Making a Weight Loss Quilt – A habit tracker in Quilt form!

Weight loss for quilters (or anyone really) can be tough – which is where the idea for this weight loss quilt has come from.

While there are some parts of quilting that can be physically demanding, in general, we are seated and not really breaking a sweat. I will give you all the details about what a weight loss quilt is and how to make your own below as well as explain a little bit about why I want to make one myself.

weight loss quilt
weight loss quilt

Why I want to make a weight loss quilt

I am a bit of yo-yo dieter type of a person. I tend to let the pounds creep on and then before I know it I’m 50lbs+ heavier than the weight I am comfortable at.

In the past I have been able to motivate myself by big events that are 5 or 6 months in the future and use that as a goal to focus my exercise and diet habits. I lost 45lbs in the months leading up to my wedding and I’ve used other people’s weddings as a similar motivator previously as well.

Since having my kids though I’ve found it hard to get motivated in the same way I used to. I can hide behind being a Mum or the fact that we all had to spend so much time inside over the past couple of years as an excuse to not care about how unhealthy I’ve gotten.

I am now at the heaviest I have ever been and so I am embarking on a new kind of motivation that ties in more closely with what is keeping my attention these days…not buying pretty dresses for weddings….making quilts!

What is a weight loss quilt?

This is an ongoing scrap buster project that is aimed at fostering good habits.  You can use it for weight loss or any other goal that requires maintaining good habits to achieve it – I’m using it for weight loss so I’m calling it a Weight Loss Quilt.

The basic idea is that I will make one small and simple block each day (or do 7 at the end of each week!) which will record my progress in fabric.

I am using my quilt as a weight-loss motivator. 

Rather than recording just weight loss on the scale however I am going to use mine to record my progress in exercising regularly and eating healthy – which of course are the habits necessary to achieve weight loss. 

Each block will be 5″ (4.5″ finished) and exactly what it looks like will vary depending on what I have done that day.

How to make a Weight Loss Quilt

Like a Temparature Quilt – but different…

The idea for this quilt came from the concept of ‘temperature quilts’ where the quilter uses fabric to represent the temperature on the day and sometimes also the quilter’s mood on the day.

There are lots of variations for temperature quilts, but the one I was inspired by you had a background square in one colour to indicate the highest temperature on that day, and a circle appliqued on top to indicate the lowest temperature and the quilter had varied the size of the circle to indicate how they were feeling that day.

This weight-loss version takes that concept and uses it as a motivator as well as a record of events.

Deciding on a ‘Key’ for your Quilt

There are lots of choices you can make about how to use this concept but the important thing is to set the parameters before you start. 

I will set out how I am going to use mine so you can follow my guide if you wish. But I also have a set of questions below that can help you to adapt this weight loss quilt to suit your own needs.

You can download my Weight Loss Quilt Starter Pack by clicking the button below.

The pack includes a blank and example ‘personal key’ sheet as well as circle templates in the various sizes I am using for my quilt.

My Weight Loss Quilt ‘Key’ (i.e. what the quilt blocks will look like!)

It can help to answer a few questions and use that to develop a ‘key’ of what your blocks will look like in certain situations.

As I mentioned above I will have one quilt block for each day that I am recording but I will also have an extra block – a weight loss record block – that will be inserted in between the blocks for each week.

Daily Quilt Blocks:

The background color for my daily quilt blocks will be an indicator of whether or not I ate healthy that day.

I’ll be using scraps and remnants to make my quilt so regardless of the colors I name below they will not all be one uniform fabric but rather a variety of fabrics from that color family.

Healthy Eating Day = Low Volume Background Square

Not so Healthy Eating Day = Orange Background Square

The applique circles will be applied to the top of each block (or not – see below) using an iron-on fusible and raw edge applique (see my video tutorial in this post if you aren’t sure how to do this).

weight loss quilt blocks
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

No Circle = No exercise

Small Circle = exercised for 10-20 minutes (I’m using blue scraps for these circles)

Medium Circle = exercised for 20-40 minutes (I’ll be using orange for these circles)

Large circle = exercised for 40 minutes or more (I’ll be using pink for these circles)

I’m using my Accuqulit Go! Fabric Cutter and dies to make my circles but you can also download my templates in the starter pack if you don’t have a fabric cutter.

If you do have an Accuquilt I am using the Crazy Petals Die (55326) for the 1″ Blue circles and the Circles Die (55012) for the 2″ & 3″ circles.

weight loss quilt block
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
weight loss quilt block example
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
wight loss quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Weight Loss Quilt Blocks:

The weight loss blocks will be added as an extra block after every 7 daily record quilt blocks.

