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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