December 20, 2007

Lacy Skirt with Bows

I love the Habu kits and Setsuko Torii patterns but I also love the idea of combining Habu yarns with other yarns and using them with other patterns.

This pattern is Kat Coyle's Lacy Skirt with Bows found in Greetings from Knit Cafe. My original intention was to use a mix of Habu cotton gima and Habu merino for the skirt. I wasn't completely sold on this idea after swatching so I substituted the cotton gima with some Coats Opera Cotton I dyed with logwood.

The yarns used for this skirt are Habu merino A 33 in #6 brown and Coats Opera Cotton dyed with logwood. I used larger needles than called for with the lace panels to create a more open lace and used about 1000 yards of yarn for the skirt.

Happy to report the skirt is a dream to wear and even after 11 and 12 hour wearings does not bag.

Habu Trunk Show at Woven Art

(This is also posted on my blog When a Door Closes...)

Where does time go? I was in Michigan weekend before last and it's already the 19th. Of course I lost a week when I got back - I promptly caught a cold and slept it off several days in bed. No knitting. Not the time of year to be sick, is it?

I attended a Habu Trunk show at Woven Art while I was there. Man what a show! It consisted primarily of the garments designed and knit by Setsuko Torii found in Setsuko Torii Hand-Knit Works.

The Japanese-language book is still available at and Amazon Japan. There is no English-language version and no plans to publish one at the moment. I have it from a good source that only 2000 books were printed.

Setsuko Torii Hand-Knit Works

Most of the garments are now available in kits from Habu Textiles. The pix I took don't do the garments justice - they are truly breath-taking individual works of art and innovation. I spent the first hour looking and staring - awestruck really. I was on sensory overload. Then I finally started trying things on, much later remembering to take pictures. My first impression years ago of most clothing made with Habu yarn was that they were best suited for smaller frames, but after watching everyone try them on, it quickly became apparent that practically every piece flatters every figure and every age. They are classic and timeless.

I can't choose a favorite. I loved some aspect of each piece: the careful color gradation knit into a jacket; the simple buttonholes created by enlarging and binding the opening of a stitch; the drapiness of the hand of knitted stainless steel or paper, or both together; unusual color combinations that would never have occurred to me but really work; the innovation of a sideways knit making a deceptively simple jacket; or the rustling (a whisper) of a paper linen and stainless steel jacket when it moves. Design and concepts so simple in some cases that you wonder why you didn't think of it yourself.

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The color gradation is created by knitting different shades of solid gray yarn at certain intervals. The yarn is not variegated.

It was hard to choose a kit to buy. I finally settled on a new Torii design created after the book was published: a short wrap jacket with a shawl collar knit from DK wool and 2 tiny strands of ramie, and a white-on-white Kusha Kusha scarf.

I loved this cotton and stainless steel jacket.

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The top half is made of cotton and stainless steel knit together. The cotton gives the jacket shape and form. The bottom half is knit with two strands of stainless steel, one off-white and one gray, giving the impression of modern, ultra-lightweight and airy chainmail. It floats in the back.

The "Washi and Tsumugi" coat flattered everyone who tried it on. It doesn't hang in a boxy way, instead it skims the contours of the body. Everyone loved it.

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A mohair pullover edged with heavier tsumugi combination silk gives the garment weight and drape unimaginable in mohair.

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The red jacket in the foreground had knotted "shippo tails" on the sleeves making it much more than just a simple jacket. We were all surprised that it had hidden pockets!

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It is made of shosenshi paper and stainless steel, and rustles gently when you move in it.

This lovely Chinese Style Pullover is knit with two strands of shosenshi paper yarn in purple and khaki (actually green).

Chinese Style Pullover

Photo from Hand-Work Knits.

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The most astounding piece, for me at least, was the shippo tail tank.

shippo tail tank

Photo from Hand-Work Knits.

