Tuesday, August 17, 2021

It's FINALLY Happening: My Giant Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt is On the Frame for Quilting!

Some of my long-time quilting friends out there thought this day would never come, but there's no going back now -- I loaded my pineapple log cabin quilt last night and the quilting will commence TODAY!

Loading My Massive California King Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt at Last!

Here are the answers to the most common questions I've gotten about this project over the years:

  1. I paper pieced the blocks using a free foundation pattern that I downloaded from Fons & Porter here, but after taping just one block together I took it to my local FedEx shop and printed single page copies on their large format printer.  Although the foundation paper piecing pattern came from Fons & Porter, it's not their design -- it's a pattern for reproducing an antique pineapple log cabin quilt from the collection of the International Quilt Study Center.  You can see that quilt here.
  2. The blocks finished at approximately 17 3/4".
  3. The fabric strips are cut at 1 1/2" wide since I'm paper piecing, but the finished width of the strips is 3/4"
  4. Each block contains 97 pieces, and each block is taking me roughly SIX hours to piece.
  5. This quilt is for my own California King bed that measures 72" wide by 84" long.  It's a deep pillow top mattress, so I planned my quilt top to be 120" x 120" to ensure that even after the shrinkage of quilting and washing, the quilt will still completely cover the mattress when it's on my bed.
  6. I started this project in June of 2014, SEVEN years ago!

Pineapple Loaded, Ready to Baste

I won't be using that turquoise thread on this quilt, by the way -- that's from the previous client's quilt that just came off the frame.  I haven't yet decided on a thread color for this quilt.  I'll be auditioning a few different options today.

This is a 118 Inch Quilt on a 13 Foot Bernina Q24 Frame

As you can see, this quilt is the maximum size that fits on my Large 13' Bernina Q24 frame.  My quilt top is about 118" and my backing is 130".  My Quilter's Dream Wool batting is 130" long but only 120" wide, because 120" is the largest width that the batting comes.  That only gives me an inch of excess batting on either side of my quilt top -- way too close for comfort!  There's no excess batting for checking and adjusting tension on either side of the quilt, and I'll have to be really, really careful about not letting the batting shift to one side or another as I advance the quilt.  If I do run into trouble, I'll just have to stop and whipstitch wool batting straps to fill in on the sides by hand.

Barely Enough Room for the Side Clamps, and Super Skimpy Batting Width

Normally, I'd plan for a minimum of 4-5" excess backing AND batting on all four sides of the quilt, and the photo above shows why those amounts are needed for long arm quilting.  The top and bottom of the backing fabric gets pinned to the canvas leaders to attach the backing to the frame, and I need to be able to quilt all the way to the edges of the quilt top without sewing onto the canvas leaders themselves.  And, on the sides of the quilt, the extra backing fabric allows my quilting machine to sew all the way to the edge of the quilt top without hitting the side clamps.  

I thought long and hard about the batting choice and the quilting design for this quilt.  It's so much easier to recommend quilting designs for clients' quilts than it is to choose one for my own quilt!  After putting over 300 hours into cutting and piecing this quilt top with nearly 3,500 patches of fabric, my initial feeling was that the quilting needed to be amazing.  However...

1. This quilt top weighs a TON.  Seriously!  Because those log cabin strips finish at just 3/4" wide with 1/4" seam allowances, and everyplace there is a seam allowance is THREE layers of fabric instead of just one.  

2. This quilt was always intended to be a functional bed quilt.  I want it to be just as warm, soft, and snuggly as possible.

3. The piecing design of this quilt is so striking that it really doesn't need a complicated custom quilting design.

Ultimately, I settled on a quilting design by pretending that this was a client's quilt and thinking, "What would I recommend if this quilt belonged to someone else?"

Moulin Rouge E2E

I picked wool batting because it's warm yet breathable, and crucially, lightweight.  The last thing this heavy quilt top needed was a dense cotton batting that would make it even heavier.  The Moulin Rouge edge-to-edge quilting design I selected has no backtracking and therefore no thready buildup (and will work well with a variegated thread, if I have one in a color range that works) and the quilting lines are evenly spaced throughout the design so it won't compress the loft of my batting more in some spots than in others.  I like how Moulin Rouge is kind of a playful, whimsical take on traditional quilting feathers, in the same way that my bright color scheme and Kaffe Fassett floral border print fabric gives an updated, less serious vibe to this intensively pieced antique quilt reproduction.  I think they will pair nicely together.  The fact that this design will also stitch out well at a moderately fast speed is a bonus as well.  Git 'er done, am I right?!

