.  Rearrange if you need to!
  • Once you have a final color mapping, sew together your weather rainbow. Mark the range on the fabric - since I used hexies, I marked on the paper piece.
A good range for North Carolina

Mother Nature becomes the ultimate designer of your quilt.  You choose the layout, the color range but the placement is a daily surprise!

Use a consistent data source

  • Decide how you will get your data for your quilt.  You can read your own thermometer at the same time every day or use a source like Weather Underground.  (There is a lot of historical data there so you could go back and make a quilt for a specific year, and not just the current year.)

Keep current!
  • Keep the project very accessible so you won't forgot to work on it every day.  Do you watch tv every night?  Choose an option that you can work by hand (like hexies) and store it in a basket next to your favorite chair.
  • If you sew at your machine every day, get into the habit of adding to your temperature quilt the first thing as you sit down at your machine or perhaps as a leader / ender project.
  • Pre-making (or at least pre-cutting) your units will make it easier to just add one unit each night. Hexies are so very portable so I can bring a stack of fabric squares in my travel bag and get the hexies made ahead of time.
  • If you do get behind - it happens! - give yourself a very specific goal on how you will get yourself caught up.  For example, away for a week and got 10 days behind?  Give yourself a goal of 4 a night until you get all caught up.

For 2019, I've narrowed my design down to two choices.  First, I plan to hand piece, adding each day's block before I pick up my book at the end of the night.

I may do a high/low quilt using a rectangle with a stitch & flip corner.  Changing the orientation of where the stitch & flip corner appears in the block would make it fun and interesting.

If I decide on a high temperature only quilt, I will likely do something like a geese shape as shown below.
Have you ever made a temperature quilt?  Are you considering one for 2019?  Leave a comment so we can all see!

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. Very interesting! I think I'll play along. Would you keep all the pieces in chronological order?...I assume so.

    1. The pieces are kept in chronological order so Mother Nature designs the quilt!

  2. I knit a sky scarf in 2017 - and I love it. This sounds fun as well. I am going to think how I could do it. - Thanks for the inspiration

  3. Great tutorial and information to consider, Patty. Making sure that the fabrics have a good temperature range seems like a very important part of pre-planning for the project!

    1. Thank you so much for linking up with the Tips and Tutorials Festival!

  4. Actually, a temperature quilt is on my list for 2019. Thank you for the ideas and tutorial. 'Thinking of doing just a warm to cool colors design.

  5. Great ideas. I'm so tempted to start one for 2019.

  6. Patty, thanks for the tutorial! I have a yen to make one and hope to in 2019. Also thanks for the link to your Pinterest page on temperature quilts.

  7. I've been interested in doing one since following you. I love seeing how yours is coming along. Great ideas, now I just have to think of how I want to do mine!

  8. It’s pretty tempting, Patty! This, my dear, is an excellent post!

  9. I've enjoyed watching this year's hexie project grow. It will be fun to see what you decide on for next year.

  10. Very interesting I may have to thinking about this one so more. I may have to make one as I need a leader and ender project.

  11. I have been following yours for 2018. Yes, I want to do one for 2019. Need to pin down a plan! Thanks again for the inspiration and the informative post!

  12. I started recording the temperatures for a temp. quilt a few years back. One is always bumping it's way around my brain, but until lately, I haven't been able to do one. (No sewing space didn't help at all!)Now I have a sizable loft to do all my crafts in and I am thinking about doing a comparison temperature quilt between where I live now and where I moved from. It will make a larger quilt, and I will think about my old home daily!

  13. We've just started building a house, and I'm thinking this might be a fun way to document the process. Need to get out the graph paper and start designing!

  14. Thanks for all this great information. I'm going to bookmark it. I'm tempted to try one in 2019.

  15. I'm making a temp quilt this year, using a square-in-a-square. I'm WAY behind, but I'm not worried about it-- these go together so quickly! My only concern is the layout; still not sure how I want to do that. Instagram has been wonderful!

  16. Congratulations on your Festival win! This is a great quit and a great tutorial. I really have loved watching it come together.

  17. I've never done it, but thinking about whether I want to. Thanks for the many ideas you have here.

  18. Thank you for the tips on the temperature quilt. I heard of one last year and decided to make one this year. Your advice helps tremendously!

  19. Thank you for all your advice. I am making a temp quilt this year using a 3” square for the background low temp with a 1” hexi appliqu├ęd on top for the daily high temp. I am in Australia and we are having a warm summer so I haven’t had a huge variation in my colours yet. I have only used two backgrounds and five different coloured hexies so far.


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