She passed me some fabric and also two unfinished pillows with Hawaiian quilting patterns on them. I don't think I can write well enough about the history of Hawaiian quilting to do it justice. Instead, I'll direct you here, where I'm sorry to discover that Poakalani Serrao, the woman who was probably the most prolific writer and teacher on the subject, has recently passed away.
Grandma's pillows are both in the ulu (breadfruit) pattern. It seems to be the pattern that one sees the most, perhaps because it is fairly simple with nice curves or perhaps because, according to Poakalani, there is a tradition that once you make an ulu quilt you will never want for life's necessities. The ulu pattern is so strongly associated with Hawaii that it is even on a pair of earrings I bought when C was a baby.
The teacher likened it to cutting out paper snowflakes in school and sure enough, I had flashbacks of being in school: taking too long to decide on a pattern, talking too much, and suddenly realizing I was miles behind everyone else when we were supposed to be moving on. I came home with my piece only half-basted where the rest of the class was well into their needle turning. Oh well. My slowness is not really news.
Here is the design I'll be working on. The fabric choices are not traditional, since I was pulling from my stash the morning of the class. Can you guess what the pattern is called?