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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snowball 9-patch Quilt


Front-
92"x75", blocks are 4 1/2" finished

 Back-
Detail-
 Finished!

I spoke to soon about spring. We had sleet and snow last night and schools opened 2 hours late. Couldn’t find the snowdrops this morning, but is this a purple crocus? Hmmm, I don't think you can see it.




Okay, you’re going to laugh. Here is are some pics of my sewing room and it doesn’t look much better than before. It feels better to me and I guess that is what counts. All ready for the additional son and dog!


These granola bars are fabulous! I have to watch my sugar and these give me a fix, but I don’t feel like I’ve over done it. They are from The Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten). I used dried, unsweetened coconut (found at Whole Foods) and cut the other 1 ½ cups of dried fruit to 1 cup. This is my third and best batch.

Thanks, Mom!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Winner and Other Happenings


The winner of my birthday giveaway is Regan of Floating on a Quilted Cloud. Congratulations you young thing! Regan just turned 49 on the 15th. Email me with your address so I can get your package in the mail. Thanks to all of you who left comments. It is nice to know people are reading my blog. I wish everyone could win!


I’m working on these pineapple blocks and plan on doing a detailed post later in the week.


Barb of Fun with Barb asked for a close up of my string quilt. I had trouble with the tension and you can see the top thread popping out on the back in some places. Even though I was using the same thread (YLI 40/3 ply for machine quilting) on the top and bottom I had to reduce the top tension to 2. It is such a scrappy quilt and reducing the tension helped and I get really impatient fiddling with things like that so I just decided to live with it. I love this backing fabric. I only paid $3.50 a yard for it at a going out of business sale. I hate to see quilt shops go out of business, but I do like getting a deal!


I’m also hand sewing the binding down on the snowball/9patch quilt. It feels like it is taking forever - haven’t done a big quilt like this in a long time. Penny making herself comfortable and me talking on the phone with my sister in California isn't helping the process!

Before Thursday I need to take a photo of my sewing room to post. It looks much better than it did when I posted photos in January. It isn’t painted yet, but my son is coming home for a while and he likes to sleep on the futon in the basement (which is my sewing room) with his dog and both of ours. It’s quite shocking when I open the door in the morning. I’ll have to start using lavender water in my iron again! Anyway, I don’t know if or when the room will get painted so I want to show you the progress I did make on it.

I’m also not keeping up with the Barbara Brackman Civil War block of the week.  I don’t know if I’ll go back to it. I do enjoy seeing the blocks others are making. While I'm confessing - I also haven’t worked on any of the 3 projects I wrote about in this post.  I just haven’t felt inspired to. My rationalization for starting the pineapple quilt is that 1) I was really itching to start something new 2) when I finish the snowball/9patch I will have 4 finishes for the year 3) it is using up scraps and I don’t need to buy any fabric for it 4) it was my birthday week. Those are good enough reasons for me!

Snowdrops - a sign of spring!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

String quilt and other stuff


I’m feeling lucky again. Lori, of Humble Quilts, did a giveaway for those of us who participated in her Midnight Stars quilt along and I was the winner of a bundle of blue and cheddar fabrics! Woohoo! Thanks, Lori!


Here is my completed Virginia Bound string quilt that I started in a class with Bonnie Hunter last spring. I’m really happy with it. It was made with strings resulting from over 20 years of quilting and crafting. I still have a lot – maybe my next string quilt will be a spider web. I’m thinking of naming this quilt “Nifty Fifty” because today is my 50th birthday! I’m feeling really good about it and looking forward to my 50’s. I have a friend who keeps telling me “fifty is nifty”!



In honor of my big day I’ve decided to do a giveaway.  Leave me a comment on this post and I’ll draw Monday, the 21st at noon. The winner will receive this seat cushion and quilt carrying bag. The cushion is wonderful for those awful chairs we sit in during quilt guild meetings and workshops. I’ve also used mine at high school football games (my youngest son is in the marching band). My husband started using one, too – those bleachers get awfully cold on a chilly October evening. The quilt carrying bag is light weight and big enough for a king size quilt. Good luck!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

My daughter made this from my scraps when she was 7 years old.
Hope you have a good one!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Family Treasures - Chinese Star Quilt and Colonial Popcorn Bedspread


 I’m not sure who made this Chinese Star quilt. My mom said it came from my dad’s family (northeastern Pennsylvania), but by the time we knew to ask who made it there weren’t many of them to ask and those asked didn’t know. Someone in that family was a stitcher. My grandmother had a treadle sewing machine and I have crocheted doilies and handkerchiefs that came from that side of the family. I love this pattern and would like to reproduce this quilt some day. Some would call it a cutter, but I just can’t do that.


My aunt (mom's eldest sister) made this bedspread when she was about 18 years old. Wow! Quite an accomplishment at such young age and she did a great job, too! Her daughter gave it to my mom when my aunt passed away several years ago. It’s in my hands to repair it. This is a project I don’t want to put in a box as I organize – this needs to get done. It will sit in my living room where I do most of my handwork and it will stay there until it is finished.

 My aunt wrote this on the back of a mailer.

My aunt collected fans and we were given these because my daughter studies Japanese.


My maternal grandmother didn’t do anything with a needle because she lost her right index finger at the second knuckle as a teen, but she was a fabulous cook. She was of Slavic descent and every year we (my mom, sister and maybe kids and husbands) get together and make piroghy. Oh, and better not forget – my mom is also a fabulous cook and knitter!

Okay, not needle related, but I have to share. I broke up with my hairstylist today. I’ve been seeing her for about 15 years and she lives in my neighborhood. It was hard to do, but I haven’t been happy with my hair for a while. I went to someone new and I love what she did. I don’t really like how I photograph, but here is a pic of me and my pups who were also groomed today!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lucky Me

I just won Vivian's Giveaway #2 at Quilts and a Mug! This is such a generous giveaway - books, magazines, fabric and thread! Thanks again, Vivian!

I haven't posted in almost a week - not because I haven't been doing quilty things, but because there wasn't much to show. Now I have two finishes...


The guys didn't want to show their faces - too bad - they both just got haircuts. Anyway, these are the quilts for my great nieces. All I have to do now is wash them, write notes and send them off to Minnesota.

The backs....

I'm taking a break from machine quilting today. I completed about half of the Virginia Bound string quilt. I'm having some puckering problems, but that's okay. It's not as bad as I thought it would be.

I've also done more straightening up in my sewing room... 

I like these magazine holders from IKEA. I don't like their storage boxes as much. I don't want to have to open a box to see what is in it. 

I picked up the Snapware storage boxes on sale at JoAnn's. I like them. I'm also using bigger ones for project storage.

Trying to manage my scraps by cutting them into usable pieces.

The 1 1/2" strip bin was getting too crowded. Separating the lights and darks...

I think I'll do some reading today. My book club is reading Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes. I'm usually not into short stories, but I'm enjoying these. Then I'm heading back down to my sewing room and maybe I'll come back upstairs for updates on the big game and the half time show. Hope you are enjoying the day!