Japanese Yarns In The Garment District

A few days ago, I was in New York City and took the opportunity to visit Habu Textiles. I dragged two teenagers through the Garment District in search of 135 W. 29th Street. The entrance is nondescript and if you’re not looking for it, you’ll probably walk right past it. Habu Textiles is located on the 8th floor, which is somehow fitting since the Japanese word for “ha 八” means “8.”

The showroom is quite small but filled with exquisite yarns spun in Japan. The fibers used in the yarns range from wool and silk to bamboo, stainless steel, and cotton so fine it feels like paper. While the showroom itself seems small, it is actually part of a larger room that houses the weaving studio. Beyond the free-standing sheet rock walls of the showroom, I could hear the whirring of looms in the background. I had to fight the urge to pull back the curtains marked “employees only” and take a peek. Thankfully, they were kind enough to let me take pictures of the yarns which I can now share with you.

There were baskets filled with yarn throughout the showroom. In the large basket in the foreground is Wrapped Tsumugi Silk (100% Silk). This yarn is a silk wrapped in silk. According to the Habu Textiles website, it is created using a traditional cord-making method.
Cotton Linen Paper Moire (65% Cotton, 35% Linen). This lace/fingering weight yarn is exquisitely delicate. It feels like fine paper.
This Kibiso Silk (100% Silk) is made from "waste" silk. It's a slightly rougher silk but with silk's sheen and strength.
Silk Gima (100% Silk). Gima means "fake linen" in Japanese. This yarn feels like linen but is made entirely of silk.
This "chunky" Alpaca Knitted Yarn (68% Mohair, 32% Nylon) is interesting to look at up close. It is actually a narrow knitted tube. You can knit this knitted yarn with large needles or fill the tube with roving (as shown) to create interesting looks.
There were shelves full of this thread-like yarn around the showroom.

Besides yarns, Habu Textiles offers woven fabrics also made from natural materials such as silk and pineapple fiber. The fibers originate from China, France, Japan, Laos and the United States. These two displays caught my attention. The knotted bags and ropes are made in Laos.

You can learn more about and buy these fabulous yarns and textiles at the Habu Textiles website.

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