Sunday, August 21, 2011

Up Up and Away!!

In my beautiful, my beautiful hot air balloon!

Out here in Hunterdon County, NJ it is not an uncommon sight to see a multicolored hot air balloon drifting by on a summer's day.So I thought, why can't I knit a sculptural balloon to "float" on the wall inside the house?

I will have the directions on how to make this one in my upcoming book, but I basically used the yellow round loom with 5 Red Heart yarns. It was a challenge keeping them all tangle free, but I was able to do it with a little bit of practice. The basket was knit using Hometown USA yarn on the flower loom.

Once I completed the knitting, I covered one of my daughter's toy balls in a plastic bag. Next I stretched the balloon over the ball.

Then, using Sta-Flo liquid starch straight from the bottle, I painted the balloon.

I had never used liquid starch on yarn before and wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. All I knew is that I wanted the yarn to be very stiff so it would look take the shape of the ball once it dried. I coated it until I thought the balloon was drenched in starch, and then let it dry overnight. The next day the outside of the balloon was stiff, but the inside was still flexible. So I coated the inside and outside with starch and set it aside to dry overnight. This stiffened it up very well, but something I hadn't counted on was that the starch would not dry 100% clear. Something else I realized after I was done was that I could have just as well dunked the balloon in the starch and then stretched it over the ball to dry. Maybe I'll try that for the next one. Anyhow, every coat of starch was making the yarn a bit duller, so I decided to stop, even though it was still not strong enough to be hung without it sagging. So I thought, why not weave some jewelry wire around the edge of the inside of the balloon? I bought 3 yards of Jewelry Essentials Stringing 12 gauge blue aluminum jewelry wire,

and carefully poked it through the outer loops of the balloon.

This worked perfectly, and I could now hang the balloon on the wall without a problem! But first, I attached the basket to the balloon by weaving the yarn through the inner loops of the balloon flap at the bottom. If you don't weave the yarn through the inner loops, it will show through on the front part of the ballon and won't look as attractive (to me anyway).

You can add your child (or grandchild) to the basket by cutting out a photo and taping it inside the front of the basket.

Or, perhaps your child might want to put a favorite action figure or doll in the basket!

This one is a miniature doll Christmas ornament that fit just perfectly.

Personalize your balloon with any color combination you want, limited only by your skill, imagination and patience!


  1. I like this very much; you have some great & unusual ideas.

  2. That turned out just wonderful! What a great idea! And the nice thing is, both boys and girls will love having this on their walls ... I can just see a young boy putting a stuffed dog or his favorite toy inside the gondola!:)

  3. P.S. You know as I was thinking about your knitted balloon, how about if you used a 100% felting wool, made it really large, then felted it down to a smaller size... this would take care of it not being "stiff" enough, and you could eliminate the starch and jewelry wire :) Just use a pattern for a felted ball (I have one) and after felting it, you could add the gondola basket. If you are interested in the ball pattern, just email me:

  4. Thanks everyone for your kind comments, and thanks for the marvelous idea, Jolene! I will have to try that. I presume I would dye the wool after, or before felting?