Crafty stuff, Sewing

Finished project: a Hawaiian quilt.

There is clearly something in my temperament that makes me suited for hobbies that most people would consider slightly obsessive and insane,* or at the very least extremely labour intensive.

I hand-sew anything I can, create historical clothing that involves massive amounts of engineering, insist on buying my furniture second-hand so that I can take it apart and re-finish or re-cover it with a finish or fabric I like, and finally, make Hawaiian quilts.

Hawaiian quilts (at least the proper hand-sewn ones) are quite possible one of the the most labour intensive quilts out there.  First a stylised pattern, symmetrical across four quarters and usually representing a plant or something else in nature, is basted and appliqued to the base fabric.  Then the top, batting, and bottom fabric are all quilted together with little tiny hand-quilting stitches that mirror the lines of the pattern.

Even if I work at it pretty much non-stop, it takes me about 6 months just to make 1 baby quilt.  If I have it as a nice hand sewing project on the side…well…let’s just say I have to start a quilt long before anyone thinks of having a baby!

I’m not brave enough yet to make a full size quilt, so far I have confined myself to pillows and baby quilts.

Anyway, (finally getting to the finished project), here is the quilt I finished this time last year:

The pattern is based on a pineapple, which I am very fond of.

I tried a ‘new’ quilting technique with this quilt – the stitching inside the pineapples looks like the pattern on a pineapple, rather than following the contours of the applique.

I use wool batting or organic cotton and bamboo batting, for a medium loft and an old-fashioned feel.

Felicity loved this quilt.  She refused to get off it as I took pictures.  I think she was aware of how pretty she looked on it!

It looks very nice on our bed too…but I gave it away to the newborn son of some dear friends of mine, another Hawaiian-Kiwi couple.

I hand sew the binding on too!


  1. Brilliant. I’ve been working on a hawaiian pillow top (actually, not working on is more accurate) for almost 2 years. I’m planning to start a ukulele case soon and love the pineapple pattern. Where did you get your pattern?

    • Thanks! I know how you feel about ‘not working on it’. My latest quilt has been dragging on for 3 years – long past the baby it was intended for.

      I actually make my own patterns for my quilts. It was something I learned to do as a kid. There is a bit of a ‘thing’ amongst Hawaiian quilters about whether you should share patterns or not. I think Hawaiian quilting is such a dying art that anything that spreads it should be encouraged.

      For your patterns, there are some books of patterns. Try Elizabeth Root’s ‘Hawaiian Quilting: Instructions and Full-Size Patterns for 20 blocks’

      • I actually have that book and am using the pineapple pattern for a quilted ukulele case. The detail in your pattern is lovely.

        Still haven’t finished the pillow, though there’s probably less than 4 hours of stitching left…

  2. I love your little Hawaiian quilt so much that I have pinned it on my board! Very beautiful and obviously made with love. I mostly machine sew and quilt but I too have some side hand work that will take forever I am sure. I totally understand your fetish.

  3. Della says

    Your quilt is very nice. You did a beautiful job. Love your cat also!

    I have wanted to something like this so seeing your quilt has spurred me along!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • It takes hundreds of hours to make a Hawaiian quilt, so if I charged standard skilled handsewing rates it would be over $10,000 for even a baby quilt. So if you are willing to pay that I’m happy to, but otherwise no! 🙂

  4. sandy cook says

    Love the soft colours of this one. Very lovely.

  5. kim Sanderson says

    Love this quilt, can you tell me where i could find this pattern?

  6. I love this quilt! I come from a mixed family of Hawaiians and Mennonites and I learned to knit and quilt from my Mennonite grandmother and aunt. It only recently occurred to me I could probably translate some of that skill and explore some of my Hawaiian heritage 🙂 Anyways, just wanted to say this quilt has inspired me to move Hawaiian quilting from my future-projects pile to my current projects pile. I figure I can put in sneak in some hand sewing hours in between cosplay projects and on planes/in lines.

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