Hawaiian Crazy Quilt

Date top made: April 2003
Date quilt finished: August 2005

Hawaiian Crazy Quilt

Let me start by saying that this was a totally unexpected quilt.

For a tiny bit of background, last year I participated in Kristen's Mardi Gras Swap & Challenge. The Challenge part was to make a quilted something from the swapped fabric, send a picture to Kristen who would then post it (anonymously) for the Quilting forum to view & vote upon. The project that garnered the most votes would win applause and acclaim (and, as we found out .. a prize!). The project didn't necessarily have to be completely finished and in fact, we had a number of WIPs that were posted.

To my delight and pleasure, my pillow was voted project #1. I gotta admit that being somewhat of a competitive person, coming in as "the most favorite" was a *real* ego boost! :-) although honesty compels me to say that if some of the WIP pictures had been completely done, I think the final outcome could have been very different.

Anyway, the prize was a gift certificate to BarbaraSews' Fare Tahiti store! Talk about a golden opportunity! woo hoo! I took quite a while to look through Barbara's site and even longer to make a final decision. Hawaiian motifs and themes are not my normal choices, so stepping outside this particular box proved to be a horizon-stretching experience. I narrowed my choice to 2 selections: one was a multi-colored multiple strips of a border and the other was a Grab Bag of fat quarters.

To use the borders, I was thinking of cutting them apart to use them as borders around a central medallion of [something]. The drawback was that I had nothing in mind for the central [something]. Furthermore, as I am up to my eyeballs in alligators with other projects, I really didn't want to have another "haven't a clue" project. BUT .. I did like the borders. :-)

The other choice, the Grab Bag of fat quarters, offered more bang for the buck in terms of variety of fabrics, but I generally don't use FQs; they don't lend themselves to the kind of quilt designs that I do. However, getting 10 different FQ was a big attraction. Eventually I did settle on the Grab Bag. Barbara sent the squishy VERY fast: a lovely collection of 8 prints and 2 coordinating "solids" after I had said I was "planning" to making a scrap kinda quilt from the FQ selections.

The problem with actually getting the squishy was that here was another "quilt in the raw" that was staring me in the face. It was preying on my mind and although I did have other projects that I was working on, I decided that I would simply DO something with them, just to get them out of my hair!

Due to the influence of my oldest DD, who wants a "cwazy quillow" [grin], I had recently bought a crazy quilt book ("Stack the Deck! Crazy Quilts in 4 Easy Steps", by Karla Alexander) and found a layout that uses 8 FQ in the main block and seemed reasonably easy to do. I used the remaining 2 "solid" FQ in a narrow inner border. I did have to buy fabric for the wide outer border and fabric for the setting triangles (as it's an on-point layout), as I simply do not have ANY fabric that coordinates with the Hawaiian FQs. Luckily, JoAnn's was having a sale and I was able to find not only a suitable border fabric but some backing fabric as well. The setting triangle fabric was found at another store .... on their 1/2-off table. :-)

An interesting side light ... when I was at the other store, I wasn't specifically looking for a setting triangle fabric, but when I saw the material, I realized it woud be perfect (or as perfect as my memory allowed .. it turned out to have light lavender flowers in it and none of the FQ had any shade of purple! But .. it turned out to coordinate rather nicely.... whew!) Unfortunately, I couldn't remember how much yardage was needed nor could I remember how big the final quilt was going to be.

But .. honestly ... how much do you really need for setting triangle? [facetious question of the week]

Well, it turns out that the 1/2 yard I bought was ::ahem:: insufficient for the 15" blocks and there was NO WAY I was returning to the store to buy more. I was able to cut 4 whole setting triangles, which I used on the sides. The top & bottom setting triangles were "humility" blocks (blocks designed to reinforce the notion that I ain't so smart after all!)... I dug thru the scraps and pieced enough together to construct 2 more triangles. But that was *IT*. There was exactly a 2" square piece leftoever .... and I still needed the corner triangles. Welllllllll .. since the entire quilt is a crazy quilt ... I sewed some of the leftover scraps from the FQs together to make the corner triangles .. more "humility blocks". :-)

All in all, I figure it took me about 10 hours to wash, cut & sew the top & backing. The top & backing are now folded with each other ... to be quilted at some future date. At this time, since the "quilt in the raw" monkey is off my back, I don't feel the need to actually turn the top into a quilt. :-)

Here is a close-up of the individual block. In the block picture, I've outlined in yellow dotted lines, the block itself .. it is about 15" square. I have no idea of a quilting design and neither do I care, at this point. :-)

Thank you, Barbara for sending me such a lovely selection of colors and patterns. I know that left to my own devices, I never would have chosen that particular palette. I'm very pleased with what I received, pleased with the resultant quilt top and pleased that, at least for a while, I stepped outside my comfort zone to experiment, if even for a tiny bit. :-)

Addendum: July 2005

So there the top languished .. for years ... until I finally decided that I just needed to get some of my tops quilted. One reason I was accumulating so many tops is 1) I really like making the tops and 2) I really dislike the quilting process with my home machine .. it's just too difficult and frustrating for me.

I gathered up my pennies (and nickles and dimes) and took the top and backing over to Janna Bailey of The Quilting Company. Janna has a wonderful, wonderful overall design that she calls "water ripple".

I had further decided to give this quilt to Geraldine Mallia, a daughter of my Dad's lady friend. My Dad had suffered a nasty 3rd stroke in February 2005 and Geraldine was unstinting in her attention that she lavished on my Dad during his rehabilitation and recuperation. I absolutely, positively know that her frequent visits and flowers kept my Dad's spirits high and helped him to recover more quickly. I am very, very grateful to her for her thoughtfulness to my Dad.