Sunday, March 29, 2015

Balloon Girl

My daughter-in-law mentioned having seen a photo of a girl holding a large bunch of balloons which hid her head entirely. I don't know if I found the same photo, but I found one that matched the description and it became the inspiration for this wall art.
I pretended I knew exactly what I was doing and sat down to start this without much planning. Sometimes I'm brave like that.

The sky background was a batik fat quarter. That determined the size of this project. The grass is a tone on tone print. I cut two pieces and seamed them with a wave and a dip to make an interesting horizon. I often do raw edge applique on my machine, but didn't want raw edges this time, hence the double thickness of grass, balloons, dress and body parts.

I used stiff interfacing instead of quilt batting. I think this was leftover from a purse project. It was easy to work on and didn't require use of the even feed walking foot when appliqueing or stippling.

The dress fabric was leftover from wall hanging I recently finished (here) and the balloons were fat quarters from Joann's. For each balloon, I sewed two pieces together in a shape somewhere between a circle and an oval. Nothing, precise, I just winged it. I sewed the seam completely, trimmed it very close to the stitching line, pulled the two layers away from one another and made a snip in the center of one side of each balloon. Inserting the tip of the scissors in the that hole, I made slits on the backsides of the balloons so that I could turn them right side out. This is much easier that sewing 3/4 around something, turning it right side out and sewing the opening closed.

Before using the machine's applique stitch on each balloon,  I cut twine from my card making supplies in colors that were close to each balloon. After knotting one end of the twine and sticking it under the balloon, I appliqued each balloon in place. I should back up and explain that I had played around with placement and pinned everything while deciding what arrangement would work. I unpinned the parts and began stitching things in place in reverse order (legs before dress, rear balloons before closer ones).

This project would have been easier if I had decided to stipple the background before attaching the body but I was winging this. I stippled (my Viking Designer SE has a stitch setting for this) around her body and then back and forth across the sky. The same thing was done to the grass.  I used two full bobbins on the stippling alone.
I had at least 6 hours in this project when I quit for the day yesterday. All that was left to do was the binding.

Do you ever think about a nearly finished project as you're getting ready for bed and decide something isn't quite right? That is what I did last night. The girl in the photo was holding the balloons in such a way that one arm wasn't seen at all, just the arm hanging down by her side. That is how my rendition looked last night, but it bothered me that the balloons were just sort of there. It wasn't clear that she was holding them.

This morning I made another sleeve and hand, then undid some of the stitches on the yellow and pink balloons. After tucking the sleeve and hand into position, I re-appliqued the balloons and stitched the new hand and side of the sleeve. I am much happier now.

I tied knots in the free ends of the balloon strings and trimmed the excess. The binding was cut from a multi-colored batik print that had most of the colors of the balloons in it.
If my daughter-in-law likes this, it will most likely hang against a pink wall. If she has enough in that room already, it will hang on a yellow wall in my house. Either way, this project was fun to work on and makes me happy when I look at it finished.