Here it is! My 2020 Temperature Quilt project is now a quilt top. I would have shared sooner, but I ran into a little problem, and had to go sulk about it a little while, then admit that there was no quick fix. I had to make friends with my seam ripper. I dragged my feet, but I finally made a date with the quilt top this past weekend and voila!
It isn't as pretty a picture as my last in-progress update picture, when the garden was still green. I thought it would look lovely over a pristine blanket of fresh snow, but I couldn't find such a spot in my yard right now. The snow has started melting, the dog and has tromped through most of it anyway, and I added my boot prints to the mix. Nevertheless, the colors pop in my winter landscape!
I had hoped to finish the top on January 1st and share it then. I had 4 months of data to catch up on in the last few days of December (oops!), but I was on track by December 31. On January 1st I retrieved the data for the last day of December, sewed the last block, attached it to the last row, and sewed the final row to the quilt. I was on a roll and didn't even slow down at the borders. You know I always slow down at that step, so this tells you I was really inspired to finish!
So what went wrong? In rushing to catch up in the last few days of December, I neglected to check my seam allowance. It looked OK, but I never actually checked. Every seam being a tiny little bit off, multiplied over 30 seams, added up to about an inch. I thought I'd notice something like that when I sewed my new rows to the previous ones, but as I was matching seams between rows, each little bit was off by so little that it didn't cause a noticeable pucker to tip me off. The quilt just gently flared out at the bottom.
Yes, I did go sulk, and the quilt sat there for a couple of weeks, but once I resigned myself to using the seam ripper, I found it was really a pretty easy fix. I ripped the side border seams up past the offending rows, removed the last four rows, took in seams between blocks until each row was the same length as the January to August rows, then sewed the rows back on.
What's next? The backing, of course. I had no fabric picked out for the backing when my friend Michelle B. mentioned on Instagram that she looked forward to seeing one of my pieced backs on it. Of course, once she planted that thought, nothing else would do. I have been playing around with ideas.
I want to incorporate the color/temperature key in it somehow. Here's where I started:
This would be the next fastest option after a plain back, just color width-of-fabric strips with grey borders to bring the backing up to size. I thought this might be a little boring, after all the flowing motion of the color on the front, so I played a little bit more in EQ8 to get option 2 and 3:
I haven't firmly decided yet, but right now I'm leaning towards the last one.
The last decision will involve determining how to add the numbers for the temperature ranges. I thought I might applique grey numbers, but I'm not sure I want to do that much applique. I could fuse the number on with fusible web and skip the sewing, but I'm not convinced that would hold up to washing, and I wonder if I would like the look of ironed-on fabric without any stitching around it. Would it look unfinished?
A lovely foundation paper pieced numbers pattern from Meadow Mist designs is whispering in my ear, so perhaps I will paper piece grey numbers on color backgrounds. I'll have to see how fussy the small 3" tall foundations look before I decide. There isn't a deadline on this, so I could plan to piece a few digits each week. That could be this year's weekly plan to take the place of the temp quilt weekly sewing, because I'm not planning to sew another temp quilt. Of course in the end it could end up being sewn all at once, rather like the last four month of the temperature quilt!
Until I decide on a plan for the backing, I'll be working on other things. I have spent a large chunk of the last month doing more designing and writing than sewing, and I'm looking forward to bringing some of those ideas to life in fabric. My sewing machine has been lonely and wants my attention! I'll share as I make progress.
What about you? Have you started the new year off with some sewing? New projects? Old projects getting closer to being finished? A temperature quilt? I'd love to hear about your quilty plans for 2021.
PS: If you want to make your own Temperature Quilt, I am still offering the pattern for free here.