The use of stitchery in Hawai‘i is documented as early as 1809. After contact, Western and Chinese cloth and silk became available as trade with the islands opened up. When missionaries from New England arrived in 1820, the missionary women brought with them their quilts (mostly as keepsakes.) Missionary women helped Hawaiian women to learn to sew in the European style, typically patchwork style.
It is theorized that Hawaiian women gradually began incorporating elements of kapa design into patchwork quilts, and soon discarded the patchwork approach altogether in favor of the appliqué quilt. The appliqué fabric is folded in half, or three times and all 8 layers are cut out at the same time, then opened out, like a "snowflake". The image shows my mother with quilts she made for her grandchildren in the patchwork tradition her great-great grandmother (Sybil Bingham) and the other missionary wives used in 1820 when teaching sewing aboard the Thaddeus and later.