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Sea Turtles and Dolphins

A bit of Hawaiian Quilt Tradition

Sea Turtles and Dolphins Hawaiian Wall Quilt PatternWhen you look at picture books of old Hawaiian quilts you may notice that the design motifs almost never include fish, animals or birds. Why not, you ask?

It was believed by Hawaiian quilters in the past that if you put fish, animals or birds on a quilt that anyone sleeping under the quilt would have a restless night's sleep. Further, if you gave such a quilt to a child it would cause that child to be restless and a wanderer in life, never settling down. No quilter would want her child to wander away or be a drifter.

So why do you see many Hawaiian quilts today with fish, animals and birds? Why did we design a pattern with sea turtles and dolphins? First, this is a wall quilt. No one will be sleeping under it, so the risk of creating a restless spirit is minimized. Second, we designed this quilt as a tribute to two beloved species once common in Hawaiian waters, but today endangered. It is such a thrill to catch a glimpse of a sea turtle, or swim with the dolphins. Kids and adults all smile with the memories and images of turtles and dolphins. We just could not resist!

TIP: Whether you are making the Sea Turtles & Dolphins quilt or Herd of Turtles, you may be tempted to applique all of the tiles of the turtles' backs at the end. We recommend that you work each turtle to completion one at a time. It can be a bit daunting, and may slow your progress, if you choose to applique all those smaller, repetitious shapes at the end.

To follow along, step-by-step, with Nancy as you make your Hawaiian Quilt check out our DVD "Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong".



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