After gathering lots of pictures to give this info to you, I have this important detail to share. If you do not like sewing curves, this pattern is not for you. There is a learning curve to sewing curves and I will go over these snipits. I have dreamed up a pattern that would be alot easier to accomplish with the same affect.
You could make a 9 patch without squares using rectangles to get the same pattern affect. The center square would be around 3 inches. The rest of the 9 patch would be 3 by 6 with rectangles surrounding the center square and 6 by 6 in the 4 corners. Your melons would be cut out and sewn to interfacing and turned right side out and pressed on the the set of four blocks, appliqueing to the block. That is my advice if you don’t like curves.
If you like a challenge, and have done curves, or want to try them out. I have a few tidbits of advice all learned from sewing this quilt top with a little bit of internet research.
After you have pieced your 9 patches to sew your melons to the 9 patch, mark the centers of the 9 patch (4 places) and the center of the melon 2 places.Sew from that mark (center) outward. Here is one side. Once you stitch this side, flip it over and sew from the center outward. If there is any discrepancy with the pattern or your cutting of the pattern you will know immediately that something is not quite right. When you finish stitching your melon to your 9 patch, the raw edges should be even and match at both ends. I had red somewhere on the internet to stop stitching a 1/4 inch from the end of the seam and to backstitch. I did not do this for any of this quilt top and did not have issues. I suppose if it were a long lasting UFO like this one has been , then perhaps back stitching is a good thing?! I do know with as many seams as I have ripped out of this to get where I am back stitching just makes it harder to fix if it is imperfect. When sewing curves, stitch another 3 or 4 stitches past where you think you should stop. Do not look at the front of the foot when piecing curves. Look at the foot where the needle penetrates the fabric. If your edges are butting up to your foot correctly here, but at the front of the foot they are not, you are still ok taking a few more stitches until your raw edges appear to go askew at the needle point edge of the foot. If you can break the habit of looking at the front of your foot while sewing curves, you will be able to make this quilt and your seams will be 1/4 inch accurate. Of you choose to look at the front of your foot and do not break this habit, your seams will turn into 3/8 seams. The pattern is designed for 1/4 inch seams and if you mess with that dimension, the quilt will not sew together correctly and you will not be able to match subsequent raw edges after the first block is done.In the picture above looking at the front of the foot vs where the needle penetrates the fabric, I now know I have about 2 to 3 more stitches to take before I need to lift my pressor foot and reposition both pieces of fabric.
After two melons are sewn to each 9 patch(one on each side), you will be able to proceed to the next critical step. Do NOT sew more than 2 melons to a 9 patch, it will be too difficult to match seams when you add the extra ones at this time. I found a nice diagram of sewing the strips of the quilt in this pictorial. Without this info, I would not have been able to piece it together correctly.Here is an example of what I am talking about. The first block is turned with the melons on the top and the bottom of the block. The second block in the top row is turned where the melons are on the right and left of the 9 patch. So every other block is up and down or left and right. This is how you make a row. Then you can sew your rows together by starting in the center of the center block and stitching to the edge of there the 4 blocks come together.When pressing your blocks press your 9 patches toward the melons.The pieces that were cut for this pattern did not have the ends trimmed so, when sewing follow that natural curve of the raw edge until you get to the very end. There will be a tail. Your first joined blocks will not be perfect (due to the learning curve you are experiencing and that is ok, as this is the part of the process of quilting). You have the following options 1.) you can proceed and make sure this row is a row located on the edge of the quilt and not in the center or 2.) rip it out and start over until you can get all those raw edges to come together perfectly without alignment issues. Practice will make perfect, the more of these you sew together, the better you will get at it.If you notice the bottom row the second 9 patch from the left is not in correctly and will cause issues matching seams later. If you look at the 9 patches above and to the right you will see the imaginary lines of the white fabric blocks to not line up. I did not notice this until I later when I was viewing the photo I had posted on the blog. Sometimes the camera shows things that the naked eye cannot take in because of size. These rows were sewn before I started marking the centers before I had sewn the melons on. So marking centers at the beginning will eliminate this. Accurately cut pieces will also eliminate this problem. After you have sewn all your rows together, you then will sew the remaining melons onto the 9 patches that are missing a melon. This quilt will end up with a gentle scalloped edge which is a nice touch. If you don’t like that you can always trim it off. As soon as I figure out a way to post a pdf, I will share the tracings of the melons and the 4 corners of the 9 patch. I hope I have not forgotten any details. If something does not make any sense, let me know and I will definitely edit this post.
The Green Lemonade quilt top (that is what I have named this tamed beast) is almost complete. I will enjoy shelving it until I can find backing fabric. If I find backing fabric by thanksgiving, you will probably see a post of its completion. As long as this UFO has taken me as well as its former owners, it can stay shelved a bit longer. *SIGH* now onto something else ~WHEW~!
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