Global Warming through Hand Embroidery

Temproidery—Temperatures with Embroidery

Our Earth has been heating up rapidly in the last 100 years, and nothing can explain it better than the anomaly chart. This embroidery shows how our Earth’s temperature is spiraling away from our hands. In this lesson, I will illustrate how to use the anomalies in temperature since 1850 (that is almost 170 years!) in embroidery. This data was obtained from NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

I have chosen 14 colors to represent each range of anomaly. Here is how I arranged them. You can make your own sensible color codes to use for stitching. An anomaly range of 1.4 Degrees Celsius was recorded till date—that is how much our Earth’s temperature has changed since 1850 (mean change is 0.9°C). So, I decided to assign a color for a difference of 0.1 Degree Celsius. Usually, the anomaly chart uses red and blue colors, but I thought I should include green and yellow as well, to give the entire pattern a vivid and bright feel.

Then, I had to decide on a stitch to use. Each stitch would represent a year and will be stitched in the color that represents the range of anomaly for that particular year.

Fig 1: I figured that rather than making stripes for each color, I can make a spiral with Russian Chain Stitches to symbolize how the temperature is spiraling out of control. I draw the stitch line in a spiral shape. I also trace lines to place the Russian Chain Stitch just to make sure that I space it right.
Fig 2: I start stitching from the center starting with the color for 1850 working all the way around the spiral. The Industrial Revolution which had started almost 100 years ago in 1760 was accompanied by a massive growth in energy consumption and burning of fossil fuel. It was going to change the world forever.
Fig 3: The burning of fossil fuel at these high proportions altered the composition of the atmosphere substantially. My pattern started with a dark blue at the center. The shades of blue keep on for more than a century, that is more than 100 Russian Chain Stitches.
Fig 4: The consumption of fossil fuels in carelessly huge amounts only propagated, accelerating the greenhouse effect, leading to a warmer climate. Slowly, I see the colors taking a warmer shift into shades of green and yellow. But it did not last as much as the blue shades.
Fig 5: The warmer climate brought about extremes in weather conditions affecting all kinds of flora and fauna, leading many to die out, which many believe is the marking of the beginning of the 6th largest mass extinction. The reds started showing soon.
Fig 6: With the industries and machines by our sides, we ‘progressed’ into a digital revolution. Yet, we are still grappling to keep the climate under control – the main determinant of our very existence. My pattern ended in this dark red color for 2019.
Fig 7: This picture shows how quickly we transitioned into a very warm climate, and our careless and indifferent activities only keep accelerating this anomaly. The shift is so quick that we don’t even have time to adapt or evolve!
Fig 8: Hoping for a healed earth.

Sarah’s Hand Embroidery


Juby Aleyas Koll, also know as Sarah, is the author and publisher of the book and website Sarah’s Hand Embroidery Tutorials. She has been researching and tutoring hand embroidery for over a decade, making it accessible to everyone around the globe.

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