Monday, December 16, 2019

Temperature Quilt Planning - 1

Ready to start your Temperature Quilt? I'm going to try to provide some guidelines for planning if you haven't already done so. It'll be spread over a couple of posts.

What is a Temperature Quilt?
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" or look at the #tempquiltalong or #temperaturequilt hashtags on Instagram, you will find many, many amazing examples of past quilts, and different interpretations of the idea.

Options for participating
- Follow the hashtags #tempquiltalong and  #temperaturequilt on Instagram
- Post your progress on Instagram using the hashtags #tempquiltalong and #temperaturequilt
- Follow @twiddletails on Instagram.
- Follow Twiddletails on Facebook and join the Temperature Quilt Along Group.

Between now and January 2nd: Plan your quilt design and colors and gather your fabric
Every day, until January 1st of next year: Make a block using the previous day's high and low temperatures
Next January: Assemble and complete your quilt.

Choosing your colors/fabrics and temperature ranges
As far as colors/fabrics and temperature ranges, 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/fabrics to fit them. It's up to you.

Color/fabric 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. Using historical data (see below), I did mock-ups for Des Moines using both 12 colors and 24 and they both looked pretty good.

This is the 24 color version:
And this is the 12 color version:
All in all not that much of a difference.

Choosing temperature ranges:
You will need a temperature range for each color you have.

If you've lived somewhere for a couple of years, you will know what typical temperatures are for your home.

Think of the highest and lowest temperatures you will typically have in a year.  Here in Des Moines temps can range from less than -20 to 100+ but it typically will not get much colder than -15 or much hotter than 95.

I decided to divide the temperatures in 5 degree increments, using 24 colors. You can see my ranges and fabrics below. I have bundles available, which would eliminate some of the planning.

The smaller the difference between the highest high and the lowest low is, the smaller your increments should be in order have at least 12 ranges.
I recommend playing around with it a bit. There is a link to a free PDF Fabric Planning Sheet in the sidebar.

If you are Type A like me, read on...

To help you make your decision, you can download historical data on the NOAA website:

Use the search tool and choose "daily summaries", NOAA will send you a free file with all the data you need. I recommend looking at 2 years' worth of data to get a better idea.

In my next post, I'll discuss design.

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

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

(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.)

Fabric bundles:

Bella Solids 24 color bundle


  1. Do you think a FQ per color is enough?

    1. It depends on the size of your blocks and your design.

  2. I started with a half yard each of 24 colors, and there were some I needed to buy more of. Depends on your areas temperatures. There were a few colors I barely used.

  3. how many fabric do u use in this design? love it!!!

    1. I used 24 fat quarters but my blocks are only 2" finished.