Monday, January 16, 2017

coming soon: vintage Kamehameha shirt

Since my visit to Oahu last weekend, I have been looking at Hawaiian shirts online. There was a fun Kamehameha shirt available on eBay, so I bought it. Whenever the snow and ice melt enough for the mail truck to attempt coming up my street, maybe the shirt will arrive...and maybe it'll fit. 

I love the 1960s and 1970s Hawaiian shirts, especially the ones with really bright, neon colors. Can't wait for it to arrive. If it doesn't fit, I can still exhibit it with the scrap quilts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

related designs

Yesterday I received an e-mail from my friend Janis. She was looking through her Hawaiian quilt books and found two designs that appear to be related to the design in my quilt. The first was a red and yellow quilt that appeared as a black and white image in "Hawaiian Quilts" by Stella M. Jones (pg. 29), a 1930s catalogue that was re-released in the 1990s. The other was a blue and cream quilt in "Hawaiian Quilt Masterpieces" by Robert Shaw (pg. 81).

my quilt, c. 1920, formerly owned by the Wilson Family of Kailua
My quilt came from an Ali'i Antiques of Kailua. I found it there a week ago. The shop owner said it came from the Wilson family, a prominent family in Kailua. Although I found links to obituaries from the last couple years, it's hard to be sure if it is the same family. Even if it is, they would not have been in Hawaii when the quilt was made, so perhaps they bought it. Or perhaps it is another Wilson family.

My conservative estimated circa date is 1920, but it could be a bit earlier. I'm sure it was made before 1930. It has the look, feel and construction of an earlier work. It is all hand appliqued and hand quilted, and it has that familiar age patina.

Both related designs found by Janis have significant similarities and differences compared with my quilt. The first, Ka Ua Kani Lehua (or Rain that Rustles Lehua Blossoms) was made for a member of the Brickwood Family before 1900. The red and yellow quilt is 78" x 84" and is part of the collection of the Honolulu Academy of the Arts.

The second, in Shaw's book, is blue applique on a cream background. It is 78" x 84", made in the 1940s or 50s, and in the book it was designated as part of a private collection. This quilt is remarkably similar to the red and yellow quilt, even though Hawaiians were not known to share their designs with other quiltmakers, as Janis pointed out to me.

There was another one on The Quilt Index, under several names including Ka Ua Ua Kani Lehua, but there was no date given with the quilt.

Lehua is one of the Hawaiian Islands. The crescent shaped Island is a barren tuff cone, part of the extinct Niʻihau volcano, and is due west of Kauai. 

Lehua is also a plant, Metrosideros Polymorpha, also known as ʻōhiʻa lehua. It is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, unique to the six largest islands of Hawaii. 

Well, that was an interesting surf. Thanks, Janis! I'll look forward to discovering more. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

crewel, before & after washing

Here are the before and after photos of the crewel work from Hilo, Hawaii. I washed it last night and it is almost dry.

It was a little grungy before washing, especially the light areas such as the sky. A light washing with Dawn and a good soak in cold water did the trick.

Much better! It will need some repair, conservation and possibly some restoration. The color of the sky was once blue, and there may be a way of restoring it. For now, I'm happy with how well it cleaned up with a bath. 

washing the Hawaiian crewel

What do you do on a Friday night when you can't go anywhere because Portland is utterly unprepared to handle snow? You wet wash vintage Hawaian crewel work, of course! I did some color testing before taking the plunge, and used cold water with a little Dawn. A lot of dirt came out. The water was running brown for several rinses.

before washing

Here is what it looked like before washing. It was very grungy, especially the light areas. The sky was once light blue, but it faded in the light over the years. You can see the blue below the surface, on the underside of the yarn. 

Now it is drying. It may take a while since it is kind of thick, but I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like without all the dirt. From the "wet" photos, it looks promising!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

snowpocalypse: PDX

Portland's solution to snow is Spring. It's kind of hilarious, but also kind of tragic. How ill-prepared is this city for snow? Honolulu has to be better prepared!

Coincidentally, I was on the way home from the airport last night after returning from Honolulu. What a mess the roads were. I realized very quickly I-84 was at a standstill, so I got off at the Sandy bypass and drove along Sandy toward the Burnside Bridge. Along the way, there were several Tri-Met busses without chains, as well as motorists in small cars without chains, stranded and blocking intersections and on-ramps.

