Knit Witted

When I was in third grade, my aunty taught me how to crochet. She was doing those little Christmas stocking pins and I watched her and nagged her with so many questions that she taught me how to do them. That was my first project! Of course, mine was very uneven and huge compared to her tightly-stitched ones, but I was nevertheless “hooked”. I started crocheting all sorts of projects since then–blankets, clothes for my Barbies, covers, doilies…

Then a few years ago, the big boom of crocheted leis started. It was sort of frustrating, because I had known how to crochet all those years…and here were beginners for the first time picking up a crochet hook and able to make a lei. And I couldn’t! I had no idea how to do them. When I was finally given one by a friend because I was transferring, I was so honored and started nagging her, much as I did my aunty years ago, about how she did it. She just coyly said it was the first lei she ever attempted, and that it came out pretty good (I thought it was awesome), and that was it. She wouldn’t tell me the yarn, the stitches…anything!

So I started searching online…and found nothing. I guess it was still pretty “new”. I started searching for books, and found some ribbon lei books, which I bought…but to my dismay, they didn’t have the fuzzy leis that I was seeing. They were filled with pretty crocheted leis like pikake and pakalana, which I got to make for my cousin’s graduation that year…but I wanted to learn the fuzzy ones! The ones that looked like hinahina haku leis…

Through more searching online, I finally found a Canadian website that had a “Hawaiian necklace” pattern, and upon reading it, I found out that that special fuzzy look was from “eyelash” yarn. I never heard of it! But through searching on that term, rather than “crochet lei”, I found out so much more.

I do know now how to crochet a lei–I tried it out on my own after reading the above Canadian version, then was confirmed that the way I was doing it was correct, after watching Hawaii Hobbies & Craft on ‘Olelo where they were doing one of these lei! Well after making one for my grandma’s 80th birthday, and one for another cousin who was graduating, I thought I knew it all. (Of course, now there are tons of those crochet lei books out, available at Ben Franklin’s, where they even have kits! I do have a hard time matching yarns, so that kit is very helpful.)

I kept seeing these eyelash yarns all over, and I kept wondering why they were so popular on the mainland, because they didn’t make these lei. Then I saw that they use the yarn in scarfs and boas. I soon wanted to know how to do these! But again, these were knit. I had no idea how to knit, but I thought I might try.

I taught myself how to knit through a book and online videos. I’m starting to get the hang of it! My first knit project that I finished (as opposed to the swatches I did just to learn how to knit & purl) were bunny socks for my son! It was difficult because I had to use double-pointed needles which is not what you’re learning with, when you first start, however, I got the hang of it quickly. I was quite pleased how my first project turned out that I started to search for more.

I was able to get a few books on knitted animal toys, since that’s what my son loves, but wow, the yarn is expensive! It’s not using the regular 99cents yarn you can get from Walmart. To get that real lifelike looking animal toys, they have all these special yarns, “fun fur”, “fizzy”, “boa”…sooo neat! But so expensive, some going for $10 a ball. Since some projects call for several balls…you end up spending more for yarn than you would if you bought a ready-made doll! Still…seeing all these new yarns are so cool, and I wonder how they are made? How do they not unravel? There are even “Waikiki” yarns. I wonder how they were named? I don’t see anything that would connect them?

Anyway, through searching for patterns, I came across craftster.org and see all these people who have knit blogs! They post what they have created along with the pattern. So many things! I can’t wait to try them all now! There are even some projects of, ahem…I’ll warn you now before you click on them, that it’s a bit risque, don’t click on them if you’re easily offended… certain body parts. Who said knitters/crocheters were lonely, prudish old women? 😀

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4 Comments

  1. Shirley Said:

    Where can I purchase the leis already made?

    Shirley

  2. lia Said:

    you can purchase leis already made at like Ben Franklin’s or even Flora-Dec. try looking at the craft stores.

    online, you can look at:

    http://eastcoasttropics.com/4everaloha.html
    http://eastcoasttropics.com/aliilei.html
    http://www.maikaihawaii.com/hawaiian_silk_ribbon_leis.htm

    i’m sure you can find some on ebay as well. hope this helps!

  3. jodi Said:

    What was the Canadian site URL please?

    Thanks

  4. lia Said:

    I actually can’t find it now … 😦 I had it bookmarked but it got erased, and I tried to google it, but can’t find it again?! Sorry.


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