The wind was a factor today, but I think the billowing effect is a-okay with this airy quilt! Keen eyes will notice Xena sunbathing on the deck behind the quilt.
This was my RSC 2022 project. It came to be when I was asked to take part in Kelly's (My Quilt Infatuation) September blog hop for her new book Scrappy Improv Quilting. I chose to make 'Up, Up and Away', her hot air ballon mini quilt. I made 'Balloon Ride', and mused in the post about making a rainbow of them. Well, I did just that! It was SUCH fun. Somewhere along the way of making these blocks, I knew this quilt would go to M, my great-nephew.
I decided to make it my goal to finish the quilt during the second quarter of Leanne's #wipsbgone2022 challenge. I'd just made a multi-coloured balloon, so did some math and graph paper figuring to come up with a layout that had a bit of movement to it, but not too much. The blocks are 12" x 18" so I didn't want to lengthen the quilt more than it already was with three blocks per row.
I had less than a yard of background fabric left, so not much. It was a bit of a puzzle to work out how to piece it with the staggered balloon blocks. I did it in uneven columns. I did make the horizontal rectangles 2" finished, so I could cut the strips 2.5" and make better use of any leftovers. I've started thinking about optimizing my leftovers so they don't just accumulate endlessly. (They still do despite my best intentions, and despite all these scraps and stash quilts.)
I opened the 'backings yardage vault' and my eye immediately fell upon a bright backing cotton fabric of which I had used a small chunk...on the back of some other quilt that I cannot recall at present. Would there be enough? There was! I'd written yardage on a small (too small, note to self) label. It was 54" wide so I didn't even have to piece it!
Went to the fabric labels drawer, selected a cute one, as this is going to a little boy, sewed it on, loaded that backing after I trimmed it straight of course, and? Batting. Hmmm. I pulled out a couple of possibilities of which I had enough (love that I do what Yvonne had talked about earlier this week or late last week: write on a post-it or label of some kind the dimensions of leftover batting before storing it, so it's easy to find one that will work). I had a cotton/wool blend and a 100% polyester.
I went with the polyester mainly because this is for a little boy, so it will be washed a lot, I suspect, and it can take the 5 or so minutes of low temperature dryer better than the wool blend, and it's lighter weight (mailing purposes). I usually put my quilts into a low temperature dryer for 5 - 6 minutes, and then lie them flat to finish air drying. If my niece is anything like my daughter, Brianne, she'll put the quilt in longer...
I wanted a fast all-over design, so I figured I'd do a large meander in the background, and something else in the balloons. Maybe lines? Vertical? Horizontal? Ooh, back a forth kind of ripples effect? Yep!
I don't believe I have changed thread this many times in a quilt, ever. But it was worth it.
I was using Connecting Threads Essential thread for the background, so elected to continue with it for the hot air balloons. Weird, that I do not have any turquoise shades whatsoever (enter Aurifil). nor do I have a good rainbow variegated (sub 30 wt Sulky Blendables). Avril sewed like the champ she is. Each balloon got outlined, and then back and forth lines. I stitched in the ditch for the 'stripes' on each balloon, but didn't do anything else since that's only 1" wide.
The baskets got SITD and then an 'x' through them.
Why is my satin label on the front of the quilt, you are thinking, right? Well! First of all, let me show you the entire back. It's wild. Perfect for a little boy, I think.
After I took it off Avril and laid it down to admire, it was my bedtime. I told myself I'd trim it in the morning, and started to mull a bit on binding: a rainbow one, for sure, maybe there'd be enough of the backing to make a binding... Sometime between laying it down on the floor and getting up the next morning, I decided to self-bind the quilt, placemat style. Brilliant! Am I glad I recognized I was tired and left the quilt to be trimmed until the following morning! This is the first time I've done this on a quilt of this size. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've done it on a quilt at all.
Carefully, carefully, I trimmed away the excess batting, and trimmed the backing to 3/4" all the way around. It took oh a half hour of googling, searching through my blog, and my bookmarks, and in the end while I was doing all that, my brain pulled up the correct method.... to mitre corners using the backing as binding. I've taken pictures, and will write a post for the future me 😇 and anyone else who may be interested. When you bind a quilt or a placemat this way, you can't sew your label into the binding edge on the back, because there is no binding edge!
|Love the skater chick in the blue balloon!|
It worked out really well. I sewed it down with orange Exquisite polyester.
|Rufus had to get in one shot since Xena did. He's looking for something in the chives pot!|
In case you missed it on Instagram, here's the multi-coloured balloon.
There's a wonderful story to the frog fabric you see. Don't mind my cell phone shadow; the sun was just perfect for showing the true vibrant colours of this quilt, but shadows...
Years ago in my Stack 'n Whack hey day (yup, like 20 years ago), I made my brother-in-law (MacGyver's brother, also the great-grandpa to M) and sister-in-law a wallhanging using that frog fabric. Their last name is French, so it was a bit of a joke between us, but really cool fabric regardless. I was rifling through my box of multi-coloured scraps to make this balloon, when I spied this chunk. Well, I nearly fell over. I had no idea I still had any of that fabric left, and the fact that the frog was whole, and this quilt was going to their great-grandchild--! Choirs were singing. Isn't that just so cool?
The quilt just got pulled out of the dryer and is finishing lying flat to air dry. I'll be packaging it up to send off to Alberta along with 'Be A Unicorn' which will go to M's baby sister, 'A'. That is another quilt that was made knowing that it would find the right owner, and well, it has. I think 'Soar' and 'Be A Unicorn' are great positive messages and names of quilts for these two little ones!
From last year. This will go in the package to A. It's of a similar size to M's.
Pattern: balloon block from Scrappy Improv Quilting by Kelly Young; my quilt design
Size: 48.5" x 60.5"
Fabric: stash and scraps
Fabric: stash and scraps
Backing: 100% cotton from stash
Batting: Fairfield 100% polyester
Quilted: on Avril: 57 565 stitches
Quilted: on Avril: 57 565 stitches
Threads: pieced with various; quilted with Essential Threads 100% cotton, Aurifil and Sulky
Make Modern (affiliate link) issue #49 is published today! It's such a great magazine: ten patterns, articles (I'm looking forward to seeing what is written about temperature quilts), and a contest in each issue.
Oh, that cover quilt!