Monday, November 22, 2010

Kusha Kusha Goodness - a High Tech Scarf

Here is another little knitting project, fresh off the needles.

This scarf, called the Kusha Kusha scarf, is a free pattern from Setsuko Torii and uses threads from Habu Textiles, a Japanese fiber company. The Japanese mills are now producing very exciting new textiles, and the Japanese yarn/thread companies are producing exciting new fibers.

The Kusha Kusha scarf uses two Habu threads, both packaged on cones:

  • Habu Textiles A-177 Super Fine Merino
  • Habu Textiles A-20/21 1/20 silk stainless steel

The navy cone is 100% merino wool thread. The black cone is stainless steel/silk. You can see it has some memory retention.

At first, these threads are held together and knitted as one on size 8 needles. Eventually the merino thread is dropped, leaving the stainless steel/silk thread and you switch to size 6 needles. Then the size 6 needles are replaced with size 4 needles and, finally, with size 3 needles. The lace mesh that is created becomes finer and finer.

The final scarf is then felted. The merino thread "blooms" when felted. The stainless steel thread does not felt, theoretically, but it also shrank, so I am a bit confused. The metal in the thread creates a slight glitter and contributes to memory retention.

I could not believe how much the merino thread felted! It created a very substantial piece of felt. I hand felted in the kitchen sink with a touch of Garnier Nutrisse shampoo. Before felting, the scarf was 62" long. After felting, it was about 40" long. Unfortunately, though I did take many photos before felting the scarf, the camera had no memory card, so I don't have any pre-felting pics to show you.

Laid out to dry, after the felting process

Other ways to wear the scarf

I have quite a bit of the merino thread left. It's a nice weight for topstitching. I have a small amount of the stainless steel thread left, but I have plans for that too. ;)