I am probably VERY late to the Hawaiian quilt love game, but I'm going to gush anyway.
First of all, the quilt designs are not just haphazard flowers and doilies... Although the technique is basically the same for each quilt, they are each very different. The flowers and other elements are identifiable by a general motif. (pineapple, iris, dolphin, orchid, gardenia, etc.) It is understood that once you work out the technique on a borrowed pattern, that you create your own to represent you and your family. (Combinations and variations of the general patterns.) Some of these patterns have been handed down though many generations.
That said, take a gander at what was around the corner from my hotel room in Maui:
This one was lap-quit size.
And the middle piece? One huge applique. Hand-stitched. Hand quilted.
It was so pretty. You really should 'click to enlarge' so you can see! I can hardly wait to make my own. I bought a $15 how-to book (included patterns!) at a fabric store I found on Kaua'i. The shop owner was so sweet and we chatted for a long time about these quilts.
I also picked up a couple locally designed (but not printed, she told me -- no one prints fabric on the Islands) fabrics. Some hula girls and a floral that I might use sometime, somewhere.. who knows? I couldn't walk out with just a book!
For those of you who asked: We went on a 13 day trip to Hawaii: Maui (Wailea), Kaua'i (Lihue) and Oahu (the JW Marriot west side). It was magical and mostly free (thanks to Mr Pink's work) and I can't wait to go back. However, we came back to the beginnings of fall in the Midwest and I couldn't be happier!
Has anyone else tried one of these quilts? The shopkeeper compared it to doing a big paper snowflake cutout...I would think lining it up would be the hard part.)