Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pineapple Blocks using Gyleen Fitzgerald’s ruler

I’ve wanted to make a pineapple quilt for a couple of years now. I heard the rulers out there were frustrating to use and someone offered to show me how to use my Square In A Square ruler, but I never took her up on it. I designed one using EQ with the intention of paper piecing, but as I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of paper piecing and the quilt didn’t get started. Then I heard about Gyleen Fitzgerald and her ruler (see this post). She made it look so easy and a quilt friend tried it and confirmed that it was. I was getting really antsy to start a new quilt last week and it didn’t take me long to decide which one. Well, it ends up being more than one, as you will see.

Okay, a little more background before I show you how to use the ruler.  I’ve been setting aside magazines and books I have with pineapple quilts in them. It wasn’t much of a collection. Looking at the quilts always confused me because they seemed to look different, but were all named just “pineapple quilts”. I guess this happens with a lot of blocks – like the pineapples cousin – the log cabin. So I spent some time studying the pineapple quilts-

From Jinny Beyer’s The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns:

“Pineapple quilt blocks are in the Log Cabin family. The difference is that there are eight sets of logs going around the central square, rather than four. Pineapple is one of the older patterns, and has many variations.”

From Patricia Cox and Maggi McCormick Gordon’s Log Cabin Quilts:
“The blocks shown so far in this section are all constructed from strips of approximately the same length in each row. Here the parallel strips are much longer than the corner sections, which create small triangles pointing out”. Flying Geese!
Ah, ha! I think this is what I was having a hard time with. They were different! And Gyleen shows how to do both in her book Trash to Treasure Pineapple Quilts using her Pineapple ruler.

I took some pics as I worked-
 The center is a 2 ½” square and the strips are 1 ½” wide.
 Always trim block from the back. To trim round 1, align the 45 degree angles along the cut edge of the center square and the centerline through the stitched corners. Double click on photo to enlarge.

 Round 2
To trim round 2, align the 1" line to the cut edge of the center square and the centerline with the stitched corners of round 1. Use this same trimming method for rounds 3-5, but use the previous round(s) for alignment.

 Round 3
 Round 4 and 5 are done the same as 2 and 3.
Rounds 6, 7 and 8 are all darks. Round 6 goes on as all the others, but don't trim. Cut your strip smaller for rounds 7 and 8. I used round 4 as a guide as to how long I needed round 7. I was using the long edge, but really just needed as much as the short edge. The red in the above pic is much longer than needed.
 I learned with round 8 and just used about a 2" long strip and that was plenty.
 Ready for the final trim.
 Turn block to the back and align the center square on the ruler with the center square of the block.
Ta Da!

Hint: Nancy, who teaches at the Jinny Beyer Studio, suggests using a 2" wide strip (rather than 1 1/2") for round 7 and eliminate round 8. See how round 8 (above) is so tiny after trimming. Apparently round 8 is so small it can be a little difficult when sewing the blocks together. (5-22-11)

Gyleen calls this variation Pineapple Chunks-

It's the flying geese version.

The center square and strips are the same as above, but the geese triangles are made from a 3 ½” square cut in half on the diagonal.

I don’t think I could have figured out how to use the ruler without the book. The ruler does come with instructions, but I always need pictures! Show me! The ruler is truly easy to use. My only slip up was in my fabric selection so I have some orphan blocks. I tried to use a dark gold for the light flying geese in the pineapple chunk quilt, but they were really too dark so I switch to a taupe colored fabric.

I’m a pinner and I didn’t feel the need to pin while making these blocks. I just finger pressed until I completed a round and then pressed with the iron. The blocks finish at 8”. One thing I didn’t like – there was a lot of waste when trimming up, but I guess that is pretty typical of these types of rulers. You get waste for the sake of accuracy.

Barb of Fun with Barb used this ruler to make her beautiful pineapple quilt and blogged about it in this post. Her quilt, Lunar Pineapple, was chosen to hang in the Long Beach and Houston Quilt Festivals in the Trash to Treasure exhibit. Congratulations, Barb – that is really neat.

Well, I’m off to make more blocks.
Dec. 30, 2017 - I just posted about my finished pineapple quilt here.


  1. Oh Maureen, I think that you have totally confused me. Maybe I will try this block sometime in the future but have plenty to keep me busy at the moment. Well done, you have mastered the process and the results look fabulous.

  2. Wow, thanks for the peak in to how to do a pineapple without paper piecing it! Great way to use up scraps.

  3. What sweet blocks! The ruler does seem to help it be accurate. Thanks for the tutorial.

  4. Yep....I'm gonna need that ruler! Thanks for the tutorial on this.....I really does help to SEE it!

    And my chairpad and tote arrived yesterday! Thank you so much for having the giveaway! It's a little freaky, and I have the EXACT handwriting.....I kept looking at the address thinking I had done some return-address label somehow....I mean, it's that exact! Weird, huh!?!

  5. I haven't seen this ruler. Might have to get it! Your quilt is going to be beautiful!


  6. Your blocks look great!
    Makes me wanna run upstairs and start another one immediately - aren't they fun?
    thanks for nice comments about my Lunar Pineapple!

  7. You're right, Maureen. The ruler looks like an accurate, easy, logical way to make those intriguing pineapple blocks. I think I may have to buy a new ruler and book.
    I appreciate the link to Barb's Lunar Pineapple. Anybody who thinks all pineapple quilts look alike needs to see unique versions like that one.

  8. Great post Maureen. You have made it all look so logical and well explained. May have to have a go at this sometime.

  9. That's actually really cool! Thanks for the tutorial. I can't wait to try it.

    I've started following your blog. I love quilting, and just recently started my own blog, but I'm SO excited to get fresh ideas and inspiration! Who knew there were so many other crazy quilters out there =)
    ~ Paula

  10. I'm a ruler girl and love this one! I always have a trouble with making a square in square block and never made pineapple block yet, but it looks like this ruler may be my solution!? Thanks for sharing. You have a lot of interesting things going on here, and I will have to come back to browse futher later today... Fun blog!!

  11. I've recently become obsesssed by Pineapple Quilts and found this post so interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us!!

  12. Thank you so much for posting this. I have had a time with the ruler and I might be trying too hard... does that make sense? I'm going to try and save your post as a PDF file if you don't mind. Your step by step pictures really help.

  13. Thank you for sharing. I love the tool. However, all of my blocks have a 1/4 "gap at the end of row five when I do the final squaring after row 8. What am I doing wrong??

  14. I finally tried this ruler after having it about 4 years. Although this is a good tutorial this ruler is TOTALLY CONFUSING! Mine is for sale if someone would like to have it.

    1. I feel the same way!! And there is no video demonstrating the ruler

  15. I have this ruler - bought it years ago and I'm just taking it out to use it!! LOL! If you cut the strips 2.5" instead of 1.5" would you line up the cut edge of the square with the 2" mark on the ruler?? I was hoping to find a video showing how to use this ruler but I didn't find one. Your post was the most helpful I've found so far.