Friday, March 6, 2015

Save Lives through Love

Water Deer
The brain is a weird thing….emotions are a weird thing….Life is strange…I have had the most wonderful news of being cleared of having cancer after 6 years of living with this uninvited guest ..Yippeee! and then ..through discussions and events that took place afterwards, I have been thrust into feelings of despair and loss and then happiness…friends who are going through absolute devastation through cancer and others who are bringing life into this world. In a way that is what the world is : Life and Loss. And somehow, philosophically and humanely speaking, it is that precise element, that is so deep, so thoroughly painful and so immensely important, that makes me do what I do.

Through no fault of anyone, and this is so very personal and traumatic, I know…. not now but many many years ago… when I got the verdict that I will never ever will be able to have children, through the simple fact that some cells determined to multiply dramatically to a life threatening point (cancer), that "my" genes would not survive.....Life can be  endangered in a blink of an eye….Moreover, I felt more than ever, to feel closer to endangered species...

I started to research and fight for all kinds of endangered species, especially the ones that have nice fluffy hair to spin, because you know you can never take the spinner out of me…

Since that time, years and years ago, I started researching the Rare breed adventures I am offering you now and looked for any kind of way to help endangered species survive, in a sustainable kind way. One that can help species survive with love. Unlike any other way, spinners and weavers and farmers and scientists have a very unique and loving outlook on that. It may start small but through small things big things grow. Through our craft we can ensure that some breeds can stay and live and provide for their young and for us in a sustainbable , loving and kind way.

So, through lots of hard work and searching and caring for special fluffy genes, I can now offer you this extremely special update tonight: it is not a sheep..but it is an amazing animal which has been named anything from a vampire deer to a musk deer to a water deer. It has been almost hunted to extinction by the perfume industry and now it is the time for us to make sure that this animal stays alive to be here and be of beauty and importance and bring life and diversity to our beautiful earth.

The water deer (Hydropotes inermis) is a small deer superficially more similar to a musk deer than a true deer. Native to China and Korea, there are two subspecies: the Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis inermis) and the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus) and there is the Himalayan and Siberian deer also known as the musk deer. Water deer are relatively small in size, ranging in length from 775-1,000 mm. They have a short tail, 60-75 mm length. The guard hair is generally thick and harsh. It is longest on the flanks and rump, with a maximium length of 40 mm is the winter under coat, which can be spun into the super soft yarn.

Both sexes lack antlers, but the upper canine teeth, especially in the males, are enlarged, forming fairly long, slightly curved tusks. These saber-like upper canines are the most conspicuous feature of the bucks. Theyprotude up to about 52 mm from the upper jaw and constitute sharp, dangerous weapons. The canines of the female are much smaller, scarcely 5 mm on the inner side. A dark spot on the sides of the lower lip behind the upper canines makes the canines more conspicuous. A small scent gland is present on the face in front of the eyes on both sexes; this is the only known case of such glands in the Cervidae.
Despite its lack of antlers and certain other anatomical anomalies—including a pair of prominent tusks (downward-pointing canine teeth), it is classified as a cervid. Its unique anatomical characteristics have caused it to be classified in its own genus (Hydropotes) as well as its own subfamily (Hydropotinae). However, a study of mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences placed it near Capreolus within an Old World section of the subfamily Capreolinae. Its prominent tusks (elongated canines), similar to those of musk deer, have led to both being colloquially named vampire deer in English-speaking areas to which they have been imported.

There are Water deer or Vampire deer currently farmed (read protected) and in zoos. In Afghanistan a few have been spotted in 2014 for the first time after 60 years ! The hidropotes or Water Deer/Musk deer I offer you on tonight’s blog has been harvested just like the bison and qiviut and mink, through hand combing or collecting. No animal was killed or harmed in any way.

Water deer are indigenous to the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, coastal Jiangsu province (Yancheng Coastal Wetlands), and islands of Zhejiang of east-central China, and in Korea, where the demilitarized zone has provided a protected habitat for a large number…..go figure  Demilitarized zones !   They can also be found in Siberia and the Himalayas. They inhabit the land alongside rivers, where they are protected from sight by the tall reeds and rushes. They are also seen on mountains, swamps, grasslands, and even open cultivated fields. Water deer are proficient swimmers, and can swim several miles to reach remote river islands.
Water Deer are now located in France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Argentina, and even some in the United States. Chinese water deer were first introduced into Great Britain in the 1870s. The animals were kept in the London Zoo until 1896, when Herbrand Russell oversaw their transferral to Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.
More of the animals were imported and added to the herd over the next three decades. In 1929 and 1930, 32 deer were transferred from Woburn to Whipsnade, also in Bedfordshire, and released into the park very happily bouncing along !

