16 Feb

Aloha Pineapple Progress


Project Introduction here

Part 1 (supplies) here.

Part 2 here.

Part 3 here.

Part 4 here.

We are making progress. In order to make a lap/crib sized quilt with 63 blocks in ten weeks, we estimated that we should be making ten blocks a week. That should give us some time to add a border and finish up the quilts. We’re not exactly on schedule (myself included) but we are all picking up speed and confidence in making these blocks.

And, I remembered my camera this time!

Lynne has a bunch of small prints she’d like to use up. She also has a recipient in mind, who would like this softer palette instead of a bright one like mine.

Jason is happily cutting up all his Aloha shirts. He had a revelation that though he loves them very much, he’ll be able to enjoy them more as a quilt than hanging in his closet where he never wears them. Look closely and you’ll see that he’s also arranging every other four block set so the corners meet with the same fabric. It will add a secondary focal point to the quilt and the bright block centers.

Katie chose black for a man-friendly quilt. Her rainbow inspired color combinations are showing up beautifully against the black background!

Kathleen and Deb are showing off their first finished blocks. They were both slow to get started, but now they’ve got the hang of it and are sure to return next week with piles of finished blocks.

Now I need to go make some more blocks and catch up with my industrious students.

07 Feb

Aloha Pineapple Quilt Along: part 4


Project Introduction here

Part 1 (supplies) here.

Part 2 here.

Part 3 here.

Today’s will be a short post. I had grand plans of showing off everyone’s progress, but I forgot both my camera and my phone with it’s camera.

Here’s my own progress though:

Aloha Pineapple Log Cabin

And DianeY’s progress (since she’s following along online and emailed me her photo). Check out those cute little pineapples in the center of each block:

The rest of the class has a wonderful variety — Kathleen’s has a beachy feel, Katie’s is bold and jewel toned, Deb’s reminds me of a hula festival, and Jason’s is a quilt version of a Kahala or Reyn Spooner shirt.

A couple of tips we discovered along the way:

• when trimming up for the next round, look for the line where your stitching converges in a corner or almost-corner.
• if your fabrics are bunching up when you start sewing, use a longer strip that extends beyond the feed dogs.
• Jason, Katie and Deb like to work each round by sewing fabrics on opposite sides. Kathleen prefers to work each round clockwise.
• paper piecing is for people who can’t sew straight!

Next week we’ll have more to show — I promise!

02 Feb

Aloha Pineapple Quilt Along: part 3


Project Introduction here

Part 1 (supplies) here.

Part 2 here.

Now that you’ve got your foundations printed and your fabrics cut, or at least piled nearby, it’s time to start sewing.


Take a look at the foundation. The center block is labeled #1. The next round, shaded triangles, is labeled #2 — and that number applies to all the pieces (or logs) in that round. Round #3 is white logs, and so it continues. You will work each round before continuing on to the next one.


Place the 2″ (or thereabouts) square of fabric you’ve chosen for your center, face UP, on the un-printed side of the foundation. Hold the paper and fabric up to the light to make sure that your fabric extends at least 1/4″ beyond the edges of the printed square (these are your seam allowances). I find it helpful to secure the fabric in place with a dab of glue from a glue stick. Now, take your secondary fabric that you already cut into 1.5″ strips (the solid green in my example) and cut a log a tad longer than the base of the triangle. Place this, face DOWN (some solids don’t have a right or wrong side, and in that case it doesn’t matter which side is down) along one side of your center square. Pin this in place if you’d like.



Set the stitch length on your machine to shorter than normal. Small stitches will both perforate the foundation paper, making it easier to rip off later, and makes the stitches sturdier to hold up to the ripping. Now flip your foundation paper over and sew along the printed line of the side of the square on which you placed your second piece of fabric. Start a little before the beginning of the line and end a few stitches after it ends.


Remove your project from the sewing machine. Finger press your secondary fabric open so it now covers the shaded shape.



Cut and place another bit of the secondary fabric, face down along another side of the center square. It doesn’t matter with the pineapple block if you go clockwise, counterclockwise, or opposite sides when working each round. Flip the foundation to the printed side and sew along the printed line of the side of the square on which you placed your third piece of fabric. Remove from the machine, finger press the fabric open, and add the next log to the third side of the center square. Flip, sew, press open, and add the final log in the same manner. (I’ve kind of skipped ahead in this photo and trimmed a few logs before adding the last one. You should sew on all teh logs in a round before trimming.)


Once you’ve finished a round, I like to go to the ironing board and press the fabrics with a dry iron to make sure everything is in place. Now place your foundation fabric side down on a cutting mat.


Place the straight edge of a stiff piece of paper, like a postcard, along one of the lines between round #2 and round #3 (between the shaded triangles, and the white logs). Fold back the foundation paper, exposing the fabric below. Place a rotary ruler 1/4″ over the folded edge and cut off any fabric that extends beyond that 1/4″ seam allowance. This sets up a perfect edge for you to place the fabrics in the next round!


