Sunday, November 9, 2014

An Abundance of Lei

Well, by “abundance,” I mean “six,” because that's how many complete crochet lei I have lying around at the moment. I'm now finishing one about ever two weeks or so on average.

Some of them are fairly simple, such as the “Rosebud” one on the top right, creating a sparse appearance with the center “stem” easily visible. Others, like the “Hibiscus” one at lower left, have densely arranged petals that hide the stem. It doesn't show up well in this picture, but the two pink ones are actually slightly different shades of pink. The two orange ones used the same color, but are different patterns; the one on the top is a bit sparser than the one on the bottom, though again it doesn't show up well.

I realize, looking at this picture, that some of these lei look rather similar. This is partly because, when I first started crocheting them, I only bought a few colors of yarn that showed up in multiple patterns so I could easily reuse them. I've since bought more yarn in a wider range of colors (the red and pink lei on the bottom were both products of that trip, actually), and I'm planning on doing some with a wider variety of colors in the future. I'm working on one called “ ‘Ola‘a Beauty” at the moment which has dark purple petals and a yellow stem.

Most of the designs are really quite simple in practice, being nothing more than a simple repeated motif which is twisted around the stem to create a (mostly) radially symmetric pattern. The lei in the middle on the top, however, is a different design, and much trickier to pull off.

The book I'm using calls the flower “Mauna-loa,” and instead of radial symmetry it requires a sort of bilateral symmetry which gives it two markedly different sides.

This photo's not the greatest, but you can see how the matched sets of petals emerge on opposite sides of the stem, which itself required a novel, tricky technique to make. Instead of being a simple chain it's more like a flat ribbon, and is the source of the different look of this lei. There's another lei using the same pattern for the stem which also looks pretty interesting, and I plan to get around to it sooner or later.

Since people keep asking me what I'm going to do with all these lei, I want to mention that I've already given away the first three I made while I was visiting family this summer. I also gave away another I'd just finished to my boss, who served as the Associate Director of JCMT for the past two years on loan from the National Research Council of Canada but whose secondment ended at the end of September and had to return to Canada. I'm sure I'll find opportunities to bestow more of them in the future, too. A hui hou!

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