The majority of the current population of Chinese water deer in Britain derives from escapees, with the remainder being descended from a number of deliberate releases. Most of these animals still reside close to Woburn Abbey.

It appears that the deer’s strong preference for a particular habitat – tall reed and grass areas in rich alluvial deltas - has restricted its potential to colonize further afield. The main area of distribution is from Woburn, east into Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and North Essex, and south towards Whipsnade. There have been small colonies reported in other areas. As a conservation issue, the UK population of Chinese Water Deer is considered to be of exceptionally high value to the survival of a healthy global population. There is no doubt that the protection of Water Deer will involve not just the population of deer in their native environment, but also the UK population, which probably now exceeds the population in China, Korea and the Himalayas.

The research that is carried out in the UK by the Water Deer Foundation and others will contribute to the protection of the species as a whole. It may seem that all this breed had going for it to be "valued" was the male musk gland, which is worth more than gold...and no,there is not. there is a sustainable way of keeping this bred alive: fibre. It may not be much you can harvest off one deer (only about 450grams per year) and that the hair/down is is extremely soft and nice. I am able to offer you only a very very small amount of handspun Deer yarn.
It is an endangered species and only a very small amount of fibre is harvested per year.  In softness it rivals the amazingly expensive and rare Guanaco and Vicuna !

 This yarn I am offering you now is my 3 ply spun, super soft blended and spun, yarn  with an amazing meterage of 300meters/50grams , it is amazingly soft and very special. Normally , this kind of yarn, which feels like vicuna ! , will cost a fortune *about $300/28grams/ounce) !

Please know that you will not only be able to own something exceedingly special and rare , but also, that you will be part of the preservation of a rare species. Let’s not ever have to say…”this was the last of their kind”….


IxCHeL handspun 3 ply Water Deer Yarn

Natural Colour

+/- 50gram skein AU$40

300meters per 50 grams

There is only a very very VERY limited supply!!

Enjoy !


New IxCHeL Club sign ups Open now (til quotas are reached or until March 31st)

Clubs April, May and June 2015 !

For all our international club fans there is a possibility to ship all three clubs together to save on postage if you want :-) Just pm me and enquire about the options available.

IxCHeL Fibre Club April, May and June

The subscription is for a period of three months and you will receive one special hand dyed top/roving per month to the value of AU$24
All the tops will be hand dyed and will be especially made for the members of Ixchel Fibre Club ! Price to join the IxCHel Fibre Club #24 and receive your special hand dyed top :)) for three months (April, May and June 2015) is AU$72 + postage (parcel post or airmail). AND there are good value double serves available !!!

For Australia : single serve $72+$28 postage (parcel post), double serve $134+$28 (save $10) or triple serves $199 (save $17!)
For USA + Canada: single serve AU$72+AU$51 (Airmail) double serve AU$134+AU$51
For UK,Europe, rest of the world: Single serve AU$72+AU$60 (airmail) Double serve AU$134+AU$60
For Asia: Single serve AU$72+AU$45 (airmail) Double serve AU$134+AU$45
If you want to receive a fibre surprise every month then join the IXCHEL FIBRE CLUB #24 now. Numbers are strictly limited ! The April 2015 Club is going to be shipped out end of April. Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me your details

