I'd like to share some finds if you are planning on going to Kauai or the Big Island and want to hit up a yarn shop. If you're like me, you want to check out every yarn shop on Earth, so here are two neat places to see.
It's so warm there year-round, you might wonder if people are really knitting? Of course they are! I noticed a lot of the local knitting involves using fuzzy eyelash yarns to make leis. I think that's a great way to use up that stuff.
First stop: "Hanalei Music Strings and Things" on the north shore of Kauai. It's mostly a music store but they have a small section of nice yarn and hand-knit hats "for surfer dudes" on sale. The surfer dude behind the counter was using a round loom ("knifty knitter") to make these hats. My mom got one and I picked out some beautiful sock yarn from Interlaken, NY - which is about as far away from Kauai as you can get! It's Schaefer Yarns "Anne" and it's lovely - pictured below.
The other local shop we found was on the Big Island of Hawaii on Hilo side - called "The Yarn Basket." It's a mix of quilting stuff and yarn, with the emphasis being on sock yarn. The nice woman who runs the shop loves to knit socks and has a large wall display of her knitting.
She showed me this yarn I hadn't seen before from the South West Trading Company called "TOFUtsies" made from soysilk, superwash, cotton and chitin. What is chitin? Oh, that's fiber from shrimp and crab shells. The label even claims: "It's naturally antibacterial!"
As a vegetarian, and one who is allergic to shellfish, I wondered if this was a good choice for me. I was attracted to the colors and the crazy ingredients for sure, but it is a bit unsettling. I decided that this yarn used up parts that are from a byproduct industry, stuff that gets thrown away. I recycle bottles, why not buy yarn from recycled crab shells?
The yarn feels really nice too. I have no idea how they spin it but I'm really curious. To answer an important question about this yarn... it has no smell at all. I'll be sure to post more pictures as I knit with it. Got to find the right pattern first. FYI: The label has a link printed on it: www.soysilk.com - go nuts! Let's do a shellfish knit-along!
Speaking of spinning, I picked up shell leis to use in homespun yarn. I'll be sure to share my progress on that too.