The MC is purple paper linen, followed by gray, chartreuse, blue/grey I think, then chartreuse, tipped with a bit of gray again. The chartreuse was beautiful with the gray and purple. It's brighter than it appears in the photo, providing a brilliant contrast to the purple. I'd like to make this eventually, but will modify the tail somehow, perhaps placing it elsewhere and modifying the length.

Takako Ukei, owner of Habu, gave an interesting talk about the development of Habu yarn Friday night, and three hour-long classes on reading Japanese charts Saturday morning. Each class was packed. Takako was delightful. She has a wonderful sense of humor and a boatload of patience.

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Takako is wearing a sideways knit cardi. She had a pattern for it, so it is probably available as a kit too. Click on the picture for a wider shot.

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The pattern reading class was an enormously useful and gave me the chance to ask questions about some of the patterns in the book.

There are more pictures here.

Woven Art was an excellent venue for the show and the class. There was plenty of room to display the collection and try things on. The table was just the right size for the class (and the lazy susan in the center was perfect for treats!) Nancy's shop is the kind of place where knitters just go to hang, have a cup of coffee and knit (or weave. or spin.) as I would do if I lived in Lansing or East Lansing. Nancy is a wonderful host and the knitters there are warm, friendly people with whom I felt immediately at home. (I'll see you guys again soon!)

Why oh why doesn't someone in the Washington Metro area host a Habu trunk show? I would happily attend again.

November 19, 2007

Frilly Jumper

I've been excitedly waiting for the chance to share 'Frilly Jumper' from 'A Stitch in Time' by Jane Waller. I am working with on the re-publication of this book, published in 1972, showing knitting fashions from the 1920s through to the early 1950s. 'Frilly Jumper' is from the 1930s section.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I have used Kusaki Zome natural dyed silk and A-20 stainless steel for the trim on the frill. I am thrilled with the outcome and can't wait to see it in the new version of the book when its published.

I hope you all like her.

Ruby xx

November 8, 2007

Help with kit 89!

Help with kit 89!
Knitting the fabric was easy, but I am having trouble with the construction of the garment! Does anyone have the pattern, and, if so, help me interpret how the shoulder seams are sewn together?
Thanks in advance.......... Barbara

October 31, 2007

Kit #36

Although I actually visited the minuscule Habu retail store in NY a couple of years ago, I never tried the Habu yarns and kits until Takako came to my LYS, Article Pract, in December of last year. I was seduced by her trunk show and ordered the kit for the Paper Silk Mohair Jacket. I also bought several of skeins of nerimaki ito silk to make some little nubby scarves. I scoped out the pattern instructions, and they didn't look too hard, so I began the sweater but stalled out because I got scared that I was doing something wrong. Takako returned to Oakland in February, and I took a class from her where I learned to read a Japanese pattern and showed her my progress. She said I was on the right track, so on I went. I really enjoyed working with the combination of paper and the cobwebby mohair/silk blend. The sweater is soft, as light as air to wear, and gets compliments galore. I've got kusha kusha in my queue for winter (another kit from Takako's visit), and love seeing all the pictures and comments on this blog. Thanks for the invitation to participate!

October 30, 2007

Kit 89

I am new to this list, joining after purchasing several kits from Knitch, in Atlanta. I am also new to the concept of blogging, so I'm not sure that I am doing this correctly!
Anyway, I am presently working on kit 89, and having so much fun! Is this kit familiar to anyone? I have found the row gauge to be fairly accurate so far, and am assuming the front is knit exactly like the back.
I loved the buttons used on the sample in the trunk show. Does anyone know where to purchase some like these?
Barbara (Orlando, Florida)

October 15, 2007

hi there, I've kusha'd

thanks for the invite Olga. :)

like so many of you, my first habu textiles kit was the kush kusha scarf:


yarns: silk stainless A-20/21 1/20 in gray (color 3), and super fine merino A-177 in charcoal (color 97).

:while i did in fact knit all of the rows as stated, i used both right handed and left handed knitting in the steel + wool part, and only right handed knitting in the steel only part. this resulted in a far longer steel + wool section than the pattern intended, while the steel only portion was the correct size.

