There’s a beautiful tradition in Hawai’i for both high school and college graduations. All family and friends of the graduate give them a lei.
Let me share a blast from my past with you.
This was me at my high school graduation just last year. hee hee And let me tell you, there were many of my classmates with many, many more leis than I had on.
It’s a beautiful concrete way to see the aloha (love) expressed by family and friends. And it’s uniquely Hawaiian.
There are two girls in my daughter’s hula halau (school) that are graduating from high school this month. Since it’s not easy to buy a flower lei away from Hawai’i, nor is it easy to find the flowers to make a flower lei, I’ve chosen to make a crocheted lei for each of the girls. A yarn or ribbon lei is a common keepsake that graduates in Hawai’i hang in their room for years. Traditionally you use the school colors to make the lei.
There are many patterns to crochet different styles leis. Since I am an impatient crafter, I’ll show you the easiest pattern I’ve found.
It uses the Solomon’s knot stitch. and a size G or H crochet hook.
You start by pulling a loop about 3/4 – 1 inch long up on your hook.
Yarn over and pull loop through. Insert hook through the 3 strands of the long loop.
Yarn over and pull through both loops on your hook.
This will make a small knot on top of the 3-strand long loop.
Continue making these loops and knots until the chain is about 10 feet long (a little shorter for shorter graduates and a little longer for taller graduates). Using the 2nd school color, make another chain and measure its length to be the same as the first chain.
Measure a piece of ribbon or double strand of yarn to be approximately 40 inches long (a little shorter for shorter graduates and a little longer for taller graduates). This will be your base ribbon
Tie the base ribbon to the end of both chains. The arrow shows the base ribbon.
Insert the crochet hook through the middle of the first knot on each chain. Hook the base ribbon with the crochet hook (the arrow shows base ribbon).
Pull the base ribbon through the two knots. I find it easier to use my hands for this.
Continue pulling the base ribbon through each set of knots. Be careful to keep the color chain you started with as your first color each time. Continue until you only have a small tail of the base ribbon remaining.
Scrunch the two chains down to the starting knot of the base ribbon. Then continue pulling the base ribbon through the knots and scrunching the chains down until you’ve finished with the last set of knots.
Traditionally, when you are all done, you twist the chains around the base ribbon so that the colors spiral around the entire lei.
I told you that I’m an impatient crafter, plus I like the way the lei looks even without the colors being spiraled so I don’t usually do this step. I simply slide the bunched up lei around the base ribbon until it’s evenly distributed (about the same amount of puffiness all the way around).
Once you’re done adjusting the lei along the base ribbon, tie the ends together and add a ribbon to the joined area to hide it and decorate the lei.
One lei is for a graduate with red and white for the school colors. The other graduate has blue and green as her school colors.
I like the red and white lei better, but the blue and green lei represents that graduate’s school .
I’d love to see the leis you crochet or make with any technique.