A "slight" sense of panic sets in when I look at the mountains of fluff blended up, the big mountains of handspun I accumulated during the last year in preparation for the Handknitters Guild show end of May and of course the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show in July.
This time of year it also means endless hours standing at the “cauldron” and prepping dye baths, crushing pigments and conjuring up colourways. It almost feels like being an alchemist making potions and transforming a white canvas into an exploding array of colour and patterns. That’s where inspiration comes in and thinking about what colours would go with which. I always have my favourite colourways, if you want to call it that, but I do not work with a set amount of rules nor colourways nor a recipe book: I tend to “paint” my fibres according to my mood, whatever is going on, the colours that surround me and also what books, movies or music that makes my heart sing at this time.
Being a bit of an anarchist when it comes to rules, I do not hold on to a certain set of colourways that I can repeat at any given time. Working with lots of natural dyes makes that a bit hard as well but above all, I just wish not to become a production line making 20 of this and 20 of that . Mind you, it does make that you work A LOT faster when you work to a set of given colours and do that all the time. Rinse and repeat ! However, being a stubborn artist, I absolutely cannot do that. Kudos to those who can!
So, here I am dyeing with heart and soul, with piles of work to do and … for three days of the week I was left with no power …the electricity lines dropped after a severe storm, together with our precious wattle tree and then some and damage to Paul's shed, only to get even more adventurous when the generator decided it was time to give us as well.
Adaptable as you have to be , living in a heavy wooded area in the middle of nowhere and doing what I do as a living, I decided to turn my hand on some manual blending of Icelandic multi-coloured fibres and ……breathe.
I’m allowing myself not to get too upset anymore and seeing things like these as a Monty Pythonesque parody .. in the end what I have is what I will have and I just cannot move any faster or work any harder than I already do..so… for this update there are no multi-coloured yarns of bunny mink and pure angora handspun and slubby merino or Art yarns simply because they are not dry yet ! Nor are there colourful tops or dyed fibre precisely for that same reason.
What I can offer you today is a beautiful “sorting hat” of natural coloured Icelandic tops that are amazing to handle and spin in all its natural glory ! AND , because so many people have asked me if they could already sign up for the new clubs starting in July, I have decided to open the sign ups for all the IxCHeL Clubs today!
A while ago I offered you a beautiful silver grey Autumn shearing and this week I am very proud to offer you a silver and black lightly blended autumn shearing that will make any yarn look fabulous ! YOu can ofcourse overdye this top and believe me there is nothing better than dyeing a top with all different natural tonal variations of silver and grey and black. It makes the end product look amazing and magical !
There are not many wild or domesticated local animals in Iceland, but the wildlife and farm animals Iceland do have are very special. Did you know there are more Icelandic sheep in Iceland than people?! Some farmers own nearly a thousand sheep of their own. The extensive farm land around Iceland's coast is full of them, and every summer they roam the highlands and mountains freely. They're tough, sturdy little animals, and grow lots of fluffy wool that the Icelanders use to make all their woollen goods. Icelandic sheep are a breed that has remained virtually unchanged for over 1,000 years, maybe the oldest and most genetically pure sheep breed in the world. Modern Icelandic sheep descend from sheep ferried by Vikings to Iceland during the 8th and 9th Centuries. Attempts to “improve” the breed by outcrossing generally resulted in increased vulnerability to disease, and so raisers on this island nation decided to keep their selective breeding attempts confined within the breed.
The Icelandic sheep is an ancient North European breed, slightly smaller than modern varieties, whose double-layered coat is uniquely suited to cold and wet conditions.
A few weeks after the lambing in May, sheep are sent to run free and graze in mountain pastures until autumn, feeding on the rich and nourishing vegetation. Many farmers formerly allowed their sheep to graze in outlying pastures over the summer months, but as a result of the recent reduction in flocks, animals are increasingly kept on home pastures. Farmers gather their flocks in the autumn. Usually, the round-up is carried out on horseback with assistance of sheepdogs. The process can take up to a week. During this time, participants stay overnight in mountain huts located throughout the highlands. Each sheep farmer has his own earmark in order to identify his livestock. After the gathering, the sheep are all sorted into designated pens, according to earmarks. Many people, farmers or not, come to watch or take part in this event on the last day, which is usually followed by a big celebration the same night. This is a tradition cherished by Icelanders.
Icelandic sheep are a beautiful and eye-catching breed of sheep with incredible colour variations and seventeen possible combinations of colours and patterns. Known around the world for their fibre, the Icelandic sheep provides a soft, lustrous dual coated fleece. Icelandic sheep come in a range of natural colours and patterns which provide lovely wool that is very versatile and easy to spin, making this wool a handspinners delight. There is heaps of information and even videos I put on my autumn shearing of the icelandic sheep on my blog a while ago in case you want to have a look at the whole story and some more cute photos.
Tomorrow I will be at the Healesville Spinners and Weavers doing a talk about our fibre farm and will also have some of my wares and Lair of the Bearded Dragon spindles there for sale as well. You can find all the info about this event in the “dates to put in your calendar “ section below this weeks offerings.
Anyway, here I am, it is Friday again and update day and this week, filled again with Nordic Splendour (I’m obviously still in a Viking mood!..lol) . Here are some of the Icelandic Beauties responsible for this weeks fibery update :
Have a fun weekend and snaffle ! All the “ how to order details” are shown at the bottom of this blog. You can always contact me on facebook or ravelry and even if you do not see something here , ask me: I am always happy to enable !
New IxCHeL Club sign ups are now open!
for the months : July, August and September 2016
(til quotas are reached or until June 30th)
IxCHeL Fibre Club July, August and September 2016
The IxCHeL Sock Yarn Clubs July, August, September 2016
IxCHeL Funky Bunny Batt Clubs July, August and September 2016
Icelandic Black & Silver Tops
Beautifully slightly blended black and silver grey Icelandic Autumn Shearing tops 100+gram tops AU$23
When I took this photo I all of a sudden realised it looked
like the “sorting hat” of the Harry Potter movies….
or maybe my imagination is to blame and
I am “seeing things” lol
Dates to put in your Calendar !!
Saturday May 7th 10am-3pm
Healesville Spinners and Weavers Guild Chat, Spin and Shop
I will be doing a talk about the IxCHeLbunny farm, fibres and yarns and lots more !!! There will be fibres to cuddle (and buy) and also spindles of all shapes and sizes.
The event is open to all but everybody is asked to bring a plate of food to share with the others to make it even more fun. The Hall opens at 11am with a group meeting and my talk will start around 12. After the talk there will be ample opportunity to browse, shop and mingle.
V.C. Mullett Hall (Badger Creek Hall), 358 Badger Creek Road, Badger Creek.
The hall is located next to the Badger Creek C.F.A. Station and opposite the Badger Creek Primary School. There is off road parking.
Sunday May 29th10am-3pm
Victorian Hand Knitters Guild Show Coburg Town Hall
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 with !
Friday July 15th- Sunday 17th, 9am-5pm
2nd of October
Black n Coloured Sheep FIELD DAY in Cranbourne!
Just contact me with the name of the colour you are after and I will get right back to you.
How To Order:
2. Message me on facebook or
3. Message me on www.ravelry.com 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.