Today’s original pattern is from Denise Russell of Pieced Brain and the Quilterly shop. Denise does a lot of quilting; we’re particularly drawn to her recent blocks featuring a traditional quilting design and approach from the Hawaiian Islands. Denise designed this original pattern and tutorial to show you how to create an appliqué block with a similar look. Don’t forget to head over to visit Denise at Pieced Brain. (Give her your congratulations as she’s a new grandma this week!)

There are lots of fabulous books featuring traditional Hawaiian designs so be sure to delve into the style further if today’s post sparks some interest. Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite resources (link, book, etc.) from an expert.

Hawaii on My Mind Wall Hanging by Denise Russell

Finished size: 20” x 20”


  • 20.5” X 20.5” square of white background fabric
  • 24” X 24” square of green backing fabric, plus two strips, 2 inches wide X width of fabric for binding and loops
  • 24” X 24” square of batting
  • 15” X 15” square of green fabric for Anthurium and leaves
  • Pattern
  • Floss for embroidering: 3 gradating shades for the spadix; brown, green, and red for turtles
  • Needle and thread for needle turn appliqué, or thread for machine appliqué
  • Sharp scissors
  • Polyester monofilament thread for outline quilting
  • Quilting thread and needle
  • Pins
  • FriXion pen (ink disappears with heat) or a water-soluble fabric marking pen
  • Plastic for template

Download and print the pattern.

Place the fabric from which you will cut the Anthurium pattern wrong side up and fold it in half as shown above.

Fold it in half again, bringing right edge onto left edge.

Fold it in half on the diagonal (grab the right top corner of the square and bring it onto the bottom left corner).

Make sure pattern fits on the fabric triangle formed.

Cut out the pattern and place it over your fabric, pin it in place so it won’t move as you trace around it on the next step.

Using very sharp scissors cut out the design. For the spadix (little shape in middle of flower), spread out the design and cut them out individually. You will be cutting through eight layers of fabric, so go slowly. Invariably, some edges on the last two layers will not look as nice, but any problems can be fixed when you appliqué.

Crease background fabric for ease of design placement: fold it in half horizontally, then vertically, then on both diagonals.

Lay cut out onto your background fabric, then pin and baste the entire design about 1/4 inch from the edge. The basting will be removed as you appliqué the project.

Next, needle turn appliqué or machine appliqué the entire design, including the spadix. There are lots of resources for various styles of appliqué at Sew,Mama,Sew!

Embroider the spadix by first outlining its shape with a split stitch, using the lighter color of floss.

Using long and short stitches, shape the spadix, being careful not to go beyond the split stitch outline.

Prepare the wall hanging for quilting by laying the backing fabric wrong side up. Place batting onto backing, then appliqué top over the batting. Pin or baste sandwich together.

Using monofilament, outline the appliqué flower, including the embroidered center. Now is the time to give shape to the center leaves and to each flower, as shown below:

Trace diagonal lines on the appliqué top. Using quilting thread and a large stitch (on my machine I set it to 3.0), stitch the first diagonal line. Then, continue quilting lines parallel to this first quilted line, to its right first than to its left, each line one inch apart. Next, quilt the other diagonal lines to form a crosshatching pattern.

Trim excess batting around the wall hanging. Sew the 2 inch strips of fabric for the binding; fold this long strip in half lengthwise– with wrong sides together– and press.

Starting at the middle of one side, match binding strip edge to quilt edge. Measure four inches down the binding and start sewing (first for inches of binding will be sewn at the end, when beginning and ending of binding strip are stitched together). End ¼” before each corner, cut thread, fold strip as shown, then continue sewing.

Overlap end of binding to the first ¼ inch of the beginning of binding, trimming excess binding. Sew ends together, open seam and finish attaching binding to quilt.

Fold binding towards back of quilt and pin or use binding clips. Make two loops out of four inch strips cut from remainder of binding, fold each one and attach them with pins (2 1/2 inches from each corner) on the side you decide will be the top of the wall hanging. These will be the hanging loops and will be hand sewn at the same time you finish the binding.

This is what it looks like so far!

Trace turtles on each corner of the quilt, with heads towards the corners. Using floss and a back stitch, embroider the turtles. I used two shades of brown for the turtle shell, plus green and red for its head, limbs and heart.

You are done! Don’t forget to put a label on the back of the wall hanging.