May 16, 2010

Paper out of Linen

originally posted at Ori Ami Knits blog

Habu Textiles A-60

I am not sure how did it start for many of you, but my first Habu Textiles yarn was Shosenshi Linen paper that I purchased back in 2006 from Knit Purl store online. How do I remember? I have just found my receipt the other day. It was funny that I was actually looking for a raffia like yarn.. and I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. When it has arrived it took me 3 hours to gently wind it by hand, as at that time I didn't own yet a swift or a ball-winder. The feel of it really surprised me, it was much thinner and more fragile than I would want from this "raffia" to be. So my crochet swatch of it really didn't do what I needed. I put it in the basket thinking what a fiasco... Only later to find out what a treasure I had acquired for my stash.

I know I have heard many stories later that people had purchased yarns like that from Habu textiles and not knowing what to do with it. But with time I have learnt - you can pair that yarn with anything or knit by itself and get an amazing result. This is what yarn from Habu Textiles was all about. Create your own with an array of their yarns to find one in particular you love.

Swatch above made using 4 different colors of A-60 on 4mm needle knit only with a single strand of it.

This season starts with a linen paper additions. Thinner (2mm) version of Shosenshi Linen N-67B has joined the team, it is still rustles as you knit with it and still has all the features of the A-60, but now you can incorporate it with with lots of other tiny threads or work it on its own as shown in a charcoal swatch below, knit single-stranded on 3.25mm needle.

And a thicker addition of Linen paper has also made appearance in a face of N-70, which represents 3 linen paper strands individually twisted, then plied together to create one yarn. It gives it rather chunky weight and can certainly suit those who love quicker results on bigger needles. Swatch in brick color below is made using 5.5mm needle and is also held single-stranded.

While doing some research one can find out that traditionally paper, linen paper has been used in kimono weaving in Japan for centuries. Paper has this amazing feature of heat insulation (for a laugh, bums on the street stuff their jackets with newspapers to keep warm, rather dorky correlation, but it has a point). And on the subject how is it made.. flax is ground into cellulose-like mass and then strung into a flat tape that is later re-enforced with sizing/starch like glue. Garments created with this yarn are air light, if handled wrong this yarn can give you couple paper cuts, so be careful. But overall it is an amazing experience to try knitting with this one-of-a-kind material. You feel like a part of some secret club. It would sing in your hands, just give it a tune and listen.

1 comment:

Love.Leigh.Knitz said...

i'm so happy to have come upon your blog... i'm getting ready to begin my first 'garment' with habu textiles... chose my color scheme today and am now awaiting the pattern/kit. your comments on the linen paper 'yarn' is very helpful. i was told by the shop where i am purchasing the items, that they would not wind it for me, and they further suggested i not use a ball winder, but instead, go at it the old fashioned way - using the back of a chair. well, i have that perfect chair in my living room, and it's well broken in, having served as my ball winder for many years now! i love the organic, artistic quality of habu textiles, and am looking forward to this first project!