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Yarn Shops: Hawaii

Posted on by MK Carroll

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This post covers the yarn shops that I have been to so far, and I will update this post periodically.  Information includes whether knitting, crocheting or other needlework classes are offered, eateries and attractions in the general area, and a link to Mapquest (note - this post has been updated with the Google map above; Google also provides directions).  Mapquest directions can get...interesting...so you may still want to call shops for directions. None of the information here is carved in stone – best to call ahead for hours and other information before heading out!  The telephone area code for the state of Hawai'i is (808).

A .pdf list of the shops reviewed here, with address, phone/fax, email, and hours is available as a free PDF download, and is to-the-best-of-my-knowledge current as of July 2009.

[craft stores that carry yarn: 25 July 05 post]


Isle Knit

1188 Bishop St., Suite 1403 (corner of Bishop and Beretania St) [mapquest]
(808) 533-0853
Hours: variable, I recommend calling before heading over
Proprietor: Sue
Email: isleknit@gmail.com

In a tall building on the corner of Bishop and Beretania, I think of Isle Knit as the Harry Potter yarn shop – tucked into a small office space, Sue has racks and baskets of yarn from floor to near ceiling, and if you let her know what you are looking for, she can put a hand into a display or a bag and pull out something you probably wouldn’t have found on your own.

Sue is knowledgeable, helpful, and offers individual knitting lessons as well as classes and knitalongs (I believe the current knitalong is chemo caps).  She’s a sweet, patient instructor and a pleasure to chat with.

There’s a nice range of yarns here – she’s been told by one company that she orders more wool than a shop in Alaska!  There are lots of novelty yarns as well as basics.  I get most of my bamboo needles here; she’s also got Addi Turbos.  The needles stocked are circulars and double-pointed.

I’ve found just about all the notions I need here – coilless safety pins, stitch markers, tapestry needles, row counters, etc.

There’s a small rack of magazines – Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting International, and others.  Patterns and books are also available and on display.  There are a lot of patterns, so if you have something specific in mind, check with Sue.

Knitted and crocheted samples are tucked in here and there, including toys and lei.

Isle Knit is tiny; more than 3 people and it starts to feel quite crowded, so if you have questions or need assistance, go in before or after lunch (a lot of the regulars come in on their lunch breaks).  There is a small table where you can sit and knit; it’s usually got quite a bit of yarn on it and customers will have to maneuver around you.

Parking: metered street parking or in pay lots.   In the newsletter, Sue lists the Kukui Plaza municipal lot (entrance on Kukui St at the back of Pali Longs Drugstore), Alii Place at the corner of Alakea and Hotel Streets, and the Smith and Beretania lot under the new park.  Because of the downtown location, parking can be tight; several bus lines stop nearby (TheBus, 848-5555).

Nearby: Fort Street Mall, filled with little places to eat and shop.  I consider attractions like Chinatown, Aloha Tower, Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, the statue of Kamehameha the Great and the Hawai’i State Library to be within walking distance but I know a lot of people who would disagree with me.

Random trivia: Sue used to teach at the junior high school I went to (we think I was there after she’d left, though).


Ursula Fischer: Needle Arts

1717 Kalakaua Avenue, 2nd floor
CLOSED
Proprietor: Ursula

As of 2011, this shop has been closed. 

In a small building, set a bit back from the road, near the Convention Center.  Hours vary; generally morning to early afternoon.  If the rainbow afghan is out on the balcony, she’s in.  The shop is small, with the yarn stock organized into drawers, a couple of walk-in closet sized spaces for basic yarns, and the needles and notions on a big display rack by the door.  There’s a work table in the middle for customers and students to work – in addition to selling yarn and needlework tools, Ursula offers instruction in knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and needlepoint.  I didn’t copy down the list of rates; I will say that I think her rates are very reasonable.  She suggests stopping by on Saturday and Sunday mornings “when the young people are here.”

The yarn selection encompasses a range of high-end novelty, ribbon, and standards.  There is a stack of sock yarn in solid and self-patterning colors by the needle rack, acrylics like Patons Canadiana and Cascade Cherub, wools including Reynolds Lopi, and natural fibers like mercerized cotton and bamboo.

Ursula loves wood needles and has a nice selection of high quality straights and dpns, ranging from fine gauge to chair leg.  She also carries metal needles (aluminum, steel, Addi Turbos), and I found all the needle prices to be very reasonable.

Ursula has a strong personality and is  very knowledgeable and skilled; an excellent resource who has kept the shop going for almost 30 years.  Ursula is the one who put a skein of Cascade Cherub Collection 4-ply in my hand and enlightened me on good acrylic vs. bad acrylic (Cherub Collection is a nylon/acrylic blend, very soft, and I really like working with it).

