A slight detour today. Instead of visiting the New England coast of the north-east United States, I’ve got some quilt-y inspiration from the farthest western coast in the US. A week ago my husband and I were able to get away on a long-awaited trip to the island of Kauai, part of the Hawaiian islands. And we discovered some quilty things happening while we were there, so I thought I’d share a quick travel recap and Hawaiian quilt-inspiration.
While we were there the Kauai Quilt Show was going on in Lihue. My husband was a great sport and encouraged me to pop in and take a look. And it was well worth the effort – in fact the show was fantastic! Lots of beauty and talent on display. Exceeded all of my expectations.
Here are a few pieces from the show. Some had a distinctive Hawaiian feel to them, others were just beautifully pieced quilts. (Quilt on far right is Total Eclipse pieced by Tracy Greenlee.)
(A free pattern for the pineapple quilt can be found here.)
Some more favorites: Alina’s Aspens by Liz Thompson, Dark Yonder pieced by Julie Whitney, and Heart and Soul pieced by Lesley Morris.
And here are some close ups. There were pieces with some incredible workmanship!
Focus mini quilt pieced by Corine DeWitt, Beyond Beleaf (detail) pieced by Liz Thompson, and Sun Centered (detail) pieced by Jean E. Green.
A gorgeous collection of mini quilts with distinct Hawaiian flair. (I’m sorry the glare on the glass in this photo makes it more difficult to appreciate them well.)
I really loved this one (below) called Hanalei Bay Riptide, made by Corine DeWitt with all hand-pieced hexagons and diamonds using English Paper Piecing. Amazing!
And here’s a picture of Hanalei itself – one of my favorite spots on the island.
We also popped in Vicky’s Fabrics in Kapa’a. Such a great quilt shop! Vicky’s has been in business for over 40 years.
Lots bolts, Fat Quarters, notions, patterns, and helpful staff.
The shop had a definite Hawaiian theme – lots of batiks or Hawaiian style florals and prints as well as Asian prints. Novelty fabrics including sea life, chickens (there are chickens everywhere on Kauai -including one out front) and popular island food like seafood and sushi rolls.
In addition to quilting cottons, lots quality garment fabric as well. Vicky’s is easy to find and a great stop. Also a near by the ocean for husband’s who so desire that option. 😉
I bought a couple of souvenirs. I’ve always admired traditional appliqued Hawaiian quilts. I don’t know that I’ll ever make a big one myself, but this pre-cut pineapple applique block feels doable. Like a good, portable summer project. I also picked some low-volume batik/island style prints that I can use in other projects as a fun memory of this trip.
There is another quilt shop on the island in Lihue called Kapaia Stitchery. We didn’t make it this time, but I went four years ago. Another great stop.
We super lucked out with beautiful weather. We had one really rainy morning before we left and a few rain showers that felt more like ‘mists’ and other than that, beautiful sun and warm temperatures. SO wonderful.
Kauai is a lot more than beaches. The island has rugged canyons and cliffs and a more rural, rustic charm. The woman next to me on the flight home was disappointed because Kauai didn’t feel very “sophisticated.” Which is, ironically, the exact reason I love it! (Can you find my “Where’s Waldo appearance in the creek picture above? I am always drawn to running water.)
The not so lucky part was that I had a pretty miserable cold the whole time (fortunately not you-know-what). I still tried to do some of the things we’d hoped to do and see but it definitely cramped my/our style. I didn’t feel like my best self at all, but tried to make the best of it.
For example, we had a hike planned overlooking the Napali coast. I wasn’t up for it so waited with my audio book while my husband hit the trial. This was my view while I waited, and that’s pretty not shabby.
Here I am out cold asleep at Tunnels Beach while my husband explored. Again, not what I wanted to be doing at that beautiful spot, but there are definitely worse places to take a nap.
I hate to even bring up the downer aspect because, hello, I still got to go to Hawaii. But you all know what it’s like to really look forward to something for a long time – we’ve been planning this trip for four years and so needed a getaway – and have it not turn out how you’d hoped. (Not expecting pity, just keeping it real.)
The past few years have given us all a lot more practice at dealing with disappointment. I like to think I’ve grown and have more perspective after the last few crazy years – and I think we all do – but it also turns out I’m still pretty human and felt bummed at the time that it wasn’t the R & R that I’d hoped. Now that I’ve been home a week (and feel so much better), I can look back and still see the positive and beautiful memories and parts of the trip. And I’m glad about that.
So in addition to quilts and scenery, you get my therapy session for the day as well. Deep thoughts by Amy Smart.
Did you find Kapaia Stitchery? Kauai is quiltspirational!
We weren’t ever in Lihue at a time it was open, so I missed it this time. But we did drive past and I waved. 🙂
I’m sorry you missed the Kapaia Stitchery. It’s one of the nicest quilt shops I’ve ever visited. Kauai is a beautiful, unspoiled paradise, with a nice, slow pace. When I’m there, I never want to leave.
Amy – lovely pictures. I visited all those places ! I am planning a trip back but coming alone this time! I would like a kit. Is that through you or call Vicky’s quilt shop.
Sounds wonderful! I bought this one from Vicky’s myself. So call them for kits. Have a great trip!
