Did you know that if two hot air balloons touch during a flight it’s called a “kiss”? I discovered this piece of balloon trivia after an early morning trip to the foreground of old parliament house. Like many Canberrans I was up early to watch the launching of dozens of balloons. Every year Canberra holds a Balloon festival and most years we go to see these magnificent things take to the air.
The Questacon balloon is impressive as it is as high as an eight story building, can carry 10 passengers. It didn’t think these gentle giants full of hot air would make me feel insignificant but this balloon did!
The envelope of a balloon is made from heat resistant ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating to make it air tight. The panels are sewn together using a twin needle and french seams. The envelope is strengthened by vertical tapes that run from top to bottom relieving the pressure on the fabric.
The traditional zig zag or chevron pattern on balloons that are often seen, is apparently the cheapest to make because when you lay out the pattern you can use most of the material. In other words there is less material wasted. However hot air balloon designers are a creative crowd and hot air balloons come in all shapes and sizes. Many look down right surreal floating above the lake in Canberra.
Balloon design and construction is one of those areas in textiles until this morning I had given little thought to. This year each morning we have had a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, a green frog, a house complete with cat on the roof and a football drifting above us as we drive around the edges of the lake on our way to work.
Yesterday as we rounded the corner to the Canberra School of Art (where I work) Vincent Van Gogh hung in the air above. It is a good way to start the day, as there is something about a balloon that makes you smile.
Experimenting with different threads can be expensive, as you would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. So I have made up my thread twisties which are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of just a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and many different textures.
These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape so that twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle. Many are hand dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.
You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.