Even though traffic was crawling at a very slow pace and at a standstill in other spots, getting home was an exercise in thinking on the fly. One of the tricks was to find the flat roads. I was less likely to run into stranded cars and get trapped if there were no hills. Of course, I was acutely aware of other motorists, especially the ones who never should have been out on the roads. Anticipating where they would get stuck allowed me to avoid getting stuck. "Accidents waiting to happen," I thought.

usually I take the route highlighted in blue, last night I went a different way
The other trick was to maintain momentum, even if it was a snail's pace. Every time I stopped, I had to start again, and that's where the traction problems occurred. Usually I drive up a big hill at Burnside, or US 26, which also has one big hill coming out of the city. No dice last night. Couldn't even approach those spots because of stranded vehicles. There were also pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers and even cyclists out. Cute, but they were essentially obstacles creating more road hazards.

After getting over the Burnside Bridge, I headed up Burnside but there were stranded Tri-Met busses blocking the way. I went through the Pearl District to get around, crossed over to go toward the Ross Island Bridge, and there was another pile-up involving busses and motorists leading to the 26 on ramp. I went around again, this time toward Naito Parkway, and headed toward Barbur, all the while maneuvering around stranded cars and Tri-Met busses. I had to go through more than one parking lot to get around them.

This photo from the Tri-Met web site is so ironic. All they did for me last night
was block several potential routes with stranded busses that were not chained up
Finally I got to Barbur Blvd., and then to Beaverton Hillsdale Highway. Not far beyond Hillsdale going toward Beaverton, ANOTHER Tri-Met bus was stranded, blocking most of the intersection. Other cars were getting stranded trying to get around, and impatient drivers from behind were trying to get through one opening from both directions with no way to see what was coming from the other side of the bus. Incidentally, the bus had no chains on its tires. See a theme here? Tri-Met should be ashamed! They were utterly unprepared, and there is no reason why a bus should have been on the road at 10PM headed down one hill and toward another, in a foot of snow, without chains.

One side-note to the chaotic mess caused by Tri-Met busses is ODOT's failure. The roads were not prepared, and they never are. Where was the sand? Where was the gravel? Where was the de-icer? Where are the plows? The refusal to use salt is a huge part of the problem, particularly on the hills. In a nutshell, that's why Portland shuts down when it snows: poorly prepared roads, poorly prepared mass transit and poorly prepared drivers. I am unhappy with all of them, but glad to be safe at home.

So, welcome home from Hawaii! LOL! Our plane must've been one of the last to land. Others were diverted to Seattle. Even though it was an annoying drive home, my only problem was with the lack of preparedness of others. Story of my life! I have an SUV with 4WD and chains in the back if needed. I wouldn't be any less prepared to drive in Portland in the snow, but plenty of drivers last night seemed to disagree with that idea. I cursed them under my breath as I crawled by their stranded cars. Hope the hazard lights didn't run down the batteries, LOL! Oh well, maybe Portland's solution will come soon and the snow will melt. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

the loud Hawaiian shirt

I love my new loud Hawaiian shirt. It's not really new, more like 1960s, but it's new to me. The fabric is very familiar. I know I've seen it somewhere before. I have a couple quilts with similar color scheme, and a muumuu with very similar fabric.

Similar, but not quite it. I have to check out the label on the muumuu when I get back. Wondering if it's made by the same company. If not, I wonder if their fabrics were from the same designers.

The shirt was made in Hawaii by Kawika of Hawaii, Ltd. I found it at one of the vintage shops in Honolulu, and the tag said 1960s. It definitely has that 60s vibe. 

Every wardrobe should have a really great, loud, vintage Hawaiian shirt. The funny thing is, I have a Ted Baker sport coat with me, and it's neutral enough to work with the shirt. I may have to wear it on the plane home. Portland had an ice storm while I was away. They need some sunshine!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Vintage Oahu: Hawaiian Scrap Quilts, etc.

I found a lot of scrap quilts while exploring Oahu over the weekend. Here are some of my favorites. Local style, da kine I like!

There were a lot of shirts, so I had to pick up a few. This blue and green one is from the 1970s, and it's awesome. I wore it around yesterday. It was made by Hawaii Nei, Honolulu, and has great wrapped buttons, all in a wild polyester print. I found it at the Barrio Vintage pop-up shop at the Royal Hawaiian Center.