Rotate your foundation and fold back on the next line that is also between rounds #2 and #3 (use the postcard to make the folding easier). Place your ruler 1/4″ over the folded edge and cut off any excess fabric. Do the same to the remaining two sides. Now you are ready for round three.


Place a piece of your primary fabric (scrappy aloha prints in my example above) face DOWN along one of the edges you just trimmed. You can rotary cut your fabric beforehand to 1.5″ by a little longer than the longest side of the #3 white logs, or just snip a scrap that’s about the right size.


Flip the foundation over and sew along the line between round #2 and round #3. Remove from the sewing machine and press open the fabrics. Continue the round in the same manner.


When you’ve finished the round, press it with an iron and place your foundation fabric side down on the cutting mat. This time, fold along the printed line between round #3 and round #4.


This will be across the corners of round #3, not parallel to the logs you’ve just sewn. Cut off excess fabric (leaving the 1/4″ seam allowance) as with the previous round.



After trimming all four sides, it’s time to sew on the next round, which is the secondary fabric. The logs in this round will not meet each other at the corners. That’s OK because the next round will cover those corners.


Continue sewing, flipping, pressing and trimming in alternating rounds of solid and scrappy fabric until you get to the eighth (shaded) round. Make sure that your fabrics extend at least to the dashed line (seam allowance) on this round. The ninth round are those big corner triangles of your dominant fabric. This is a great place to use those odd shaped scraps; just make sure that they too extend at least to the dashed line.


Press your finished block so all the fabrics lie flat and then trim the block square along the dashed lines. Make more blocks, using a new paper foundation for each one. The goal is 63 blocks total.

Next Monday(ish) we’ll see how everyone in class did with their “homework” and answer any specific questions that may have arisen.

31 Jan

Aloha Pineapple Quilt Along: part 2


Project Introduction here

Part 1 (supplies) here.


Aloha Pineapple PDF Foundation

Above is a PDF link for the paper foundation. Make sure your printer is set to 100%. The printed square should be 7.5″ from dashed line to parallel dashed line. The linked text should open a PDF file of the same pattern. Again, print it out and you should get a 7.5″ square including the seam allowance indicated by the dashed line. The finished blocks will be 7″. Choose whichever file works best for you and your printer/computer.

Today in class we dove into paper piecing. If you are familiar with paper piecing, you can jump right in. Your biggest decision will be whether to use your solid fabrics in the un-shaded logs for a more restrained look, or to use the scraps in the un-shaded logs for a scrappier look.

If you are new to paper peicing, bear with me as I try to explain. This is one of those techniques that I think is easier to show in person and then jump in and try. No matter, the seam ripper is your friend and practice does make perfect.

The un-shaded areas will be your dominant fabric. Most of us in class chose to use our scraps here, but there is no right or wrong answer. It is your preference (block 1 mockup in my last post). The shaded areas will be the less dominant fabric (block 2 mockup in the last post).

Fold your solid fabric selvedge to selvedge and cut three strips across the width of the fabric, 1.5″ wide. This is for your logs. You will eventually need more, but this is enough to get started and then you can cut more strips as you need them. If your solid is your dominant fabric, cut a strip 3″ wide as well for those big corner triangles. You can cut your scraps into strips too unless they are already small, manageable pieces. If your block centers are going to be a specific fabric (like block 3 mockup), cut a bunch of 2″ squares. If you are using scraps for the centers, cut 2″ squares, or just grab pieces about that size.

By the way, the finished pineapple blocks are 7″ square. If you are planning on a lap or crib sized quilt 49″ x 63″ without a border, you’ll need 63 blocks and therefore to cut 63 center squares and print out 63 paper foundations. I’m playing this by ear right now. We may end up with fewer blocks and a big border, or just a smaller project, depending on how much we can get done. That’s why I think starting with a few strips and a few foundations until you get the swing of it is a good idea.

OK. I’ll give you a little time to print out foundations and to cut strips and then I’ll get to the sewing instructions tomorrow.

09 Feb

How my Brain Works

Hawaiian Fabrics

One of the members of the quilt guild I belong to was asked by a local clothing company if she could organize some sewers to make pillowcases from factory scraps which the company  could then donate to deployed troops as a taste of home. Our “payment” would be all the scraps too small for the patchwork pillows. Of course I’ll sew for troops, and extra scraps are always fun, so I agreed to participate. As I was cutting out my 6″ squares, I was daydreaming about what to do with the oddly shaped  scraps. I pulled out the few hawaiian fabrics already in my stash. And then it hit me — a pineapple block! Has anyone made a pineapple log cabin quilt using aloha shirt fabric? If not, then why? It seems so obvious to me now.