Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 - A Look Back - Part I

In my effort to revive this blog (Don't you think blogging should make a big comeback?), I'm going to post some updates on what I've been working on this past year.

First, my Sue Spargo Folk-Tails quilt. I was really hoping to get it done by December 17th (which would have been 1 year since I started), but it obviously did not happen. I'll get there eventually.

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Temperature Quilt Along - Colors

Oh my goodness! I am blown away by the number of people who have signed up to join me on this adventure! And now I’m feeling a LOT of pressure to deliver!

I have had some requests for specific design and fabric plans. Assigning specific colors will be hard because each city will have different temperature data. I will provide some size and idea suggestions in the next post, however.

Yesterday I visited Winterset (one of my favorite Iowa towns in Madison County) with friends. We went to the Iowa Quilt Museum and, of course, a quilt store. That made me rethink my color choices for the Temperature Quilt. And consider doing a second one in more muted colors…crazy.
I touched on colors a little in my previous post, but I thought I’d shed a little more light on my thought process. The first picture above is where I’m at right now, but I don't think I've finalized my choice since a whole boxful off Bella Solids just arrived at my doorstep!

Which colors & fabrics should I use?
The norm is to use cool colors (purple, blue, green) for cooler temperatures and warm colors (yellow, orange, red) for warmer, but you can do whatever pleases you.
What is important is that you have a variety of either color OR value (light, medium, dark) or both.
I'm doing solids but you can certainly assemble a collection of small or tonal prints and work with them.
The hubby suggested I use 50 shades of grey but I think I’ll pass…

How do I assign colors to temperature ranges?
I gave this a lot of thought and I think there are two approaches:

1. You can figure out your temperature ranges first, then assign a color to each. I explained how to do that in the previous post.
2. You can assemble a range of fabrics first, then divide your temperatures to allow you to use them.

Right now I’m leaning towards 2 because I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to find exactly 24 colors I like for this quilt.
Trying to squeeze exactly 12 or 24 colors into a specific range of temperatures seems like I'm trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If I end up with 20 or 21 it'll be just fine.

So to summarize:
  • Find your minimum and maximum temperature using historical data. (See my previous post)
  • If you don’t have fabric at the ready: 
    • Decide how you want to divide the temperatures (5 degree increments? 10 degree increments?). I recommend having at least 12 colors so, if you live somewhere the temperature doesn’t vary all that much, you might have fewer than 5 degrees in a range and that’s OK.
    • Choose as many fabrics/colors as you have ranges.
  • If you have already chosen your fabrics:
    • Count your number of fabrics, which will determine the number of temperature ranges you will need. It'll be roughly the difference between your high and low for the year (using historical data) divided by your number of fabrics. You’ll probably have to play around with it some. A spreadsheet program like Excel is very, very handy for this process.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Choose colors you like because some of them may show up quite frequently.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I will answer all questions in the comments so everyone can see them.

If you haven't signed up yet, you can do so in this post.

Remember to follow along and post your progress on Instagram using the hashtag #tempquiltalong.

(I've added a link to each Temperature Quilt post in the right sidebar so you can jump directly to where you'd like to be.)

I’ve added a button you can use for your blog or other website you’d like to share this quilt along on. Somehow blogger won't let me put this in the sidebar.
Just copy and paste the code in the box below where you want your button.


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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Temperature Quilt Along - Getting Started

In this quilt along, we will work with two colors for each day, and 365 separate blocks.

You will need to make three decisions before you begin:
1 - what block type and what size
2 - how many and which colors
3 - how many and which temperature ranges

Block type and size:
In order to achieve the effect we're looking for, you will have to use blocks that can be made in two colors. Examples include: half square triangles, flying geese, square-in-a-square or, what I'm planning (yes, I'm nuts), a circle appliqued onto a background square.

I actually made a little block just to see if this is a feasible idea. I think it can be done.

When you've decided on a block design, think about the size you'd like the quilt to be. The closest to 365 blocks you can get will be a quilt with 19 x 20 blocks - that's 380 total. We'll be getting creative with the extra blocks. I'm basing this on square blocks. If you're using rectangular blocks like flying geese, this will obviously be different.

As far as colors and temperatures, you can approach it from two angles - 1. choose your colors first, then your temperature ranges or 2. choose your temperature ranges first, then find colors to fit them. It's up to you.

Color decisions:
I would not recommend using fewer than 12 colors. The fewer colors, the more repeats of identical blocks and the result could be a fairly washed out look. I did mock-ups for Des Moines using both 12 colors and 24 and they both looked pretty good.

Choosing temperature ranges:
You will need a temperature range for each color you have. Take a look at historical temperatures for the city/area you are going to be working with. You can find historical data on the NOAA website: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/. If you use the search tool and choose "daily summaries", NOAA will send you a free file with all the data you need. If you'd like to get a really good idea of temperature ranges, I recommend looking at 2 years' worth of data.

Once you have your data, open the file in Excel. Check to make sure that you only have data for one station. Then do a couple of sorts.
First sort by MAX temperature from high to low to find the top end of your range, then sort by MIN temperature from low to high to find your low end.

Because we have such a wide temperature range in Des Moines, it was pretty easy to divide the data into 12 (or even 24) ranges, but I was wondering about places with smaller spreads, so I'll be using Kahului, HI for this example.

