Search This Blog

I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Another Hawaiian Quilt - Sunflower Ipu Kikui

As you may know, I find hand applique very relaxing and satisfying, especially with the larger designs. Hawaiian quilts are a favourite, as I find them very striking. I don't like the newer designs so much, but really admire the traditional designs from the 30's and 40's.
I have been saving this fabric - the first job is to fold the applique fabric and background fabric carefully and iron into eighths. Next, having pinned the design securely, the applique is cut out. I have to use my sharpest scissors here, there as there are eight layers to cut through...

I did use the little Clover clips here for the first time to hold the edges in place, they worked well....

It takes quite a while to cut out, several sittings...and is hard on the hands...
...but the most difficult step is to unfold the cut applique, to get it to lie smooth on the background fabric and for the folds in both to match up. In this case, I had to make sure that the centre had an even space all around.

Finally, you have to baste the pieces in place, so that they do not shift or move during the long applique process. As I have cats that might like to destroy the placing, or even worse, be sick on it, I have to finish this in one evening (a long one - I was tired the next morning!)
The traditional way to baste was to thread baste - the more modern way is to use dots of a fabric glue like Roxannes - but I prefer to use lots and lots of safety pins. I have lots of them and can move or remove them as needed. And, I do not usually wash the quilts, as would be needed to remove spots of glue....
Finally I could get to work on the applique - of course the edge is much easier than the centre to work on. The applique "lives" in the ubiquitous IKEA blue takes about a year for me to applique a large quilt, and another year to quilt it by hand, but only working on it some evenings.

I had cataract operations last year (only in one eye, unusually for my age, but both were done on the NHS quite speedily by the NHS as I am still working). I was near sighted - now I am long sighted, quite a change after 50 years of glasses. I have tried a magnifiying glass on a stalk for my applique and like it very much, I am able to see the stitching much more clearly and its almost like pre operation days....

My Japanese daughter in law Lily chose a cafe decorated with Hawaiian pillows in Tokyo for her birthday treat this year, so when they visited in August I hunted out some spare blocks and quickly made them into pillow covers. Not too much bulk to take back to Tokyo! I hope that she is able to enjoy and use them. They look cheerful, don't they?


  1. What a wonderful explanation Pippa. Thank you. I've always been scared of Hawaiian quilts, but the cushion covers inspire me to begin something small. I'm sure they will be well loved in Japan. They have such respect for hand made.

  2. Beautiful - I look forward to progress updates. Do you do needle turn applique?