pineapple quilt blocks made with Aura fabric

Mister Domestic invited me to his Aura Blog Party and I was like, "woaaaah.", and then saw the fabric and I was like, "woaaaah." and then it came to me that this would make the perfect pineapple quilt, "woaaahh..."

So this is my ode to Mr Crush Turtle, with turtles swimming through the denim water and geometric coral reef! A tropical blend of modern and traditional, this quilt is simultaneously structured and choatic. The clean lines of the pineapple blocks and the way I've placed the colours makes for a striking layout yet the prints themselves are scattered throughout in a random way.

pineapple quilt blocks

I'm going to share some tips about making pineapple quilt blocks, why I used NO pins when piecing and (over)share the process of making my Pineapple Crush quilt!
It started with this selection of Art Gallery Fabrics:

Aura fabric by Mister Domestic for Art Gallery Fabrics

solid: Pure Solids in Coral Reef
denim: Bombazine Inspired by AGF
prints: Hawaiian Honu in Dawn, Mua Loa in Coral, Tiki Way in Papaya and Loulu Fans in Sand from the Aura collection by Mister Domestic.

Pineapple blocks are a gorgeous traditional block that offers so many possibilities for  creative layouts and I would definitely recommend proper planning. I found a basic diagram of the block and copied and pasted it ad nauseam to get a sense of the layout. At this point you should of course colour it in and plan but I didn't. It did help me visualise the effect I wanted but, being slightly impatient, I just took my idea and started sewing!

You can piece these blocks traditionally, use foundation paper piecing, a mix of the two or just completely improv. By far the neatest, easiest and most accurate method I've used is with the Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool
It takes a little practice to get used to sewing the rounds and then using the tool to trim, sometimes with the angle and sometimes with the corner. It's labelled though and comes with instructions, so as long as you pay attention and count the rounds it's simple. 

pineapple quilt blocks Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool

I made 36 x 10" blocks, they each have a few rounds and that's a lot of trimming and piecing. To make it a little quicker I did a lot of chain piecing and I highly recommend one of these thread cutters, which make it easy to cut the threads between pieces. Oh and use a good quality fine thread for piecing, I use Aurifil 50 weight in #2600.

pineapple quilt blocks thread cutter

It is also crucial to press your blocks as you complete each round before trimming, this way you get the most accurate finish. I used my handy pressing pad TheQuiltMate so that I could easily keep things moving (and didn't have to bother with the whole ironing board thing!).  

pineapple quilt blocks

The central blocks are all similar, with the denim as the background, coral prints as highlights forming little motifs and the cream fan print in the corners. This section was the most planned part of the quilt and I'm super pleased with the patterns it creates.

pineapple quilt blocks

The blocks that form borders around the outside incorporate the Coral Reef solid and this is where it becomes more playful. I can't lie, at this point I realised I didn't have enough fabric to make them all consistent but nonetheless it works well. It frames the quilt nicely, sort of blending inwards and gives the whole thing more movement I think. 

pineapple quilt blocks by Charm About You

I didn't play about too much with the layout, I intentionally had the sea turtles facing all different directions because, you know, they're swimming! 
I like to sew blocks into columns, then sew the columns together and finally the rows - this very early blog post demonstrates my method. I use my long pins to hold the blocks together and keep them in order as I move them to piece at the machine.

pineapple quilt blocks

pinning quilt blocks

My husband snapped me in blogger mode, modelling my scrumptious hand knitted socks made for me by talented Tricia!

Did you notice I mentioned no pins when piecing?! Using the Trim Tool you don't have to be accurate with the piecing so that's easy but ordinarily I would pin at all the seams when sewing blocks together. I find with the angles of these blocks though it doesn't work so well (unless you use lots of pins but I hate them most of the time so no thanks). Instead, as I was sewing them together I literally just made sure that each seam was on top of the one underneath. This made it so simple and I really enjoy being tactile and using my hands to help me while I sew. Maybe that sounds weird but try it, you can manipulate the fabric quite easily and are all my seams totally perfect, no... but I had so much fun piecing this quilt top.

pineapple quilt blocks sewing without pins

After my scramble net ad hoc piecing, the quilt top was complete and it was LOVE! I had moments of uncertainty, changing my plans and doubting it would work but in the end I was super happy with the quilt top and the corals and denim, with those fresh cream diamonds make me smile.

pineapple quilt top by Charm About You

The top behaved itself too, all the pressing in between makes for neat seams, the final seams I did press open because it lessens the bulk and I had a quilting plan that meant bulky seams were a big no no.

pineapple quilt blocks

I did spray the top and backing with some flatter before basting, this really does help keep it flat and makes basting easier. Also this yuzu scent is so nice and it doesn't make me gag like other scented starch alternatives can.

Flatter yuzu spray for quilting

From the very beginning, as I put this design together, I knew I HAD to tie this quilt. It's the reason for the cream corners and I adore the softness of a tied quilt. I used #8 perle thread for the ties, with this same method to make the stitches.

tying a quilt with perle thread

I also knew though that it wasn't enough to hold the quilt together but no way was I tying those turtles, and tying any other areas on the quilt would have ruined the effect of the piecing. So I spent some time thinking about how to add some quilting. I knew I wanted it to be simple, both to keep the design and to keep the softness. And I wanted it to be modern. The clear winner for me was a grid, it also echoes the design on the denim and I like themes.

YLI machine quilting Mango thread

I have a stash of quilting thread and this variegated Mango YLI thread worked perfectly with the colour scheme. It blends beautifully, with little glimmers of yellow every now and again, like reflections! The quilting is a simple grid with the lines running between the motifs in the central part of the quilt. I marked them all with my hera marker, hands down the very best way for me to sew straight lines and it does work magically to help stop puckers. You can read my tutorial for that here.

pineapple quilt blocks

Quilt done... time to take it on an adventure. Unfortunately in Manchester there are no beaches, the only water is the ship canal or the Mersey - both beautiful in their own way but not likely a place for sea turtles. So instead we took it to a local park, where crocuses and  budding magnolias set a pretty scene.

pineapple quilt by Charm About You

pineapple quilt by Charm About You

pineapple quilt by Charm About You

At 60" square this quilt will be a snuggly sofa one. The kids are each trying to call dibs on it already but since my husband loves tortoises and turtles I'm going to call it his.

pineapple quilt by Charm About You

Thanks for reading and I hope you found my quilt making process interesting!

For loads more fabulous inspiration check out the links below and party on 🎉