November 20, 2011

Fiber Beat #24 "Haiku to Habu" featuring Takako Ueki & Darlene Hayes

Hello Habu Textiles Fans!

My name is Michael Wade and I produce a podcast called Fiber Beat. I recently interviewed Takako Ueki as well as Darlene Hayes for episode #24, Haiku to Habu.

Fiber Beat, Episode 24: Haiku to Habu

I'd be ever so pleased to know what you think of the piece.  Oh, and be sure to enter the contest we have for two prizes: (1) a yarn tasting sampler of some cool Habu Yarns AND (2) the Fameuse cardigan pattern from Knit Cook. More contest details can be found on the Fiber Beat site and you can continue the conversation in the Ravelry Fiber Beat forum.

Thanks for your time and big thanks to Olgajazzy for granting me permission to post in this forum.

~Michael Wade (WonderMike on Ravelry)

June 26, 2011

Habu Spring Shawl

A couple of you remember my obsession with this Habu Spring shawl.  I looked at it online literally for years, inhibited by the $180 price tag.  Somehow I separately acquired the Shosenshi paper linen yarn and the cashmere required for the shawl, and the pattern itself.  When I started knitting it, I discovered that I didn't have enough cashmere and that the color I was using was discontinued.  I couldn't find it anywhere, or any substitutes that even remotely matched it.  I also discovered that I couldn't achieve gauge. 

Jump ahead to Winter 2011 - I found the shawl on eBay for half the price!  But by now, I had already bought enough yarn equal to the cost of the kit.  I should have just bought it in the first place.

Anyway, I'm happy to have it.  But I'm still not getting gauge in width or length, no matter what I do.  Given that it is a rectangular shaped garment, the width isn't as important as length.  You see, the leafy panels and stockinette panels are knit separately, then attached by picking up stitches on the edges lengthwise, then joined by a three needle bind off.  The knitter should begin first by stringing 121 beads on the yarn used for the bind off, then holding the right side  of the pieces on the outside and the wrong side in the middle, bind off, which hides the "wrong side" seam. The beads should be slipped between the stitches.

Still with me?

I barely have the patience to write about it, let alone do it.  And besides, as I've said, I can't knit the correct gauge for one piece, let alone matching gauge so that the joined pieces aren't skewed.  Frankly, cutting and rejoining The Coat was easier.  So.  The plan is to join the panels with hand-sewn chain stitch, picking up the beads as I go along.  Fingers crossed.

I still expect the unexpected with this shawl.  Stay tuned.

November 10, 2010

Habu Hempathy Skirt Pattern

Habu Hempathy Skirt

I finally finished writing the pattern for my Ralph Rucci-inspired Habu Hempathy Skirt. It is on my Knitwear Designs page.  There's only one pattern there now, but there are more to come.  Many, many, many thanks to Deb and Olga for their much needed advice, editing, and modeling.   The original post can be found here.

August 14, 2010

Infinite Loop

Originally posted at Olgajazzy

This past June while it was a rainy season in Japan I've got to travel back to the States for TNNA and honestly it was lots of work and fun at the same time... More on that later, on how many wonderful designer friends I've got to see and meet as well as yarn shop owners who are thrilled as I am about our book Ori Ami Knits:Fiber Geometry! So excited, that we actually sold out and now we are on our second edition folks!!! And pre-orders are up again!! This makes me incredibly happy, that people of the industry and knitters found the designs and contents to their taste! We couldn't have done it without you, I know we couldn't have!! So Thank You for your support!!!

Amidst travel I have been working on lots more new patterns, but this wonderful weather of 90-100F has been a big distraction recently. As we live relatively close to the beach now...trying to enjoy some of those hot days there.

Today I am going to share with you a new design I have introduced at TNNA called Infinite Loop. I am particularly excited about this one as it got tremendous response and it's something I've always wanted to have in my wardrobe. It can be worn in over 15 (!!!) ways. It's lightweight enough to carry around in a purse and has no season to it! Moreover this garment is set to launch my wholesale line of patterns. Means that if you are a yarn shop and would like to carry Olgajazzy patterns, you now can! Just contact me.