:it stopped being a process knit for me about half way through the steel only portion, and became all about the finished object; which i really like.

this is actually the third piece that i've made with habu yarns. my first was a misty garden scarf out of mohair tam, and the second was a 'Wisp' made out of silk/mohair kusa that i overdyed.

you can see my stash of habu textiles yarns here, if you like.


October 14, 2007

:: Notes on Kit#100

As I have promised some doodles on making of my Habu kit #100, seaming less and making it reversible.
So originally you are to make 10 pieces and seam them all up.


A little bit of brainstorm and instead of 10 we only make 4.
2 of which are pocket linings.
So you will have to cast on twice, both times from each cuff edge and placing marker in the middle (why? because there are increases to be made). You will technically make two parts of the top of the coat, but we join them in the back by weaving/grafting so it is one!


And when the whole top part is knit and assembled and seamed we can pick up the stitches all around the bottom of it. The longer the needle you are picking up/making the bottom of the coat - the better, so you could try it on multiple times in case you need to mess with the length (if not just put it on a couple of circular needles to try it on and see).


You make one nice long bind off which will be the bottom of your coat.

Each Pocket consists of 2 parts (so 4 parts for all pockets) in the original pattern: just do a provisional cast on and then put the stitches back on the needle and make the second part, fold it in half when seaming and attaching it to the coat. And don't forget to work the mirror decreases in them.

Not some much to brain afterall, the thing with japanese patterns is that the pattern is mostly numeric and when to some reason or circumstances the numbers and your gauge don't make sense follow the scheme by measurements this should always lead to success!
Have a question-ask away!

Habu at Ally Pally

On Thursday I went to Alexandra Palace in London (Ally Pally) for the Knitting and Stitching Show. I have heard so much about this wonderful yarn, and seen so many elegant garments and accessories made with it that I wanted to get my hands on some (more). I had read in blogland that last year, so many people bought Habu that there was very little choice by the Saturday. I decided I wasn't taking any chances and took the day off on Thursday (which is the first day of the show). The Habu stand was my first port of call.

It was extremely busy. Everyone was polite, and enthusiastic about Habu. At most other stalls people looked, stroked, mused, wandered away and possibly came back to purchase something later. At the Habu stall, whilst there was no pushing/shoving and everyone was super polite and helpful, people were there to buy. Takako was there together with another lady whose name I don't know. Both of them were extremely helpful. Takako advised me on a good colour combination for some aubergine/eggplant-coloured bamboo that I'd selected.

Anyhow, enough of the chat, here is a picture of my haul:

So what's in the picture?

A-148, 1/76.6 wool stainless steel in colour #599 (a kind of dark green/black with gold flecks), 75% wool & 25% stainless steel.

A-21, 1/20 silk stainless steel B in colour #4 (a light brown colour), 69% silk & 31% stainless steel.

A-177, 2/48 super fine merino in colour #45 (a cinnamon colour), 100% wool.

XS-45, 20/3 bamboo in colour #3 (an aubergine/eggplant colour), 100% bamboo.

A-64, 1/6.5 paper ring in colour #12 (a soft peachy/pink), 64% linen & 36% cotton (core).

October 9, 2007


I realized that I didn't post any pictures of gf's Habu kit yarn.

The sweater itself is a simple, in the round funnel neck with raglan sleeves. The body is knit with Ultra Fine Kid Mohair and it is edged with Tsumugi Silk Combination. I can't seem to find any pictures of a finished sweater, so you'll just have to wait until I finish it to see what it looks like.

As fuzzy as this yarn is, there aren't a lot of stray fibers floating around when I'm working with it. I honestly wasn't looking forward to working with this yarn because I hate having fiber float into my eye. But I haven't had any problem with it.

Here's the progress so far...not too bad. At this point, the body is a quarter of the way done.

I started out swatching with some bamboo needles, but it was proving difficult to pick up the yarn with their blunt tips. So I switched over to some Options nickel needles and have been very happy. The yarn has a lot of traction and I haven't had any problems with stitches slipping off.

