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Plodding along...

I'm not entirely sure what I've done since I last blogged so let's see what I can find in my 'June' folder, shall we?!

I got the backing sorted for my hexy quilt.  There was a bit of a problem when I discovered a small hole (which I knew I hadn't caused) in my first order (after I'd washed and ironed it) but the wonderful staff at The Cotton Patch sorted it out in a jiffy and sent me a new piece of fabric (and kindly allowed me to keep the original piece, I suspect because I'd already washed it - their customer service is wonderful, I've shopped there before this and will definitely be going back!)  This is how it's been for about four weeks:

Ready for layering and tacking!
(A big piece of fabric folded in quarters and laid over the back of a settee!)

Isn't it pretty, though?!  It'll be even better when I get it layered and tacked - I've got as far as finding the masking tape and tacking thread/needle tin but not much further, I just haven't had the energy!

I've managed a bit of crochet, though.  This yarn was originally going to be a blanket (for me) but then I realised that you can't tumble dry it and a big blanket that is impractical to wash isn't a good thing when you have a tendency to spill cups of tea so I decided to look for an alternative yarn for the blanket (still haven't found anything that comes in the right colours - blues, greens and greys, mainly - and can be tumble dried, suggestions welcome!) and make a bag.  I need another bag like I need an extra hole in the head but I felt the need to crochet (and saw a friend's stripy crochet bag and got inspired!) so I made this:

Stripy bag - the yarn is King Cole Bamboo and is beautifully soft

The bag body is based on a pattern by Patons (but altered so that it's larger) and the trim is the same as the trim on Attic24's bag.  The handles are going to go all the way to the base (so will hide where I've started and stopped the rounds in each colour) and are going to be in the dark blue.  I just need to find some twill tape in 1" and 0.5" widths in navy, bright pink or purple (or anything that will go!) - any ideas?

I've also made a bee block for the Siblings Together Quilting Bee after a bee couldn't manage her block (life got in the way but I'm happy to report that's she's back on 'duty' for July).  I really enjoyed making the block but it confirmed that I was right not to volunteer for a 'proper' place in the bee - there's no way I could make a big block every month, particularly not on the machine, which I find it very tiring.  I did enjoy it, though, and it's nice to be able to contribute to such a wonderful cause!

Siblings Together stars for Lynne
Big star block for Lynne

The fabric (PB&J for Moda - bee mates, is that right?) is gorgeous and I've seen a photo of the finished top and it's wonderful!

Finally, I've made the first block in my new hand piecing project.  Remember the photo of all the bright fabric on my bed?  Well this is what it's going to be turned into:

The first block (after pressing!)
ET phone home block - the first of many!

Back of the first block
The back

I even used my new block book (my first FAL Q2 finish) and it works a treat!  More photos of my stitching sequence, etc. can be found in my Flickr set.  The pattern is ET Phone Home, designed by the very talented Lynne@Lily's Quilts and the foundation piecing templates can be found here.

I hand pieced my block my usual way - print out the templates on freezer paper and cut out.  Iron them on the wrong side of the fabric, draw round them (to get a sewing line) and remove the templates.  Cut out (leaving an approximate quarter inch seam allowance - it doesn't need to be exact because when you hand piece you line up the sewing lines, not the edges of the fabric) and then stitch together using a running stitch with the occasional backstitch.  In other words, not EPP *wink* (The only time I do EPP is when I'm making teeny tiny pin cushions out of Japanese import fabrics.)  I couldn't work out a better way of pressing the seams than the photo above but bulk of the intersections doesn't interfere with the sharpness of the points on the front so I'm happy!  I'm hoping to make another 34 blocks and then join them together with squares on point (which is instead of adding triangles to square up the block - I thought I'd cut out a few more seams!) - needless to say, this is a long term project.  My hexy replacement, if you like!

In other exciting news, I won a voucher for Photoworld in a competition on Clare's blog and I'm having trouble deciding which photo to turn into some 'wall art'.  I've narrowed it down to (naturally!) a photo of Archie and have narrowed the choice even further to one of these photos:


Please can you let me know which one you'd choose because I really can't decide!  (The top of his head isn't really chopped off in photo three, it's the effect of the mosaic!)  Feel free to comment in either a comment on this post or on the Flickr photos (either the individual one or the mosaic), just please comment!

I'd best go, Archie wants his tea and he's been through enough today what with a b-a-t-h without having to wait for the final highlight of his day!

I'm linking up to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day (thank goodness she does this, at the moment it's usually the only time I'm managing to blog!) and I'll be back towards the end of the week (yes, two posts in one month!) with my Finish-A-Long quarter two post.  I'll give you a hint - I've missed something off this post because I wanted to save it for the FAL post!  If you want another hint then it's something that's been on many FAL quarter lists but they've not necessarily been mine...

Lily's Quilts

P.S.  The title of this post makes me sing this in my head.  Or out loud...


  1. You've had a redesign I think since I last visited it's looking great! Although I thought for a minute that I had landed on an old post, because you are STILL debating which picture to use!! Ha, ha! I think 5 has it for me, with 2 a close second!

  2. love that nice black star block - the colors really pop!

  3. I can see why you are hand piecing ET Call Home with all those tiny triangles in the center. Is the whole quilt the same block or will it be a sampler? Will be fun to follow your progress. As to doggie photos, it is between 3 and 8 for me. I like the expression best of 3, but hesitate on the cutting off of the top: sometimes that is considered artistic and sometimes as error. I really like the composition and energy of the snow one.

    1. Thanks for commenting - I can't find an email address for you so I hope you find this reply!

      The ET quilt is going to be all the same block but each block will be different (in terms of colour placement, etc.) and I'm also aiming to not use the same print within a block - no wonder they take me so long to prepare!

