Thursday, January 25, 2007

Knitting in Hawaii

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: - 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.


Anonymous said...

Hello, I was just perusing your blog. It's very nice by the way. Anyway I was just wondering what a leis was?
Cheers x

AR said...

Neat! I love that a yarn has shell fish stuff in it! hehe

I'm still so jealous that you were in Hawaii. Hope you had a blast!

Star said...


eternal sunshine: leis - plural of lei - long necklace you wear in Hawaii, usually made of flowers and/or plants but also can be made of lots of other things. The fuzzy yarn mimics feathers. I'm sure Wikipedia does this better! I'm trying.


ar - I did have a blast. Thank you.

Macoco said...

I'm just wondering how the yarn can be naturally antibacterial. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting pics. I was so curious.

Anonymous said...

I've got some Tofutsies too and I adore it! It's fun to knit with, even on teeny tiny needles. And if being antibacterial means a lessened foot-stink, I'll make some for my son, too!

Anonymous said...

hello, fell across your blog. looked at the picture, except for the hoodie, i almost thought it was me. scared me for a second. my name too is star. i was named for a cherokee indian prayer. i too am allergic to shellfish and was trying to find more about chitin. i have some indian antibacterial and deoderized yarn for tawashi making and want more. anyway, just thought i'd drop you an note as it's odd to run across another star so thought i'd say hi. oh, i'm on the east coast of the usa. star

Star said...

Hi star! Glad you stopped by - are we twins? How funny! Star is my real name too - some people think I chose it for some reason.

Unknown said...

Just Googled knitting stores in Kauai from my hotel room and look what came up! Small, small, small world, eh?! Hugs. -shmem