Field Guide: Koko Head Avenue

Discover quilting classes, kimono-inspired clothing, yoga mats and Swarovski crystals along this Kaimukī street.

Quilters will find about 1,500 rolls of fabric nestled inside the Calico Cat.

Photo: David Croxford

1. The Calico Cat

“Quilters will smell us out a mile away,” laughs Carol Kuniyoshi, the owner of the Calico Cat, a fabric boutique. On a recent visit, Kuniyoshi was helping women from the Mainland pick out Island-inspired patterns. She has also had her fair share of longtime repeat customers since the shop’s opening in 1983. The Calico Cat packs in about 1,500 rolls of fabric lining the walls, in a variety of fabrics, colors and patterns, mainly used to make quilts. Beginners can stop by the shop to learn how make patchwork or Hawaiian quilts. “We have wonderful instructors who are enthusiastic, patient and knowledgeable,” she says. The Calico Cat also carries a wide selection of thread, ribbon, felt, acrylic paint and quilt patterns and supplies. 1223 Koko Head Ave., 732-3998, open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2. Kaimuki Public Library

The Kaimuki Public Library has been a neighborhood institution since 1915. The current library building was constructed in 1965 and serves not only Kaimuki, but also McCully, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai and Waikiki. “We’re one of three libraries open on Sunday,” says Melissa LePage, the acting branch manager. The library has a large Hawaiiana collection, including rare Hawaiian history books and oral history transcripts. For those who appreciate government transparency, Kaimuki Library also houses state documents, building plans, annual reports and maps. 1041 Koko Head Ave., 733-8422,


3. Bead It Kaimuki

Ever wanted to learn how to solder metals or string pearls? Bead It Kaimukī not only has a wide variety of beads and supplies—such as Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and glass beads from Japan—the store also has a place for its customers to piece their creations together, or learn from one of the instructors. “We encourage people to explore their creativity through jewelry making,” says Michele Rupert, the store manager. Bead It is a locally owned chain; the Kaimukī location has been helping customers make their own accessories since 1992. 1152 Koko Head Ave., 734-1182,


Did You Know?

Koko Crater is the modern name for the well-known cone originally called Kohelepelepe. Koko was the name of a small canoe that landed at the Wai‘alae side of the crater. The word means “blood” in Hawaiian, such as the blood of a person bitten by a shark.




4. Yoga Hawaii

Yoga Hawaii owners Tania Jo Ingrahm and Rupali Embry have each been practicing yoga for more than two decades. The two were originally in the magazine publishing business, but were looking for a change. So, 11 years ago, they opened Yoga Hawaii. The studio has been a success and, in May, Ingrahm and Embry expanded their space for a retail shop. Participants practice in mainly vinyasa and ashtanga styles, but there’s a class for everyone. “We just want to keep yoga fun!” says Ingrahm. 1152 Koko Head Ave., 739-9642,



5. Montsuki

Patty Yamasaki is known for her kimono-inspired designer clothing, including women’s formal wear, suit separates, wedding gowns and, by request, men’s shirts. Yamasaki started Montsuki with her mother, Janet, in 1979 and has continued to run the boutique since Janet’s passing. “I look at the fabric, touch it and get a feeling for how to design it,” she says. Yamasaki incorporates kimono silks, whether ones she’s purchased or a client’s piece, and incorporates the material into designs with cotton, linen or other silk. Montsuki also carries jewelry from local designers. 1132 Koko Head Ave., Suite F, 734-3457, Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.