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Hot Air Balloons

April 27, 2010

For me, the most important and time consuming part of making a beautiful piece of fabric art is the planning stage. Here is a small glimpse of the work that went into the design of my latest quilt.

I started with some photographs that a friend took at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. When I saw these colorful balloons against the bright blue sky, I knew they had to become a quilt. After looking through the pictures, over the course of many months spent working on other quilts, I came up with a plan. The first step was to pick a configuration that would work for the size and shape of wall hanging that I had in mind.

I chose this picture and then masked out the portion that I wanted to use. The next step was to blow up the image to the size I wanted. I am an old fashioned woman that tends to do things the hard but inexpensive way, so I made a graph on a piece of leftover plastic and taped it over the photograph. Then I used the old time-worn method of drawing the picture square by square onto a large piece of paper. In this instance, the size of the quilt was defined by the size of the paper I had on hand, but I could have taped pieces together to make a larger quilt.

Next came one of my favorite parts of quilting, choosing fabrics. These balloons are the most colorful fabrics I could find. The sky fabric had to be hand dyed and then dyed again to create just the right shade of blue. After this “hard” work was done, I traced the parts onto fusible web, put them together, and then satin stitched around them.  Voila, the finished quilt! I am very pleased with the way it turned out. It is such a pleasure to be able to take a vision and create it in fabric. You can find this quilt in my Artfire shop.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Colleen Smithers permalink
    May 16, 2010 11:55 am

    Hi Mary ellen,

    How have you been? I hope you are enjoying your retirement. I was talking to Cathy Goodfellow at work the other night and she was telling me about the airballoon quilt that you made. I just have to say that it is beautiful! You did a great job. Well, take care of yourself and say ” Hi ” to your husband for me.

    Your Friend,

  2. May 23, 2010 3:37 am

    Beautiful hot air balloon quilt. I’ve always wanted to make a border like that. Was it difficult getting the border adjusted?

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