It's knit using light fingering or heavy laceweight yarn, in my case I've used Habu Textiles N-35A, which is 100% rayon with viscose sizing but only comes in 2 colors for time being, insane in yardage, very affordable and possibly a perfect marriage for this design and yarn. It comes in a skein and feels very wire-y and crisp, but wait till you soak it in water and let is dry, it has features of bamboo silky drape but yet still holding that crisp structure.

But if you would like to use your stash this yarn would be easy to substitute because of the ginormous lace yarn market we have, if it would be for another Habu Textiles yarn it can be A-174 Cotton Gima, but out of other generic yarns how about my new personal favorite Madelinetosh Prairie. I must say I've been replying some folks on Ravelry considering their yarn choice for this, so please if you need help or advice, please don't hesitate to email me to PM or leave a comment, I would love to assist you if I can!

The pattern I've written to accomodate 16 sizes ranging from 28-58" bust sizes.
Needle size: US 3 (3.25 mm)
Gauge: 24 sts and 36 rows in 4" over Stockinette Stitch
Yardage required: 2280-4560 yds
Pattern price: USD $10

[A little note here, some were asking why the price is so high for this, but I have a simple reply. When you have a piece of clothing you can wear so many possible ways - this is a bargain. If you buy a single pattern, it can only be worn the way it was meant to be. Even if out of 15+ ways to wear Infinite loop you only like 2-3 ways, you still win!]

All possible pictures won't fit into any blog post. So for that reason pattern pdf has variations documented on a dress form. Please check the styling video below how many ways this garment can be worn. Funny thing is, since I've made this video, I've found at least another 2 ways! SO please experiment!!

Now onto more pattern writing and knitting! Mata-ne!

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.

April 18, 2010

Habu Hempathy Skirt

also posted on my blog, When a Door Closes...

I always start things a bit late. I didn't know there was a Ravelympics 2010 until two days into the Olympics. Without a second thought, I jumped up and grabbed some yarn out of my stash and began knitting this skirt. To be fair, the concept for this skirt had been stewing in my mind for a while. It was inspired by a Ralph Rucci collection and Habu stainless steel. And I needed a black skirt. I quickly knit a swatch, determined the gauge, then cast on, using US4 Addi Lace Weights.

Habu Hempathy Skirt

The body of the skirt is knit with black Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. (I don't know why it looks blue in the photos.) I will probably use Habu Tsumugi Silk next time. The transparent bands are Habu Silk Stainless Steel. They are placed to create the effect of a short skirt, offset by the below-the-knee total length. I wanted somethiing conservative for work but not matronly. It also had to be modest when sitting. The skirt is knit in the round, has a provisional cast on hem, and an elastic waist band. A simple and quick knit, completed within the two weeks of the Olympics.

Habu Hempathy Skirt

Habu Hempathy Skirt

Habu Hempathy Skirt

Habu Hempathy Skirt

I am pleased with the outcome. My model/knit-sibling Deb makes it look even better. I'm grateful that she agreed to model it for me, and had the patience to endure the twenty or so shots I made. Thanks, Deb!

March 19, 2010

:: Ori Ami Knits ::

For the past year me and Vanessa Yap-Einbund of coloursknits along with Kirsten Johnstone of assemblage - knitting bloggers have been working on a publication. This is a new and daring project - a self-published book of patterns all made using Habu Textiles yarn that we all have turned to love through the years for its amazing features. We have taken up entire process, not just the designs, but production, photography, layout - literally everything. One would question why? Answer is simple, we just wanted to make sure that our original vision and concept was delivered in the final result just as we have planned it. We have learnt a great deal during this endeavor and it is ready to be shared.
Ori Ami Knits: Fiber Geometry
Ori (jap.) - weave, fold,
Ami(mono) (jap.) - knit, knitting

The whole idea behind and details of the book aspect you can find on our website.
The book has been divided into 4 chapters. "Practical Geometry", "Subtle Layers", "Dimensional Folds" and "Nautical Structures". Here are several garments sneak peaks below:

Just a few crucial details. We really wanted to make this book available and interesting to a wide public, so all garments have instructions for 10 sizes. The digital book has been already published digitally and print version is on the press. Currently you can subscribe to the book. How you can benefit from subscription? You receive 2 exclusive patterns that are not going to be in a print version of OAK. Please refer to our FAQ list if you have questions on more details. And though I have been knitting non-stop for the past year, I honestly want to make some of these again, so I can enjoy wearing them during long summer, from what I hear, in Japan.

