“Wander” – The Hot Air Balloon Quilt

Saturday morning I had a burst of inspiration and decided to make a small, scrappy hot air balloon. I had no idea how I was going to use it or if it would ever be finished into a quilt. I just wanted to enjoy the process of making something unexpected out of the blue again. I pulled out some of my favorite blue and green scrap fabrics and set to work doing some machine applique.  I used my favorite turquoise 50 wt cotton Mako Aurifil thread for the balloon top and a light brown 50 wt cotton mako Aurifil thread for the basket.

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt

I was really happy with how it turned out, wonky basket and all. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make more of them or try and just use this one for something. I found a quote that I liked and I thought fit for it but didn’t want to do machine embroidery directly onto the background fabric since I didn’t think it would stand out. So I had another burst of inspiration on Sunday morning and set to work.  I used two fonts for the wording and embroidered it onto the teal solid using a 28 wt. cotton Aurifil thread so it would stand out more.  The “handwriting” font is from Urban Threads and the other font (the word “Wander”) is “Tinkerbell” from 8 Paws and a Claw Embroidery.  I used my pinking sheers to trim the squares around the words and appliqued them down using the 28 wt. Aurifil thread with my stitch set at a 3.0 length.

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt


Then the fun part! I threw two layers of batting under the quilt top and put it on Anne my Pfaff Powerquilter 16.0.  I decided to quilt it using my big cone of 50 wt. Aurifil white thread. Only took one and a half bobbins!

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt

"Wander" Hot Air Balloon Quilt


Hoping I’ll be able to trim and bind it tonight so I can hang it up somewhere. I love the saying that I chose for this since I think it’s poignant for my life right now.  I see more hot air balloon quilts in my future!


  1. Love the design, concept and quilting! What a fun little quilt!

  2. Hi Katie,
    I listen to all your podcasts and your life updates. After listening to the “crying” episode, I was truly hoping there would be a turn-around in your life events. I’m a 60 something, been there, done that, gal. I was sssssssssoooooo happy when I heard the episode indicating you and hubby are reconciling to make things better.
    I love your balloon quilt. I am currently cleaning up and inventorying my sewing studio. Oh my heavens, I have so many scraps I have trouble throwing away. I may do a few scrappy balloons and have fun with that! Best to you. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your podcasts and miss them when “there is something wrong”.
    Terry B., Northern Calif.

  3. It’s wonderful having you “back” Katie, I am so pleased you are having fun in your sewing room again . Yes I agree with your comment on the words in your balloon wall hanging.

  4. I really like this balloon quilt – thanks for sharing the process. Your quote is great for the new year.

  5. LOVE the hot air balloon. I have taken two rides and would like to go up again.

  6. Your hot air balloon is awesome and your quilting gets better and better–love your podcast, too!

  7. Every time I see your work I just smile. I agree with your quote too. Beautiful Katie!

  8. Cindy Smith says:

    That is sooooo stinking cute!

  9. It came out really cute Katie! I love the trapunto look the quilting gives to the words as well as the balloon itself. Wonderful job on the double layer of batting, I loive it!

  10. Chrysanthemum says:

    What an inspiration… Love the quote and the balloon…
    Just set up my Powerquilter 16.0… Can’t wait to see what emerges from under my fingers!


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