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ET and his intergalactic phone call

When Lynne blogged about her ET phone home block a couple of weeks I knew I wanted to make lots of them into a quilt using my Terrain charm packs (plus extras) and, inspired by Susan's Terrain quilt, a navy solid for the background and I waited patiently to see if she would be making her pattern available for us to buy.

Last week Lynne (who is one of the most generous and talented quilters I know) published the (free) foundation piecing templates for the block and, after a request from me, she set to on her ipad and created some hand piecing templates for me to try.  (Honestly, I think I gave her a headache...or an ache somewhere me to be awkward!)

After printing out the templates on freezer paper I spent quite a while sorting through my scraps to find fabric that would work with the navy background.  I didn't want to use any of the fabrics I'd set aside for the 'real' project so I searched my scraps for four colours that would work together and, after a bit of a marathon session ironing templates and marking sewing lines, I got on with the sewing - it was as much fun as I'd hoped!

Want to see what I made?

ET phone home - designed by Lynne@Lily's Quilts

I wanted to see what the block would look like if I made the colours radiate out in lines rather than making each round of triangles the same/similar colours and now I know!  I don't think I'll be doing this version in the 'real' blocks as I want a scrappier look for my quilt but this block will work fine as a cushion.  Unfortunately I don't have enough of any of the fabrics left to make a back but I'm sure I have a piece of blue velvet in the loft  that will work perfectly on the back!

The back isn't quite as pretty (the seams were better pressed out from the centre rather than swirled at the intersections) but I love seeing the back of other quilters' blocks so I thought I'd best reciprocate!

The back

I'll be making a couple of changes when I start making the Terrain et al quilt.   The first change is that I won't be using a dark solid for the background.  Partly because it's hard to see the stitches on such a dark fabric (which makes the inset seams harder to get accurate), partly because solids are much harder to hand sew than blenders, etc. (just one block has made my fingers sore) and partly because I don't want a solid background - I fancy a change!

The other change I'm going to make (apart from making it scrappier!) is the way I construct the block.  For the first two rounds I stitched the triangles on first and then added in the quadrilateral background pieces but getting the accuracy I wanted was difficult (partly because the stitches were so hard to see on the dark background) and it felt clunky so for the final round I attached each triangle to a background piece and then stitched them onto the block.  You can see some of the pieces ready to be attached in the photo

This turned out to be a much better method and although there is no difference in how the rounds look now they've been pressed I'll definitely be adding all the rounds like this when I make my ET quilt.  All I need to to do now is finish piecing all my hexies (which should take another three months or so) and I hope to be startingt ET in November - if I can resist him for that long!

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Lynne for being so patient with me and my endless 'the templates still aren't printing the right size' emails (honestly, I drove myself batty with it so goodness knows what I did to her!), I hope it was worth it!   I think it was but then I wasn't tied to the ipad fiddling with triangles, etc. on Touchdraw!

If you make an ET block please add it to Lynne's Flickr group - there are a few wonderful ET blocks in there already and it would be great to see more!  If you don't fancy making one yourself you could always just pop over to Lynne's blog and tell her how marvellous she is!

I've had a couple of lovely parcels in the post this week (I know, I'm really blessed with lovely friends!)

The first was from Nicky and contained all manner of wonderful things...

...including a frame so I can make myself a purse, some Liberty silks, some lilac fabrics for my hexies, some Oakshott and some Aurifil!  Thank you, Nicky, I'm going to have fun!

My second parcel came from Trudi and was equally wonderful.  Thanks to her kindness I've finally got a case for my sunglasses - for the past two/three years they've been living in a little plastic bag in my handbag and now look at them!  Very posh!

Trudi also included some of her favourite batiks (they're gorgeous, I can see why they're her favourites!) as well as a lovely quilted postcard

and... very own Liberty bag (blagged from the Liberty team during the FQR weekend just for me!) - I love it!!!  Thank you, Trudi!

A few weekends ago Archie and I (and Alfie but he isn't on any of these photos!) went a few miles down the coast to see the 'Jubilee knitting' (and have an ice cream!) at Saltburn.  This seaside town has a group of secret knitters who make the most wonderful figures, etc. and then yarn-bomb various locations round the town.  The most recent addition was a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee (they've also done some Olympic knitting but I'll share that another time)

The Secret Knitters of Saltburn

I've heard that the graffiti art that Archie is posing in front of has since been removed by the council...I hope that's not true but I suspect it is.  (It took at least five attempts to get Archie to sit and stay in front of the artwork - he was more interested in looking for chips!)

Turning to more serious matters...

...I've had a complaint about my blog...

Someone feels he isn't getting enough attention so he decided to make himself look appealing in the hope I would pick up the camera - I did!

Aren't I handsome?  Maybe I should start a petition to campaign for more blog appearances...

Meanwhile Archie looked distinctly unimpressed...

I don't know who he thinks he's kidding...this is MY blog and I'm not budging!

I'm afraid I'm way behind with my blog reading/commenting - I've been having problems with Blogger not responding and on a couple of occasions have just given up.   I'm not sure I'm going to be able to catch up but I'll see what I can do!  I also owe quite a few of you a reply to an email (or two!) - I will reply but it may not be in the next couple of days...

If you don't hear from me it'll be because I've succumbed to the charms of ET!

