Shadow Play

I have always loved quilts, have grown up with them, in fact.  My youngest memories include piled stacks of quilts over cousins, asleep with a fan in our faces, us buried deep within their warmth and weight.  Cold winter nights included their cottony presence.

Picnics included an old quilt at a favorite campground and a good book.

A wedding quilt showcased my love for the horses of my youth, folded neatly.

My nursery included a tiny version, complete with animals embroidered lovingly, and another hung over the crib.

On a recent visit to my parents’ home, mom spread the quilts of our heritage across the bed and filled our arms and my suitcase with the treasures of our past.

So naturally, when we reached for our “What to do in Hawaii” guide, my hubs was the first to notice the quilt demo and classes the very first morning of our stay. He insisted that my girls, (meaning my crafty friends, new and old), would want to see this. So off we went after an amazing breakfast–dare I mention as a side note how amazing the pineapple boat was after a long walk there ?

I was surprised by the great number of fabric and quilt shops in this small area and the several gatherings of local guilds.

The tiniest of stitches were rhythmically pierced into delicate layers, while a lovely stitcher told us the history of her craft.

A beautifully made story quilt depicted the missionary’s wife teaching Polynesian wives to make the earliest of these works of art.

As she worked delicately around the curved lines of applique, she told us of early fabrics, reaching into her bag to pull out samples sleeved for protection.

Continuing to show her small group of fascinated onlookers,  she relayed the way native quilters sat under great trees and mimicked what they had been taught.

Leaves on the trees, along with branches and flowers cast great shadows upon the surfaces of their work.

The repeating designs of these quilts were a result of the play of sunlight and nature as they worked.  Symbols of the flora and sea provide endless patterns.

To mark our visit, Hubs purchased one of the pineapple pillow shams and a few fabric remnants as I flipped through stacks of pattern books.

Of course, I don’t know if I will ever attempt a quilt, but appreciating the graceful lines and curves, I have already incorporated some of the blocks into my current fiber art project, a wall design with highlight motifs of our trip.

I will always remember this experience and share it with the many quilters and artists that will appreciate the delicate work of Hawaii’s quilts.

Are you a quilter, fabric collector, or just a lover of vintage ? Feel free to share tips in the comments, email me or post on my Facebook page. We love to hear from you.



Join the newsletter

Cropped img 0623

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

Powered by ConvertKit
Please follow and like us:

One Reply to “Shadow Play”

  1. I have SO many comments about this post. Not enough room, so I’ll just pick one: The missionary quilt reminds me of a book my reading group discussed a couple of years ago, “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. In it, a slave woman stitches a quilt that tells her life’s story. (It’s a heartbreaking book, and everyone should read it.)

    I love how quilts tell stories. Quilting is such a tactile experience, and I miss being able to do it. Don’t you wish you and I had sat at Nanny’s knee and learned how she did it? I had one of her quilts, but it’s long gone, destroyed by a puppy.

    Your post transported me to the past. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *