Hawaiian Quilting – A Strong Cultural Heritage

What is Hawaiian quilting? This is a form of art quilt whose designs are unique to the Hawaiian Islands. These designs are basically different appliqué styles, consisting of distinctive patterns generally using a floral motif.

Quilting was brought to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1820’s by missionaries. These missionaries taught wives of the royal house to quilt in the traditional patchwork way. However, once Hawaiian women learned how to quilt, they adapted the teachings of the missionaries to suit their own climate and culture. Quilts were made from the traditional cloth made from kapa moe, a cloth was made from the inner bark of their local trees. The strips of bark were beaten and felted together to make it into cloth.

The material for the quilt was generally cut from a single piece of fabric in the form of a snowflake on a ¼ or 1/8 fold of fabric. These quilts were made of two single colors at first, with one color for the background and another color for the flora design. The design actually extended the entire length of the quilt. Due to the intricacy of the appliqué design, these quilts were very time consuming to make.

The designs for these quilts were of a personal nature, meaning that they were created from the personal experiences and ideas of those that made them. Because, they were of a personal nature there are many variations on the central design. The Hawaiian quilters used nature as their inspiration. Because these quilts were only used for special occasions, many of their unique designs have survived to our day.

Flag Quilts

Another form of Hawaiian quilt is the flag quilt. These quilts incorporate copies of the Hawaiian flag in multiple. These quilts represent the Hawaiian monarchy before its overthrow and annexation by the United States in 1898.

Embroidered Quilts

These embroidered quilts were made in the late 1800s and 1900s and had embroidery outlines representing the culture of the Hawaiian people. Designs embroidered on these quilts termed crazy quilts consisted of crowns, fish and birds. On quilts referred to as outline embroidery quilts the designs were in the form of floral designs. The Hawaiian coat of arms was often found at the center of many of these quilts.

For further information on Hawaiian quilting and constructing this type of quilt click here on the link to Quilt Hawaiian

These unique quilts are a further example of the beauty and uniqueness of the quilting arts.

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