Friday, October 19, 2018

Desperately Seeking Squares: The Pursuit of Pineapple Piecing Perfection Continues

I got my first two rows of pineapple log cabin blocks sewn together yesterday!  Woo-hoo!

I still have the mailing label stickers on all of the block centers because I'm paranoid about messing up the layout.  Pinning these blocks together is going SO slowly and, now that I'm trying to pin two complete rows together, the pins I've already put in are getting caught up on each other and getting pulled out...  Grrr...  

I've got my #97D Patchwork foot with seam guide on my Bernina, which I love -- because it lets me focus 100% of my attention AHEAD of the needle and presser foot, so I can make sure the raw fabric edges are perfectly aligned and the lower seam allowances aren't flipped BEFORE they get to the needle.  But using that seam guide means my pins are in "backwards," with the pin heads to the left and the tips of the pins pointing to the right, and no part of the pin is protruding beyond the edge of the fabric.  

See How I'm Using Just the Tip of My Pins?
That's why it's so easy for my pins to get caught on things and pulled out accidentally while I'm working with these large sections in my lap.  I wish I had some extra fine but SHORT pins for this, like 1/2" sequin or applique pins.  Do those even come extra fine?  If anyone knows of a good source for them, or has any other ideas for me to try, please share in the comments!

First Two Rows Together!
So I now understand why this Fons & Porter foundation paper piecing pattern was rated "Challenging!"  Paper piecing the blocks was time-consuming but super easy, even beginner friendly, but joining these blocks together once they are pieced, with a bazillion non-nesting seam allowances fighting you every step of the way, is like wrestling a grizzly bear or trying to catch a greased pig...  Or like trying to prevent your teenager from eating potato chips and Pop Tarts in his bed...  You get the idea.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!
My favorite thing about this design is the secondary pattern of green and blue four-pointed stars when the blocks are joined together, with "twinkling" red center squares, and I was worried about accuracy at the block intersections.  The (free!) Fons & Porter pattern is a reproduction of a 19th century quilt owned by the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, and as you can see from the close up below, the original quiltmaker had some trouble where the blocks come together.  I felt like, with all the advantages of 21st century technology at my disposal, I ought to be able to piece squares at the block corners rather than rhombuses, rectangles or kites.

Original 19th Century Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt
So it really felt good to press this seam open and see my completed four point stars with cute little red SQUARES in the center for the first time yesterday!

As Square As I Can Manage

With 36 blocks rather than 16, my quilt is twice as large as the original even before factoring in the borders mine will have.  Here's that original 19th century quilt again:
Full View of Original Quilt, 74 x 76

I absolutely love how vibrant and MODERN this antique quilt feels, don't you?  Although, gotta confess -- with as long as I've been working on this quilt, I've got misgivings about actually putting it on my bed and sleeping under it once it's finished.  Maybe I should make a clear vinyl "duvet cover" to protect it like the Italian grandmothers used to put on their sofas?

Clear Vinyl Cover For My Pineapple Quilt?  Yea or Nay?
-- Can you believe that I sewed ONE seam and I have THIS MUCH to say about it?

Okay, break's over -- back to work, everyone!  Today I'm linking up with:
Whoop Whoop Fridays at 

Finished Or Not Friday at 


Alison V. said...

Oh my goodness! Laughing out loud at my desk. Yes, I've totally felt what you're feeling after sewing just one seam with a complicated quilt that requires an insane amount of matching. This is probably why I'm inclined to sashing. :D

LA Paylor said...

you are so funny!
I love this idea.... in concept if not in making....I have so many blue and green scraps and how wonderful they are together! Make me one! lol

Jill said...

The pineapple quilt is pretty! Love the secondary pattern which I was unaware would happen. Appreciate close up of stitching matched seams. Geesh, they appear to be on the diagonal. Hope a blooger Makes a pin suggestion as I have the same need. By the way, your pins are snazzy and they are doing their job nicely. Maker please? OMGoodness on the vinyl covered furniture with lady smoking. A classic photo from back in the day - for real! Keep sewing as quilt is going to be awesome.

chrisknits said...

It's going to be stunning and so worth it! Cheering you on from the sidelines.

KaHolly said...

It’s going to be magnificent! Well worth your time and effort. Lol, plastic/vinyl covers! Such memories!

SJSM said...

Great looking intersections. I thought the forked pins were for this situation. I know they are thicker than desired. However I thought the two prongs stabilized the fabric better than one or even two pins in an area. Personally I only have one or two and do use them for matching plaids at times. I forget about them most often and use a wash away tape or glue if I am desperate enough. If the item is worth the effort my last ditch effort is to hand baste the offending areas together. I did do this when making my daughter's wedding dress. Every stinking seam was hand basted with silk thread to ensure nothing shifted. It worked. The silk thread removes easily and left no marks, even after pressing.

Lani said...

Your quilt is going to be so beautiful!
Have you tried gluing your seam intersections with Elmer's school glue? Or one of the wash out applique glues? This has worked for me. Small dot of glue at the intersection then iron to dry.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love the pineapple block and having put together several of them I feel your pain. Yes there are so many seams to match - it takes time especially doing a king size!! Keep at it and it will get done even if it takes one day to pin one row and one day to sew it!

Diane in TX said...

I love your pineapple blocks and quilt-in-the-making! So inspiring, I want to make one!
About the pinning, I would just take the guide off and pin normally. I like the security of a blue paint masking tape guide, maybe a couple layers high. I have a 750, love the 97D foot but use it without the guide whenever the guide would interfere with my pins: curves and matching heavily pinned seams. I use the guide on the table and stitch plate.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

1. Not just Italians with the sofa thing...Germans from small towns in the Midwest were in on that game!
2. This quilt just ROCKS! It is awesome! You MUST sleep under it and enjoy it.
3. You also MUST go immediately to The Quilt Show and watch Susan Cleveland talk about how she sews seams. It will blow your mind. I think it's still free today but will be part of paid content tomorrow (Sun) I think. Link here:

Gretchen Weaver said...

Beautiful! I'm inspired to go start piecing pineapples. I've already downloaded the pattern.

LJ said...

lol I remember those vinyl covers! My mother-in-law even used a vinyl runner on top of the carpeting. Your rows on the pineapple quilt look amazing. You are doing a fantastic job of matching. The only thought I had for you would be: what about pinning only one block at a time, sewing that seam, pinning another block, sewing that seam, and continue until the rows are attached?

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I totally nix the vinyl cover idea - this quilt is made to be loved, and used, and cuddled up in. And every time you sleep under it you're going to feel so *accomplished*! As you should. It's totally, 100% FABULOUS, and yes, you should talk about that seam as much as you want. Have fun with the next one!

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

A beautiful start, it'll be amazing!