Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Diagonal Grids in Hawaiian Scrap Quilts


Recently I noticed something intriguing about Hawaiian scrap quilts. Many of them incorporate diagonal grids as design elements.

These diagonal grids are often secondary designs created with string-pieced blocks, typically foundation pieced in diagonal strips on a cloth foundation.

The blocks are directionally alternated to create diagonal grids, diamond or windowpane designs.

Using a cloth foundation is a practical solution when working with unwieldy, bias-cut strips and garment fabrics made with a variety of fiber types.

Sometimes the grids are made of geometric units, such as squares and triangles. Four-Patch and Broken Dish blocks appear frequently. 

It is interesting to see the variety of elements quiltmakers would use to create a diagonal grid, but it also makes me wonder. Is the diagonal grid a prevalent design element in Hawaiian decorative arts?

If so, where did the diagonal grid originate? Why did it resonate so powerfully with Hawaiian quiltmakers?

I looked for diagonal grids in kapa cloth designs but didn't find enough examples to make a definitive statement. It is worthy of further investigation.

Other home furnishings such as woven lauhala grass baskets and floor mats include diagonal grids.

Diagonal grids also appear in pineapples, especially graphic design renditions of pineapples.

Some of my favorite quilts include square blocks with diagonal piecework, creating an overall diagonal grid.

There are also several quilts with Economy Blocks, or squares within squares made with pieced triangles and squares. I love the play between square and diagonal grids in these quilts.

One of my absolute favorites is a quilt that just arrived last week, with diagonal black sashing framing squares pieced with triangles, or Broken Dish blocks.

I will think about this one as I search for more ideas related to the use of diagonal grids in Hawaiian decorative arts. 


1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I think that's a big part of what makes a quilt immediately look Hawaiian.