Edited to add: I think (and it's only think, rather than know!) that Lynne is going to share the hand piecing/EPP templates for 'ET phone home' but as I only told her yesterday that the templates worked I would think she'd need a few days (at least) to sort them out, ready for her blog...


  1. I'd much rather EPP the ET block than foundation piece which I've not properly tried and would take months to get to the required standard to attempt this. I wonder if Lynne will make the templates available to all of us? You've got some seriously great goodies from Nicky too! It looks like Archie is on the graffiti leash there. I hope it wasn't a Banksy that they painted over ;-)

  2. I love the block, and how lovely of Lynne to sort out the templates for you. I'd much prefer handpiecing a block like that too! The jubilee knitting is brilliant too :-)

  3. Wow loving your block, will make a fabulous cushion, look forward to seeing your scrappy version. As for Alfie he really can't complain if he isn't there when you are writing your blog...he will just have to come and visit more often!!

  4. Love your block and I would love to give it a go with the EPP.
    You have received some wonderful things in the post. I LOVE my liberty bag, it goes most places with me now!

  5. I am sorry it took me so long to send it! Alfie needs his own blog - he can't muscle in on Archie!

    Loving ET can't wait to see the cushion and the real one but what about the Christmas quilt?

  6. The block looks great! I can't imagine hand sewing it...shudder...too many points for me. I'll look forward to seeing your quilt later in the year ;)

  7. I want to play with that block too, but I think I will stick with the paper piecing version. You have received very good mail and the dogs are so cute. I also love the knitting.

  8. Brilliant block. Planning ahead to November though. You are far more patient than me. Loving the knit figures about town as well. Would have loved to have seen them.

  9. Your block is very cool and look slike you got some very nice post :)

  10. You have way more patience than me to hand piece that block, it looks amazing!
    Lots of great goodies too. Poor Archie having to share his limelight! :)

  11. Janet McCallum23 June 2012 at 20:23

    Will you be at the Festival of Quilts? Or even Sandown this w/e? I would love to meet up again - in happier circumstances this time.
    Last seen in the waiting room ...

    1. Hi Janet,

      I'm afraid I can't reply to your comment as I haven't got an email address for you so I hope you come back and spot this reply!

      I won't be going to FoQ or Sandown this year but I'm hoping to go to Harrogate at the beginning of September...maybe I'll see you there?

      Helen x

  12. I got all excited when I saw your block thinking, ooh a quilt made of these blocks. Then I saw they're your not quilt fabrics. Oh well, I'm sure your real blocks will work ;)

    As to fabrics for the back of the cushion, hold that thought. I'll take the photos of the fabric I mentioned to you, tomorrow and email them to you.

  13. You sure dont make easy quilts do you... lol Tis bound to be fabulous tho :-) x

  14. Your ET block looks great!
    Awesome parcels to get in the post.
    Looks like you had a fun day out...poor Alfie! =D

  15. Oh make it now, you know you want to!! xxx

  16. Looooovvveee your ET's're giving me I need yet another started project!!!...

  17. Our councils do that too - remove everything even when it is brightening the place up and celebrating special events.
    Love the block in those colours but so understand the issue with the dark fabric.
    Enjoy the pups they do look good.

  18. love your et block - really like all the colours and the way you set them out - can't wait to see the big one ! and love your parcels (you forgot to mention Nicky's little moo card that I spotted !) and the quited glasses case is fabulous.

    I also enjoyed the knitting festival and who would have know it was graffiti ! I just thought it was a great background for a photo of archie and make sure you tell alfie he is gorgeous as well - thanks :)

    I'm off to have a look at the et blocks - isn't that lynne talented :)

  19. Love the ET block, must pop over to Lynne for a look.
    I really like your solids version but imagine it will be sore on the fingers.
    Loving the madness of the knitting..

  20. I LOVE your ET block but really, hand piecing? Oh you have so much more patience than me! Your full size quilt will be stunning!

  21. lovely post - and how wonderful to receive such a bounty in the mail - excellent!

  22. Lovely chatty post. Thanks. I think that your ET block is striking. Thanks for sharing. Di x

  23. Getting a new post from Archie is liking having a birthday . . you never know what new visual goodies will be there to enjoy. Great post Helen. You are so creative. . . .dont keep us in suspense until November, dear gal!

  24. Fabulous block, it makes my brain hurt just looking at it!
    And, lol! Jubilee knitting, where else in the world?!

  25. The block looks great, and I remember reading about the olympic yarn bombing in the paper, so much fun! Alas, blogger keeps forgetting you in my reading list, so annoying! (Don't take it personally though, you're not the only one...)

  26. Great post Helen! :) Love your ET block! I must try that myself one of these days. Looking forward to your new project starting :) and seeing your fabrics.
    You know, if you ever see a paper pieced pattern and want to turn it into templates, just print out the pattern onto Freezer paper and cut them out straight from the PP pattern. ;)) Thank you for the wee tutorial on how best to sew them together.
    Saltburn looks like a wonderful place to visit for a small holiday. Such fun little knits.
    WOW you've had quite a month of Christmas!! LOL...
    Great pictures of Alfie... he so looks like an old man, LOL.. and so adorable... You're adorable too Archie!!
    Okay, going to go take a lookie on Lynne's blog :)
    Take care! Ellyx


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