Quilting was taught to the women of the Hawaiian Islands by the missionaries from New England in the 1820s. They taught them to sew scraps of traditional materials from New England. Prior to learning the art of making quilts, Hawaiians made textiles in the form of bed covers known as 'Kapa Moe'.
They were made from the barks of trees, as the weather in Hawaii was not favorable for cotton cultivation. The barks were beaten, felted and dyed into patterns. After learning the quilting techniques and adapting to the fabrics provided from West, the Hawaiians used their own creative style to make quilts that were reflected in their traditions and cultures.
The designs used by the natives in quilt-making are created using inspiration from nature, and also reflects their personal experiences. They are created on the basis of a certain observation, a significant event, or even dreams.
Famous Types of Hawaiian Quilts
The Flag Quilt: This traditional style uses the Hawaiian flag and symbols of Hawaiian royalty in its designs. They are known as 'My Beloved Flag' quilts. These quilts represent the independence of the Hawaiian Islands as a sovereign kingdom, that are owned by some of the families on the island.
Queen Liliuokalani's Quilt: This quilt was made by Queen Liliuokalani using the 'crazy quilting method'. She made it while she was imprisoned in her palace after the downfall of the Hawaiian monarchy by the United States. This quilt is now termed as 'priceless' and is considered an important part of Hawaiian history.