February Hoop Art of the Month - Temperature Starburst

Right about now you might be asking yourself "What's a temperature starburst?"  Well, it looks like this:

A few months ago I spotted a crocheted afghan that was called a temperature blanket. I was curious, so after doing a little research I found out that people have been making them for quite a while. The way the yarn versions often work is that the maker chooses colors for a variety of temperature ranges, then adds a row or shape to the blanket each day or week that reflects the average temperature outside. It's a make-as-you-go kind of thing. 

They aren't always made as blankets. I've also seen temperature scarves, which I would love! I wondered if I could make a temperature quilt. Of course, I was far from the first to have that idea, so there are lots of those out there too.  I've pinned a few of my favorite temperature projects on this board. The author of the quilt seen there just started a quilt-along for her version in January.

Then came the big question - how can I fit that idea into a hoop? Since it would be difficult to fit daily, or even weekly entries, I went with monthly. I sketched out a few versions, but the one I liked the best reminded me a bit of a beach ball. I also realized after it was finished that it's rainbowness is pretty perfect for the St. Patrick's Day holiday coming up next month.

We had some pretty erratic temperatures last summer and this winter, which isn't always the case in Oregon, so I knew the previous 12 months would give me a good variety. There are lots of time frames you could use though, like someone's birth year or to mark another big event. Thanks to Weather Underground, you can look up temperatures for anywhere and anytime. This is the chart I made to use. On the right are the temperature colors and ranges I started with, and on the left are the adjustments I made based on the actual ranges I needed to use and the fabrics I had available.

To make this, you'll need:

  • 9" embroidery hoop
  • 12 fabric wedges, cut using the first page of this pattern (the second and third pages are for reference only - those wedges do not include a seam allowance)
  • fusible interfacing
  • embroidery transfer pen
  • embroidery thread

I'm going to tell you how I sewed this together, then I'll tell you how I think you should do it differently. Sometimes you learn as you go.

I stitched the wedges together in pairs, then stitched those pairs together, which created three sections.

What I would do next time, and what I recommend to you, is sewing three wedges together, so you have four quarters.  Sew two quarters together, giving you two halves, then stitch the two halves together. That might seem obvious now, but it wasn't when I was knee-deep in trying to fit that third wedge into the circle.

In the end, it should look something like this. Or maybe your points match up a little better in the center. If not, don't sweat it. Let's call it character.

Trim away some of the excess fabric in the center seam to reduce the bulk. Cut a piece of fusible fleece to fit the back and iron it on.

Transfer the embroidery designs from the last page of the pattern. My favorite tool to do this is the Sublime Stitching transfer pens. Iron the appropriate month onto its corresponding wedge.

Embroider each letter using a backstitch. I thought about using the same color embroidery thread as each fabric for a more subtle look, but decided to go for the contrasting black instead. Has anyone else ever noticed that when you write out the first letter of each month it spells Jason in the middle? Weird.

Insert the fabric centered into the embroidery hoop. Cut a piece of felt to fit the back of the hoop.

Tuck the excess fabric into the center of the hoop and glue the felt onto the back.

Add a bit of cord or ribbon to the top for hanging. I love the variety in this one. There are some years around here where this would have been an awful lot of green. What colors will be in your hoop?