The IxCHeL Sock Yarn Club April, May and June 2015

Every month for three months (April, May and June 2015) you will receive: enough hand dyed luscious yummy yarn to make a pair of socks or a lush shawl or scarf ofcourse! (the hand dyed yarn will be exclusive for the Ixchelbunny SOCK-IT-TO-ME Yarn CLUB and will range from a sockweight yarn or a 3ply or a 4 ply); Every month a new sock pattern, tips and instructions ! Now is that GOOD or is that GOOD ??!
I will even offer a double serve for those of you who like their socks extra long
For Australia : single serve $78+$28 postage (parcel post) double serve $130 (= one skein FREE!!!) +$28
For USA + Canada: single serve AU$78+AU$51 (Airmail) double serve $130 (= one skein FREE!!!) +AU$51
For UK,Europe, rest of the world: Single serve AU$78+AU$60 (airmail) Double serve $130 (= one skein FREE!!!) +AU$60
For Asia: Single serve AU$78+AU$45 (airmail) Double serve $130 (= one skein FREE!!!) +AU$45
Numbers are strictly limited ! 
Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal . Just PM or email me your details 
  By the way: you don’t HAVE to knit socks if you don’t want to.. the hand dyed yarn is amazingly nice for scarves, cowls, beanies and even tops ! Anything goes .

IxCHeL Funky Bunny Batt Club April, May and June 2015

Here are all the details and just pm me when you have any questions or want to be part of the funky bunny batt club Movement ;-) Welcome to the blingy dark side ;-D
The subscription is for a period of three months and you will receive one special hand dyed funky bunny batt per month to the value of AU$40 or more .
The batts will range in weight from 140grams to 180grams with luxury fibres like camel , angora, cashmere, silk, yak, llama even wolf and bison and rare sheep breeds !!!! All the batts will be hand dyed and will be especially made for the members of Ixchel funky bunny Club ! Every month you will receive a HUGE luxury funky bunny batt !
Sign up now and you will receive an Ixchel Hand dyed , super luxurious funky bunny batt for April , May and June 2015.
Price to join the Ixchel Funky bunny for three months is :
For Australia : $105+$28 postage (parcel post)
For USA + Canada: AU$105+AU$51 (Airmail)
For UK,Europe, rest of the world: AU$96+AU$60 (airmail)
For Asia: AU$105+AU$45 (airmail)
If you want to receive a fibre surprise every month then join the IXCHEL FUNKY BUNNY BATT CLUB now. Numbers are strictly limited ! The first installment is going to be shipped out end of April :) Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me

Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any questions okay? Always happy to enable. All my contact details are to be found at the end of this weeks blog entry. Have fun !!!


Dates to put in your Calendar !!


Monday 16th of March, 10am-2pm

Grandvalley Spinners
Grand Valley Spinners Tapscott Milburn Centre, Montrose 10am-1pm
I have been asked to do a show and tell in regards to Fancy additions, like beads, feathers, buttons and much much more and some cool techniques to make your yarn extra special. Entry: $5 Please email to confirm you are attending : every participant will receive an IxCHeL pack with goodies !


Saturday 11th, 10am-3pm

McClelland Spinners and Weavers Open day “sock it to me”
I will be there with lots of hand dyed tops for spinning and felting and happy rainbow yarn and sock yarn !!!! As well as some amazing Lair of the Bearded Dragon spindles and bowls that are pure magic to spin on !


Saturday 23rd, 10am-4pm

Victorian Hand Knitters Guild Show Coburg Town Hall
THE extra ordinary super fluffy yarny event in Melbourne !!! I will be there with lots of hand dyed tops for spinning and felting and happy rainbow yarn and sock yarn, some extra special art yarns and much much more!!!! As well as some amazing Lair of the Bearded Dragon spindles and bowls that are pure magic to spin on !


Friday July 17th- Sunday 19th, 9am-5pm

Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show
THE event of the year !!!! Not to be missed!! I will be there in the Flower (Power Bunny) Shed again with heaps of new goodies, hand dyed and hand spun, IxCHeL new blends and rare sheep breed adventures and much much more ! Including a world first of something AMAZING AND FUN!!!!! Shhh not telling ! but it is AWESOME !!!!


Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2,

Mapleton Craft Retreat (Queensland)
and please sign up because this is going to be an amazing retreat filled with fibery super fun ! Lots of workshops and fun stuff planned !!!!


Saturday , September 26th

Spin & Play day at Pascoe Vale
More about this exciting event later !

How To Order:
1. You can email me on ixchel at rabbit dot com dot au or ixchelbunny at yahoo dot com dot au
2. message me on facebook or ravelry where I am Ixchelbunny.

I will email you right back with all your order details and payment methods.

Any questions? Any custom orders for yarn or dyeing fibre? Please don’t hesitate to ask! Always happy to enable.
Thank you so much for your help and support !



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