Pineapple Crazy…How I do it.

I was asked how I piece my Pineapple Crazy blocks and I promised a post and pictures about it.  First off, the Pineapple Crazy pattern can be found in Bonnie Hunter’s book,  String Fling: Scrappy, Happy and Loving It!.  It’s a great book.  If you aren’t familiar with the quilt, you can see a picture of it here with Bonnie.

I have been SLOWLY making blocks.  I have one sewing machine that is set up and only making those blocks.  My other sewing  is being done on other machines…that’s a big advantage of having more than one machine.  Here’s how far along I am.

A reader mentioned that it takes her a long time to make just one block.  Now that I have a system going, I think I can do a set of four in about 2 1/2 hours.  Taking time to set up a system is really key.  This is what I do.

I have three bowls of sorted fabric.  One is for larger triangles of color, one small triangles of color and one bowl of neutrals.

I also have a tray with presorted and cut strips.  I don’t have to dig through a lot of fabric to find what I need.  I know it looks like a mess but honestly I know what pile to grab from.

I print the template onto tracing paper.  I just buy it at Dollar General.  It’s cheap and if I cut the pages down to regular printer sized paper, I can run it through my printer.

In all my FAILED attempts at paper piecing I always just used regular paper.  Don’t make that mistake.  It will not be an enjoyable experience.  Notice how nicely you can see the lines through the paper.

I start in the middle.  As you may have already heard, the pattern in the book is number incorrectly.  It’s an easy fix.  Just start in the center and work in rounds the outside.

See how easy it is to see through to the line.  Set the pieces up on the none printed side, flip it over and sew on the line on the printed side.

When I do this, I do a type of chain piecing.

As I sew each block, I pull it away from the machine leaving the strings attached.  Typically I make four blocks in each batch.

Once all the pieces are through, I trim them.

As part of your organization, make sure you have a garbage can close by.

I finger press most of the seams.

Keep sewing adding pieces working only from the triangle bowls.

I use the triangles from the bowls for as long as can before I switch to using strips of fabric.

At this point I iron.

Keep going sewing, then iron again.

At this point, I change how I sew the triangle onto the corners.  I start by adding the colored corner triangle.  The picture doesn’t show it well but it is actually a yellow triangle.  Sew it down.

After it is sewn, I pull the block out of the machine just a bit and rotate around to the next corner.  I slide a neutral corner under and sew, still sewing on the same block.

See the triangle peaking out from under the block.  Sew, rotate, sew and rotate until all the corners are sewn down, never removing the piece from the machine or trimming in between.  See all the threads that need to be trimmed?

Trim.  Notice that some of the pieces being trimmed are the perfect size to start the next block.  As I trim I put those pieces into the small colored triangle bowl.

Now I continue adding strips and doing the corners in the same manner until I am doing the last corners.  Those I sew on one block and one corner at a time.

I press again and trim along the dashed line.

Before I know it, I have four finished blocks.

It takes a LONG time but I think once I am finished, I will know the work was worth the finished product.  With those four blocks, that brings my total up to 71 of center blocks.  I need 224.  I am almost 1/3 of the way done with them but then I have to do the outer blocks…I think there are 60 of them.  After the wedding is over I am hoping to get to a few more blocks.

27 thoughts on “Pineapple Crazy…How I do it.”

  1. Good demo. Every time I have tried paper piecing, my fabric shifts when I flip the paper over to sew, especially the first few pieces. After several attempts, I give up. What is your method for keeping the fabric where you want it to be? Are you using some sort of adhesive? If you pin, does that cause problems with feeding it through with the feed dogs?
    Thanks in advance for maybe addressing my questions in a future post.

  2. Jo- Your system rocks! I love it. I have never been successful with paper piecing and there are so many patterns that I would love to try! I have been going back and forth on whether or not to get Bonnie’s String Fling and I think this is the perfect reason to do it!