Parking: the building has a *very* small parking lot; you could also pay for parking at the Convention Center or park at Ala Moana shopping center and walk over, then go back to Ala Moana and have lunch or go shopping. Bus lines, especially out of Waikiki, stop nearby on both Kalakaua Ave. and Kapiolani Blvd. (TheBus, 848-5555)

Nearby: Fabric Mart is located on Kalakaua Avenue, a few blocks away (in the direction of the mountains).  Fabric Mart has a wide selection of fabrics, loads of tropical/aloha print fabrics, basic notions and sewing supplies.  Remnant shelves are located upstairs.  If you walk down Kalakaua to Kapiolani Blvd, Waikiki will be to your left, and 20 – 30 minutes of walking will take you into the center of Waikiki.  The building on the corner houses a coffeeshop and salon; the Hakubundo Japanese bookstore (947-5503) is a little further down Kapiolani (going away from Waikiki), and has a selection of Japanese craft books, including a few crochet and knit pattern books.  Their website has a typo in the street address: it's in the Pan Am building, as in the defunct airline.  If you continue down Kalakaua, going towards the ocean, Ala Moana shopping center will be on your right, with a variety of places to shop and eat.

Random trivia:  I managed to walk right past this shop several times without my yarn radar pinging.  I must be broken.

Yarn and Friends
CLOSED

1010 South King St (S. King and Victoria, in the Medical Arts building, Ewa/West side, facing Thomas Square park)

Phone: (808) 593-2212 [as of 2011, this phone number belongs to YarnStory]

Proprietor: Raynette Malefyt

I called this shop in my hunt for steel dpns; they were busy enough so that a customer answered the phone and I could hear a lot of happy chatter in the background. I’ve only been there once, and the place was hopping.  Merrily working and chatting needleworkers surrounded a large table on one end of the shop; large west-facing windows and high ceilings provide natural lighting.  Of the three yarn shops I’m posting about here, this is the one with the most space (though still small) and is the most condusive to browsing around without crowding other customers.  There’s quite a bit of novelty yarn on display, along with beautiful crocheted lei made from them.  A small rack of magazines is near the door, and a spinning rack of needles and notions is against a wall.  The glass case under the cash register holds some gorgeous hand-dyed yarns.  There are quilting and embroidery supplies as well.

This shop gets really busy on the weekends.  Some customers report favoring Y&F because there is more space to move around,  but caution that if you are buying for a big project, make sure you get enough, because the stock does run out quickly sometimes.  The shop keeps customer cards which record your basic information and your purchases.

Keohinani added in Nov 05:  "I went to Y&F a couple of weeks ago. i noticed a lot of yarn from the same company throughout the store, and the labels were in japanese and english. rae said she's got over a hundred varieties of yarn from a company (or two? i don't remember) in japan. she's the only one in the US with such a collection; there's a store in colorado, but they only carry maybe two or three kinds. she said she hopes to make that yarn available online. pretty trippy."

Parking: metered street parking or building parking lot (pay by the 1/2 hour, free after 12 noon on weekends).  There are bus lines that stop nearby; the Honolulu Academy of Arts and Blaisdell Center are good landmarks when asking for directions.  (TheBus, 848-5555)

Nearby: on the outer South King St. side of the building is Le Guignol, a French restaurant that’s been around for a while.  It’s not pretentious or calorie-conscious French food – if you like stuffed mushrooms lounging in melted butter, this is the place.  There’s a TGI Friday’s on the corner of South King and Ward Avenue.  Also: the Honolulu Academy of Arts Center at Linekona and the Honolulu Academy of Arts (which has a lovely cafe, the Doris Duke Theater showing indie and foreign films, and the last Friday of every month is ARTafterDARK).  Thomas Square hosts the seasonal Pacific Handcrafters Guild craft fairs (high-end woodworking, ceramics, clothing and more).  If you take Ward Ave towards the ocean, there are more places to eat and shop, including the Dixie Grill, Ross, Ward Warehouse, Ward Center, and the Ward movie theaters.  I’d call it walking distance; others would call me crazy.  TheBus has a route that runs down Ward Ave to the shopping malls.  Ward Center is a short hop away from Ala Moana shopping center, btw.

Random trivia: The Teen's orthodontist is in the same building.  Again with the broken yarn detector!