I loved your commentary on your trip to Hawaii. Visiting quilt shos while there is a real treat. So glad you are feeling better. Your photos are great…
Mary Anne Gardner
Beautiful. I spent an afternoon at a quilt museum on the Island of Ohau several years ago. So impressed with the historical patterns and vibrant colors.
Ooo that sounds wonderful. I would really love to go to a museum with traditional Hawaiian applique quilts.
That creek looks familiar. Got my foot caught in the rocks while crossing and fell underwater!!! Scary for a few minutes but now just part of the adventure ☀️🌴🍍Thanks so much for sharing. Glad you’re feeling better ❤️😊
Kauai was the island we chose to visit for the same reasons you described. It was beautiful! And less built-up and touristy…exactly why we loved it!
Hi Amy – Enjoyed this post! So sorry that you were under the weather during your trip. Accepting it and seeing the positive parts – about the best any of us can do.
I’m working on a quilt pattern of yours and when I’m done I’ll send a picture if I can figure how to!
Oh, I would love that! You can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🙂
I was just there in January and also went to Vicky’s! AND I had a horrible head cold for the first part of the trip😑 I can relate. Looks like you got the same gorgeous weather we had and saw some of the same things😀
Well we are twins! Such a beautiful, special place. Not as much fun with a head cold, but at least I didn’t need to sleep with a humidfier, we just slept with the window open. So that helped! lol
We will be in Kauai soon. Our future son-in-law was born there and he and our daughter are having a traditional Hawaiian wedding there in July.
Oh wow! What a special occasion in a special place!
Love all the pictures. Those quilts are fabulous!! Sorry you had a head cold. But, it seems like you still had a good trip. Thanks for writing your blog. I always look forward to reading about your life and quilting adventures.
Been there many times. All your pictures look so familiar, much like my picture albums! I have a tote bag from Vicki’s, don’t know if they even give them out any more. Thanks for the memories.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I too love Kauai for the same reasons. Calm, beautiful, just breathe in the beauty. A slowing down of my body (in a good way) . Amazing place!
I love Kauai for the same reasons you do! We were so grateful to be there a year ago so all of your photos brought back memories… lovely scenery as well as quilts. 😊 Thanks for sharing, and glad you found beauty and inspiration even in imperfect circumstances!
What a timely blog as we are going to Kauai the end of this month! Sorry you were sick, I know that feeling after getting the “you know what” last year on week 1 of a 3 week trip. I am hoping to get to visit the quilt stores you listed and the ones that several other folks talked about.
Keep blogging-I enjoy them.
Our family loves Kauai too. Haven’t visited Vicky’s in Kapa’a but will definitely go there the next time. Sorry about the cold, but it is a great place to heal! Hope you had time to eat Chicken in a Barrel in Waimea!
I really enjoyed your article. Thank you!
Thanks for posting a picture of my “Purple Waves” Bargello. I’m 70 and just learned to quilt two years ago with classes at Vicky’s. It’s never too late to learn something new. The teachers there are great.
That quilt is amazing, Terri! I don’t think I could have made it. How wonderful to have a resource for great teachers and opportunities. Thank you for sharing your quilt.
I was just there this week too. But it rained solidly and we even had flood warnings – but that gave us a good excuse to do some inside things ….. namely, the quilt show!!! I have the exact same pictures, lol. I may is a great shop. The other one is good but not as good. There are some great quilt shops on Maui though. Glad you’re recovering from your cold. And you did what you needed to do in order to still be able to enjoy at least some of your trip. Great blog post!
I don’t know how this blog popped up on my iPad, but I loved reading all the entries! I am an Art Quilter, and live in South Carolina! My son and his wife own a house in Princeville, but he got transferred to Honolulu so I miss all the great little fabric shops on Kauai when we used to visit them there! I loved seeing all the quilt photos! I enjoyed the photo with the chicken out in front of Vicky’s! Makes me miss Kauai! ———Lynne
Thank you for visiting us and writing such a wonderful review of Vicky’s and the Kauai Quilt Show. Next year the quilt show is scheduled again for Feb. 9-23 and we are looking at adding daily classes, a boutique and more! Check us out at @kauaiquiltshow and @vickysfabricskauaui.
I feel so lucky I got to be there at the same time as the show. It really was inspiring. Such talented quilters on display!
This really makes me long to go back to Hawai’i. I just loved it there! I found a small quilt shop in Lahaina Maui, I think it was, and bought myself several Hawaiin quilting books. I also picked up some pre-cut strips and squares at the flea market in Honolulu. They have a huge flea market with lots of souvenirs, and these quilt strips/squares from leftover Hawaiin shirt fabric and purses, etc. I’m not sure what to do with it yet since there’s a variety of fabrics – some thicker and some thinner, etc – but I felt pretty good about the find! 🙂 Glad you had some time for R&R – no better place to be sick with a cold than paradise!
Aloha Amy, sew glad you were able to visit our Kauai Quilt Show! Thank you also for featuring my Heart & Soul quilt on your blog. Heart & Soul won our Viewer’s Choice Award at the show. I was at the show the first two days, then went to the ‘Mainland’ to visit Family :). Thanks again for writing about the Kauai Quilt Show and showing Heart & Soul!