Saturday, 26 September 2009

Hot Air Balloon Cot Quilt

Baby Oscar (my Great-nephew) has finally arrived! Actually he wasn't late but his mummy had convinced me he would be coming early so I've had the cot quilt finished for a few weeks without being able to share it.
You can now see it in all it's glory with the little 'balloon animals' sitting in their 'baskets'.

I was inspired by a large canvas that we were selling in the shop earlier in the year.
It used to sit behind my desk and during a rare idle moment of gazing into space (in the direction of the canvas) the little light bulb pinged above my head.

My first thought was that I could piece the balloons using my old favourite 'drunkards path' method of patchworking circles (see some of my earlier quilts on Flickr). But this wasn't going to work out if I wanted the balloons striped. So I decided that 'reverse applique' or 'mola' would be the best option. I prefer this to applique if I am going to have to do more precise shapes and points. Each balloon was made from 3 pieces of coloured fabric, one on top of the other and tacked together, with the balloon drawn on the top piece in pencil. I then cut out big 'slices' and turned the edges down to reveal the next colour, and then cut into the next layer to reveal smaller 'slices'.

Once the balloons were finished they were straightforwardly appliqued to the patterned fabric. I decided not to use self-coloured fabrics throughout as I thought it might look a bit harsh, so I chose tiny patterns for the 'sky' to soften the whole effect. There were so many thin pieces of fabric left at the bottom of the balloon (where the fire should be!) that I couldn't turn the ends under. So I covered these with a complementary ribbon/braid. Luckily the lovely Mailag braids had just arrived at this point!
Then it was just a matter of machining the 9 blocks together and basting the quilt.
I originally attempted to hand quilt the 'rigging/lines' but it just wasn't having the right effect - too wishy-washy - so I decided to embroider them with coloured silks and a simple back stitch. There were times during the next few weeks when I came to regret that decision as it was quite a big job!
Especially as I had to still hand quilt it to hold the layers together. I hadn't wanted to go right through to the back with the embroidery as it would have made it look so messy, so I tried to go just through the wadding which meant the lining was flopping around a bit in places, hence the need for quilting. The finishing touches were the little flags.
I am very pleased with the whole thing and so is mummy Kate. And I am sure Oscar and his big sister Olivia will enjoy playing with the wee animals and putting them in and out of their baskets. I attached some loops to the back so it can be hung on the wall as well as laid on the cot.

And of course no post would be complete without an owl!


  1. Aww this is so cute! What a lovely gift for a newborn :)

  2. if i knew where you lived, i would come steal this in the middle of the night. the wee bunnies! and owls! and i think i even spotted a panda! i'm gonna have to copy this when i have my first bambino.

    p.s. i also love your scrappy spider web and DWR quilts off to the side!

  3. This is the most incredible quilt I have ever seen! I'm so jealous of Oscar!!!