YARN & NEEDLECRAFT

[AS OF JUNE 2009 CLOSED INDEFINITELY]

222 Papalaua St (couple of blocks away from Front St, towards the mountains)
Lahaina (Maui), HI 96761
phone: (808) 661-1001
email: yarn@poshawaii.com
hours: M - S 10 am - 5 pm, Sun 10 am - 2 pm


Yarn and Needlecraft is in a small shopping complex about two blocks up
from Front Street.  The shop is small, with a big selection of basic
acrylic yarn, novelty yarns and ribbon for making crocheted leis.  I
did find a little sock yarn, but that display was very small.  Basic
tools - crochet hooks, knitting needles, notions - are on one wall.


JoAnne adds:
"I have been going to Yarn & Needlecraft for 30+ years and have seen all the positive changes that the store has gone through. After all these years I have just started knitting again thanks to the owner who has re-taught me how to knit.  I also go to their Wednesday night knitting/crocheting gathering that they have from 6:30pm - 8:30pm.  I have met the nicest people at these gatherings.  There is one Aunty (Lorinda) in particular who gives of herself unselfishly.  She is so knowledgeable about so many things!!  The guidance she provides to all of us is unreal.

I have recently bought yarns (wool) from them so I can make blankets for my children.  They are bringing in more wool, wool blends, silks, beaded silks (patterns and pattern books for the yarns) and they are adding to their already large cotton selections(bamboo,royal bamboo,vintage cotton,capri ombre etc. to name a few).  They are also willing to "special" order yarns that other stores do not carry or are out of.  Check it out and join the classes...they are free."

Thanks JoAnne!

CRAFT SUPPLY'S RIBBON & YARN

(visited in July 2009) Craft Supply of Honolulu’s King Street branch has closed, and Craft Supply’s Ribbon and Yarn Store has opened upstairs. Specializing in ribbons and yarns for making leis with, Craft Supply’s Ribbon and Yarn Store offers crochet and ribbon lei making classes, free with purchase of supplies. Classes are offered twice a day every day (except Sunday, when the shop is closed); for details on classes and times please call them at (808) 942-5044.

Yarns for sale include standards like Red Heart, Sugar ‘N Cream, Bernat (Baby Coordinates, Cotton Tots, Baby), and novelty/eyelash yarns from Crystal Palace and Trendsetter.

A small parking lot with free parking for customers is located behind the building; if you are driving east on S. King, the entrance to the parking lot is before the building. Nearby bus stops are served by routes 1 and 6 (check with TheBus for times and other possible routes).

1960 South King Street (upstairs), near McCully Street
phone; (808) 942-5044
Hours:MTWTF 9 - 3, Sat 9 - 12

U’I MAU A MAU (Beautiful Forever) [mapquest]
Harbor Center
98-027 Hekaha Street
(behind CutterFord in Aiea)
mobile phone (808) 255-5821
fax (808) 239-6221
email: haradat004@hawaii.rr.com
hours: T/W/Th 10-6, Sa 10-5, Su 12-4
Proprietor: Tracy Harada

I finally managed to get there during business hours, and I even found parking in front of the shop.  Harbor Center has a sort of
industrial feel, so I definitely don't look at the front door and think "yarn shop!" - there's no window, and you can't see into the door. What I wasn't expecting was to open the door into a relatively large space with a high ceiling.  This is the easiest to navigate shop I've visited so far, and may be the largest as well.

I immediately noticed that this shop specializes in crochet lei supplies.  Cubicles and rows of novelty yarns dominate, and there's a wall of ribbon spools.  A large selection of lovely crochet leis is displayed on one wall.  I browsed around a bit and found a small display of hooks and needles (lots of Clover).  I did see some wool yarns, suitable for felting, but it was a small selection.

There's a table where customers can sit and chat and play in pleasantly air-conditioned, well-lit comfort.  Tracy offers free
lessons (lei, scarf, or beanie) with a purchase; if you are interested in a lesson, I recommend calling first to find out when a good time would be.

Parking: free parking is available in front of the store, but only a few spaces are designated for the shop.  There is more free
(non-designated) parking in the general parking areas between the buildings.

TheBus (808) 848-5555: Harbor
Center is on several bus routes.  Please call the information line or check the website for routes and timetables.

Nearby: Aiea is in Central O'ahu, easily accessed by the city bus and (depending on the time of day) a drive of about 30 - 50 minutes from Honolulu.  Harbor Center has three separate buildings housing retail and wholesale shops.  There's a Fabric Mart, Beadmania! bead shop, and Jelly's Comics and Books, specializing in used books and music.  Tangent: Jelly's originally had a few locations throughout O'ahu and was THEplace to hang out (and if you were, like my high school boyfriend, cool enough, get a job at) if you had any indie/punk/alt leanings.  It's just the one store now (due to some business issues that had nothing to do with the stores having a fantastic concept and great selection), and I still love it even though I'm a normal looking grown-up now. For food, Waimalu Shopping Center is right across Kamehameha Highway, with a couple of noodle shops and other eateries.  There is a Genki Sushi and a Zippy's nearby, also on Kamehameha Highway, and the Pearlridge Shopping Center is also close by, with loads of shops and places to eat.

