Friday, February 26, 2010

Konnichiwa Habu!

As promised, an update on the new Habu shipment which came in last week. Some of you know about Habu but I think it is a mystery for a lot of us. If you're facing the front desk at the store and look to your left, you'll see lots of shelves packed with curious little balls (and some bigger spools) of yarn that doesn't resemble your typical merino or cashmere. That's because Habu brings unique yarns often made from surprising sources. For example: raw silks, hamp bark, bamboo, hand-tied ramies, cashmere with almost no twist, naturally gold silks, handspun silks/cottons, silk stainless steel, and fine silver.

Yes, that's right, I said stainless steel and silver.

Habu is owned by textile artist Takako Ueki, who explains her weaving philosophy at her website. I was lucky enough to meet Takako when I went to Market in January. She and Suzanne are great friends so we spent a lot of time at the Habu booth. The more time I spent looking at all that interesting yarn, the more intrigued I became. I am now officially slobbering to make a project with some of Habu's alternative offerings-- the only thing holding me back is trying to settle on a project. I feel like-- pardon the old cliche but it's totally apt here-- a kid in a candy shop when I look at all the choices. And now that we just got in a new batch, well I'm even more (very pleasantly) stumped about what to make.

The good news is, this month, Ori Ami Knits comes out. The book features projects made with Habu. I got a sneak peek at some finished projects at market and they are lovely. So maybe I'll pick something from there. Or I might buy one of the Habu kits-- there are lots of those hanging just above the shelves.

And now, before I show off a bunch of Habu pictures, here's a fun little tidbit from the Habu website about how Takako picked the company's name:

"habu" came from the name of a "very..." poisonous snake, which is unique to southern islands of Japan, Okinawa. Ever since I begun weaving, I have been in love with the textiles in Okinawa. I wanted to have a name related to those islands."Ha" means "wave." "Bu" means "fabric." We chose a different charachter for "ha" for our name, which means "no. 8." Because of its bottom wide shape, this number is believed to bring a life, which will slowly, but eventually opens up for you.
Maybe I'll take that a step further and knit something on size 8 needles. Okay, PICTURES!

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