No weight loss = Low volume square with no circle

Lost weight = Dark Pink square (I have cut up an old pair of dark pink jeans that don’t fit me anymore for these squares – I liked the symbolism of it!).

I thought about complicating things and having striped blocks for the weight loss blocks with a different number of stripes depending on the amount of weight loss but I decided I would keep things simple.

So I will have a pink block for any weight loss regardless if it is 0.2lbs or 2lbs (for example) and a low volume block for no weight loss or even for a week when I gain instead of losing.

Weight Loss Quilt Blocks Video Tutorial

To see how the blocks are constructed watch this YouTube video – the block construction tutorial starts around the 8 minute & 40 seconds mark.

A note on colors

I have chosen to put color parameters on my quilt and to use a color palette I haven’t used very much – orange, pink and blue.

If you don’t want to put a color parameter on your quilt you can also use the circles as a record of your sewing projects over time by using up the scraps of the project you are working on that week to make the circles.

If you want to really get deep into recording your progress you could even vary the intensity of the color of your circles based on the intensity of the exercise or vary the intensity of the color of the background square based on how healthy or unhealthy you feel like you ate along a scale.

 So, for example, one extra glass of wine the background is pale blue instead of white for a healthy day, and for a day when you had a whole pizza, a chocolate bar, and three sugary cocktails the background square could be dark blue. I personally think the simpler the better!

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. How long do I want to record my progress in regards to this habit or towards this goal?

If you only want to track your progress for a short time you could make a wall hanging or a baby quilt.  If you want to track your progress for 6 months you can make a throw quilt and if you want to track your progress for a year you can make a full bed quilt.

  • What sort of scraps do you have?  Do you want to limit the colors you use to achieve a certain look for your quilt or do you want to go completely random?

I know I like a certain degree of color coordination to my quilts so I am setting parameters for myself.

  • How many elements do you want to record?

For example, if you, like me, are using this as a tracker towards weight loss progress you might want to record both exercise and healthy eating like I am, or you might only want to record your exercise habits and not your eating.

You also may or may not want to record whether or not you lost weight on a scale at the end of the week.

You don’t have to record all of the things I am recording, you need to record the habits that you personally think will get you to your goal and make the whole thing simple enough for you to stick to.

What will the quilt look like?

This is part of the fun of it. You aren’t going to know until you finish.

I am hoping my quilt is going to look modern and bright and fun.

But with the way I have set out my colors it could be mostly pink and white (if I smash it out of the park with exercising every day and always eat healthy) or it could be mostly orange and blue if I only exercise a little and I mostly eat unhealthily.

weight loss quilt mock up
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

My guess is it’s going to be a bit of a mixed bag. And what I am hoping is that I can forgive myself the odd week with no exercise or week of eating poorly because it will be an interesting little section of the quilt to look back on and (fingers crossed) see how I picked myself back up again and started back with the healthier habits.

[Note: My quilt is now finished and you can see what it actually looks like below]

But how do we actually lose the weight?

I am not a weight loss expert and I am not a nutritionist so I’m not going to give you an exercise or a diet plan.

I am using weight watchers to track my eating habits (I’m not affiliated with them I’m just familiar with the program) but you could just use common-sense healthy eating or any other diet plan you like.

For exercise, I am planning on using a treadmill (for brisk walking not running) in my sewing room as well as the occasional swim and some online dance classes I bought ages ago and never did!

You’ll have to decide what exercise would be suitable for you. In my past experience with weight loss, it’s not which exercise or which diet plan that makes the difference it’s the getting started, the keeping at it, and the picking yourself up when you fall that gets you to the finish line.

For me, I’m hoping that recording my progress on this blog and on my YouTube channel will be part of the motivation along with wanting to see more large circles with low-volume backgrounds in my quilt!

The last way that I think this quilt will help me is that it gives me something else to focus on besides the things that I feel like I can’t eat.

It’s always good to have another focus and something to do with your hands when you are trying to stop yourself from straying toward the fridge for a snack!

Top Tips Cheat Sheet

weight loss quilt using accuquilt circle die

How to Make a Weight Loss Quilt Top Tips Cheat Sheet

This is cheat sheet quick reminder of everything you need to make your own weight loss quilt and some top tips to keep you going along the way.

