Quilt Hawaii is held each year on a different Hawaiian Island.
This year, it was held at the Waikoloa Marriott, about twenty-five miles north of Kailua-Kona
on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a five-day event with quilts on display by quilters from
all over the United States, Japan, and England. The emphasis, naturally, is on Hawaiian quilts,
but there are also pieced quilts, art quilts, and other examples of appliqué.
Well known teachers come to teach classes – who wouldn’t jump at
the chance to teach in Hawaii? – but again, the major focus is on Hawaiian quilting taught by
local experts. Quilters come from all over the world to see the quilts, improve their skills,
try different techniques and shop.
Unlike quilt shows on the Mainland where the wearing of denim
is practically de rigueur, Quilt Hawaii lends itself more to the wearing of tank tops, shorts,
muu muus, and the like. The show was pleasantly air conditioned, which was nice as the air
outside was the 80s, even though there was a cool ocean breeze drifting over the lanai, coming
in off the ocean, conveniently situated nearby.
One of my problems with quilt shows held in hotel ballrooms is
that the lighting is often poor, but such was not the case at the Waikoloa Marriott, which
was well lit so that the quilts were shown off the their best advantage. Not only that,
the aisles between the quilts were wide, so that viewers were not holding up traffic if they
stopped to snap a picture.
Most of the quilt shows in Hawaii are quite parochial, that is to
say that all of the vendors are local, selling only fat quarters of tropical fabrics and locally
made quilting knick knacks as it is usually prohibitive for a mainland vendor to ship all of her
merchandise to Hawaii for a five day show. Happily, however, there were several vendors who came
from both the mainland U. S. and Canada, which added greatly to the variety of goods available
The quilts themselves were extraordinary; anyone who loves Hawaiian
quilts would think she had died and gone to heaven, if she came to Quilt Hawaii. Most interesting
to me was the quilt that won first prize in the Theme Quilt category, Hawaii Among Friends by Kathy
Gaines and Friends of Rochester, Minnesota. It was an absolutely beautiful, queen-sized Hawaiian
quilt of royal blue appliqué on a light blue background that was done in individual blocks, which
were sewn together and then machine quilted. Hawaiian quilts are traditionally done as one large
design and appliquéd and quilted completely by hand, so I am sure that the Hawaiian Quilt Police
are in shock and filled with dismay.
One evening, there was Fabric Bingo to play, another was a book signing
was available by those visiting teachers who had quilt books to sell, and a luau the last evening brought
everything to a close.
For more information on the next Quilt Hawaii visit: www.quiltventures.com
Aloha e a hui hou kakou! (Farewell until we meet again!)
©2004 Patricia Littlefield