Making Yarn Leis Becomes Popular With Crafters

Red and Yellow yarn lei We already talked about the many things that were used to make leis, but modern times have brought even more options. Crafters have designed, and continue to design, ways to make flower leis out of yarn!

Yarn leis became popular about three or four years ago and everyone went gang busters making them and flooding the market! It’s a great stress reliever and it’s rewarding to see something attractive appear in a rather short time span.

If you visit this link on Honolulu’s Craigslist you will see some leis made with the intent of using them for graduations. Leis are made for graduations using the school’s colors.

Depending on the preference of the maker, or the preference of the person who may have placed an order for one, the materials may vary. This red and yellow lei was made with red and yellow grosgrain ribbon and four or more different kinds of yarn. The red and yellow are the colors of Hawaiian royalty and the lei was made with this in mind.

Blue yarn lei

The ones you will see pictured here are my doing. Many of the yarn lei designs have continued to evolve and some of them look very much like real flowers until you get close enough to see that they are not.

The beauty of them is that they don’t wilt and die. The drawback is, of course, they have no scent. These leis are used by many people on Aloha Fridays with their aloha wear or to attend special functions or dinners.

Lei of many colors

There are many reasons for selecting different colors and their impact on each individual will vary as well, as you can see here.

I just have a passion for clear, vibrant colors and shy away from muted tones. There are exceptions to this of course — the most obvious one being when the aim is for the natural look of green foliage.

Purple lei with natural green accents

With the above photo we are introduced to the idea of using embellishments or additional decorative items that may be added to the leis. For the most part I have kept to the Hawaiiana theme in this department.

Koa decorations or jewelryIt’s not terribly common for lei makers to decorate their leis, especially when the leis are intended as a source of income.

It’s just a habit I picked up for no apparent reason and it’s important to me to be sure that any decorations added are as attractive as the leis they adorn.

Again, this is my preference and it can be as simple or as busy as the wearer wants.

In addition to the adornments. I also feel that if you are going to make something as a gift, it should be nicely put together with the idea that it will last for many years to come.

Blue lei with other highlight colors

Many of the leis seen around town for sale are, for my taste, too thin, too light and of little substance. At the same time, however, they are affordable. Since the majority of leis that I have made have been gifts, it is important to me that they last a very long time.

Red lei with seven different shades of red

Consequently, they are substantially thicker than most and substantially heavier as well. The problem for the lei maker in cases like this is the cost of the yarn! The yarn is not cheap and the amount necessary to create this heft is quite significant.

Okay, so I’m picky about some stuff. There’s not much I can do about it I’m afraid.

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alli Crumley // May 25, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Those are really pretty! I love to crochet, but my quick and dirty project is hats. Great post!

  • 2 Evelyn // May 25, 2007 at 5:31 am

    Thanks, Alli! I figured people wouldn’t be interested in this kind of thing but I had to talk about it because it’s important to me and many others. I was wrong about the interest obviously and I thank you for your comment! Quick and dirty is great isn’t it? I like pretty result quickly and it’s even better when it’s quick and pretty! 🙂

  • 3 Robert // May 27, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    those are beautiful. maybe one day I will make it to hawaii and receive a lei.

  • 4 Evelyn // May 27, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    It is a tradition like no other and I certainly hope you make it! 🙂 Thank you for visiting and for leaving your comment!

  • 5 Diana // Oct 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Does anyone have the pattern for making these, particularly the ones that are made with 3 straws? Got a quick lesson from someone I met in the lobby of the Polynesion in Disney and I thought I got it but obviously I did not.

  • 6 Evelyn // Oct 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Diana! I have also been trying to learn that method but I keep putting it on the back burner! I’ve heard from several people that it’s a lot easier and much faster!

    The ones pictured are time-consuming, expensive and, if you’re going to make them memorable, be sure they are a labor of love! They’re heavier than most and should withstand quite a beating. I’ve seen and felt some of the others on the market and they are much too light and airy for my taste.

    I’ll let you know if I master the straw technique and I’ll share it with everyone and send you a note to let you know! Thanks for visiting and for your comment!

  • 7 Rosa Chiang // Feb 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Aloha, Evelyn:
    do you teach people how to make these beautiful yarn leis?

    If you do, please contact me with the above email address. I am searching all over Honolulu/town to find a teacher. Really like to learn this.

  • 8 Evelyn // Feb 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Rosa! Unfortunately, no, I do not. There are yarn shops, however, that do teach! Even Ben Franklin has classes now and again. I would inquire with Ben Franklin in Mapunapuna. Have fun and do come back and share your creations! Thanks for stopping by!

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