My Hawaiian Quilt Heritage Story

My paternal ancestors are among the first foreign settlers in Hawaii (but that’s another story).

It’s an interesting coincidence that my maternal great grandmother, who never stepped foot in the Hawaiian Islands, would be the one to gift me with her Hawaiian Quilt.

Hawaii was close in heart to my great grandmother.

The year is 1925 and the setting is a rural community in Eastern Washington.

A young couple from Hawaii, the Kanekoa’s, has moved into town to work on the railroad. Their next door neighbors are my great grandparents, John and Sarah Eaton.

A friendship develops and the two women share a passion for quilting. Mrs. Kanekoa gifts my great grandmother her Hawaiian quilt pattern.

What happens next is an example of how Mrs. Kanekoa’s Aloha, and my great grandmother’s ingenuity, has been passed down through the generations.

My great grandmother made many braided rugs and quilts during her life. She fell in love, however, with the Hawaiian quilt.

During the Depression my Great-Grandma started making Hawaiian quilts and then raffled them off to put food on the table.

In the early 1950’s, Great-Grandma made her last Hawaiian quilt. The purpose of this quilt was to be a gift to her family. I’m now the proud recipient.

When Great-Grandma was making this quilt, I’m sure she never imagined that it would someday be in Hawaii and in her Great Grandson’s home.

Every time I see and touch Great Grandma’s Hawaiian quilt, it connects me to her and to my past. I see her expert quilting and craftsmanship. The quilt is a reminder of the friendship between these two women and their gift of Aloha.

Do you own a Hawaiian quilt? If so, I’d enjoy hearing your story.

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