The Art of Hawaiian featherwork is precise and exact - exact in size, precise in placement of feathers, the very construction of a lei hulu is work for an engineer. Feathers are cut to exact size, placed exactly 1/2 a feather over and 1/16th of an inch down. Lei humu papa ie hatbands, kamoe and poe ie the 'rope lei' or "Kaahumanu lei", as well as all the contemporary lei, these are standard measurements for Maui Feather Lei haumana (students). The final value of the lei is the type of feathers used, the Artist labor and how many wiliwili or stitches are in the lei.
Having the right tools makes a huge difference.
Uncle Ron Daniels designed a tool - Aunty Pattie calls it the Lei Key - the key to a successful lei. https://www.etsy.com/listing/186311624 to purchase.
Shaped like a key, it is simple to hold in the palm of the hand, holds 20 yards of thread and has 8 markings for measurements, it has been modified many times, the last version 2017 has a special 3/4 measurement just for pheasant feathers. "The key has created a standard of excellence... beginners and advanced lei artist create strong beautiful lei that wont shed feathers and may speed up lei completion by 50%." copyright P.Gomez 2017
Step 1: The Lei Key As a Shuttle
Load the key with thread, we use serger thread which is a little heavier than 'everyday thread', about 20 yards and load thread away from you. If wound towards you, the thread will unwind when hung from the lei.
The purple key is showing the thickness 1/16th, note the red key is narrow, they newer keys have the 3/4 inch wider handle for pheasant feathers. copyright P.Gomez 2017
Step 2: The Lei Key Measurements
Line the end of the feather with the measurement and cut into the quill. Creating clean first cut feather 2nd cut feather in the V format is extremely important.
Please call or email if you need further instruction or
copyright P.Gomez 2017
Step 3: Follow the Measurements for Exact Size
Line the feather with the measurement and snip into the quill creating the V.
copyright P.Gomez 2017
Step 4: Wili Wili With the Lei Key in Video
Line up top of feather with measurement and cut into the quill, creating the desirable V
please email if you need further instruction or specific to your project
copyright PGomez 2017