January 04, 2010

Yarn shop travelogue: Hawaii

To me, a trip to a new location requires a visit to the local yarn store. This might explain why I have been to 107 yarn stores so far!

I would like to record my impressions of some of these yarn stores on this blog. Keep in mind that my perspective is that of the travelling knitter who might want to pick up some souvenir yarn, rather than the local knitter who needs sweater quantities of yarn in various weights and fibers.

The first destination in this yarn shop travelogue is Hawaii where I just spent ten days. You might not associate Hawaii with knitting but I was able to stop by four yarn stores on three islands!

The Needlework Shop in Lahaina (Maui)
You will find knitting, cross-stitching, and quilting at this store. The yarn selection emphasizes bamboo and other non-wool fibers and was on the small size *but* there were lots of nice goodies such as project bags that are quilted by the shop staff. The store is located in downtown Lahaina; as a tourist would undoubtedly walk around in that area, it would be a shame not to visit this store.

I picked up a skein of merino wool by Maui Yarns (right skein in picture), one yard of batik fabric (background of picture) that I might ask Amy to use for a custom bag, and some turtle-shaped buttons made out of coconut.

The Yarn Basket in Hilo (Big Island)
Holy moley, this store has an inventory larger than many of the East Coast yarn stores I've been to! I'm pretty sure that you could find there a yarn that is not carried at your LYS (except if your LYS is Webs perhaps). I was especially impressed by the wool section and the sock yarn selection. Once the owner mentioned that some of her customers spend time on the mainland or have grandchildren on the mainland, her wool inventory made sense to me.

Before my trip, I realized that I would not be able to see the Hawaiian Homegrown Wool Company at the farmers' market but lo and behold, there was some of their Romney wool that is raised, handspun, and handdyed on the Big Island at the store (middle skein in picture).

Tink and Ink in Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
This yarn store just opened a few months ago but it already has a nice selection of Aslan Trends, Berroco, Blue Ridge Yarns (from Virginia), Freedom, Noro, etc... When I was there, the ladies were sampling the various Malabrigo yarns (the chunky yarn is so squishy) and talking about which ones to order. I bought some Freedom Sincere organic cotton, Blue Ridge alpaca lace, and a pair of oak DPN needles made in Hawaii.

Hanalei Music's Strings and Things in Hanalei (Kauai)
This is a store that combines musical instruments (ukeleles) and yarn -- how fun! The owner has excellent taste and was able to pack this space with a lot of yarns: Frabjous fibers (from Vermont), Aslan Trends, Artyarns, Berroco, Noro, and many many more. There are many beautiful pins, unique buttons and handles for knitted bags.

What caught my eye was a line of yarns that are handdyed in Kauai using botanical extracts. There was cotton and merino but I bought a skein of baby alpaca with silver thread dyed with hibiscus flowers (left skein in picture). It is sinfully soft and will make a gorgeous buttoned wrap with the matching coconut buttons I got there.

Well, that's it for my knitting adventures in Hawaii. Aloha and Mahalo!

11 comments:

Mary said...

Thanks for the info on the shops! You bought some lovely memory-making yarns.

Clara Parkes said...

What a helpful (and tempting) insight into the Hawaiian yarn community. Just goes to show we're passionate about having lots to choose from, regardless of climate. And I had NO idea the Hawaiian Homegrown Wool Company existed!

Anonymous said...

I have been to the Yarn Basket many times. Harriet carries Quality yarns, and is willing to offer help and guidance on your projects.

M.K. Carroll said...

The Aloha Knitters SNB maintains a list of yarn shops in Hawai'i, which you can access through our blog (alohaknitters.wordpress.com). I was just on Kaua'i and picked up two skeins of the merino/bamboo sock yarn - I was really glad to see it and hope that more shops will pick up locally-produced yarns. The cost can be prohibitive but there are so many yarncrafters looking for souvenir yarn!

twinsetellen said...

I am heading to the Big Island in a little over a week and am delighted to find your post! I was having trouble sorting out whether there were any sizable shops on Hawaii - thanks for the info.

Jenny Girl said...

I'm going back to the BI in May and the Tin Ink shop is new. visitied The Knitting Basket back in 2008 and the owner was a sweetie. Thanks for this post :)

Anonymous said...

Thankx for the yarn shop info plan to visit the ones on Oahu as well. BTW are the wooden needles Koa rather than oak?

Anonymous said...

Maui Yarns is now represented by Binky's in Honokowai. The Needlework shop in Lahaina has closed.
Sara has expanded on her range of colors when dyeing the merino wool. She is offering knitting instruction.
Binky's 808-276-7474

Anonymous said...

I was on a cruise, finished my travel project and wanted to get more yarn at Binky's when we got to Hawaii. Got bad directions from one of their salespeople and when I and the taxi driver telephoned the store they were very rude and then hung up. It did not spoil the trip, but I had really hoped to get souvenir yarn.

Robin Ritchie said...

I am sorry the Lahaina Visitors Center gave you bad directions to Binkys.
The store is a 15 drive North of downtown Lahaina in the Honokowai district.
3600 Lower Honoapiilani Road
I have phoned the Vistor's Center and spoken directly to one of their volunteers.
WE ship Maui yarn worldwide if that is of any help.
Thank you for trying to support local products.
Aloha
Binky

Robin Ritchie said...

Binkys in Honokowai Maui now has Maui Yarns in three different weights and organic and ceramic buttons to complement Maui Yarns colors.