A temperature quilt is a way of recording the temperature in a place or places over time in textile form. You can make it anything you want. It can have the maximum and minimum temperature in your location. It could have the temperature in your area and another place, say of a friend. It could have one temperature or two (or more). The period I chose was a year starting from January. You may like to record the first year of a child’s life or a special birthday or anniversary year. It is something you can very much make your own.
The Time Period
I wanted to make a quilt that remembered 2020. It was to be the year my younger daughter took her GCSE exams, the year my older daughter moved back to being local after six years away and the year that we went to New Zealand for a month as a family. I expected the temperature colours to go from cold to warm, but then dip back into the cold in August whilst we were in New Zealand and then just back to hot and slide into cooler temperature as we headed back into winter. Life didn’t turn out like that, yet that made my temperature quilt all the more extraordinary.
Choosing Your Design
From the outset, I knew I wanted to use a flying geese design. The centre triangle would be the maximum temperature each day, and the small outer triangles would be the minimum temperature. A geese block would be made for every day of the year. I created a Pinterest Board to gather ideas about designs which is still available today.
I was traditional in my fabric choices, blues for cold moving through orange and red to heat. I mixed plains with patterns, though 70% of my fabric s were plains as I wanted the temperature variations to be noticeable.
Building The Quilt
I binge made my temperature quilt. There would be periods of no activity on it and then frantic weeks of work. The website Accuweather.com was a great way to catch up on the temperatures. Thankfully by using this website, I did not need to create my temperature diary.
As my business moved wholly online in March 2020, my life became more, not less, busy. I had little time to keep up with the quilt. Eventually, I gave in and asked a friend to help me put blocks together. The blocked returned in completed month strips. I added filler strips at the bottom on months without 31 days and found the perfect backing from a small London shop called Cloth & Candy. The backing was rainbows. It couldn’t have been more appropriate.
I quilted it first from left to right across the months with chevron lines, running in the ditch moving from month to month and then filled in with a simple loop of different sizes. It was quick to quilt.
Surprisingly I have given the quilt away. I know that the recipient will love it and look after it.
I will make another. Maybe for a present. Possibly for a birth, a wedding or a birthday. It is a remarkable memory and a unique gift.
Several wonderful ladies in the GillyMac Club also made temperature quilts of various designs. Each one has a story, and everyone is a glorious colourful testament to a very tricky year.