Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lei Aloha

It will not have escaped the notice of gentle readers that lately much of the traveling done from casa Jersey Knitter has been hurried and for reasons that go unblogged. Sad to relate, those reasons include serious illnesses and deaths in my family. There have been long blank patches of blog disruption corresponding to long sad watches as health and life ebb away. There has been sickroom knitting of variable gauge and other imperfections (sigh). There has been funereal crafting as well, such as these Basic One Straw Round Lei (the plural of lei is lei).

Lei aloha

These simple yarn lei emulate the appearance of lei hulu, Hawaiian featherwork lei. They were made by weaving a weft of novelty yarns around a warp of grosgrain ribbons on a straw loom. The original feather lei were symbols of wealth and power and were reserved for royalty. Nowadays their yarn counterparts are given as gifts of aloha on both happy and sad occasions – alas! the latter for these.

As an eco-conscious blogger I must add: While the image of casting lei into the ocean as a sign of farewell or mourning is a popular one, the custom originated with tourists of the steamship era and was not part of old Hawaiian culture. The practice is discouraged, because non-biodegradable lei strings pose a threat to sealife.

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