  3. Love the block – especially how small they are. Have you printed all 224 copies of the pattern or do you print 50 at a time? When do you feel is the best time to take the paper off the back of the block or after the blocks are sewed together as a quilt? Are all your chimney’s the same red or have you varied them? Like your system. Take care – glad to hear that nobody was hurt in the accident the other night. From northern Iowa. . . .

  4. Great post Jo. I like your system with the bowls and am going to give that a try. I also like how you have a dedicated machine. I bet that helps a lot. Your blocks look fabulous.

  5. Thanks for writing about your system. Using tracing paper is such a good idea! I’ve never seen it at our Dollar Tree or 99 Cent store, but now I’ll know to keep my eyes open for it.

    Did you have any trouble scanning the original pattern from the book because it was too close to the seam (i.e. the place where the book’s pages are bound together)?


  6. Do you have a plan for what color/value fabric you use next? Is there any order to what fabric you use next, light next to dark, neutral next to dark, etc?

  7. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. I haven’t seen tracing paper at my local dollar stores, but I have used both parchment paper or a pad of children’s drawing paper (usually on a thin newsprint-type paper) for my foundation piecing – much easier than regular printer paper.

  8. I am thrilled that you posted this. I have a couple PP projects that I want to do, but absolutely hate using regular paper. I never thought of using tracing paper, but love that you can see the lines through it. I went to the Dollar Store this morning looking for the paper, but they didn’t have it. I’ll keep checking, but if all else fails, Staples or Office Max will have it – a little more expensive, but will be so worth it!!

  9. Those look absolutely fabulous!! I might have to add those to my want to do someday list, but not the near someday. We are going to be moving soon, and are downsizing. I already have your address for sending off some crumbs and strings to you. But do you know of anyone who takes UFO’s or orphan blocks to use and finish? I have quite a few here that are unlikely to ever get done by me, and I’d rather send them off to someone who will finish them for something than throw them in the garbage.

  10. I like your system too. These pineapples are amazing! I do paper piece but this looks challenging. I like how you have a machine just for this project. How big is your studio that you have multiple machines? Just asking. Would love to see. Love your work!!! Thanks for posting.

  11. Thanks for the tutorial.I am going to give this a try after Christmas. I too have two sewing machines and your idea would work.

  12. Very easy to follow, Jo. Love the bright colors you are using. I too use tracing paper for my PP efforts. I also have used a small piece of double stick tape for that very first square in the center–helps to hold it in place and unlike dried glue it pulls off very easily.

  13. I’m a little behind in reading your post but wanted to say your pineapple blocks are beautiful. You have gotten a lot done. Thanks for telling us how you do yours.

  14. Thanks for sharing that with us..this one is also on my bucket list and your visiuals are a help since I haven’t done much paper piecing. Also am going to find my way to getting some tracing paper! Brilliant!

  15. A beautiful quilt for a lucky someone in the future to inherit. Ttying your method of making the pineapple block is going to be great. Thanks for the tutorial which will help me make it.

  16. Jo that is a real help thank you. I printed of four blocks for this the other day but then my sister said she found using normal paper a nightmare. I found a packet of tracing paper whilst sorting out my craft room so I will give this a go and see how I get on. Seeing how you piece the blocks is really helpful too. I have a large box of pieces for this quilt already but not allowing myself to start it until I finish a few projects

  17. I know I am late to the party but I saw this on pinterest. And I have to tell you that this is the most well explained of this type of paper piecing. I am actually going to try it. Can you tell me were there certain size triangles that you cut and strips for your set up bowls. I see how this is almost an assembly line and that is what makes it go so smoothly. I just wanted to prepare correctly.

  18. My little quilt club just tried making these Saturday. Our copies were on regular computer paper and it was a bit of a challenge for us. I tried unsuccessfully to find tracing paper at local stores. I ended up ordering some online. I enjoyed making the blocks on the copy paper, but I think it will be much more enjoyable using this tracing paper. Thanks for your great tutorial!
    PS are you still able to get the tracing paper at the Dollar General? Our dollar stores, including that one, don’t carry it.

    1. I know I got some last year at Dollar General. I just looked at Amazon and they had it. Tracing paper really is the trick to easy paper piecing.

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