On a visit to Hawaii in 2014, I fell in love with Hawaiian Quilting and for the past month at the GillyMac Studio, we have been working on our own small Hawaiian pieces. We’ve used traditional patterns and changed the hand applique to machine sewing and the results have been brilliant. In light of this, wanted to share a bit of the history I learnt about Hawaiian Quilting 5 years ago whilst staying on Big Island.
What is it?
Hawaiian Quilting is traditionally an applique pattern, which is created in much the same way as a child folds and cuts a snowflake from paper. The design is cut into folded solid coloured cloth and the symmetrical applique is then unfolded and sewn on the paler quilt top. The quilt is finished with detailed quilt stitches which echo the contours of the applique design, like ripples spreading from a stone thrown into a pond. Many of the early designs were based on native Hawaiian plants. Another popular motif was the royal crown which was a tribute to Hawaii’s brief period as an independent monarchy.
How did it develop on the Islands?
Prior to the arrival of Westerners on the Hawaiian Island the textiles used for (sparse) clothing and bedding was bark cloth. This was thin sheets of inner bark from the paper mulberry tree, pounded together to form thicker stronger pieces of cloth. After Captain Cook discovered the Islands in 1778, missionaries from across Europe and later America followed and with them brought quilts and cotton fabrics. It is likely that the first quilts the Hawaiians saw were Album Quilts, which were quilts made for the missionaries as a parting gift from their last congregations. The use of folded applique designs may well have come from quilts brought to the Island by Pennsylvania German missionaries which were similar in style.
My next project
Whilst on Big Island I was lucky enough to take a class in traditional Hawaiian quilting. The sample I made there, remains incomplete but holds very fond memories of a fantastic time spent in a beautiful place. I have always liked the idea of quilts telling a story, The Hawaiian quilts tell the story of their surroundings and the fall of their own monarchy in 1897. I would like to start to make a piece every few years that holds memories for my family. I am not sure I am ready to start yet, but I’ve been holding onto that thought since I took that class with the native Hawaiian ladies in 2014. and after the past month’s Hawaain sewing in the studio, I am now planning to start my own Hawaain inspired quilt in 2020.
If you would like more information about upcomig classes at GillyMac Designs, please stay in touch by liking and following the Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Images of professional Hawaiian Quilts kindly supplied by Yoko Brown,@hawaii_apapane who also has an etsy shop which can be found here
It’s here ….below you will find my Magic Squares Quilt Pattern.
It was always my intention when I wrote this pattern that I would offer it for free. The topic of free patterns came up when I met a fellow designer last month. She fully believes that the sewing pattern market is devalued by patterns being offered for free, whereas I believe that offering some patterns for a short time for free is a good thing to encourage people to try something new. So here it is. It is available until Christmas and will then be removed. If I could ask you to do one thing …. if you download the pattern, then please sign up for my newsletters via the contact page on this website, and instead of sharing the pattern, please share this page and ask your friends to download it and also sign up for the newsletters.
This is a little bit different than my normal TipTuesday messages, but as we approach Christmas and I rack my brain as to what gifts I can buy my friends and family, I am constantly looking for new ideas and presents that will have meaning throughout the year. An annual membership of the Quilters Guild is a wonderful present for anyone interested in sewing, patchwork, and quilting whether they are beginners or have more experience. There are also packages for Teen and Young Quilters as well.
What I get out of the Quilters Guild is soooo much, so I thought I would list it in my own words…..
As this is a national organisation, I am able to link with other members of the Guild across the United Kingdom to share and gain ideas about my work and what I plan to do next. Sometimes just seeing other peoples work will inspire you – it does me! Now that the Guild has embraced social media this is such an easy way to see and share ideas.
The Guild is broken down into regions within the UK and each region has it’s own events making it a great vehicle for face to face meeting with new friends and learning opportunities during the year.
“The Quilter” is the quarterly magazine of the Quilters Guild which you will receive as a member and it is absolutely jam-packed with interesting articles and information about Quilting in the UK and around the world. I can honestly say that it is the only magazine I am guaranteed to read from cover to cover.
Also, as a Guild member, you are able to join specialist groups – there are 5 groups, for Modern Quilting, Traditional Quilting, Minature Quilts, British Study Group, and Contemporary Quilting. What I have learned about these groups is that they are full of people just like me and you – not super duper experts. They are also very welcoming to new members and will provide you with lots of ideas and inspiration for your own work. They have their own meetings and ‘challenges’ which once again will augment your overall experience and learning.
As a Guild Member, you are able to show your work at their exhibitions within your region, nationally and internationally. It may be that you think that this isn’t for you. However, I can’t describe the pride you will have in showing your own work or that of a small group of you. It is fun and a good challenge. Don’t discount that you may want to do this.
As a Guild member, you will also get advance booking opportunity for the Festival of Quilts and all the workshops and classes there. This is invaluable. As the interest in patchwork and quilting booms, many of the classes at the Festival of Quilts sell out within the first days so being able to book ahead of everyone else gives you the choice of all the amazing classes on offer.
Also, as a Guild Member, you will get discounted prices for Guild events, the Festival of Quilts and many shops around the UK
I also enjoy knowing that my membership fees are going towards preserving quilting heritage, providing support for bursaries and awards as well as supporting the work of the Young and Teen Quilters in the UK.
All this is £46 a year … That is less than the average price for 4m of fabric a year or 1 1/2 Cappuccinos at Costa each month. It is also comparable with many of the commercial magazine subscriptions (and I definitely believe you will get FAR more from the Guild). I have built my knowledge of Patchwork and Quilting over the past 5 years and have used much of the talent and the resources within the Guild to do so.