Bad Dog!

Finished back piece & right front of Kushu Jacket. Today I walked into my house to find my beautiful merino gnawed to bits along with a bamboo needle. I guess our dog, Gwen, found the yarn tasty. She's added expensive yarn to her breakfast menu, which usually consists of dog food and the occasional shoe.
Hard to tell from the photo, but the top of the cone is completely chewed, resulting in long, useless pieces of yarn. I placed an order to replace the ruined yarn immediately. And, of course, it's on back order. Fortunately, I didn't have much of the left front started, but I still had to choke back some tears. Gwen got a bit of a tongue lashing, though. I suppose I will place my knitting basket higher when I leave the house from now on. It's either that or the crate for my little destroyer dog. Just thought I would share a laugh with everybody, or else I will just cry! If anyone has any ideas for the merino, please post. Maybe, a cool witches wig for Halloween.

October 7, 2007

Birthday Gift

Hi everyone! I'm Christie, and I joined the KAL after my girlfriend bought 3 sweater kits from the Habu trunk show at Wildfiber in Santa Monica. Well they finally arrived...well 2 of the 3...and I'm going to try to churn one of the kits out in time for her birthday...October 26th.

Thank god she chose the easiest of the kits...the mohair pullover, kit 110. I'm not very far, but since it's a simply design knit in the round, it should be done in no time.

October 3, 2007

to kusha

after much lurking and drooling over alison's sensual descriptions and photos, i succumbed and took my first habu plunge with the kusha kusha scarf kit 78 (black ss thread and charcoal merino colour combination).
when the threads arrived, i was thinking i had perhaps taken on more than i could handle! i called my mother over to help me get started as it had been some 15 years since i had knitted...
considering my fears, i was amazed at how quickly the scarf grew and after one initial hiccup with my understanding of the pattern, i was hooked. (not literally.)

again, i wasn't feeling too confident with the felting aspect but after i found this blog and read some of the kit 78 posts, i just gave it a good rubbing and rolling on the drainer of my kitchen sink in hot soapy water. i didn't really work up the felting, i wanted to keep some of the open weave nature of the scarf whilst enhancing the merino thread.

end result: beautifully soft scarf that can be pinched and pulled into various forms giving a superb adaptability and textural quality. love it.
postscript: presently ordering kit 24. not bad for a novice!

September 30, 2007

Please help with Kushu Kushu Jacket

I admit I am more of a word person when it comes to knitting patterns. Is there anyone out there who can help me with the shoulder & neck shaping on the back portion of the jacket? I'm a bit stumped. I've done the shoulder shaping & don't quite know how to work in the neck shaping. Thanks for any light anyone can shed here.

September 26, 2007

Fine Lines

Fine lines of conviction, smooth, silken, poured through loop after loop to become fabric.

Fabric which is incredibly wearable. Deceptively so. It moves. It forms across the body. It has it's own shape. It takes on shape. It has a lightness, and an ease. It has a wonderful sense of transparency, a veiled lightness. It is a layer, to be peeled at the edges, to be pulled and creased as you move, as you play with it (I dare you not to...), and as it gets worn.

I've blogged about the Process of this on my blog, so I wont double up here as well. I wanted to say more about what the Stainless Steel Jacket was like to knit, and to wear. This knit up reasonably quickly - having said that it's taken a few months, but that's more due to my lack of time than this being a long knit. Once you get into the stainless rhythm, you move through it quickly - it seems to grow before your eyes. The pattern is easy to follow, and has simple, but very nice shaping. The piece as a fabric whole is lovely - incredibly textural: I find myself pinching it and holding it through the day, running my fingers across it to feel it's very silky sheen. Yes, it has stiffness, but in a very fluid way. It does find the shape of your body, and at times it will hug that shape, at other times it will fall away from your body. It is a fantastic layering piece. The 12 tiny buttons from the top of the neck to 3/4 of the length give some weight to the piece, and some structure. My gauge was slightly off on this one - I was very much between needle sizes and chose the smaller needle, and decided not to compensate by altering stitch counts or length, except in the arms, and so this is slightly smaller than the medium pattern would be. I like the length of it though - I'm a layers person, and this works well with other pieces in my wardrobe as a marginally shorter top layer. There are a couple of Tsumugi silk weighting rows at the start of the arms and body, which I would probably have preferred to have left out, but I understand the job they do in giving the hems some rigidity, and hence definition. I also deleted the Tsumugi silk border up the front, but that was just my personal preference.