Ori Ami Knits on Ravelry (requires login)

If you are a yarn store and wish you carry print version of Ori Ami Knits in your store, please email us

November 6, 2009

Habu Headquarters Visit

Last Tuesday Vanessa and I took a ride to New York city to visit Habu Textiles showroom and meet up with the owner, Takako Ueki. We wanted to show her what we have been up to for the past year and what we turned the gorgeous yarns into that she had started bringing into United States almost a decade ago. Since our last visit the showroom has changed a little and had acquired some new things to exhibit.

Being there feels very invigorating and inspiring, it's like a vortex of inspiration that is consuming you entirely and you have to, absolutely have to come out with a mind full of new ideas for exciting knitwear design! Habu textiles provides you with a very tactile experience.

We saw some new linen paper experiments dyed in indigo, which you can see above, the shades are absolutely intriguing! This yarn is not going to be carried in their regular line though.

And if you rememberthis linen, we have learnt that now it is being produced in various fantastic colors! Just look at the basket above.

Takako explained, that she has brought a lot of new yarns in and going to introduce them at TNNA in Long Beach in January 2010. But some of them are already available in the showroom. Visiting the showroom is worth it if you are in NYC, just to look through the baskets on the floor that quite often contain amazing bargains! Making a choice is what usually would take most of your time along with fondling the silk and other exotics!

But don't be discouraged if you haven't seen what you absolute have to have, you probably simply haven't found it yet. I realized that getting a yarn catalog is a great way to learn about yarns and inspect them under different lighting. You may also want to grab a couple of bargain mystery bags that contain various yarn, so you can swatch and pair up together to get the texture you like.

Concept of this yarn line is exploration. It needs to be swatched and handled, washed and pondered over. Then it would "speak" to a knitter what it wants to become!

September 14, 2009

Lace Textured Shawl - Habu Textile A-1B Kakishibu Tsumugi Silk

Pattern: Lace Textured Shawl
Fiber: Habu A-1B Kakishibu Tsumugi Silk
Colour: 52 - 4 balls

This Shawl started during Summer Solstice as I took part in the observation of Candle Night. I had wanted to be able to take it in my bag for a brainless project during a convention, but it grew to much those first couple of nights and ended up on the back burner.

This pattern began is't life as a textured shawl recipe shawl, but it took on a life of its own. I had just finished a textured shawl recipe shawl in indigo hand spun and wanted something a little lacier. So I started to throw in random faggot stitches. The pattern is made up of a combination on 8 lace patterns and stockinet rows in decreases row counts.

This was the first time I had used the Habu A-1B Kakishibu Tsumugi Silk and I absolutely love the fiber. I used two strands of the yarn held together, but due to the fineness of the yarn it still achieve a lacey appearance. The yarn is rather stiff when blocked and does seem to bleed out a lot of dye when soaked. I will be interested to see if it gets softer with use this fall.

August 18, 2009

:: in Love with Stainless Steel ::

Just the other day I have noticed on kpixie website the arrival of new Habu Textiles A-20/21 Silk wrapped stainless steel yarn in amazing new colors! Check them out yourself and think what a great range is given now!

I want to share today my favorite jacket, that took me less time to knit on small needle than to sew, but the result!!! It is stunning, it took 2 colors of A-20/21 : lavender and grey and every time someone asks me about it, they admire the fiber content, but yet are very stunned by amazing look.
This is Kit -24 in M size.

Fall in love with Habu Textiles all over again and though this jacket took me a while I am certainly planning out the colors on another one!

July 19, 2009

Fountain Pen Shawl

I was so happy to finally be able to use my Habu stash for something!

I combined Habu's Wool/Linen A-175, and Silk Mohair A-32B for the Fountain Pen Shawl.

Truth be told, I ran out of the A-175, and had to improvise. I think the mohair adds a nice ruffley edge.

What do you guys think?

