Here are the various parts of the INNER ROAD laid out. There are also solid black wedges, not shown here--they alternate with the black/white wedges in each arc:
If you are paper piecing with regular paper, not freezer paper, you will need 8 Inner Road arcs. I printed 3 copies of the arc, pasted them on a sheet of copy paper, and can now print only 3 sheets of paper to get all 8 of the arc patterns:
For the Upper Road, you can get 2 arcs on a sheet of paper and need 16 arcs so that will take 8 sheets of paper:
NOTICE that on each sheet of paper, I included the 1" SCALE BOX so I could be certain the arcs printed the correct size.
If you are using freezer paper, as I did, you really don't need more than two of each arc, using them repeatedly until you have 8 Inner Roads and 16 Upper Roads. Use more if you prefer.
Make one Road completely before making the second. The sizes are similar but NOT THE SAME so it would be easy to get the units confused. I made the Inner Road, then the Upper Road.
To be sure I could easily tell which is the TOP side, I used a chalk pencil to draw a little line in the seam allowance of the wedges:
Make each arc carefully, aligning the Guideline on the Inner Road Template in the center of the white fabric. This is shown clearly in Step 4 of the Pattern Instructions.
I recommend you use a stitch length no longer than 2.0 so the seams don't come apart as you are joining them to the Compass and Small Houses--there is a lot of handling these arcs as they are pinned and then sewn to the other parts of the center. Even better, backstitch at the beginning and end of EACH seam while making the arcs. It's no fun when the seams start to pop open as you are pinning the circle in place.
Once the pieces are sewn into an arc, using the paper pattern, trim as carefully as possible so the edge of the fabric is at the edge of the paper pattern. It is now ESSENTIAL that you SEW AN ACCURATE 1/4" SEAM ALLOWANCE, as you join the arcs into a complete circle. Take your time and sew as accurately as you are able, from the top of each seam to the bottom, straight and accurate all the way down-- AND BACKSTITCH. I pressed the SEAMS OPEN as I joined the arcs together. You can press ALL THE SEAMS open if you like.
SEWING THE INNER ROAD TO THE MARINER'S COMPASS:
Your Mariner's Compass should be 14.5" in all directions, including seam allowance. Double check this now before starting to pin the Inner Road to the Compass.
Once you have all 8 Inner Road Arcs sewn into a circle, it it time to join them to the Mariner's Compass center. Start with the compass flat on the table and pin the Inner Road ON TOP OF the Compass.
Take your time and pin, pin, pin. Most seams of the sewn together arcs match a point on the outside edge of the Mariner's Compass. Start at North, East, South, and West, then again halfway between those points to get the Inner Road to nicely fit to the Compass:
NOTICE: I placed the pins horizontally at the place where a Compass point is underneath--so I can be sure to keep that point seam laying flat, either open or to the side, depending on how the Compass was made. I placed the pins vertically where there was no point underneath, just to keep the edges aligned.
Now, SEW SLOWLY! Using a stiletto or the point of a seam ripper, try to keep the two edges aligned as you sew from each pin to the next. TAKE YOUR TIME--it's not a race and sewing slowly will get the job done accurately. The process of pinning and sewing the Inner Road took me close to an hour and the Upper Road took somewhat more than an hour.
PRESS TOWARD THE INNER ROAD.
The accomplishment comes when you take your Compass/Inner Road out of the machine and IT FITS! Do a HAPPY DANCE and congratulate yourself.
This is my friend Pam's center and Inner Road that I sewed. It came out perfectly. The Inner Road is 2" wide finished so this center now is 18.5" all across, including the seam allowances. She gets to do all the remaining sewing!
Back to the Process, describing how I made my sample quilt last Summer:
BIG TIP--it will REALLY HELP to keep the seams closed if you STAYSTITCH the edges of the ring of Small Houses, both the outside and inside circles. Staystitching means to sew a line of stitching within the seam allowance, about 1/8" in, working with the wrong side up so you can see the seams.
After I had the Compass/Inner Road done, I made the Upper Road and attached it to the OUTSIDE EDGE OF THE SMALL HOUSES RING. It is a BIG CIRCLE and takes time to do. I even did it the day after the Compass/Inner Ring since it takes a lot of careful pinning/sewing to complete successfully. Have the Small Houses ring flat on he table and the Upper Road on top, right sides together.
PRESS TOWARD THE UPPER ROAD.
Then I joined the RING OF SMALL HOUSES to the INNER ROAD. For me, this was the best order of sewing--it allowed me to handle the BIG CIRCLE without having the Compass/Inner Road already in place. This is also the order Wendy Williams tells you to join these sections in her instructions.
Again, you will pin the arc seams to small house seams, matching all the way around. Have the Inner Road/Compass flat on the table and PIN THE LOWER EDGE OF THE SMALL HOUSES TO THE INNER ROAD--the SMALL HOUSES ARE ON TOP, face down.
PRESS TOWARD THE INNER ROAD--or OUT toward the Small Houses, if you prefer .
What if things don't line up? By pinning each seam of the Roads to a matching place on the Compass and Small Houses, you only have to "EASE TO FIT" for a short distance. This is especially true of the INNER ROAD/COMPASS connection. Don't push the problem ahead, getting more and more off course. Sew carefully from one seam to the next. Use as many pins as needed to keep things in place.
On the UPPER ROAD, there are not as many seams to align. Here is a closeup of mine and I want you to see that the treetops are not perfect at the seams. I am OK with this. From any distance at all they look just fine. The connection on the left is pretty close to spot on, the one on the right, not so much:
You get to decide how perfect your quilt has to be. The finished Center should be 43.5", including seam allowances
, when it is complete, including both Roads. As long as yours is "close"--less than 1/4" off in either direction, you'll be fine. You can "ease to fit" when joining the very large outer ring of Tall Buildings much later.
My BEST ADVICE this month: DON'T BE IN A HURRY. Take your time as you complete this month's work. You have a lot invested to this point and once you have a complete center you are happy with, all the time you spent so far will have been worth it.
And the REST IS GRAVY! By that I mean: the Tall Buildings yet to come will not be as difficult as the effort so far. Partly because you know what you're doing and partly because there is a lot of repetition and most of the pieces are larger than the Small House pieces.