January 04, 2020

Temperature Quilt 2020

Edited to say - thinking about making your own temperature quilt? Check out my How to Plan Your Temperature Quilt post!

I've been tempted by the idea of making a temperature quilt for a while now, but hesitated because of the commitment - a block a day for a whole year? Can I really keep up with that? The temptation was really strong to do it for 2020, so I've decided to just go for it 😊

There were a few decisions to make once I decided I'd make a temperature quilt, the first one being what block would I make? Related to that, would I be recording the high and low temperature for each day or just the high? I browsed #temperaturequilt, #temperaturequilt2019 and #temperaturequilt2018 on Instagram looking for inspiration and there are so many great ideas, which kind of made it even harder to decide. I love the flying geese temperature quilts, where the 'goose' is the high temperature and the 'sky' is the low. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that when my sewing machine is set up for free motion quilting I won't want to change it for piecing just to piece one block, then put everything back into fmq mode. And I don't want to be putting the temperature blocks off until the fmq is done because that could be quite a while sometimes and I don't want to be setting myself up to be getting behind on a regular basis.

I had seen several different hand stitched possibilites that I liked, too. There were half hexies, where one half was the high and the other the low, stitched together and then appliqued onto a background square. There were circles, too, and I really liked them. So, I've made the crazy decision to make a hand appliqued temperature quilt, with only the high temperatures for each day.

Once that decision was made, I needed to figure out how big the blocks would be. In EQ8, I drew up a quilt using 3" blocks, but that would have been a throw size and I wanted something a bit smaller. So I shrank the blocks down to 1 ½" and that gives me a 28 ½" x 30" quilt. That fits in quite nicely with one of my 2020 goals, which is to make more small quilts. Here's what the quilt layout will look like. The blank blocks will be monthly markers. I'm thinking I may embroider the months on them or maybe just the first letter of the month, since they are quite small. There are two at the end of the quilt and I'll add the year there.
Temperature quilt layout | DevotedQuilter.com
Then it was time to pick fabric! Most temperature quilts use a blue-yellow-orange-red progression, but I usually find the yellow dominates, which I find distracting. While browsing the hashtags, though, I also saw a couple of blue-purple-pink-red progressions and I liked those a lot more, so that's what I've chosen. I completely cheated and followed the divisions that Anja used for her 2019 temperature quilt, so each colour represents a 2 degree range, starting at colder than -16°C (I probably won't need many of those) and moving all the way up to 28°to 30° (I hope not to need many of those since I really don't like the heat). I meant to have one for over 30°, but it seems I forgot to pick it out. It's highly unlikely I'll need it, though. The largest piece of purple fabric is for 0°.
temperature quilt fabric pull | DevotedQuilter.com
 Here's a closer look at the fabrics for colder than -16° to 0°.
temperature quilt fabric pull | DevotedQuilter.com
And these are for 0° to 30°.
temperature quilt fabric pull | DevotedQuilter.com
A nice bonus of making 1 ½" blocks is that I could shop my stash. Some of those pieces aren't huge, but the circles I'll be cutting are really small, so I can get a lot of them out of even small pieces of fabric.

I chose to use Northcott solid white as my background and I have a lot of scraps of it that I can cut into 2" squares. So far I have the first two blocks finished. It was 0° on New Year's Day and -1° on the 2nd. The circles will probably all be a bit wonky, but I'm quite content with that.
temperature quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com
I traced around the base of a spool of Aurifil thread to make a template for the circles, then traced it onto the back of my fabric. I cut it out with a generous ¼" seam allowance, stitched a row of basting stitches around the edge and pulled it tight around the plastic template. Being honest with myself, I'm more likely to make these if I don't have to heat up the iron to press the circles before removing the template, so I just used my hand to flatten it and then took out the template.

I folded the background square and the circle into quarters so I could center the circle, then I ladder stitched the circle to the background. Quick and simple. I tried to time myself making one block, but then Zach came with a video for me to watch and I stopped stitching to watch, completely forgetting that I was timing myself. Oh, well. It didn't take long, anyway, lol.

Since I'm already crazy enough to make a hand appliqued block, why not hand stitch them together, too? I mean, they're only a few stitches wide, right? Not trusting myself to stitch a straight line, I drew a line ¼" from the edge on the back of both blocks, then made sure they stayed lined up to keep things nice and straight.
hand stitching quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com
And here are my first two finished blocks, already sewn together 😊
temperature quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com
I'm not going to allow myself to stress out about getting behind sometimes. I know it's going to happen. I am going to take a bit of time and cut out a whole bunch of background squares so they're ready to go, which will help keep me on track. I'm hoping that, since it's only a few minutes worth of stitching, I can make the blocks while the kids I babysit are playing. Sure, I'll probably cut out the circle, tend to them, stitch the basting stitches, tend to them, etc, and the block will likely take all morning, but that's okay. A little here and a little there gets things done, as any mother (or babysitter) of littles knows!

Each day I'll look online to see the high temperature from the previous day, then make that block. That's the plan anyway, we'll see how well I stick to it 😆 Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a new, hand stitched mini quilt top ready for quilting.

Have you ever made a temperature quilt? If you have, do you have any tips on keeping myself on track?


  1. You could take this opportunity to try needle turn hand applique with the circles. I have been doing the cherries and it is really quite simple. Cut out the circle and draw a circle on it then just turn under a tiny bit and stitch it down. The key is taking tiny stitches close together and using your other thumb to pinch the seam allowance before stitching. I like to use a size 10 straw or milliners needle. The longer needle allows you to sweep the seam allowance under.

  2. I made a temperature quilt in 2018. It was fun but i dislike the finished quilt...too much green and too big. Your plan sounds great.

  3. Wow! Love your temperature quilt!!! I like the mini size, also. I'll have to check out the Insta hashtag.

  4. Great colours. I'm going to use the same range (and colours) for 2020. But I'm going to make HSTs. The top half will be the high, and the bottom the low. Environment Canada keeps track and you can download the data. Have fun.

  5. I like the thoughtfulness you put into the design, Leanne, and the color palette is definitely appealing. I look forward to seeing it evolve for you!

  6. Look forward to seeing how your quilt progresses. The colours you have chosen are really quite nice. For the individual blocks .... what about not doing individuals? Instead, leave it as one big piece of fabric, with a basting stitch grid to identify each day. Then when you do your quilting, replace the basting with permanent quilting. Just a thought ... as the individual blocks would probably drive me nuts, trying to keep track of them!


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