The highest temperature for the last 24 months was 95 and the low 44 although it's pretty rare for it to dip below 50. That means we have around 50 degrees to work with so, if we want to use 12 colors, we'd have to work in ranges of 4-ish degrees (50 divided by 12). You'll have to play around with it a bit, but each temperature range should have the same "spread". Here's what I came up with for Kahului:

Each color number will be assigned a fabric/color and, when the temperature falls in that range, you will use those colors. For example, on 10/2/18 the high was 92 and the low 66. The color for 92 is #12 (>91) and the color for 66 is #6 (66-69). The block for 10/2/18 would therefore have been made using color #12 and color #6.

Wow! That was quite a mouthful. I hope you're not hopelessly confused now.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I will answer all questions in the comments so everyone can see them.

If you haven't signed up yet, you can do so in this post.

Remember to follow along and post your progress on Instagram using the hashtag #tempquiltalong.

(I'll be adding a link to each Temperature Quilt post in the right sidebar so you can jump directly to where you'd like to be.)


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Friday, December 7, 2018

Temperature Quilt Along - Introduction & Signup

OK, here we go! I realized the other day that most of my quilt alongs are started because I need the motivation to actually complete a project.
When I was reading up on how to host a quilt along, one of the first requirements was to actually make the quilt. Hmmmm...

WARNING: This is a rather long post, but please bear with me.

The premise of a temperature quilt is to make a 365 block quilt where each block has the low and high temperature for a day represented, using a color for each temperature (or range of temperatures, because having a unique color for every temperature would be close to impossible).

If you Google "temperature quilt", you will find many, many amazing examples of past quilts, and different interpretations of the idea.

Because we're a little short on time before the New Year (and the quilt along) starts, I'd like us to get going, so things may change a teenie tiny bit.

I will post some tips to help you plan your quilt this weekend or early next week so, if you're a little confused, don't despair.

2019 - one whole year!

- Follow along and post your progress on Instagram using the hashtag #tempquiltalong.
- Follow @twiddletails on Instagram.
- Sign up for weekly email reminders to help keep you on track. When you sign up, I will send you a PDF file with coloring pages for a couple of designs so you can play around with colors.
- A new quilt along blog post will be up each Friday of the QAL. I will include a link list once we get started so you can share your progress here as well.
- I'm thinking about starting a Facebook group too, so stay tuned.

Right now: Sign up for weekly email reminders to help keep you motivated and on track. When you sign up, I will send you a PDF file with coloring pages for a couple of designs so you can play around with colors.
Between now and January 2nd: Plan your quilt design and colors and gather your fabric
Every day, January 2nd 2019 thru January 1st, 2020: Make a block using the previous day's high and low temperatures
In the new year (2020!): Assemble and complete your quilt.

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Temperature Quilt - 24 colors vs. 12 colors

Realizing that 24 colors may be a whole lot to get together for the temperature quilt, I redrafted my prototype using only 12 colors.

This is the 24 color version:

And this is the 12 color version:
All in all not that much of a difference. There are definitely some blocks where the low and high temps fall in the same range and both parts of the block are the same color. There are also multiple identical blocks. I don't think any of this will make that much of a difference in the end.

I also drafted a 12-color HST version. Cute, isn't it?
I'm working on the quilt-along announcement post where I will have some tips for determining your temperature ranges and color selections, so stay tuned.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Temperature Quilt - a quilt along?

On Sunday I was browsing Instagram and stumbled across something called a "Temperature Quilt". I think the idea started as a knitted or crocheted blanket but has evolved into quilts.

The concept is simple: you choose colors depending on the low and high temperature for each day of the year, and make a block every day based on those colors. (You'd have to use temparature ranges or you'll end up with hundreds of colors. Mine are 5 degree increments.)

I played around with the 2018 temperatures in Des Moines and came up with this:

The circles are the high temperatures and the backgrounds the low. It "reads" like a book - left to right and top to bottom. I'm not sure I'm happy with these colors, but it's a start.

You don't have to use my design. You can basically use any block that has two colors. Flying geese are popular, as are half square triangles. I think square-in-a-square blocks would be lovely too.
Just Google "Temperature Quilt" and you'll see tons of ideas!

This was my pile of inspiration fabric for the colors - all Moda Bella Solids:
I think a quilt-along would be loads of fun. We'd have to get a move-on picking our colors and fabric but I think it can be done. First day would be January 2nd 2019 (with the temps for January 1st).

Who's in?

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Leaves in the Forest Update

Just a quick check-in...

Today is the start of Week 2 of the Quilt-a-Forest Geese in the Forest quilt-along on Instagram. It's not too late to join in. There are prizes!

These are my blocks for Week 1.

IMG_6093 (Edited)

I forgot to mention that I have a free tutorial for a maple leaf block on Craftsy. (Quilt and pattern kits are still available in the Etsy store.)

Off to make my nine Friendly Flock blocks for Week 2!

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Leaves in the Forest Step 1

I get a huge amount of satisfaction from checking things off lists. I guess I get a kick out of seeing visual proof of my progress toward the end of any task.
My version of a "list" for the "Leaves in the Forest" quilt is a progress diagram. I'm ahead of the game right now, but I have a couple of trips planned in the next few months (did someone say Quilt Festival?!?!?), so I need to be proactive.

The goal for the first part of the Quilt a Forest quilt along is to make 6 of Block #1 by September 8th. Since I'm replacing some of the blocks with maple leaves, this meant 4 #1 Blocks and 2 Maple Leaves (and an extra one because I made the first one in the wrong color).

It's not too late to join in. Both The Quilt Tree and Twiddletails are sponsoring giveaways for quilt-along participants on Instagram, so be sure to hop on over there for all the details! (just search for #quiltaforest or #geeseintheforest)

If you love these colors as much as I do, there are still kits in the Etsy store.

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