So if you are interested in joining this fabulous organisation – the link is below – for you to send to Santa!
Subscription form -> https://www.quiltersguild.org.uk/members/subscribe
Since May it has been on my mind to have professional photos taken for GillyMac Designs. This was never going to be vanity project – far from it – I would rather not have my picture taken at all – however the business here has reach the amazing point of my classes having an online demand. This is brilliant, but brings different challenges. There is every chance that the people I am teaching may never have met me in person, but there is a need for those people to have a sense of me and GillyMac Designs – hence my need for come superb photography.
So that was the brief .. and I engaged a photographer, Liz Carrington, who I had met through a local business community. I could not have gone ahead with this if I hadn’t liked and trusted Liz as much as I did. In my corporate career I had a number of shots done for conferences, brochure and internal sales event, but this would be different. This time I wasn’t representing a corporate role, I was wanting to convey the business I had built.
I rushed out and bought new clothes for the shoot. Only to find that the lovely stuff I had bought has stripes and checks on it which (when I read the brief) were not a good option. So I decided to wear what I felt most comfortable in. I asked a good friend to be my pupil for the day and we were set.
The shoot was easier than I thought it would be and the time went quickly. We covered as much as we could and in all there must have been 3-4 hours of photography. There is always a desire to cram more in – but a core bank of shots was what I needed.
As well as doing the photoshoot, we also reviewed my overall approach to brand imagery. I knew what I was doing up until this point wasn’t consistent, but I didn’t want it to become overly staged. There is always a middle ground, but to find that I needed Liz to help me start producing consistent imagery on my social media feeds.
I now have the photographs back from Liz and they are great. I am also at the VERY beginning of working on my visual strategy. I have felt overwhelmed this past week with the amount I am taking on in changing up what I do – but the need to adapt cannot be ignored.
I hope you enjoy the shots I have posted … I’d love to know your thoughts.
How amazing … we got to Week 6… and wasn’t this week fun! Learning the bump back feather is a nice technique and and I think if you have some success with this type of feather, you can practise it over and over, challenge yourself to create it in different shapes, understand the value of seeing how other people tackle feathers in strange shapes (by seeing quilts at shows, or on social media and Pinterest) and ultimately it will give you the confidence you need to try other methods of creating feathers.
The sew up for this week is below. However, I just wanted to say a few things about this challenge.
I developed this challenge to keep my home sewing ladies engaged with sewing over the school summer holidays because for family reasons I wouldn’t be able to teach or hold my normal summer BBQ for the GillyMac Crew (an often raucous affair that Brian stays well away from). In the ridiculous heat of the early summer, I filmed the doodles and started sewing them up. I did worry if people would be interested.
The Challenge has given me hours of pleasure. The best thing has been the community YOU have created around the Challenge and the encouragement YOU have given each other. I have roared with laughter at the photos of Jupiter (Lindy’s cat), Billie (Carolyn’s friend’s horse) and Terry (Sue’s dog) all getting in on the action and thrilled that so many people doodled across Europe on holiday as well as being part of the core challenge. Unbelievably the videos have had >5000 views and this is still increasing.
One of you asked me why I did this for free. Well, I did it to try out delivering information by video (thanks for putting up with my learning steps) and I wanted to see if I could build a community. I hope that if you have enjoyed this, you will naturally tell others or share posts.
A few housekeeping things
Doodle badges will be in the post on Monday or Tuesday … if you haven’t sent me your address – please do so…
I have posted a survey on our Doodle Challenge Facebook Page – it would be great if you would fill it out (2 mins only)
If you feel able to give me a facebook review on the main GillyMac Designs page (no obligation – I love you all anyway) then that would be great
Keep practising the doodles as we will use them in the October Fiesta 🙂 ….
Thank you all soo much for being brilliant…. See you tomorrow at 3.30pm for the final draw and some additional prizes 🙂
Only one week left and it is a good time to reflect on what you have learnt through the challenge before you forget it, and before we have some creative fun with feathers.
To start with you need to give each doodle a name – you can make your own up (or you can use my names – downloadable below) and then my suggestion is that you use this grid (also downloadable below). The grid has two axes. One is ‘how much you like the doodle’ and the other is ‘how hard it was’.
In the example below I have added in my (pretend) thoughts …So … I found doodles 1. 3. 5. 6. 7. 10. 11. and 12. EASY to Doodle and I LIKED them. I found doodles 4. 8. 9. 13. 14. 19. 20. and 25 HARD to doodle but I LIKED them. I found doodles 2.15. 16. 21 and 22 EASY to Doodle but I DISLIKED them and I found Doodles 17. 18. 23 and 24 HARD to Doodle and I DISLIKED them. I hope that from this example you can see how you can map your likes/dislikes and how tricky you found the doodles onto this grid. Now you can put your doodles numbers where they fit for you. Everyone’s grid will be different as we all liked different doodles and found specific ones harder than others.
From here it is really easy to make of plan of what to do next !! The chart below shows you what you need to do.
Some doodles you can just forget (bottom left) … others you should actively use now on your sewing to get them nailed in your free motion repertoire (top right), others you can continue to doodle until you find them easier (bottom right) and then there are some in the top left box that you may find a use for in the future so keep them on the back burner.
You may find that in 6 months time the place you have put the doodles in now has changed. So this is something you may want to revisit.
For now – here is the Sew Up for this week… My Ullswater Steamer Ferry … I hope you enjoy it … Next week – Feathers …. and also on Saturday (1st September), along with the final Sew Up, I will be announcing how you can get your GillyMac Doodle Challenge Pin and confirming the dates for what is next for those of you who have doodled with me this Summer – to qualify you to need have doodled for at least two weeks of the six weeks.