Five Basic Characteristics in a Hawaiian Quilt

Posted by Nancy Chong on 22 February 2015 | 0 Comments

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There are five basic characteristics that make a quilt a traditional "Hawaiian" quilt. They are:

  • it has two contrasting fabrics
  • it is sewn as a one-piece appliqué
  • the appliqué design is radially symmetrical to the eighth
  • the quilting is done echo style
  • the inspiration for the design comes from nature or something important in the quilt maker’s life

Can you see each of those five characteristics in the breadfruit block we have chosen for this class?NCUlu 1

I began making Hawaiian quilts in 1978, while living in Kailua, on the Island of Oahu, in Hawaii. My very first quilt was a queen-size Hawaiian quilt. I had no experience with any kind of quilt prior to that time. The advantage that gave me was that I had no preconceived notion that it would be difficult; and indeed, it was not. Yes, it was mysterious, and I knew it would take time, but once I learned what each step was, I discovered every step was easy

Here is a photo of what the fabric looks like basted in place just before we begin the applique.Hawaiian applique basted ready for hand stitching

I encourage you to join me in this relaxing and fun way of making a quilt.

....Nancy Chong


About Hawaiian Quilting 101: Hawaiian quilts are visually striking because of their sophistication, symmetry, and strong contrasting colors. They look difficult to make and yet are surprisingly easy. Nancy shows you each stress-free step, as you create this 20" breadfruit block. Traditionally it is believed that if your first quilt is a breadfruit, you will be certain to make many more quilts, and we want you to get off to a great start! Read more...

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