Saturday, January 21, 2017

1960s Hawaiian string quilt

string quilt, cottons, unknown maker, Honolulu, Hawaii, c. 1960, 62" x 78"
This dazzling 1960s string quilt came from a vintage shop in Honolulu. It includes a variety of mid-century Polynesian fabrics in pink, red, blue and gold with bits of black. Many of the scrap quilts from Hawaii include DayGlo fabrics, but this one does not. DayGlo appeared in garments around the middle 1960s. Shortly after, the hot colored scraps appeared in patchwork.

A string quilt is typically made with strips of fabric placed diagonally and sewn on a cloth foundation. Blocks are assembled in larger patterns, such as zigzags, squares or diamonds. Piecing on cloth foundation is a good way to keep things squared when using mixed fabrics cut on the bias. The maker of this quilt was very clever, coordinating the colors throughout the quilt. Easier said than done, since each block intersects with other blocks on at least two sides. Some blocks are surrounded with as many as eight other coordinating blocks.

There is a pink and white check strip running through the center of each block, surrounded by strips of red on both sides. That combination of elements is not where the organizing ended. The other strips are coordinated with the neighboring blocks to create a secondary diamond design. Each of the 63 nine-inch square blocks includes nine strips, a total of 567 strips but there are more patches than that. Some of the strips are made from more than one piece of fabric. There is no batting, but it is backed with flannel and loosely tacked together.

1 comment:

  1. The more i look at this quilt, the more i appreciate what a skillful work of art it is. it looks so casual and random until you notice the precision. Wow! I love all these colorful happy Hawaiian quilts you are showing us. Their colors sing to me.