Sunday, 17 July 2011

Habu Heaven

I went to Knit Nation in London this weekend. This was the second one I attended, and although I came away with a lot more yarn this time my approach to the marketplace was similar to last year. Essentially, I found the most unusual yarn and spent ridiculous amounts of money on it.

Last year it was Quivik, this year Habu Textiles. I had barely heard of Quivik before I blew a pile of cash on two skeins of the stuff (see last year's blog post), but I've been obsessed with Habu for years, ever since I encountered it at K1 Yarns in Edinburgh (which sadly doesn't carry it any more). In fact, I decided not to sign up for a class this year because I preferred to spend the £50 on yarn rather than skill building. Plenty of time for skill building later, I wanted to stock up on yarn you can't buy anywhere in the UK.

I exaggerate, you can buy some Habu in the UK, at Loop in London and at Addicted 2 Knit, which is a London-based online shop. But their selection is pretty limited. Le Comptoir in Paris has a slightly better selection, but still not the full range. So when I saw the Habu booth at Knit Nation I was quite overwhelmed.

Like a kid in a candy shop

My original plan had been to do a whirl around the booths, retire to the tea salon to consider the plan of action, and then return to the targeted yarn purchases. However, it turned out I had not actually signed up for the tea salon after all - in fact, I had erroneously purchased marketplace tickets for two separate days, which I blame on the needlessly complicated registration process. Anyway, I didn't have any time for reflection, as I had to immediately snap up the last two skeins of this gorgeous yarn from Old Maiden Aunt Yarns:

Kelpie superfine alpaca/silk sport/DK
(named for the mythical Celtic water horse)

The yarns are made in a studio in West Kilbride, Scotland - after seeing their lovely selection I'll definitely have to make the effort to visit next time I'm in Glasgow.

After that brief aside I returned pretty promptly to the Habu motherlode. There was almost too much choice, but I was particularly excited to discover they are now offering linen-steel as well as their usual silk-steel, wool-steel and bamboo-copper. The Habu metal-yarn combos are becoming a staple in my knitting - I love the structure they gives when mixed with other yarn, and they come in a really good range of colours.

Linen steel in gorgeous shimmering shades

After some frenzied collecting of an awkward pile of yarn, I came away with a rather obscene stash of wonderfully unusual fibres. I'll have to feature some of the particular yarns in later posts - I chose 3 projects worth of yarn and a selection of random bits and pieces I'll have to decide what to do with later. Which leaves me with an fabulous collection of Habu, to keep me entranced and entertained for months to come (oh, who am I kidding, make that years to come).

My Habu collection, give or take a couple of skeins currently being knit up in projects

After Knit Nation we headed over to the Toulouse-Lautrec show at the Courtauld Gallery, where I was particularly taken with this painting. Makes me want to knit myself something in orange and chartreuse.

Jane Avril, the Moulin Rouge dancer