Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot Air Balloon fundraiser quilt

Since this past February (i.e. 5 months ago), I have been working (off and on) a fund-raiser quilt for a parochial school that is actively supported by a branch of Mr. Pirate's family.  The school is located in Napa, CA, which is known for its premier wine grape vineyards and wineries.  It is also a popular area for hot air ballooning.

With this in mind, I designed a queen sized quilt for the fund-raiser with an appliqued hot air balloon floating over vineyards in a center oval, which in turn is surrounded by a border of pieced grape leaves and a final outer border of appliqued swags.  Applique grape clusters occupy the cornerstones of the grape leaf border.

I turned under the edges of all the applique motifs and machine appliqued them with monofilament thread.  The hot air balloon itself had an extra layer of batting underneath it for a faux trapunto effect.

At 108" long, it is the BIGGEST quilt I've loaded yet onto my Tin Lizzie!  I was somewhat concerned that I'd run out of room on the rail, but fortunately, it fit.  Whew!

This shows just one of the swirly feathers.
For the quilting, I outline quilted the swags and hot air balloon & its segments, free-motioned most of the rest of the designs, with some ruler work thrown in when I needed straight lines.  Clouds were quilted behind the hot air balloon, the vineyards were simulated with quilted lines, the corners around the center oval received symmetrical swirling feathers, the grape leaves got veins and tendrils, an abstract design was put inside the swags and the area outside the swags was quilted with a piano key design.

The backing is unbleached muslin.  I get it 108" wide so I have a seamless backing.  I love seamless backings!  It makes life easier for me. :-)

The batting is a 80% cotton/20% polyester blend.

The binding is double-fold bias ... that's the only kind of binding I put on my quilts.  It's the sturdiest, most durable binding since there are two crossed fibers where the binding folds over the edge of the quilt.  I make my bias binding using the continuous tube method and actually enjoy the process. :-)   (the link is also on the right-hand side of the blog)

I also machine embroidered a label for the back with a "damask" hot air balloon on one side and grape clusters on the other.  I always catch two sides of any label when I sew on the binding.  The remaining two sides are either turned under or bordered with leftover binding.  Having the label sewn into the binding helps to ensure that it can't be casually removed.

The fund-raiser event will be this coming Fall; I'm very pleased with myself for finishing this quilt so far in advance!  I had visions of frantically stitching the binding down en route to the event!  Now, I can sit back and move on to other projects. :-)


  1. Truly one of the most beautiful quilts I have seen!

  2. Thank you, Ranny! I sure hope it raises a "goodly" amount of money for the school! :-)