After the Hexi quilt (my oldest UFO) … after the Circle Game … a bed size Hawaiian quilt may be my next hand project. This class was my training, and the project I will be doing will be my practice piece. I can almost hear you laughing.
The second class I took at Quilting on the Beach was Hawaiian Applique with Barbara Bieraugel. Barbara started the class at Quilt Passions with a discussion of patterns and fabric. Both were tough decisions. It’s amazing how hard it is to choose fabric when two are all you need. Contrast is what its all about.
Choosing a pattern was not much easier. Barbara has published many lovely patterns of flowers, foliage, trees and fruit – typical of Hawaiian designs which reflect their environment and everyday life. Traditionally, Hawaiian designs never included birds, animals or people.
I chose “Ginger”. Here is her sample:
Once we were in the classroom, we were shown how to fold and cut the fabric. Patterns usually require a 1/8 fold which duplicates itself 8 times, or a 1/4 fold which duplicates itself 4 times.
The design is transferred to the fabric with waxless transfer paper. Even cutting is an art. You need long, thin and very sharp shears. The scissors are kept perpendicular to the edge and you rotate the fabric as you go, being careful not to bend or distort it.
VERY CAREFULLY, the applique is unfolded and placed on the background piece. Traditionally the applique would be basted to the background, but we used small amounts of glue to adhere the two pieces together. Now you can see my piece laid out.
Stitching is done using the turned needle applique method with 2 ply cotton or silk thread. Barbara showed us how to deal with the difficult peaks and valleys using Pearl’s Applique and Pressing Tool. It really does help convince the fabric to see things your way! I will have lots of opportunity to perfect the peaks and valleys.
Quilting – whenever I get to it – will be an echo stitch a finger width apart done in a thread that matches the background.
Here are a few more interesting facts of Hawaiian quilting taken from the book The Hawaiian Quilt by Poakalani and John Serrao.
The center of the quilt, like the center of the earth, represents flow, balance and energy. Hawaiian women believed that the strength of love and compassion came from their center, and placed it onto every single quilt they made. The center can be open or closed. An open center represented a gateway to the spiritual world; a solid center depicted the core of the family, the center of one’s life.
Branches extend from the center out, representing personal, spiritual and family growth. Some designers believe that we reach out to family and friends from a strong center, so incorporate a lot of branches into their designs. The border (or Lei) depicts the world outside of Hawaii. It can also represent the circle of life.
Each quilt was designed with special meaning and was made for a special purpose or person. The true meaning of the design remained with the designer. It was considered stealing to make someone else’s design. If you were given or bought the design, you had to make it as it was designed. You did not have the right to change or modify it.
Hawaiian quilt designs are highly respected, guarded and passed down from generation to generation. It was even mentioned that when a family has a party, quilts are brought out and displayed so that the people who designed and made the quilt can be remembered.
This is a true cultural heritage to be treasured.