I go through YouTube rabbit holes, sometimes, and one of the recent ones was ribbon lei making to mimic flowers/plants. I found this precious instruction video of a mom and her daughter in Hawaii, showing you how to make a lei from ric-rack and ribbon that would look like a chain of tiny pineapples! My first thought was “good grief, that looks like a ton of work!” but my second though was “Oh, but individual pineapples would make adorable Christmas tree ornaments!” My parents met and married in Hawaii (they were both living there at the time), and I’m part of a Hula/Polynesian Cultural dance group, and we exchange ornaments and small gifts, so these were perfect for several people.
I already had some textured woven green ribbon for the “leaves,” and I ordered a pack of 2.5 yds. Wrights’ Jumbo 5/8’ Yellow rick-rack, which made 6 pineapples, using about 16" each, with just a minute amount left as scrap. I was very pleased!
Here’s how I made them, after some adjusting and fiddling. I had to make some changes from the original video to accommodate the slightly larger rick-rack I found, plus the “leaf” ribbon I already had, and the fact that they would be individuals, rather than strung into a lei.
First, I folded over the tail end and sewed outward, then through a sequin (it was a gold star that I trimmed the points off with scissors), a wooden bead, and back through the sequin and rick-rack to bring the thread back to the “inside.”
What the “base” looks like pulled tight.
Next, you sew down into the middle of the next hump area, then up through the next one, and repeat for a total of 6 stiches (not counting the base).
Pull it all tightly together to form a small rick-rack stack that we will form the pineapple around.
Next, you start sewing only through the top “mountains,” coming from behind and bringing the needle through towards you.
(This shows the structure/repeating pattern of the stitching, but I recommend doing and sculpting only ONE peak at a time)
Now, once you pull the thread through the first peak, and you begin to tighten it, make sure the resulting “petal” shape curves in a convex, rather than concave way.
You want each “petal” to cup against the base you made at the beginning.
Now, pick up the next peak with the thread, and begin forming more petals, taking care to rotate the developing pineapple as you go.
(Your first round will have 3 “petals” to it)
Now, it’s time to start the second row, and on. To make it look like a pineapple, as well as to give it a nice, firm shape, it’s important to make sure you are rotating it enough as you continue that your second row of petals (#4, and so on) sit in between the previous row’s petals, as shown.
I cannot overstress how tightly you need to keep a grip on these things as you rotate! The lady in the video makes it look so fast and simple, but she’s clearly done this for YEARS!
Here’s a top-down view of the first overlapping, staggered petals.
Now, keep going until you are happy with the shape of your pineapple! For me, and the rick-rack I used, it’s a little shy of 16" for everything to look the way I wanted. That came out to about 6 1/2 “rounds” of 3 petals each. But make it how you like it! Pineapples, just like people, come in different shapes and sizes.
(When your pineapple body is done, take an extra stitch into the top to secure your work; you don’t want it to unravel for the nest steps!)
Time to make the leafy bits at the top! Cut 3 pieces of green ribbon (mine didn’t really fray, but you can add Fray Stop and let it dry before stringing if yours does) about 3-3.5 inches long, with heavily slanted ends. Twist each ribbon into a tight version of an “awareness ribbon” shape.
String the 3 ribbons onto your needle, and pull down to the top of your pineapple, spreading them out evenly.
To hold your ornament together, make sure to take an extra stitch at the top of the final leaf to hold everything snug.
It’s now up to you to decide how you want to finish your pineapple for hanging. I had these colored wooden beads left over from a previous dance costume, which seemed perfect. I tied a length of satin ribbon into a loop (don’t forget the Fray Stop on the cut ends, or you could melt it, if you ribbon is synthetic), threaded the bead onto the loop using tweezers, then sewed through the bottom of the ribbon loop and tied off the thread tightly.
I sewed down into the leaf area and out the side before cutting off the thread close enough to hide among the leaves, and pulled the bead down to hide the attachment point.
And it’s done!
Here’s a comparison between the first one I made (making half of it up as I went along):
Aaaaaaand, the last one I did, showing that I was clearly getting neater about my rows, and more confident in the shape I wanted it to be:
Yay! So pineapple-y!
I found that if you finish your pineapple, and one or two “petals” have shifted out of place, or been squished, that you can nudge or pull them back into place with a pair of pointy-tipped tweezers. That way you don’t have to worry about starting again. They will all look slightly individual anyway, which is part of their charm; you can see part of my flock being displayed at the top by a very helpful Kirk and a friendly Gorn.
Have fun making cute pineapples! I’d love to see them if you do. And Mele Kalikimaka to us all!