GEOMETRIC PINEAPPLE HOOP
Go for a totally tropical make with this fruity beauty by Catherine Greenslade
Embroidery hoop, 15cm (6") Light coloured fabric (cotton and linen are ideal), 23cm (9") square Soft, sharp pencil Needle Masking tape DMC stranded cotton, one skein each in Teak Brown 898 (1), Saffron Orange 900 (2), Orange 740 (3), Medium Autumn Gold 3854 (4), Sunlight Yellow 725 (5), Cactus Green 580 (6), Apple Green 906 (7), Dark Forest Green 986 (8), Granny Smith Green 907 (9) You should know by now how we can’t resist adding a pineapple to anything – they appear on our lapels, as prints on our dresses and as props in our photoshoots. Now we're indulging our fruity obsession even further with this geometric embroidery design. Add it to clothes or cushions, or display in a hoop on the wall or mantelpiece, as shown.
This project only uses two stitches (satin and fishbone). Flat stitches are key to getting the texture right, so let the needle dangle on the thread occasionally to get rid of any twists. Knots can also get in the way, so keep them to a minimum by weaving tails into the back of your work rather than knotting off.
Using masking tape, fix the pattern to a well-lit window with the fabric taped on top. Lightly trace the lines using the pencil – the marks will be covered as you work. The numbers are for colour reference only and don't need to be copied onto the fabric.
Remove the fabric from the window and sketch a vertical line down the centre of each leaf, from the tip to the base.
Place the fabric centrally in the hoop and tighten the screw so the fabric is taut. Starting with the first colour, cut a piece of cotton 45cm (18") long. Satin stitch, which we’ll be using on the lower half of the pineapple, requires all six strands for a chunkier finish so there’s no need to separate the cotton thread.
Satin stitch is a simple straight stitch in which the needle is repeatedly brought up through one line and down through the line on the opposite side of the shape, making each new stitch very close to the previous one, filling the space completely. Stitches are made horizontally, working from bottom to top for an upright triangle or top to bottom for inverted triangles. Starting on one side of the triangle, bring the needle up through the fabric.
Bring the needle down through the fabric on the other side of the triangle to make the first stitch. As this example is an inverted triangle, subsequent stitches will be below the first, decreasing in length as the shape narrows.
Bring the needle up next to the point where you began and back down on the opposite side next to the previous exit stitch, always following the lines of the shape.
Continue in this manner until the triangle is filled. The back of
the work should look almost identical to the front.
Complete the other triangles of the same colour – there’s no need to tie off at the end of each triangle, the thread can be carried across the back. Repeat for colours 2 to 5.
The leaves are created in fishbone stitch using just three strands of thread, so carefully split the cotton in half.
Turn the pineapple so the tips of the leaves point towards you. Bring the needle up through the tip of the leaf and sew a small straight stitch along the centre line. The second stitch begins to the right of the first, about halfway along it on the outer line of the leaf. The needle should be brought down just beyond the original centre line exit stitch, creating a slightly slanting stitch.
Make a second slanting stitch, this time beginning on the left, and continue alternating in this pattern all the way down the leaf. Each new stitch exits fractionally lower than the last along the centre line, creating an overlapping effect. Where the space doesn’t allow for fishbone stitch just fill the remaining area with satin stitch, slanted in the same direction.
Fill all the leaves in the same manner with the appropriate colour, and tie off.
To display in the hoop, ensure the pineapple is centred and the fabric is taut. Tighten the screw and trim the edges of the fabric into a circle, leaving at least 2.5cm (1") of loose fabric. Leaving a long tail, sew a large running stitch around the edge.
Pull the ends of the thread to gather the loose fabric and tie them together. This technique avoids gluing and allows the work to be easily adjusted or removed in future, if necessary.