THE NEEDLEWORK SHOP
505 Front Street #125
Lahaina (Maui), HI 96761
phone: (808) 662-8554
phone (toll-free) 866-688-8876
webpage: theneedleworkshop.com
email: needlept505@aol.com
Dolphine David and Ruth Ann Wilson

The Needlework Shop is in a little warren of shops on Front Street - it took us a minute to locate the shop (it’s the one with a big yellow and pink plumeria sign above the door).  True to the name, this shop is for needlecrafters of all persuasions, with cross-stitch, embroidery, knit, and crochet supplies available, including notions and patterns.  The shop is fairly small but easy to navigate, with a comfortable amount of space to move around in.  A table to sit and chat at is in the back. The yarn selection is small, with a lot of high-end and novelty yarn on display (like some gorgeous Fiesta), great for making quick scarves and
handbags.  Maui Yarns hand-dyed yarns are also stocked here. There are supplies for making yarn lei as well.  Front Street is very touristy, so I wasn’t surprised to see yarns and projects geared towards the vacationing crafter.

FIDDLESTICKS CROSS STITCH & NEEDLEPOINT

Fiddlesticks isn’t a yarn shop, but I first went there because someone told me they had a lot of yarn.  No yarn at all, but I wasn’t disappointed.

The shop is small and in an odd location, sharing a lot with Lex Brodie’s Tire and Service Center.  The storefront, in stark contrast to the industrial area around it, is small, with warm wood, multiple glass windows and rambling plants.  The store itself is small and cozy, with all available wall space being used to display skeins of thread, beads, buttons, kits, patterns, and notions.  The spinning racks hold even more thread, in a wide range of colors and fibers including glittery novelty, faux suede, wool, cotton, silk and bamboo.  They have classes and do mail order.

The staff is friendly, helpful, and chatty.  Before I left, they heard all about my childhood quilt trauma and one of the staff members was demanding that I bring in my squares so they could see them.  I want to go back!


YARN & NEEDLECRAFTS
46 Hoolai (Kailua)
(808) 262-9555

Carrie: "I've been to Yarn & Needlecrafts on Hoolai in Kailua. It's just behind the Blockbuster next to a bakery. They share space with a year-round Christmas store. It was quite busy when I was there on a Sunday afternoon (they close at 2pm). They carry quite a few novelty yarns but I noticed Crystal Palace Chenille (presumably for leis) and Patons Canadiana and a few others. They appeared to have samples of wool yarn from an unknown company and they seemed surprised they I was looking for non-novelty yarn. They have a good selection of clover takumi bamboo needles. They also had a couple pairs of US35 clubs.
Friendly service, if not that knowledgeable about the non-novelty yarns."  Thanks Carrie!

Yarn Shops in Hawai'i that I have not been to:

Please call for hours, directions, etc.  Let me know if you've been to any of these shops and if there are more I have missed!

ALOHA YARN
46-018 Kamehameha Hwy #209 (Kaneohe)
(808) 234-5865

Susanbb: "Aloha Yarn in Kaneohe is very complete, even has sock yarn (!), nice people, in the last year has become full spectrum (was previously more lei oriented).  Shares a parking lot with PaKe's which is not-to-be-missed, next to Windward Mall and Zippy's, across the street from the drive-through Starbucks."  Thanks Susan!

Theresa adds: "I frequent Aloha Yarn a lot. Nanea is just wonderful, friendly and very knowledgable. She never makes anyone feels like they are imposing. She has lots of wool, alpaca, cotton, mixed blends. She carries brands like Crystal Palace, Cascade, Gallway and much more. She also carries knitting books, magazines and patterns. Highly recommended yarn store!"  Thanks Theresa!

Moon: "If you havent checked out Aloha Yarn you really must! Nanea is a knitting goddess. ;0) I learned to knit by taking a class with her and she continues to be a wealth of information and enthusiasm in the world of yarn arts. She can help you out of any knitting or crochet fix. And does so with a smile. How great is that???  The yarn has become breath taking as of late with lots of hand dyed goodness for your shawl and sock needs.  Even glittery goodness!!!!  Need I say more? Simply knitting nirvana."