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The Hawaiian Quilt

Cissy Serrao Revisiting The Spirit of Hawaii Workshop

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The Hawaiian Quilt

The Tradition Continues


By The Poakalani Family
  • Softcover
  • 112 pages
  • 11 x 9 inches


Though quilting is universal, the Hawaiian quilt is unique. Featured designs, like the koi and griffin, reflect a quiltmaker’s individuality, while other patterns, such as the ipu, ti, and ulu, emerge from the beauty and traditions of old Hawaii. Each quilt pictured is one-of-a-kind, made in the old style of quilting—by hand, stitch by stitch. All emulate the poetry of the Hawaiian language and the rich culture of the Islands. Quilt lovers will delight in the wide array of depictions and colors that spur the imagination and present enticingly different concepts and ideas.

In addition to enjoying a showcase of masterpiece quilts, get ready to thread your needle and follow any one of the more than two dozen original stencils and patterns provided by John Poakalani. Included as well are a detailed supply list, glossary, and instructions. Quiltmakers will find the endless variations of these Hawaiian quilts exciting and be lured to try the many stitches, folds, and techniques presented within. Experience an ancient tradition and become a part of the quilting circle of Hawaii—one of sharing, caring, and encouragement.

About the Authors

Althea Poakalani Serrao was born with only one hand. It was only after she had a family of her own that Poakalani was finally able to look into the quilt patterns she inherited from her grandmother. Using the knowledge of her childhood, she found that, even with only one hand, she had the skill of an accomplished quilter. In 1972, Poakalani began to demonstrate Hawaiian quilting statewide and eventually taught her own weekly quilting classes.

John Serrao is known today as Hawaii’s top quilt designer. He has designed well over 1,000 quilt designs that can be found locally as well as worldwide on quilts, logos, fabric, stationery, stencils, and even T-shirts. John also conducts quilt design workshops, so the art of designing can be passed on to anyone who is willing to learn. He has become a Hawaiian quilt consultant, historian, and cultural artist.

Raelene Correia (a.k.a. Tuffy) is an integral part of the classes. While Poakalani, John, and Cissy concentrate on teaching, Raelene, who also teaches, focuses on keeping the classes within the traditional and cultural integrity on which they were founded.

With the passing of Poakalani in 2012 and John in 2018, the Poakalani Hawaiian Quilt Tradition continues through their daughters, Raelene Correia and Cissy Serrao. The classes meet weekly at various venues on Oahu where the art and history of Hawaiian quilting is taught—most of all, the classes are a quilting circle of friendship and family. Beginner students usually start with a cushion kit and learn to baste, appliqué, and quilt their first cushion top. Then they move on to larger quilts from wall hangings to full-size quilts.


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