The History of the Pineapple Motif
Gorgeous thread doilies provided my first introduction to the crochet pineapple motif. In fact, one of my first projects was a pineapple motif thread doily in green thread.
My gauge might have been a little tight, and I could never quite curb the curl, but I loved the look of the lacy pineapple motifs. After that first doily, I remember seeing hundreds of thread tablecloths, doilies, and dresser scarves with their delicate pineapple motifs.
I took the design for granted, but as pineapple motifs move to more garments and DK and worsted weight yarns, I find myself curious about their history. Crochet pineapples appeared in vintage patterns as early as the mid-eighteen hundreds. I have also seen pineapples in carved furniture—though sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between the pineapples and the pine cones.
There are stories of pineapples being symbols of hospitality. Because pineapples were grown in the Caribbean and Hawaii, they were expensive to transport to the mainland U.S. and other countries. So serving pineapples was an example of affluence.
The classic pineapple crochet motif we are all accustomed to became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. A fascination with Hawaii made pineapples popular again in the 50s and 60s—think of the video production of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Gidget, and Elvis. Pineapples still hold an exotic fascination. But while pineapples have never disappeared from our lives, their accessibility may have made them more common in our lives in the last forty years.
But crochet pineapples are back, and they are making quite an impression! They have moved beyond thread to explore heavier-weight yarns and threads. These larger motifs make them perfect for garments that pair classic designs with modern silhouettes. The openwork lace designs work up quickly, too.
Don’t just take my word for it. We have created a special pineapple stitch pattern collection to show you the newest incarnation of the pineapple motif. The Capri Cover is a favorite around the office, and Interweave Crochet Editor Marcy Smith has made at least five. The Coogee Bay Dress is perfect for a vacation to a tropical island. The Pineapple Skirt uses pineapple motifs to create a stunning and lightweight lace skirt. And can we just stop for a minute to admire the Pineapple Sheath!
Download your copy of our Pineapple Right Side Up Collection today and leave your own footprint on the history of the pineapple.
P.S. I would love to learn more. Let me know in the comments if you know anything about the history of the pineapple motif.