Arnold Is Back

The other day I was sitting in the UFO Garage sewing when I heard a knock on the door.
‘Come in!’
Someone opened the door slowly and carefully in a slightly familiar way. In stepped Arnold, carrying his small box.
‘Hi!’ He waved with one of his free hands. (As you may remember, he’s got four of them.)
‘Hello, Arnold! Nice to see you again.’
‘I was just doing business in the neighbourhood and thought I might come in to see how far you got.’

I showed him his ‘shirts’ he left last time. ‘I’ve just completed the border – look!’

‘Nice. I love how it turned out.’
‘I’ve thought about sewing the black pieces to the white side and vice versa. But it didn’t look as good as I had expected. – What do you think about two black and two white sides of binding? And a thin batting because of the white fabrics. Oh – do you want a black or a white backside? Or something different?’ I explained to him what I had in mind.
‘That’s different indeed. If it doesn’t mean too much of an effort – yes, it’s OK with me. Sounds interesting to have different colours on the binding, too.’

He hesitated and placed his box on my table. ‘Eh, I hardly dare to ask, but can you do me another favour?’
‘Sure. What is it?’ (Sure? I should perhaps be more careful.)

fabric, batting and extra blocks

‘I’ve got this project here made of batik fabrics. Hard enough to make the blocks match. Strangely enough, I’ve even had five of the blocks left.’
‘And now you don’t feel like finishing it.’
‘Yes, exactly. How did you know?’
Well – you haven’t even joined the rows completely. – I can fix this for you. What about this batik fabric I’ve got here for the borders and back? A bit of a peach colour. A narrow border as usual and also a thin batting.’
He nodded. ‘I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to pick them up. I’ll call you about the exact time.’

Arnold’s Batiks – finished top

Original pattern

You may have wondered about my ‘mysterious’ or ‘secret’ projects. This was one of them. First I had to sew the last rows together, then take out the paper templates. It seems Arnold has used a block pattern from a project called ‘Positiv und Negativ’ which was published in 1995 by the former Austrian ‘Patchwork- und Quiltjournal’.

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A New Customer

The other day while I was working in The UFO Garage I heard a faint knock on the door.
‘Come in!’
The door was slowly and carefully being pushed open. In came, well, someone unusual. About three feet tall. Blue. Dressed in a silver space suit. With a small box underneath one of, eh, four arms.
‘Hello!’
‘Hello! What can I do for you?’
‘A friend of mine told my about you. Said you might possibly be able to help.’
‘You’ve traveled a long way, it seems.’
He – or she – or even it – looked a little desperate. ‘You’re my last hope.’
‘How can I help you, then?’
‘I, um, have this thing here. I’ve started this myself a while ago but I’m stuck. It needs some fixing.’
‘Can I have a look?’
He – or she – or even it – put down the box and opened it carefully with all of his – or her – or even its – four hands and pulled out a patchwork top. Black and white with some splashes of colour. ‘I’ve made this from some old shirts of mine and some new ones from Intergalactic Bargains.’

the top in question

I recognised the pattern immediately. It was one I had already made before at least three times. English paper piecing. A square surrounded by four kites. Totally different looks could be achieved just by changing the colour placement.

‘Hm, let me see. You’ve got a problem with the borders, right?’ My little visitor – I had decided by now it was a male – nodded. ‘You haven’t brought any of the fabrics, by chance?’
‘Oh yes, I have!’ he said exitedly and started to empty the box. A big pile of fabrics began to grow rapidly on the floor. I wondered how all this could have fit into this small box. Bigger on the inside?

I discussed some border solutions with him and we finally agreed upon filling up the border with triangles to make it straight using the leftover fabrics.

‘Can I do something else for you? Maybe give your ship a check-up? Oil, gas, water, air?’
‘No thanks, she’s fine. Parked just around the corner disguised as a Smart car.’ (Now I know why they always looked a bit weird to me…)

‘How long are you planning to stay here on Sol 3? It might take a couple of days to finish.’
‘No problem. I’m coming back to pick it up on my way back. I’ve got some business to do in this sector of the universe. Time for me is relative, anyway.’ (Oh, that kind of ship.)
‘By the way, what’s your name? You didn’t mention it yet, I’m afraid.’
‘I’m very sorry. Where are my manners? I’m Arnold’ he said, turning from blue to purple.

detail

Blue Tiles

+++NEWSFLASH+++UFO CRASH LANDING IN NW AUSTRALIA+++NO SURVIVORS FOUND+++EXPERTS ON THEIR WAY TO CRASH SITE+++

By Martin ‘The Martian’ McIntyre for The Meteorite News

Broome, WA – An alien spaceship has crash landed on the coast of Western Australia at Gantheaume Point near Broome. Eye witnesses described hearing a loud bang and seeing a giant fireball. ‘I thought doomsday had finally come,’ said one of the locals, who wants to remain unnamed.

According to the local police forces, no survivors were found. The spaceship has been totally destroyed. Only a few remains can still be seen on location, waiting to be examined by experts who are on their way to the crash site.

A couple of strange footsteps leading into the sea were detected. The authorities denied any ‘alien’ origin, stating that they belong to dinosaurs which left them there in prehistorical times. ♦

Reconstructing the pattern

fragment on crash site

After experts had given the remains a closer examination this photo was sent to German UFO collector/mechanic Jule who identified the fragment as belonging to the pool area ‘or maybe even the bathroom. – Sturdy little thing, hm? Not exactly plaster board.’ she commented. Her attempts to reconstruct the pattern were successful. Here’s a short résumé of her research so far.

‘When I began to reconstruct the pattern a first look showed a 7 x 8 unit repeat of the pattern, which is a little unusual. Further examination of the adjoining areas where some of the tiles only left marks revealed a more familiar 8 x 8 grid. Obviously the alien tiler had to work his way around a smaller gap.’

8 x 88 x 8

8 x 7

‘Starting with the smallest tile, I determined the length of its side as 1 unit. The other tiles were 1 x 2 and 2 x 2 units, respectively.’

the reconstructed tiling, split up into units for sewing

‘I will make a sample of 5 x 5 blocks using various blue batik fabrics. Working with an unit length of 2 cms, the finished piece will be approximately 80 cms square.

finished block

24 blocks finished