The real test is - would I knit it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.

September 24, 2007

:: blueberry fields ::


photographers: Isel and Paloma.

Habu Kit 100# - $105 (comes at colors of your choice)
Pattern: Setsuko Torii Hand-knit works Book. page 25, page 88.
ISBN: 4895113825
Habu A-1 Tsumugi silk in color 70/lavender - 150 grams
Habu A-60 Shosenshi Linen Paper in color 116/eggplant - 200 grams
Needles: US 7 (4.5mm) 36" Addi Turbo.
Modifications: I altered the pattern to make it reversible and eliminate the unnecessary seaming.

It wasn't hard, another reason to love the math in the Japanese patterns. I got the book thanks to Siow Chin in our swap, I have seen the book before at Knitbuddies and I really wanted to see in person what it is like. Vanessa seemed to get one of the last copies of it in Kinokuniya. That book is vastly popular and just the other day I even spotted it on ebay. I do not know any Japanese Language, people, and just a little more thought and you could put the pattern puzzle together. Plus on Ravelry now they have a volunteer group in Japanese knitting who would gladly decipher anything you would need. But that's only if you need help. Numbers are numbers!

The Whole Set of Pictures is HERE.

September 13, 2007


Hi everyone! I just joined the KAL. My girlfriend and I went to the trunk show at Wildfiber last week and she bought 3 sweater kits that I have to honor of knitting for her. Lucky me, huh? All the hard work just so she can wear the fruits of my labor.

I look forward to sharing my progress with you [and have a support system in case I get lost...]

September 10, 2007

First experiences

I followed your lead and chose the Kusha Kusha Scarf as my first Habu project.
Because I read about the needle choice for such a slippery yarn as silk stainless I casted on with one of my beloved wooden circulars. But the tip is not as pointy as would like to had it especially for the first row. While knitting this first row I brooded what in hell´s name got me to start such a mad thing: Knitting two razor-thin threads with such a thick needle :o
...but I kept on knitting ... and a few rows further I was reconciled with the result. Ufz...

After 15 rows I had to pack away my knitting in my project bag and when I took it out next morning there was a ugly bend across my knitting. The stainless has kept this bend in mind and I can´t get it out anymore. I tried nearly everything but I didn´t succeed :-(
Any suggestions?

September 3, 2007

Habu Kushu Kushu Jacket Finished

Habu Kushu Kushu Jacket finished.

Details at

Sorry too tired from the finishing marathon to repeat the details here. It's all at Knitsane.

August 31, 2007

My simple scarf.

Knitted using the Kusha Kusha scarf pattern but knitted in Kusaki zome 100% silk in colour 23 held with silk mohair colour 2.

Instead of felting it when finished I was very naughty and steam ironed it to even out the stitches! This has given it a lovely drape and it is so soft to wear. The sheen of the silk can be seen and the colour of the mohair gives it an almost variegated look.

There is another picture of it on my blog in the sun and it looks quite different there!

I am looking at the silk stainless yarn now as this was such a simple pleasure to knit.

Lin x

August 30, 2007

Habulishious Tunic

I have had a love/hate relationship with Habu. As I spoke about in this HabuTextile post, I hate spending money. Habu is not, what you would call, a yarn that you can get on sale at Michaels. However, Olga (my friend, enabler, and huge reason why my credit card bill gets bigger) got me HOOKED. Like, addicted, I would almost say I am nearing crack addict status, but I strive for a PG rated blog, so I will not go that far.