In other news, we moved Son-the-Elder into his dorm at Appalachian State University this past weekend and his Junior year classes started yesterday.  Son-the-Younger, our college Freshman, gets moved into his dorm at Furman University the day after tomorrow.  There is still a bit of last-minute shopping and laundry to do between now and then, and I have a couple clients scheduled to drop off quilts tomorrow as well.  It's shaping up to be a busy week!  So I'm setting just ONE personal quilting goal for this week's Tuesday To-Do List: Quilt my pineapple log cabin!

PSST!!  I'd Love to Quilt for YOU!

By the way, if you or any of your quilty friends has a quilt top or two that needs quilting, I'd be delighted to quilt for you!  My turnaround for edge-to-edge quilting is currently running about 3-4 weeks, and you can click here to find out how to book your quilt with me.

I'm linking up today's post with the following linky parties:


To-Do Tuesday at ChrisKnits


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Gretchen Weaver said...

I can't wait to see how this looks quilted, she a beauty!

Sherrie said...

Awesome Pineapple Quilt! Love your border
fabric...have a great day!

Darlene S said...

Truthfully, this is the prettiest Pineapple block quilt I have ever seen. So cheerful. And I love the quilting motif you picked for it. Going to be spectacular on your bed.

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

I have waited a long time to see this quilt finished (lol as you have too) and watched the progress from the very first block - have fun take a deep breath and get going! I love the variety of fabric that come into play in this one

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Oh my, that is a gorgeous quilt! How exciting to finally be at the quilting stage! We'll enjoy seeing what you do with it.

Sharon Kwilter said...

What a beautiful and bright quilt. I love the quilting design you chose. Congratulations on finally getting it to this stage.

Kim said...

Wow! That is a gorgeous quilt! Can't wait to see it finished.

TerryKnott.blogspot.com said...

How exciting for your quilt to be on the machine. . .it won't be long before it is "bed" ready! It and your quilting design is gorgeous! Wool batting is a great choice!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

My first thought was, Rebecca's going bold with that turq thread! Then I read on--variegated sounds like a great idea! Which brand, and cotton or poly? It was interesting to read you FAQ answers! Great panto choice, too.

Sandy said...

Oh my! That is *such* a gorgeous quilt, Rebecca Grace! I love Quilter's Dream wool batting, and I'm sure it will show off that lovely quilting beautifully.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

One word! Stunning! Hugs

piecefulwendy said...

It's gorgeous! Will be fun to see what thread you choose!

Denise said...

I completely agree on the E2E design. I love the juxtaposition of the VERY straight geometry of the pineapple and the free flow of the quilting. I hade never given any consideration to the backtracking and the thread buildup. I kinda like the blue thread sitting on the longarm. When I saw it I thought "WOW, she is not afraid of color." When you mentioned variegated thread I was all over that. You go girl. I can hardly wait to see it done.

I hope we get a chance to meet-up in September. d

chrisknits said...

I am so thrilled for you to finally be quilting this beauty!!! And I love the Moulin panto, I saved it for future purchase and I think now's the time! Good luck with your goal!

Quilting Gail said...

Lovely quilt and a very lovely quilting pattern! :-)

Kathy S. said...

Wow! Amazing job answering all my questions! We have a California King bed as well. Yes, it will be a heavy quilt. It is GORGEOUS! Quilting design--nice pick. Gorgeous border fabric. It's a winner already.

Julie in GA said...

I have enjoyed following along as you pieced this gorgeous pineapple quilt, and I look forward to seeing the finished product. I love the quilting design you have chosen, and the wool batting should be perfect!

linynp said...

It is stunning and love the design. When I did a quilt that large I had similar issue fir batting. I basted all the prior to quikting ensuring it didn’t get sucked in. It might help! Can’t wait to see the finish.

linynp said...

It is stunning and love the design. When I did a quilt that large I had similar issue fir batting. I basted all the prior to quikting ensuring it didn’t get sucked in. It might help! Can’t wait to see the finish.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Happy quilting, Rebecca! Best of luck with getting Son-the-Younger moved in at school.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

It's so exciting to see a long term project near it's completion! You've got me all tense with that skimpy batting but if anyone can make it work you can! Can't wait to see this beauty finished and on your bed. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

Susan said...

What a gorgeous quilt and well worth the commitment. I can't wait to see this off the frame.