Monday, November 13, 2017

Traditional Pineapple Block

Pineapple Blocks

Over a month ago I taught this pineapple block to friends at our monthly meet up. They had all come back this month with finished blocks, and stories of finished tops. My work sat at the same stage as when the class finished. I knew today I was going to finish my last 6.5" block, and sew the 4 together. 

Secondary Patterns

My only goal in making 4 was to be able to see the repeat, and have a sample to visualize for future use. I love to squint my eyes, and look for the circular pattern of white with a dark 4-armed star in the middle. It requires at least 4 blocks to appear, and we call it a secondary pattern. Secondary patterns can be far more interesting than the actual block!

A History Tidbit

Did you know it was common years ago to construct and save an actual block as a pattern to remember it? Patterns were published in women's magazines and on batting wrappers, and readily shared among friends, but I know of several old block collections. Perhaps those quilters didn't set out to make a sampler as we do now, but instead sewed their collection of blocks together as they made more.

A Perfect Scrap Pattern

These small blocks were perfect for scrap strips requiring just a 1 1/4" strip. It's not hard to imagine why early quilters chose to make them as they used up the smallest bits. Many quilters choose a muslin foundation for piecing these blocks, and simply knot the heavy top layer with a backing. This type of log cabin quilt is seen made with or without a batting layer.

Creative Grids makes two sizes of rulers for the pineapple block, and this eliminates the use of a foundation. The 6.5" ruler was used with these, and they also offer a 12.5". I think they add a great deal of precision to keeping the block rounds at the right size. Even with the ruler I had some differences, and it showed up when it came to sewing the blocks together. It doesn't bother me in the least, honestly, but you may feel differently. I'll let you know when I finish a whole quilt, though. I'm besotted with this sweet block! 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with Cooking Up Quilts


  1. Love your use of darks and lights, but still differences within those areas. Looks like you are still doing a coin variation. I did the squint and saw the neat secondary pattern. I'm so impressed that you could do this with such narrow strips and have them match up so well. I have a 19th cent. Courthouse Steps done in some kind of reds and greens drapery fabrics and it weighs a ton. It looks great on my wing chair for Christmas. But I've never made a log cabin quilt, just a few trial QAYG blocks.

  2. It took me awhile to see that secondary pattern - I sure like it! Now all I can see is it. Thanks for the lesson about this block.

  3. Love the Pineapple. I am not sure I have the patience to make enough of them for a quilt. So, the only constant is the center?

  4. Interesting to hear that even with the ruler it's tricky to match seams when you set the blocks. I had some distortion with my foundation paper piecing patterns when I taped them together and photocopied them at the FedEx shop -- and when I pin the blocks up on my wall I can see those challenges! I'm hoping that the bias edges and skinny strips in my blocks will have enough play that I can match seams reasonably well but I, too, have observed that the most beautiful antique examples of pineapple log cabin quilts do not have perfectly matched seams, either!

  5. Oh wow, love your Pineapple block, Julie. I can see why you are besotted with this block....but all that piecing. You are a wee bit clever.

  6. I love the secondary pattern! Sorry it took me so long to read your post - life has been busy and I'm now playing catch up!

  7. These designs are amazing I would love to do some! Keep up the good work.


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