Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Accidental quilting

Friends, we have a situation here.  I accidentally made something and I'm not quite sure what it should be, or even what it is right now!  And I sure don't know what to do with it next.  But I know I kind of like it!

Let's talk after the photo:

I love this tree!

Whatever it is, it's darned cheerful! Here's what happened: I decided to make a temperature quilt this year.  There are a ton of ways to do this, and I considered a lot of them, but in the end I decided to use plain old 3 inch squares.  It's all I felt I could keep up with for a whole year.

Then I had to decide on fabric to use for the temperature scale.  There are a lot of ways to do this, too, but I decided to use a bunch of fat quarters to make a temp scale in 5 degree increments from 0 degrees F to 100 F.  Why that increment?  Because I am a little crazy, and also because I wanted to have a lot of variety in the blocks, avoiding big stretches of one color.  Also, it gave me an opportunity to use a lot of fat quarters and prints.  I want the finished quilt to be fun to look at, after all.

It took a long time to work that out!  It was fun, though, and made a total mess with all of the discarded fat quarters, that I still have to pick up off the floor and the table and everywhere else.  I'm really pleased with the scale, too!  And look--there are prints!

The winning selections

So then I needed a visual to keep the colors straight, right?  Yes, I did!  Just stitch the squares together in color order and pop them up on the design wall so I can see which color to use for that day, right?  Sure, except in retrospect it would have been better to use 1-inch squares rather than the 3 inch squares I'm using for the quilt.  That would have made more sense, because I ended up with a very colorful strip that measured about 60 inches long.

Then I thought it might make a cute quilt on it's own as a thermometer, so I grabbed some Kona Snow and put a narrow strip on one side with the wider piece I had on the other side.  I had every intention of trimming it down, but then I looked at it and now I'm not so sure.  Maybe it's a quilt top of its own just like this. Right now, it's about 40 by 60, which strikes me as a bit narrow.  Not enough to cuddle with, but too big, really, for a baby quilt.   And a white baby quilt just gives me the willies.

Kona Snow in the snow

So, what do you think?  Do I add to it?  If so, what?  Trim it down?  And how on earth would I quilt this? What would you do? 

And in case you're interested, here is the strip for the first 10 days of 2017:

So much for avoiding big blocks of color!  I may have to change my strategy.  I saw one that is made up of half square triangles of the high and the low for the day, which sounds intriguing.  And heaven help us if we have to use those lighter purples (or the deep reds at the other end).

Any suggestions welcome! Hope you're having a good start to stitching in 2017!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.


  1. You could add the same colour sripes to both the left and right sides making it wider. It would also act as a border. Then you could do some amazing quilting in the white... even make the quilting look like a rainbow. Quilt it in verigated coloured thread.... it is lovely though

  2. Oh I love this pattern, and your choice of colors. Not sure what quilting I would do on it, as I mainly use a simple meandering. Kinda new to quilting, I have not yet learned any of those fancy detailed quilting designs, lol :)

  3. So pretty! Maybe repeat your pattern but upside down as a border on the two long sides of the quilt, maybe in 5" squares? That'd give you 50X60 and you'd only need 12 squares. As for all that lovely white space, FMQ the snot out of it! Wild Quilting or Angela Walters stuff!

  4. I would fold that beautiful visual lengthwise and hang it where you can see the long beautiful run of color for reference. Enjoy it - appreciate it - and know that when the top is sewn together, you can incorporate that long strip in the back or use it for border inspiration since it is clearly part of the quilt's journey story (in other words, do nothing to it for right now). As far as "big blocks of color" concern - if you go with the high/low readings that would surely break up the color swaths. Rather than HSTs, what about using the 3" squares trimmed to 3" x 1.5" rectangles? Either way, run with the process and watch the quilt top grow.

  5. I would add more sqs of color to each side. And have loads of fun Freemotion quilting all the negative space. Wild Quilting class on Craftsy would make for great designs on it-Christina Camelli!

  6. why not consider using it as the backing for your temperature quilt? when you know the finished size, you can add to it as needed, however and with whatever pleases you at the time. Just another idea... :)

  7. I love the simplicity of your design and the beauty of the rainbow colors all in order! I'd make a wall hanging out of it, for my sewing room. But I had to tell you, I really loved the title of your post! As I was scrolling along in Bloglovin, deciding what to read, I clicked right on your post!

  8. I love it as a top, but SarahZ's comment about using as the backing sounds great. I love a simple back with a punch of color.

  9. I like it the way it is! I think it would make a great wall hanging as is; I like the rainbow strip off center and the negative space to focus on the color. I would even go with a white, or maybe black binding. Bold and simple. Good Luck!

  10. You have plenty of suggestions. I have eye-candy. And I am sure whatever you do it will be lovely.

  11. So many great suggestions here Mari. Perfect for part of the backing or as a quilt of its own. Scrappy slab blocks cut and made into a border to give the quilt more size? Use it as a wall hanging and just have fun with the quilting?

    I had not heard of a temperature quilt. This will be a fun one to watch your progress on.

  12. If this were mine, I'd definitely use it on the back of the temperature quilt so the viewer of that quilt would know what the colors meant (you might have to add some pigma pen or embroidery hints along the 'thermometer' strip.

    :) Linda

  13. Stunning as it sits.I love it; always a rainbow fan, I'd border it with the lighter colors in the strip-maybe four of the "low volume" with wider strips on the sides. Then bind it again with the white and use it, hang it, love it, gift it (my 60th is in June:)). Truly the prettiest one I have seen since before the holidays !~!

    A backing with small flying geese in the colors used on the front is swooping around in my mind. Hmmm. You have a lovely start to a gorgeous artwork going here. Or a finished piece already....

  14. I love this! I think using it as reference and then part of the back of the temperature quilt is a great idea. Whatever you quilt on the front will show clearly on the back, which could be really interesting. I know of an organization that collects quilts this size as "hugs" during psychotherapy--to be draped around the shoulders, so that could be neat, too, if you wanted to donate it. White would work for an adult, and then you could do either white dense quilting for texture or variegated rainbow colors. But I know you'll figure out what you want to do, and it will be wonderful!

  15. I love the idea of a temperature quilt! What if you hang on to this and use it for he back of the quilt when it's finished. You might have to add on to it but you've got a pretty good start.

  16. My first thought was it is a flag. But when I read the dimensions I thought it would be too big. I like the idea of using it in the backing of the quilt. It could also be trimmed down and made into a bed or table runner.

  17. I like the idea of keeping it up as a reminder and later using it for the backing of the quilt.

    Maybe you can see old weather charts from last or before last year and see if they also had longer stretches of the exaclty same temperature? If they do and the next week(s) point to larger blocks as well, I love the low and high idea either with the HSTs or the suggestion with the rectangles :)

    I wish you a lot of fun with your yearlong project and a lovely quilt to remember all the good from this year. Maybe also keep a gratitude journul (one line a day or something like that) to accompany it... But I am degressing ;)

  18. I really Jo's suggestion for this quilt. It really does stand alone and would make a great wall hanging.


Thanks so much for reading my little blog! I really appreciate your comments and the chance to interact with you. I'll answer you if I can! If you are no-reply, please leave an address if you'd like a response.