      Thanks for voting on the Archie photos - number three has all his head on the original photo but the mosaic maker chopped it off! I think the snow one has been my favourite photo of Archie since I took it so maybe I should choose that. I'll have to decide sooner or later!

  4. I like picture # 4. His expression is great!

  5. Your hand piecing is amazing! I can't wait to see the progress. I love the picture of Archie in #5...although Archie just can't take a bad picture.

  6. Love your ET blocks and I already voted on Flickr, but I think either picture 1 or 8 :)

  7. Oh my goodness your ET block is amazing! The back is as beautiful as the front!

    I'd vote for that one of Archie in the Garden. Have you decided? xx

  8. Number 7 because I want to kiss his nose :-) Hugs xx

  9. Number 3 or 4 are my votes. You've been so busy and sewn such lovely blocks. Love them all!

  10. Number 3 or 4 are my votes. You've been so busy and sewn such lovely blocks. Love them all!

  11. All that went in, but I am so in awe of the ET Phone Home block - that quilt will be amazing!!!!!!

  12. No.5 photo of Archie. You've been busy with some great stuff.

  13. Lol, I think it's meant to be bobbing along, the title just reminded me of heading back into work today ;o) #7 for me :o)

  14. Always worth putting on the kettle before settling down to one of your posts! (now all I can see are electric eels!)....oh...and Archie. As always... The Snow one for me. That gorgeous ET block looks like the Electric Eels ... . Zap Zap.

  15. Archie looks so cute! I'd pick 1, 7 or 8. Seems I can't really decide either! ;)

    Awesome service from The Cotton Patch. That is really great to hear.

    Love, love, love your colours for the ET block. Can't believe you are planning so many though. Definitely a long term project (but no doubt worth it in the end).

  16. Photo 3-he looks very handsome. love, love love your ET block. I paper pieced the one I made, but wouldn't mind giving your way a go to

  17. I love your crochet bag, and your ET block is simply stunning! Archie no.7 gets my vote! Jxo

  18. Love the ET block, it's amazing, and i love number 7 the most! :o)

  19. Number 4 or 7 :)
    Your crochet looks beautiful! The ET blocks is yummy!
    I love bedknobs and broomsticks :)

  20. 1, 3 and 7 get my vote, but quite honestly Archie is such a photogenic love that you couldn't go wrong with any of them. Loving the new project too. Looks fabulous!

  21. Love that backing fabric, and your ET block is stunning! I'm torn between no 1 & 7, but as Susan says, Archie is so photogenic, any of them will look wonderful!
    R x

  22. All the Archie pics are super ut for wall art I think the snowy one would work really well.
    Love your ET block and look forward to watching the progress of this quilt!

  23. I like Archie's close up! What a great photo...otherwise number 3 looks very professional. So glad to see you are still creating. Can't wait to see your finish!

  24. I love the hand pieced ET block - great job and Archie #7 or your header photo! lol
    good luck

  25. i love the close up of Archie's nose :-)
    And as for yarn, try this:
    I've used it loads for crochet blankets and it's great!

  26. Quality work Helen if not the quantity you would have liked. The two blocks are both fabulous as is the crochet bag. Pics of Archie number 7 or 8 with 8 just about winning if I had to choose just one! He looks just like the wonder dog he is, racing to the rescue I think. :-) Take care of yourself. Xxx

  27. Love, love, love it all as you know! I will never willingly show you the back of anything I make!

    Archie - such a pet! I'd make a mosaic and then you don't have to choose - but a slightly bigger no 7 as that is my fav!

  28. I think I would go with no.1 but they're all great. Love the E.T phone home block. Hurray for hand piecing!

  29. I like 4 and 7 the best, but they're really all adorable :) I love you E.T. block! That will be a fabulous quilt.

  30. I like photo number 7 - who could resist a close up of that gorgeous black snozzle :) I went to a quilt market recently and watched a lady (in complete amazement) doing some hand piecing. It looks so relaxing.

  31. Your ET block is incredible, and I can't imagine piecing 30 of them. It's going to be a gorgeous quilt. My favorite Archie photo for wall art is 7, with 5 my second choice. I think the ultra close up is so much more interesting than a full body shot, although 5 shows his personality well.

  32. I adore your ET block!! It is beautiful and will make a stunning quilt! I think I may have to make one of those blocks, just for fun.
    Hard to choose just one of those Archie photos, but 7 is my first choice closely followed by number 6.

  33. Your backing fabric is lovely. I've always found the Cotton Patch helpful too. And I love your new paper piecing. I'm looking forward to seeing which photo of Archie you choose :)

  34. Hmmmmm the nose close up is the winner for me! Love the very colourful block. very eye catching.

  35. Love, love, love! Your new ET project. Beautiful fabrics and beautiful hand work. All the photos of Archie are cute but my favourite is #7 :) But then I'm late at the counter, LOL.
    Love the King Cole yarns. I used the bamboo one for the Tunisian wash cloth I made lovely and soft and I'm currently using the King Cole Merino DK for a blanket. Love your crochet bag, the colours are so pretty. You could take the bag to your local haberdashery and see which colour tape looks best.
    Bunnyhugs to Archie!

  36. Definitely no. 3! Love love love the ET block too :D

  37. Cute bag. Sorry, I don't know of any yarns that can be tumbled dried. But maybe cotton could be? Have a look at Rico cotton essentials. It's a DK with really nice sheen and lots of colours.
    Looking forward to seeing your new project grow.
    The bee block is lovely. Totally with you on the wouldn't want to make one every month though.
    You've prob choson the photo by now. I like the green of the background from the afternoon shots, but I'm partial to the closup shot of number 7


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