Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

Holiday in Hawaii #17

As a quilt maker, I’m always on the lookout for quilt shops and quilt shows when we travel. In Hawaii, I was lucky to see many beautiful quilts, both old and new.

Missionaries in the early 1800s taught the skills of quilting and patchwork to native Hawaiian women and, along with the geometric designs of traditional patchwork, they incorporated Hawaiian designs and symbols in their work to create a new style – the Hawaiian quilt.

Three antique quilts are displayed at the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Maui. Two of the quilts feature geometric designs and simple hand quilting, while the third quilt is Hawaiian and depicts sea animals surrounded by intricate echo quilting.

Also on Maui, at the Hula Grill in Lahaina, is this striking quilt. The floral design celebrates Hawaii’s beautiful tropical gardens.


This flag quilt hangs in the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it is thought to be a wedding quilt gifted to Marie Ford by Queen Lili’uokalani. The flags placed upside down are believed to show the Queen’s distress at her removal from the throne after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America in 1895.


I found more quilted treasures at Iolani Palace, official residence of the last Hawaiian Kings and Queens. While Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned in the palace after being dethroned, she created this quilt in the crazy patch style popular at the time. The “Queen’s Quilt” is 97 x 92 inches and is composed of nine large blocks; tiny scraps of fabric are pieced together and embellished with embroidered stitches and inscriptions. This precious quilt, fragile and time worn, is displayed in a large glass cabinet.



Two modern quilts, featuring beautiful appliqued designs, are displayed more openly on beds in the private suites of the Royal family.



The tradition of Hawaiian quilting flourishes today, and there are shops devoted to beautiful hand worked pieces made by talented Hawaiian women.



Their prices are indicative of the hundreds of hours of work that go into each work of art. This stunning king size quilt was for sale for US $3000.


I spent some time admiring this beautiful quilt but I didn’t buy it. Instead I purchased an instruction book for $15 so I can make my own!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Admiration

38 thoughts on “Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

  1. Pingback: Admiration (Flower Parade 1) | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Good luck with the new quilt! I actually like the first blue and white one the best, simple shapes and beautifully put together. The geometric ones appeal to me. I also like quilts that tell a story, like the ones made from scraps of fabric worn by members of the household, or ones put together from squares made by a community. I was once quite keen on quilting, but life got in the way and I couldn’t do it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree David. I always think of the women who made them and wonder how they would feel knowing we are filled with admiration when we see their beautiful handiwork. I hope my quilts are still around in another 100 years, being cherished by someone.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure i’d be opening my purse for $3000 either – but if I had the money I’d certainly think about it. These quilts are beautiful and I love the way they tell a story. Best of luck with your quilt-making. I’ve done a few, but they’re certainly not as magnificent as these πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These quilts are absolutely amazing, we have friends going to Hawaii in a couple of weeks. What are the chances they could bring me back one? (Zero, but one can dream!) πŸ™‚ Beautiful details in them, good luck with making your own.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good thinking! I saw a painting I liked very much in Krakow today. The price was around Β£300 UK and it wouldn’t fit in my hand luggage. Unfortunately I’m not equipped to paint a masterpiece myself x

    Liked by 1 person

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