Fique is related to the pineapple plant and its fibers have been in use for centuries in Meso-America. Leave it to Habu to douse it with colors of eye-popping vibrancy, ready to spark the creative juices of knitters and weavers alike. The scratchy texture is intriguing – think rope, but hot pink.
But what to do with the stuff? I could imagine a knit rug in candy-color stripes. A green shoulder bag with bamboo handles. A trio of crocheted baskets. While a fiber like fique challenges knitters to think beyond their ordinary repertoire of patterns, it also plays the role, along with soy, corn, tencel and others, of increasing the general biodiversity of yarn.
In past generations, petroleum-derived yarns eclipsed natural fibers, softer than the itchy wools of the day, the wonders of easy-care acrylic were the seeming answer to every knitter’s prayers. However the production is resource-intensive and as we all know, the raw material itself is finite. We can’t keep putting all our eggs into one basket, be it cotton, wool or acrylic. The availability of choice is important to every knitter, but it is also important to the health of the planet.