October 13, 2008

Habu Bamboo Pullover

Pattern: mine
Yarn: Habu bamboo XS-32 20/18, Color Charcoal (4), 6 skeins
Needles: US 4 Addi Turbos
Ravelry link
I finally took some photos!
I love this yarn!!! It is one of the nicest yarns I have ever used, smooth and silky and soft. It is also heavy and drapey, so it's not really appropriate for anything that needs stitch definition, or to hold a defined shape. But it falls over the body like a sheet of water--it's delicious to wear.
So, I made this pattern up as I went, specifically for this lovely yarn, with some preliminary drawings, and a general idea in my head. I took no notes, and re-did the neck twice, so I'm sort of fuzzy on specifics. A couple of people have asked, however, for a clue to its general construction, so I've tried to describe it here.
This is one of my favorite knits, much due to the gorgeousness of the bamboo yarn, but it took me a while to come up with something that was really right for such a heavy yarn. Yay for Habu!!! How I love them.... ;)
Cross-posted at Yarnmonster.

October 7, 2008

Kit 86

Started swatching for it.  Had to go to a size 0 needle and needed something pointy so tried knitpicks metal circulars after bamboo made me crazy.

At first it seemed like knitting with an invisible thread but after about ten rows I got really into it and am excited about starting the cardigan.  its amazing that something so cobweb quickly feels quite substantial when knit.

I have not seen this made up (have to find a trunk show) and wonder if anyone has made it?

Although the dimensions say it should fit me, i suspect it is supposed to be very loose and on me it will be more form fitting--any thoughts on whether I should make it larger or just do the first one as written (which is my inclination.)  I can always make a gift of it.   I have a 44 bust and the pattern is 45 inches buttoned--although i usually keep cardigans open.  Also wonder how the assymetric  fold on front will look if i have it opened or maybe just button one or two buttons.

any suggestions appreciated

September 30, 2008

Washi and Tsumugi Coat

Also posted as The Coat on my blog, When a Door Closes...

I finally finished The Coat. I was determined to take it to Moscow because I didn't have much else to wear. So I did the minimum finishing possible, i.e. just enough to hold it together and not have strands of yarn showing (shame, shame!). I have not woven in the yarn on the interior pockets. It still has no buttons and I didn't do the slip-stitch edging as instructed.

Sept 30 2008 037

I love it, even though I suspect that all the alterations I had to do to it caused my summer-long knitting hiatus. I love it, though I wish the collar would stand up more like this all the time. A little starch maybe?

Sept 30 2008 024

The Coat

Sept 6 2008 004

I love wearing it with slacks, and full skirts, and pencil skirts. It dresses up with a crystal brooch as a closure for the ballet or dresses down swinging open with a pair of jeans. I love it with turtlenecks and v-necks. I love it with pearls and I love it with tiny Russian icon pendants. It travels well and dries nearly overnight.

Pattern: Washi and Tsumugi Coat, Hand-Knit Works, by Setsuko Torii
Yarn: Habu Shosenshi Paper and Habu Tsumugi Silk, knit together.
Needles: US 6 Addi Lace Weights (perfect for the paper and silk)
Mods: I will make it again, but I've learned a few things. I knit the top as one piece, which meant no shoulder seams and makes it more comfortable to wear I think. I knit straight across the back, which would have eliminated grafting had I been more mindful of the size. I will make the sleeves longer next time. It has always been necessary to extend the length of the sleeves on most of my garments and I simply forgot this. As is the sleeves are 3/4 length, which actually works out just fine, but I wish I had been more aware. The pattern was an X-Large, I think, rather than a Large as the pattern was labeled. I will be more mindful of size and fit as I knit next time.

Nicole: I would be happy to help if you have resumed working on your Coat. You can post here or e-mail me at Ava.R.Smith AT I would be happy to answer other questions too.

Sept 30 2008 003

August 9, 2008

Not a Habu kit-this is Stella...made with Habu textiles shosenshi linen paper and tsumugi silk.

the colorway is dark red and eggplant,which blends into a deep rich color.The sweater is light and airy,perfect for the summer,but will easily transition into the fall and winter...

I'm just not sure about the button-the pattern seems to need a large button...I like this,but I need opinions-is it too much?too heavy?,please be honest...

Whatever-I'm wearing it and loving the Habu...