Materials

  • 5" background squares in your chosen colors (use the weight loss quilt key sheet to figure out how many colors you'll need.
  • Fabric scraps for your circles in 2-3 colors (again see the free weight loss quilt key sheet)
  • Coordinating thread

Tools

  • Sewing Machine
  • Accuquilt Circle Dies (optional) or the free printable circle template sheet

Instructions

  1. If you haven't already click the button in the blog post and enter your email to receive your FREE WEIGHT LOSS QUILT STARTER PACK.
  2. Decide on your key (what you'll be tracking) and what colors of fabric you'll be using.
  3. Start Tracking using the free tracking sheet in your pack.
  4. Cut and sew one block a day or batch-sew them at the end of each week.
  5. DON'T stress yourself out if you forget to track or you get behind making your blocks. Just start again wherever you are and don't worry about the lost days.
  6. DO join the Scrap Fabric Love Weight Loss Quilt Facebook Group if you would like some peer support.
  7. You can always go back to my Weight Loss Quilt Playlist on YouTube to see the ups and downs of my own journey so you can see that the journey is not always linear.
  8. DO finish your quilt - no matter what the outcome was for your weight you will have a beautiful quilt and I bet you will have learned some great lessons along the way - I know I did!

My Finished Weight Loss Quilt

I finished my quilt!

finished weight loss quilt scrap fabric love
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

My quilt got finished 13 months after I started it not the 6 months I originally intended.

You can watch all my update videos below to hear about the ups and downs of it all but I did finally finish.

weight loss quilt before and after
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I lost 26 lbs. Not as much weight as I had hoped to lose but definitely a big improvement on when I started!

weight loss quilt close up
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I am trying to keep a positive attitude about how much I have lost and not focusing on that I didn’t achieve a set weight loss goal. Just because the quilt is finished doesn’t mean my weight loss efforts are over so hopefully, I will keep going strong from here all the way to my goal weight.

Finishing this quilt has given me a whole new level of confidence that I can make changes over the long term not just in short bursts of effort like I have done in the past so I am hoping this changed mindset will help me going forward.

I have learned some good lessons along the weigh about what personally motivates me to exercise and how I can make picking myself up again when I’ve stopped much easier.

weight loss quilt finished
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I talked about these lessons in this update video and you can also watch my Weight Loss Quilt Finish Video here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use this quilt to track other types of habits?

Yes absolutely! I have had subscribers tell me that they are using the tracker sheet and quilt blocks key to track all sorts of habits they want to shift including stopping smoking, drinking more water and even saving money!

How did you (Kristen) lose the weight?

I tried a number of things over the course of my journey. I started using Weight Watchers (not affiliated with them), as well as walking on a treadmill at home (I started in the winter!).

After I had my period of inactivity I spoke to a therapist about personality types and she pointed out that I needed to make things more fun for myself so instead of making myself feel bad for not wanting to get back on the treadmill I started looking for lots of new fun things to keep me active from dancing to short muscle building workouts.

What worked for me will not necessarily be right for you – consider what motivates you and what doesn’t and try to set things up to make things easier for yourself whether that means having an accountability buddy or scheduling in time for exercise in your calendar or whatever….one size does not fit all!

Is there a Facebook Group?

Yes! You can join it here.

How do I get the Weight Loss Quilt Starter Pack?

Click the big pink buttons in this blog post and enter your email address to receive your free starter pack!

weight loss quilt

Want to join me?

I have now finished my weight loss quilt, but even if you are reading this long after I have finished you can still join in.

Click the button below to receive your free Weight Loss Quilt Starter Pack that has all the templates and details you need to get started.

I’d love to see your progress on Instagram too – so don’t forget to tag me if you post @scrapfabriclove.

There is also a Scrap Fabric Love Weight Loss Quilt Facebook Group full of folk at various stages in their own journeys. Join the Facebook Group Here.

I have now finished my weight loss quilt and you can see the finished quilt above. If you want to start your own journey and follow along with my weight loss journey from the beginning you can watch my update videos below that span a total of 13 months.

Weight Loss Quilt Update Video #1 – I lost 12lbs!

Holiday Update – I lost 4 more pounds!

Weight Loss Quilt 2022 New Year Fresh Start – Welcome New Starters!

Weight Loss Quilt Update Video #4

Weight Loss Quilt Update Video #5 – Restarting and Rebooting

Quilting Vlog Updates (Including the Weight Loss Quilt)

Quilting Vlog Update #2 (Including the Weight Loss Quilt)

Quilting Vlog Updates #3 (Including the Weight Loss Quilt)

Weight Loss Quilt Update – Final Push

Weight Loss Quilt Finished Video – 26 lbs down!

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