The Habu Tsumugi A-1 for this tunic was actually a left over Olga had. I had always wanted to make this Tunic in the Rebecca #31.

However, this yarn did not yield the same gauge, so I had to recalculate the entire pattern. I am fascinated with this yarn. It is completely organic, and the result is a nice and flowy and (dare this wannabefashionista say it) utterly comfortable! There is this boho look and feel that comes with this tunic, but I am going to see if I wear a white tailored shirt underneath, and some dress pants how this looks.

Project Details

Project name: Bramble Tunic from Rebecca #31
Yarn: 6 skeins (double stranded) of Habu Tsumugi A-1 2/1 Coloway 83- Cork
Needles: Addi Turbo's US 5
Modifications: Umm... I recalculated the entire pattern to fit my gauge. Time consuming, well worth it.

The only problem is...what Habu project will I do next... trust me... more of that to come.

August 29, 2007

arrived today

I´m happy my order from Habu Textiles arrived today, 20 days after my order.
You Pals already know the stuff, so just a short entry with some photos:

Kusha Kusha Kit with black silk stainless steel and coffee merino

Shippotail Kit with gray silk stainless steel and khaki and eggplant linen paper

2oz wool stainless steel in purple

and 2 skeins XS-45 Bamboo in green

I can´t decide what to start with...

August 26, 2007

habu trunk show

for all who live in the los angeles area. there will be a habu trunk show at 'wildfiber' ys in santa monica. Takako Ueki will bring her fibers, kits and finished projects.
i am very exited about this, since i never made it to the habu headquarters and usually the stores i go to have only just a small selection of habu yarn. the show is sept.6 & 7. you will find me there
most likely getting more yarn then i should, but also having a fantastic time.
i hope this is useful information for some of you,

Florence: A Design in Habu Cotton Gima

Greetings, everyone! Vanessa invited me to join this knitalong, because I recently completed a top in Habu Cotton Gima. It's called Florence, and this is what it looks like:

There are a bunch more pictures of it and a blog round-up entry here.

I had fun working with the Habu Cotton Gima for this project. It was tricky to figure out what to make with the yarn, for a number of reasons. First, it looks quite different when you knit it than it looks after it's been washed. (I should point out that the label says to hand wash and air dry the yarn, but it's cotton, so I decided to machine wash and dry. You'd probably get different results if you washed by hand, but I'm happy with how the yarn softens and evens out when it's machine washed and dried.) Here's a picture of a piece that's half blocked and half unblocked:

The other difficulty I encountered was that the fabric made by the yarn is very transformable. When I knit several inches to the 17" width and washed and dried the piece, I found that I could make the swatch be, say, 15" wide and 6" tall, or I could make it 20" wide and 4" tall, and so on. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to figure out what gauge the yarn *wanted* to be, so that the top would always be transforming as I wore it. As it turns out, the larger the size of the piece you knit, the less transformation effect you get from the yarn. This was a relief!

After flirting with a knit/purl leaf pattern (total disaster) and with basketweave stitch (looks good, but decided against it), I settled on a simple stockinette top with seed stitch edgings and a deep-V neckline with a gather at its base. It's sized for a 34" bust. It has a 31" waist, and it widens to 40" at the bottom, where it also has side vents. I originally planned to have short cap sleeves, but the Habu fabric was so floaty and insubstantial that I decided it would look better with longer, floatier sleeves.

I'm going to make the pattern available for free sometime next month -- I'm still working out the various sizes and so forth. I'm also planning to make another top in some green Cotton Gima for my sister-in-law using a different pattern of my own making. It may be a while before I get going on that, but I'll post about it when I do.

Oh, and I have 2.5 skeins of Cotton Gima leftover from this project that I don't think I'll ever use. If anyone has leftovers they'd like to swap, it would be fun to try out a different yarn. I think mine are worth about $13-14, so an equivalent swap (or somewhere in the neighborhood) would be great.