Temperature crafts are nothing new, knitters and crocheters have been making temperature afghans for years. Cross-stitchers have been stitching their own version too. I can crochet pretty well but knitting and cross-stitch are not my mediums no matter how much I want to do them. Trust me I’ve tried, my last cross-stitch project was finished by the guy I was dating in college and Paul had to cast my stitches on any time I attempted to knit. Since my medium of choice, these days is fabric I thought why not do a temperature quilt? We have a lot more freedom with fabric, we can mark the highs and lows of each day and we can organize our temperature quilt like a calendar. A temperature quilt makes a great slow-stitching project, I’ve been working on mine for a few years.
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Temperature quilts are a wonderful way to document an important year in your life. In the diagrams shown, I documented the year I was born. You could also add applique to a block to mark a special occasion, a heart on an anniversary, a cake for a birthday, or anything that is important to you or the person you are making the quilt for.
Remember for this quilt, we are using both the high and low for each day. Before you start making your quilt you’ll want to decide which half of the half-square triangle will be the high temperature and which one will be the low temperature. This is a great project to bust your scraps up and to use as a leader-ender project no matter if you are making your temperature quilt for the current year or a past year.
Historical Weather Data
So thanks to technology we can make temperature quilts for any year we want. Weather Underground has a historic weather page that you can put in your zip code and pick your year.
Methods for Making Temperature Quilt Blocks
The first thing you need to do is decide what method you want to use to make your half-square triangles. The size of the half-square triangles is 3 1/2″ unfinished, 3″ in our quilt. This will give us a quilt approximately 71″x70″. If you need bigger you can always add another border to your quilt.
Magic 8 Method
You’ll need 8 3/4″ squares for this method. The magic 8 method will also speed up the process since you’ll be making eight days at once.
You won’t have as much variety in your quilt as the other methods so if extra scrappy quilts aren’t your thing this might be a good method for you. If you aren’t doing a previous year you will need to track days and make blocks as you get eight days with the same temperature ranges.
Two At A Time
You will need 4 1/2″ squares for this method. This will give you more variety than the magic 8 method and allow you to use smaller pieces from your stash. You also won’t have to track so many days at a time if you are doing a current year. You are only making two days at a time.
One At A Time
The way to get the most fabric variety in your temperature quilt is to make your half-square triangles one at a time. If you want to go one at a time you’ll need to follow the manufacture’s directions for fabric sizes. I’ve included videos of how to use the various rulers below so you can figure out which one works best for you.
Creative Grids Half Square 4-in-1 Ruler if you scroll down there is a video showing you how to use the ruler
Quilt in A Day 6 1/2” Triangle Square Up PLUS Ruler The Running Stitch has a video on YouTube showing how to use this ruler.
Cozy Quilt Strip Tube Ruler – This video shows how to make a pieced half-square triangle but you don’t have to only do that with this ruler.
Bonnie K. Hunter Essential Triangle Tool – There is no one better to learn how to use a tool than the person who designed it.
You can watch me using the Accuquilt to cut the pieces for the half-square triangle. You will need the 3″ finished size half-square triangle die.
Fabric for Temperature Quilt
Besides the colors below for your temps, you’ll need some neutral 3 1/2″ squares. You’ll need about 55 squares, depending on what year you are doing as this could vary slightly. You’ll use the neutral squares to fill in the blank days of the month.
Dark Blue – Negative temps
Yellow – 0-20
Pink – 21-40
Green – 41-60
Light Blue – 61-80
Orange – 81-100
Red – 101+ temps
The method you use to make your half-square triangles and the temperatures you are documenting will affect how much fabric you need for each color. You’ll need approximately 6 yards total to make the days and 2 1/2 yards of your neutral fabric.
Construction of Temperature Quilt
You’ll need to be organized for this project. Sticky notes and storage bags will be your best friend. I keep a box of 2-gallon, 1-gallon, quart, and sandwich sizes in my quilting room. I don’t mark the bags so that I can reuse them over and over again. If you are making the current year or using a previous year as a leader-ender project you’ll want to keep your days straight. I use sticky notes to mark my bags, 1 gallon for the month, quart for weeks, and sandwich size for days. LABEL EVERY BAG WITH YOUR STICKY NOTES! If you don’t you’ll get confused. I’m doing a previous year so I skipped the week bags and just stuck to days and months.
In order to stay organized while making a temperature quilt label storage bags with sticky notes
As I cut up my fabric I put the fabric in the correct bag and crossed off the day on the calendar so I knew where I was in the month.
Bagging individual days and adding them to a larger bag for the month keeps your temperature quilt organized.
Each month will be a block in your quilt. This is where those neutral blocks come in, you’ll those to fill in the blank days of the calendar. Each month has 35 squares and is laid out like a calendar, with 7 blocks across, and 5 rows down. The quilt also has 2 1/2″ sashing strips between each block.
When you finish a month measure the size of the block and cut your sashing that length and when you finish a row measure it before cutting that sashing. The same goes for the outside borders. Measuring keeps the sashing and borders from getting wavy.
Temperature Quilt Pattern
This is a free pattern. The pattern has the fabric list, a blank block so that you can diagram your months, the layout guide, plus other tips to make your temperature quilt easily. There is a QR code on the front of the pattern that will bring you back to this page if you need it. If you don’t see the newsletter sign-up below you can click here to get the pattern for free.
After fighting her DNA Mel accepted she was a quilter with a love of vintage sewing machines. Now she shares that love with everyone on the internet.