Friday, April 17, 2015

Dinna Fash...Eat Cake

I’m a romantic…I’m also a scientist..and an artist..there You have it : is a constant battle between logic and the romantic fearlessness of adventure and jumping in the deep end…: Sturm und Drang…(look it up..: “literary movement of the late 18th century that exalted nature, feeling, and human individualism and sought to overthrow the Enlightenment cult of Rationalism.)
The encyclopedia Brittanica goes on saying: Self-discipline was not a tenet of the Sturm und Drang, and the movement soon exhausted itself”….yep, typically me: Always exhausting 
I also always back the underdog or go for the harder to travel path as if there was really no other choice.. It is far from rational, but I somehow feel emotionally inclined to do that: I mean do everything, how diverse and obscure it may seem. So maybe I am Sturm und Drang and Renaissance mixed together in a nice combo, who knows? Once you know what the essence of your “nature” is, embrace it I say and just go with it..with a vengeance ! Don't fight it, it's no use... 
And so here I am today, with a medical degree and a Phd in the Arts, backing rare breeds and dyeing wool and spinning yarns…see, there is no logic….lol
I have finished all the blending and dyeing of the Outlander adventure with the very rare Soay sheep this week and sent all of it off to those who signed in with their own little Jamie :-)  A huge amount of long days and late nights went into that adventure and ….Totally in the Highland mood  I made a Scottish Whiskey cake ....again.
Here ‘s the recipe , just in case you want to have a choice between unleashing the flying monkeys or making yourself a darn good cake ….


Makes one loaf/ heart
6oz/170g chopped walnuts
3oz/85 g raisins
3oz/85g currants
4oz/115 g self raising flour
¼ tsp salt
4 oz/115g butter
8oz/225g caster sugar
3 eggs at room temperature, separated
1 tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3fl oz/85ml whiskey ( grab a wee bit more if you wanna soak the currants and raising in whiskey overnight...or have a wee sip while baking)
Icing sugar for decoration
1. preheat oven 325F/170C, butter a 9x5inch/23x13cm loaf tin or get one of those awesome silicone things ou don’t have to butter or line at all (see the heart cake)
2. place walnuts,raisins, currants in bowl. Sprinkle 2 tbs flour, mix and set aside. Sift together salt and flour.
3.cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy .Beat in the egg yokes one by one.
4. mix nutmeg, cinnamon and whiskey. Fold in the butter mixture , alternating with the flour mixture.
5. In another bowl, beat hhte egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into whiskey mixture until just blended; fold in the walnut mix.
6. Bake in oven for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Dust with icing sugar over a template.

So, what else is on the menu today? Well, I talked about Romantic and this rare sheep breed is just that : a romantic sheep …in the sense of Mary Shelley and Lord Byron that is: It is the Manx Loaghtan !
It conjures up images of the movie “Hell Boy” but these sheep are the epitome of gentle awesomeness ! here are photos illustrating the flow from little lamb to adult heroism:

The origins of these primitive sheep are not fully understood but their ancestors are thought to go back to the Iron Age.
They share many characteristics with other primitive sheep and are part of the Northern Short Tail group of sheep.
These related primitive sheep were spread round Scandinavia, Iceland, the Scottish Islands and the Isle of Man by the Vikings.
The Manx Loaghtan is still one of the rarest of breeds in the British Isles and since 1973 the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has helped promote these wonderful sheep.
Up to the 18th century these sheep covered the Manx hills in their thousands. Gradually they were replaced by modern sheep that mature quicker and are heavier. Obviously modern economics are far from
In the last 120 years the Manx Loaghtan came close to extinction 3 times and was only saved by the dedication and foresight of a few people.
In the 1950s numbers were down to less than a 100!!!
 Happily today there are just over a thousand and their future seems much brighter as people have come again to appreciate the wool which is naturally a dark tan colour, soft, light yet very warm.

The first thing that you notice about Manx Loaghtan sheep is their impressive set of horns. Both sexes have 2, 4 or even 6 horns!

As the name suggests, the Manx Loaghtan originated on the Isle Of Man. It is a small, ancient hill breed. Originally white with some grey and black sheep but few of the reddish-brown colour we see today (the word 'Loaghtan' comes from the Manx for 'mouse brown').

Like many other heritage breeds, the Loaghtan was once popular but declined in the early 20th century. The breed was rescued by enthusiasts both on the Isle of Man and in England, and is now popular as a conservation grazer that will eat almost anything!

The breed is considered 'at risk' by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, with fewer than 1,500 registered breeding ewes.

Most Loaghtans have a medium staple length fleece, which in varying shades of brown getting paler with age, although they bleach to cream in the sun. The lambs are born black and generally achieve their particular shade of brown during the first year.

The fleece is very nice and soft witjh a staple length of between 70mm-100mm with around 22-28micron. It is great to spin for close to skin wear or for outerwear as well. I love this sheep. It has such an old world feel to it and so ancient in a way and ofcourse the fleece itself is just magic to spin up.
Please understand that I do not have a lot of stock of this exceptional rare breed fibre. Do not wait too long to pounce on this weeks update to avoid disappointment. I am offering you this all scoured and cleaned and pulled into luscious tops ready to spin in its natural colour. I will always be tempted to overdye grey fleeces (like you will see in later updates with the grey merino and silk blend I am working on as well) but there is no way I am tempted to overdye this luscious honey brown caramel coloured Manx Loughtan fibre. It is amazing just the way it is !
Before I give you all the details or ordering your Manx Loughtan top, I have added all the information for the IxCHeL clubs starting next month ! Yes ! Next month!!!! There are only a couple of weeks left to sign up for the last trimester of the year ! Don’t miss out ! Membership will give you access to very special blends only released to club members in one of a kind colourways !

Manx Loughtan

Rare Sheep breed Tops

A rare sheep breed that is a magical addition to your stash !

100grams (+/-3.5Oz); AU$21  -SOLD OUT ...SORRY-

Manx Loughtan top

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 !!


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

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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