BCQuilter's Weblog

The “Hawaiian” Quilt

Posted on: 11 March 2011

The long awaited “Hawaiian” Quilt is mostly done.  I say mostly, as the customer wants to pick out a coordinating border and binding fabric.  But the big job is done.

All 880 rectangles are pieced together, and the blocks sewn into rows, and the rows are all stitched together to make the flimsy.   I’m thinking now, I should have taken photos of some of the fabric before I started cutting it.  It wasn’t yardage!  Not a biggie, but very time consuming to cut all those rectangles.  Have you ever sewn a shirt/blouse?  You know all the fabric waste from that.   Some very interesting shapes?   Imagine lots and lots of those pieces.   Then finding the grain, and then cutting the rectangles.  That was my task.  And I did it!

One thing I had to do, was cull some fabrics.  Although they were beautiful to look at, I found several that were poly blends.  Hmm… I could take photos of those to give you an idea.  Will do that, but my camera battery ran out of juice, so it is currently being charged (practically an all day event to be recharged).

So maybe a little history about this quilt?  The Office Manager of an organization I am now involved in, asked if I would give her some suggestions, and perhaps teach her how to quilt.  As many of you know, I am all into helping and teaching, especially about quilting!   I lugged my laptop with the my EQ6 software to give her some design suggestions, and some homework.  I think we had agreed on cutting her fabric pieces into squares and then a 4-patch or 9-patch would be made possibly into a simple Irish Chain design.  As she had a lot of blue and red fabric pieces, we decided on going with a blue quilt.   A little bit of time went on, and she admitted to me, that she wasn’t going to have the time to work on this quilt.  She then asked if she could hire me to do it for her.  I was tentative, as I have never made a quilt for commission before.  We agreed on a price.  She also had found the pattern she had bought, that she wanted to make.   We made some adjustments to the size as she wanted more overhang on the sides.  Easy enough to figure out.  Just add a row here and a column there, and we are ready to go.

As we were working out the pattern (One Block Wonder by Randy & Chris Murrell of Seams Sew Right Designs ), she let me know that she has had this fabric for 6 years.  She and her husband had been on a trip to Hawaii, and she met this women in the hotel lobby who was selling quilts.  She got to talking with her, and she was offered all these fabric pieces for $30!   (We were discussing this again recently, and we estimated that if she had bought the fabric off the bolt, she would have paid several hundred dollars).

Based on our changes, I had to cut 880 rectangles.  The cutting took the most time.  At first I was fussy cutting some of the pieces, to get specific elements from the fabric.   I soon realized, although that this certainly did add to the quilt, I was going to quickly run out of usuable fabric, and not have enough variety for the quilt.  So then it was cutting the pieces to utilize the most from it.  Instead of getting one or two rectangles, I was now getting between four and six.   I didn’t cut all 880 at once… I like to add variety.  cut, piece, press, repeat as necessary.  This helps with shoulders getting sore from stitching, or arm getting sore from cutting.  You know what I mean.

And despite help from Smudge my kitty, I got all the blocks pieced together.  My design wall is not big enough for this quilt top (88½” x 88½” before borders), so I laid out the blocks on my bed (which I must note is not big enough either… blocks on the footboard!).

As you can see the outside border is laid out.  She had yards and yards of this strip fabric.  It works perfectly for a border.

This is the “Hawaiian” Quilt.   She has some yardage she bought for the backing, Footprints in the Sand.  I had suggested to her, that with careful placement, they could look like someone was walking in the sand across Hawaii.  The above  photo may not show them very well, as the quilt is on the floor.

I hung the top up over a portable whiteboard.  It is a bit of a closer look, and hopefully you can find the path across the quilt. *wink*



18 Responses to "The “Hawaiian” Quilt"

This is beautiful, so much color and all the prints are amazing. The footprints are a great touch!

Thanks Marsha.

It was a lot of fun to do, while the weather was dreary and wet. Our typical winter. LOL


I can see the path of footprints! What an amazing quilt — what an amazing amount of work, too. It is beautiful. Well done.


Thanks Sandy. It was a fun piece to do.


Wow, I am awestruck! That is a beautiful quilt and I can see the footprints, too. You did an awesome job.


Glad you saw the footprints. The customer wasn’t so sure, but now she loves them.


Wowser!!! What fantastic colors. That border is perfect. I love the little feet ‘walking across Hawaii. That must have taken all winter. You did an awesome job.

Hi Beth,

There was lots of one print in 4 colour ways! Most of them had more than one colour way, it was a challenge to really mix them up.


Wow, what a quilt!! No wonder you’ve been quiet of late. 😀

Thanks Jen.

That and other reasons. I should really catch up with you!


Wow! That turned out to be a beautiful quilt, and unique! The border fabric is perfect for it. It must have been a real lesson in patience! I hope your commission is commensurate with the work involved! (You have given me an idea for some scraps I have — maybe someday I’ll get it done to show you.) —“Love”

“Love” Thank you!

She had chosen one of the other colour ways originally, but liked this particular colour better, when we had laid the blocks out. Wait until you see what she has in mind for the inner border colour! Should have the fabric for that in one week!

I am being paid an hourly rate. Although most of the time was taken up cutting the pieces. Must remember to take a photo of those pieces that are leftover to show.


I see those footprints;) I have that fabric myself;) I think you did a great job. It is a very bright, busy quilt…kind of like the island itself;)
Happy Quilting!!

Hi Kathleen,

She bought the footprint fabric on the Oregon Coast. I like it too. We are now thinking of making some pillow cases, and the remainder will be pieced with some of the leftover Hawaiian prints to make the backing. All that in another blog post. *grin*


That’s quite a challenge Alice, to work with such strong graphic designs and colours. Not surprisingly, you have risen to the challenge and created a spectacular quilt busrting with energy and movement. At the same time, it is a wonderful memento for its owner of a happy holiday and fortuitous encounter in a hotel lobby! Ann 🙂

Hi Alice—I am looking forward to seeing your Fairy Quilt Godmother. I hope you will have time to finish her before the voting deadline. It took me forever to decide what mine should look like, at least in terms of what fabric to use. As usual, the fabric that looks so vibrant ‘in person’ looks a little washed out on the computer screen. Oh well!


[…] That is the name of the “Hawaiian Quilt” I’ve been working on for over a year.  You may remember the beginning of it from this post. […]

[…] you recall when I first started this quilt?  My first blog and photos of the “Hawaiian Quilt“.  I did a “close-up” (although I must admit, revisiting it, it is not much of a […]

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