Okay…maybe the capitalization of the entire title wasn’t enough to convey how excited I am about my new blanket.
First of all, I love blankets. Remember when I threw away all my belongings to move to Hawaii? Well, I still have my Spiderman blanket, my NSync blanket, my Elephant skin blanket, the fancy lady blanket my sister knitted for me, AND my Hawaiian flag blanket. I might not own anything anymore except for a helluva lot of rad blankets. And that is just fine by me. Blankets are perfect for being warm and sleepy and sexy. I love all those things.
Now I also have my Kumulipo Baby Blanket.
This thing is amazing! I have been looking for one foreverrrrrrrr! (by which I mean ten months). It’s a beautiful Kapa patchwork quilt. And even though it’s a baby blanket – it is all for me! I ain’t letting no gross baby drool all over it or smear jam on it or whatever else those little monsters might be planning. So just keep your hands to yourselves Nico and Cillian!
I saw a Kumulipo baby blanket once at a quilt shop in Honolulu or was it at a market in Hilo? Or perhaps it was a craft fair in Hanapepe…. or something. Anyway, I immediately fell in love with the adorable blanket – but it was like $300 (and I ain’t no millionaire) so I didn’t buy it. But I thought about it more and more and more until I decided that I simply must have it! Then, of course, I could never find it again – and I looked for it everywhere! Or, at least, what seemed like everywhere. It’s pretty likely that I just kept going back to the same Hawaiian Quilt Company location to ask for it. They probably thought I was a moron.
I harassed my friend Jennifer to hook me up. She’s a quilter and works a booth at craft fairs. That girl totally came through for me! She flew to Oahu to grab one and then sold it to me for $120.
I know you’re thinking a hundred and twenty dollars seems like a lot for one tiny little blanket. However, it takes a month to make a Kumulipo blanket and then I make poor old Jennifer fly all the way to Oahu to pick it up for me and deliver it to me in Maui. And then I make my friend Mary drive all the way across Maui to pick it up for me in Kahului. For all that, $120 seems like a pretty sweet deal.
I fell in love with this blanket because it has all sorts of cool patches that represent all sorts of important things about my Hawaii nei – turtles, volcanoes, flora, the flag, the ocean, the whole deal!
It is called a Kumulipo blanket because the patches tell a creation story: the origin of Hawaii.
Here is a breakdown of each amazing patch. With pictures!
For some of the pictures I have included a real photo I have taken of the same thing. See if you can tell which is which!
Each hawaiian island was created by one or more volcanoes. This patch of the exploding volcano represents creation and the deity Pele. Pele is scary and awesome. You should learn about her. It is said her home is the crater of Kiluea (the most active Volcano in the world).
The Nene (Hawaii’s official bird). The world’s rarest goose, the Nene, is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It sorta looks like a tiny Canada Goose.
The Ukelele. This tiny member of the guitar family originated in Hawaii in the 19th century as an interpretation of the machete. And is still very popular here today. It’s lighthearted sound is synonymous with the simplicity of beach life.
The Surfer. Hawaii’s official individual sport. And my favorite sport everrrrrrr. I could go on about this for a while. But suffice to say I moved to Hawaii to spend more time surfing. Ancient Hawaiian considered surfing or ‘wave sliding’ to be an art. And the influences for modern surfing can be directly traced to pre-contact Hawaii.
The Map of the Islands. All 8 of them. Even that one Mainlanders can’t pronounce: Kahoolawe…. I don’t have a good pic because it kind of spills out into the whole blanket – but you can check it on the last image in this post.
The Hawaiian State Flag. The Union jack, symbolizing the remnant of Hawaii’s once association with the British Empire, and the stripes representing the 8 major islands.
The Honu. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. Ranging from 40-700 lbs, these gentle giants are a delight to swim with. And I’m thinking they are one of my spirit animals. Na honu is amazing and you can find them swimming, crawling, and napping all over the islands. As prominent as they seem, these turtles are actually endangered and it’s illegal to touch or harass them. So please remember to show the Honu some aloha and keep your distance!
The Hula girls. Hula is the traditional story telling dance of the Hawaiian Polynesians. It used to be a sexy and topless way of passing on Hawaiian Oral History. And though it is now performed fully clothed; hula still tells important stories of mythology, creation, and royalty if you know how to follow the dance.
The Pineapple – Onolcious pineapple for all! Hawaii has been home to large-scale pineapple cultivation for over 100 years. The Dole Planation and the Maui Pineapple Company are here. The Hawaiian Pineapple Company produces the finest pineapples I have ever tasted! And if you, your stomach, or your teeth are turned off by the acidity of pineapples – the Big Island has white pineapple. Yummmmmers!
The Yellow Hawaiian Hibiscus (the state flower). Gigantic and beautiful.
The Palms in front of the Diamondhead – The Diamondhead (Leahi) is Hawaii’s most recognized landmark. Hiking inside the Diamondhead State Park will give you postcard views as well as historical geological and military insight. And the palm trees in the foreground just add to the relaxing beauty. Few things in life are as soothing as the sound of palm trees rustling in the wind. It’s part of what contributes to a relaxing life lived on the beach.
The Gecko – these tiny lizards are said to bring good luck. And not just because they eat cockroaches!
The Dolphins – Dolphins represent guardians and guides in the Hawaiian culture.
And there you have it!
All of these pieces show a valued part of Hawaii.
The only thing missing is the Hawaiian rainbow. But the blanket is colourful enough that it makes up for that!
Here it is….in it’s entirety (well, almost).
Hey, gimme a break. I’m a stumpy lil midget and it’s hard to take a picture of a whole blanket with an iPhone :P