Thursday, January 9, 2020

Temperature Quilt 2020

You may have seen Temperature Quilt projects popping up on blogs and social media feeds over the last few years.  The idea is to represent temperatures with colours and to document the temperature each day by making a quilt block with the corresponding colour.  At the end of the year, you have a quilt documenting temperature variations through the year.  If you google "temperature quilt", or do a search on Pinterest or Instagram, you'll see lots of cool quilts.  Some even manage to work precipitation data into their daily block!

Temperature Quilt 2020 fabrics and plan
Fabric selection and quilt plan for 2020 Temperature Quilt

This year I gave in and decided too join in, but I had trouble choosing a design.  I liked the idea of HST, with one half representing the daily maximum temperature, and the other the daily minimum.  However, I also liked the idea of having one row or column per month, so I could easily process the data in the quilt (because I'm nerdy that way).  Using squares in a quilt like that ended up with a weird aspect ratio, either long and skinny, or short and fat.  I also decided I needed a little bit of blank space to rest my eyes.

Temperature Quilt 2020 plan, 53" x 70"

I couldn't find any design online that ticked all the boxes for me, so I played in EQ8 and came up with this design:  one row per month, daily high temp on top, daily low on the bottom, and blank space for the eyes.  The daily temperatures through the year will determine color placement, but I couldn't let go of design control quite enough to jump in without knowing generally how things might look. I used Weather Underground data for 2019 to color in my design in EQ8.

Tuesday I headed off to the quilt shop for fabric. Choosing a "basics" line seemed like a good idea, since I can only estimate how much of each color I'll need.  Mother Nature will have the final say on temperature distribution! I chose Moda Grunge because my local shop stocks all the available colors, so I had a good selection to choose from.  Last night after work I made a colour key so I would know what fabric to use each day, and added a bit of information to help me identify the exact colour if I need to buy more later in the year.

I was all set to cut, then it occurred to me that labeling each fabric with its corresponding temperature range might also speed things up a bit on a daily basis, instead of having to compare my fabrics to the swatches every day.

As I cut strips for the temperatures so far this year,  I realized I would only cut one square at a time as needed, and I wouldn't want to have to compare the strips to the swatches either, so the strips acquired labels as well.  What can I say, I like labels!

Just a note about the temperatures you can see in my pictures: I'm recording temperatures in Celcius, because after 16 years in the US, I still only have a general idea of what Farenheit numbers feel like. I'm much more at ease conversing in Celcius.  It's odd.  Pounds, feet, inches give me no trouble, but I just haven't been able to adjust my temperature units!

So, I'm all set to start my Temperature Quilt.  I only have a little over a week to catch up on, then I can just keep up with a few seams a day.

(Update 03/18/2020:  I have an update here with tips on getting even more organised for when you need to get caught up on missed days.)

If you would like to join me, google "temperature quilt" and see if any of the designs that pop up appeal to you, or you can use mine.  I wrote instructions to share - and they include a Farenheit scale as well as Celcius.  You can download them here.  Feel free to use them, but if you wish to share them with friends, I ask that you send them here to download their own copy, please and thank you.

If you join in, I'd love to see your quilts come together through the year. Sharing this was a rather impromptu affair, so I haven't worked out the details of how we can all share our progress with each other.  I just wanted to get the instructions posted before too much of the year had passed so there wouldn't be too much catching up required.  I'll post again with my progress and some suggestions about how to share yours...maybe an instagram hashtag, or a FB group, or a linky here on the blog...or some combination.  Ideas are welcome!


  1. Seems to me that 2020 is a good time to make this quilt. A new year - a new decade, etc. I haven't seen any projects like it - I'm now always up on new ideas. I like the idea and will enjoy seeing it and others who are following, However, I already have one new project in mind and too many UFOs that I want to finish this year. Have fun with it!

  2. I love these temperature quilts. I like your design. I'll be curious how it turns out!

  3. Thanks for this! I like your temp quilt plan a lot. I am hoping to follow along with this.

  4. I like your layout, but I might try to center February...and maybe have the other one-less months trade which end they line up with. Because I'm a nerd, too! I've thought about doing one of these, but am not sure I would stick it out through the whole year...instant gratification is a thing here!

  5. I've been seeing the temperature quilts around lately. I think I like your design of it the best so far.

  6. Another blogger I follow has been making EPPed temperature quilts for 2 or 3 years. It is always interesting to see the temperature fluctuation. I like the design you have chosen--showing the high and low for the day, plus having the neutral space for the eye to rest. Nice job!

  7. Love the quilt plan! I would like to make one but not sure what the year is going to bring so no long term projects for me.

  8. Love the bright grunge fabric for your temps!

  9. Thank you for the pattern!! Love your design! I made one in 2018 and it's one of my favorite quilts. 😁

  10. Seems very interesting, thanks for sharing! The first idea that came through my mind when reading the instructioin was that is was a pity the pattern repeat was 6 days, when a week has seven. But then, not each month begins with a monday and it would end up a totally different quilt!
    Your pattern is the first one that makes me want to make a temperatiure quilt. I am still undecided if I will start this adventure. In my area, the temperature would never go as low as -30. I believe -5 is the minimum we could reach... Would I decrease the interval or just use less colours?
    I will think about it some more, but I want to thank you again for giving me new alleys to think.

  11. That's a great layout! My daughter crocheted a temperature blanket a couple of years ago and it looks so neat. I've seen the knit and crochet ones but never thought about doing it as a quilt.

    Have fun with it!

  12. I love your temperature quilt! Thanks so much for the pattern, I really like the design you created!

  13. Great design for the temperature quilt. Thank you so much for the pattern and your thought process. I learned to label my HST when I did mine, and I used snack bags to label my units when I had leftovers.

  14. I've been considering making a temperature quilt or afghan this year too, but didn't see a pattern or idea that grabbed my attention - until I saw yours! Thanks for sharing your pattern! I just *might* have to go to my LQS for fabric tomorrow....

  15. thank you so much for this great design of a temperature quilt. Today I have started to sew the first weeks of 2020.

  16. That is a GREAT design - the best I've seen so far. Thanks for sharing the pattern for it, too.

  17. I just stumbled on this site looking for a border to extend a small quilt into a larger quilt.. Thought the picture of the crazy zigzag, would be the perfect border effect I was looking for my curvy log cabin quilt.. then started reading about the origin. Wow, what fun so going to start this summer and go through to next summer to organize mine. Seeing Fl is mainly summer... lol Thanks for the pattern.


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