Pineapple Log Cabin

By: Joan Duncan
Golden, Colorado

Ever since the 2011 Red and White Quilts: Infinite Variety exhibit and publication of the 653 quilts, I have been enamored with the graphic beauty of red and white quilts. Red and white has been a traditional color scheme for American quilts since the early nineteenth-century, due to the availability of colorfast fabric using Turkey red dye.
The inspiration quilt was selected due to its classic beauty and the challenge to recreate it in a miniature format. The Pineapple block is a variation of the Log Cabin block, and these quilts appear after Log Cabin quilts, in the 1870s. Other names for this block include Windmill Blades and Maltese Cross. They were usually hand pieced over a fabric foundation using light and dark strips of scrap fabric around a center square. When the blocks are sewn together, they create an angular design that can be interpreted as spiky leaves and the chunky body of a pineapple. Popularity of the design continued into the twentieth-century with two color quilts, such as the 1900 to1920 era inspiration quilt. Red and white quilts were especially popular in that era due to the influence of the Red Cross during World War I.
The study quilt recreates the inspiration quilt, using one-half inch strips of fabric machine sewn in the paper piecing method. It was machine quilted, by stitching in the ditch, as an attempt to emphasize the angular points and pineapple design. I remain in awe of quiltmakers of the past, who made technically beautiful works of art from common materials (fabric and thread) with such precision, and without the tools current quiltmakers have available today.