Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inspiration: Habu Textiles, Carolyn Barnett

What a weekend. Early Saturday, Janie H. drove down to Kingston and together we dropped in on Carolyn Barnett, who specializes in stunning machine knits with beautifully crafted details, including imaginative handmade buttons. Janie has commissioned a couple of sweaters from Carolyn. Here's Carolyn's studio in nearby Portsmouth.

And here she and Janie are deciding on some design details.

Then, Janie and I hopped in her car and headed off to Picton to see Habu Textiles trunk show and enjoy local wine and cheese at the Rose Haven Farm Store.

The photo quality isn't great, due to the fact that we were all sitting under the rather low rafters in the store's basement. Keiko explained details of the garments being modelled while we ooohed and aaawed. There was lots of audience participation when the four-armed pullover was shown, as various knitters explored tying the arms in different way to create interesting draped effects.
This morning I drove back to Picton on my own to attend a talk about how Habu Textiles' yarns are sourced. Most come from a single mill in Kyoto. Keiko thinks it quite likely that the skills used to make these fine yarns will disappear after the current generation of workers is gone. Young Japanese do not seem interested in pursuing these ancient arts. 
Habu's paper yarn fascinates me. I hadn't realized that there was no wool in traditional Japanese garments. Most clothing for non-nobility was made from bast yarns (plant fibres), including paper.
I was most drawn to the possibilities of the stainless steel and copper yarns. I love the way the stainless steel and silk yarn can be used for ruffled, airy edgings. I'm already thinking about using some in combination with Helen Hamann's fingering weight alpaca. Off now to do a little swatching.