Kanani O Amelia – The Beauty of America
Sometimes when we choose a design we are not aware of its significance until after the quilt is complete. Call it spiritual, a premonition, or even a coincidence just remember some things are just meant to be.
Back in the early 1930’s my great-grandmother visited America for the very first time. After spending many days at sea on a ocean liner she finally had her first glimpse of the United States of America. She couldn’t believe its beauty. The first flowers she saw were the daisies and she fell in love with the American Eagle the symbol of America. The large land mass and the great big mountains was nothing like the small islands she came from. At this time she fell in love not only with the United States but also its beauty and its people.
When she returned home she designed a quilt called the “Kanani O Amelika”, The design itself is very unique. The design depicts the flowers that she first saw when visiting America which were the daisies, she also placed the eagles in the corner of the quilts. The quilt encompassed everything she loved about America. Although she never made a quilt with the design this pattern was designed in memory of her trip to America. Little did we know that years later this quilt would be of great significance to other quilters.
In 1990 Elsie Enos one of quilting students decided to quilt her first Hawaiian quilt wall-hanging. After making several cushion tops she decided it was time to go onto a bigger quilting project. While most quilters love floral and sea life themes Elsie decided to quilt a design adapted from a full-size quilt that my great-grandmother designed. She decided to quilt the pattern called “Kanani O Amelika” she wasn’t sure why she decided on this pattern only that this was the pattern she wanted to make.
Elsie’s quilt is designed with four Floral vases holding the daisy flowers, the flowers that she saw in the original quilt “Kanani O’ Amelika”, even though the quilt did not incorporate all the Symbols of America like the original quilt the meaning did not change nor the name of the quilt. After Elsie finished her quilt the beauty of it was breathtaking and the stitching was better than most expert quilters. The funny story about the quilt is that when you asked Elsie why she chose that design she actually didn’t know.
In 1991 America entered into the Persian Gulf War and Elsie’s son was sent to fight in the war. It was at this time that the significance of the quilt design came to light. The quilt held hope that her son who was fighting in a war would come home safely. It symbolized everything that is good about America and being Americans. Fighting for freedom, independence and especially for world peace. The meaning of the quilt she made is called “THE BEAUTY OF AMERICA,” Her son is home now but the quilt will always hold a special meaning. A time when she too prayed for the safe return of her son and especially how fortunate we are being part of the United States of America.
Elsie Enos has been a quilter with us many years. Her compassion for her family, friends and especially for “things” Hawaiian always leaves me speechless. She always feels things genuinely and wholeheartedly and her quilting is always a reflection of her true beauty. Quilted by Elsie Enos, Designed by John Serrao