Pineapples Plus - foundation piecing

Posted by Jane Hall on 23 February 2015 | 0 Comments

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Log Cabin patterns are among the most popular in the quilting world and deservedly so. They are simple to construct, have strong graphics and lend themselves to many different design arrangements. The Pineapple is merely a Log Cabin gone a bit berserk. This makes up the Pineapples Plus class.

In either pattern, the accumulated groups of strips in one area create visual planes or sections of color and value. In the classic Log Cabin, two adjacent planes (one horizontal and one vertical) are of light value, with the other two planes being dark. This reads as a strong diagonal design within each block. For the Pineapple, in addition to these horizontal and vertical planes, we now add four diagonal planes or sections. This makes a total of eight planes for each block. Just like the classic Log Cabin, the design punch for a Pineapple comes from value contrast. By adding the diagonal elements, the design possibilities are more varied and can be infinitely more sophisticated.

The classic block is an X, with dark values on the diagonal planes and light values on the horizontal/vertical planes. From now on, we will refer to this as the h/v.

pineapples plus foundation pieced block

one block

One block has no focus and no real impact; the design works best with at least four blocks.

pineapples plus - 4 foundation pieced blocks joined together

With four blocks, you begin to see the pattern.

The four corners coming together create a wonderful four-pointed star figure with small pineapples radiating from the center. The large shape created by the four corners is a great place for a quilting design; it also lends itself well to focus-cutting special fabrics to create secondary designs.

This is definitely a foundation piecing class. A foundation is anything you piece ON or WITH. It can be fabric, paper, interfacing, even batting. I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about the phrase “paper piecing." To me, it is English paper piecing, mostly with hexagons and hand whipping techniques. This technique is most definitely not that! We will be sewing on paper in this class, so technically, this is paper foundation piecing. The average pineapple block has at least 41 pieces in it, and many of the edges are bias. Without a foundation, the potential for stretch is incredible.

pineapples plus - Christmas Tree ornament

Once you get the idea, you will be free to make any size or shape pineapple. I have seen some wonderful ones constructed in diamonds, hexagons, even rectangles. The square I use most often for wallhangings is the 6" size we have used here. 9" makes great bed quilts or large wallhangings. Somehow 12" seems to me to be getting clunky, mostly because to keep it in proportion, the logs need to be around 1" and that is big. So I have not done many with blocks much larger than 9". I have gone to the opposite extreme and gotten even a little ridiculous (made a 1" pineapple once, but it took all day and about five tries before I got one that was not eaten up by the feed dogs as I stitched!) In our book, we have sizes from 3" - 12", and I have made a bunch of Christmas tree ornaments.

... Jane Hall


About Pineapples Plus: Have you been admiring the wonderful pieced pineapple designs you see at shows, books and magazines? This graphic Log Cabin variation is easy to construct using foundations, and once you learn the basics, there are so many alternatives for the pattern, you will be hooked. From the classic traditional design to some incredible innovative pieces, Jane brings it all to you in this class. Read more...

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