Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Aloha Hawaii, Aloha Quilts!

My husband and I were lucky to enjoy an amazing holiday in Disneyland and on Maui, Hawaii. We got back last week, and I am still dreaming about it! Disneyland was so special; this was my first visit, and I enjoyed it very much. It was amazing from my inner child's point of view, as well as my adult point of view. All the characters and themes rides: it was my childhood come to life. And then the grownup part of me loved how clean it was, how friendly the cast members are, and how handi-accessible it is. Every ride and attraction is open to every single person, and they are so helpful to people with wheelchairs. Also, one of the live shows had sign language translators! It is so interesting to me how inclusive Disneyland is; it's truly a magical place.
Me in front of Sleeping Beauty's Christmas castle
Pete and I about to watch the World of Colour show
After thoroughly enjoying Disneyland, we hopped a plane over to Maui for a week's stay. This was our second visit, our first was for our honeymoon two years ago. It remains a beautiful, romantic, relaxing place. One morning we woke up to the most amazing sight: a super bright and vivid double rainbow!
Double rainbow.... what can this mean?
I put my handsewing kit to good use and finished a flower block using Violet Craft's Brambleberry Ridge line.  

Love those woodland creatures
I really enjoy English Paper Piecing!  It is perfect for relaxing on the porch enjoying a sunset.

I can not get enough of these Hawaiian sunsets
Besides enjoying the sun and water, we hit up our favourite restaurants from last time, and discovered a few new ones. We also ventured out in search of record stores for my husband and quilt shops for me! My favourite one we found was The Maui Quilt Shop in Kihei.  This is a cute little shop with lots of interesting things to look at, reasonable prices, and super friendly staff.  They also offer classes, which had I been there longer, I would have definitely taken part in.  It was here that I learned quite a bit about Hawaiian quilting.
Carnation quilt
Hawaiian quilts are beautiful works of art, different from any other style of quilting I am familiar with. They are made by cutting a large piece of folded fabric, rather like a paper snowflake. The design is unfolded and appliqu├ęd onto a backing fabric. The design is quilted over first to give depth and interest to the design, and then echo quilted around the outer lines. Everything is done by hand, from start to finish. Once a quilt is finished, the last step before gifting it to someone is to sleep under the quilt for a night.  This ensures that the quilter's spirit resides in the quilt. I think this is such a sweet idea, and one I really like the idea of introducing to my own quilt making/gifting. One Hawaiian tradition I don't think I can get on board with though, is the belief that it is bad luck to make a quilt with more than three colours.  I like a colourful quilt!  While this is the tradition, I did see lots of quilts with a modern take with more colours, and fresh patterns.  I learned a lot about the traditions and techniques of Hawaiian quilting, and bought a pattern to give it a try myself. 
Traditional quilt pattern, and a kit to make the whale mini wall hanging
I think this will be a challenging venture, but one worthwhile and rewarding.  What a great souvenier from another wonderful trip to Hawaii!