Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Julie Yukimura's quilt

Hawaiian scrap quilt, attributed to Julie Yukimura, 1977, 53" x 69"
Julie Yukimura founded The Kapaia Stitchery of Kauai, Hawaii in 1973. The shop is the longest operating, largest quilting, sewing and fabric supply shop in the region. It started as a yarn shop, but soon, Julie's love of quilting took over. She even sold completed quilts, and here's one of them!

The quilt is what the Hawaiians might call a patchwork blanket. It is made of vintage Hawaiian fabrics, flannel backing, and edge finished with an applied binding. It is tied but has no batting.

This quilt is attributed to Julie Yukimura. Either she made it herself, or it was made under her direction in the shop. The buyer lived on the mainland. I bought it from an eBay seller in Michigan, who included a copy of a note that came with the quilt, as well as Julie Yukimura's business card.

The quilt could have been given as a Christmas gift, but it is not clear. Julie's note was dated 12/4/77 and includes holiday greetings.

When I searched for Julie, I found a couple pictures including the one above from Lisa Boyer's blog. It was sad to learn Julie had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly ten years ago. There was an obituary in The Garden Island, and it read:

Julie Reiko Yukimura, owner of the Kapaia Stitchery and active in the Kaua‘i community, died at her home in Lihu‘e on Nov. 6, 2007, at the age of 59.
Born on Sept. 15, 1948, in Lihu‘e, she was preceded in death by her father Yoshio Yukimura. A beloved daughter, sister, cousin, niece and auntie, she is survived by her mother Masako, brothers Paul (Karen) Yukimura and Peter (Lani) Yukimura, and sister Lisa (Ron) Jeffery; nieces Jennifer and Darcie Yukimura, Erin Jeffery; and nephews Scott, Koa, Ken and Neil Yukimura; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Julie attended Kauai High, the University of Kansas, and the University of Hawai‘i. She had a passion for fabric, sewing and needlework and started her own business, the Kapaia Stitchery, in 1973. Her business has become very well known through the years. Residents and tourists alike will remember Julie for her customer service, kindness and generosity, reflecting how she lived the aloha spirit. She has often been acknowledged for her aloha spirit and philanthropy to others.
A supporter of many good causes, Julie was active in the formative days of Hospice Kauai. She was a strong member of the Lihue Christian Church, having served as moderator, Sunday School director, and formed the Women’s Group whose members created quilts for the benefit of the church’s annual bazaar.

Julie's business partner, Jean Acoba managed the shop after Julie passed away, and eventually bought the shop from the family on 12/12/2012, her daughter's birthday. Jean had worked at the shop since 1990, and collaborated with Julie. I plan to reach out to Jean to let her know I've got the quilt and the note. Hopefully she can tell me more about Julie and her quilts.


  1. Interesting what you tracked down so far. It must be satisfying the more you know about your treasures. I truly love this quilt with it's fabrics and colors.

  2. I love that shop though I haven't been there for a long time. I live on Oahu. I have sewed since I was a teen eons ago, but that shop made me think seriously of taking up quilting, which I did about 10 years ago

  3. Fabulous quilt and story! I visited the shop in 2005, knowing that I wanted to begin quilt making. I asked the people there--maybe including Julie herself--how much I would need of four different bark cloth prints. They said one yard of each would be enough. I didn't want to run out, so I bought four yards each! Needless to say, I still have some of that fabric. ;>