hawaiian flower postcard: carnation

Inspired by a conversation with the one and only MSkiKnits, I've created colorways inspired by and named for Hawaiian flowers. Mel used four of the colorways (Plumeria, Bougainvillea, Anthurium, and Carnation) for her Ikaika II sweater, and I made kits - you can find them in the shop here!

You might not think of the carnation as a hawaiian flower, but lots and lots and lots of them are grown on Maui and the Big Island, and many make their way into leis.

Carnations remind me of Hawaii by way of two weeks I spent with my grandma Jinny, and one specific afternoon full or carnations. Like Proust's madeleine, I think of this particular afternoon every time I smell a scented carnation.

My parents were enjoying a child-free vacation to Hawaii, and Jinny had planned all sorts of Hawaiian-themed activities to keep me from feeling left out. These included "hula" dancing to tapes of Hawaiian music in the dining room, and making carnation leis. The lei making involved three huge bags of "lei heads" (these are carnations that have had their stems removed) lei needles (which are at least six inches long, and luckily for my little fingers, not too terribly pointy), and heavy thread. 

We sat outside in her yard, and strung what seemed like hundreds of flowers into leis, holding each one by its green calyx and passing the long lei needles through each flower vertically, each one nesting into the last. The spicy smell was pure magic, and I still remember how cool the petals felt against my neck.

The carnations were every possible color - white, peach, pale pink, fuchsia, red, and even pale green. 

The ones I loved best were pink splashed with red veins. It's this particular flower color that I wanted to capture in my new colorway, named unsurprisingly, "carnation." 

Check back next Wednesday for the story behind Plumeria!