Every decision, every plan, every spark of imagination or should I say the “vulcanic idea eruptions” that I have, however creative and exciting, they have to be assessed and thought about because of the super limited funds available. Running a small fibre farm and a small craft business is just that: an almost impossible – or should I say implausible..lol- clash between chaotic anarchistic creativity with the need of an almost scientific calculations of risk/ non existant availability of funds…. Safe to say: I go with my gut feelings and take it from there, dive in and then ……. After incessantly working almost 24/7 ….. fear sets in …soon replaced by my motto of “keep swimming!” or “if you go through hell, keep going!” attitude. So yeah, a pretty standard normal week…LOL
There are heaps of dyeing sessions for the clubs, the upcoming shipping of the Seamonster adventure and the updates planned. With the handknitters guild show coming up on May 21st it is always a frenzy to get lots of yarns spun and dyed and labelled. While at the same time I have to make sure that every week there is an exciting update as well. This time of year it is like running a marathon!
Tomorrow I am doing a talk at the Healesville spinners and taking my fluffy stuff and then on Sunday I have a day off (who would have thought that possible !!!???? LOL) : going to the book festival in Clunes ! I have never been but heard so many good things about it and being an absolute book fanatic I’m looking forward to it very much !
This week’s update is all about the new Silver Star Sock yarn blend AND a rare sheep breed.
So what rare sheep breed is on offer tonight? : It is the Manx Loaghtan !
The Manx Loaghtan 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:
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 romantic..lol
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 Scotland (where I got these beauties from) , 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.
Not only these wicked Manx Loaghtan tops are on offer on this week’s blog but also some very super soft Silver Star Sock weight yarn!
Have a fun weekend with lots of giggles!!
So for todays update I have the new Silver Star IxCHeL Sock yarn! treat yourself to some Sparkles !
Rare Sheep breed Tops
100grams (+/-3.5Oz); AU$22
IxCHeL Silver Star Sock yarn 4 ply Fingering Weight
Super soft sparkly yarn with a high twist: great for socks a swell as shawls or hey, a sparkly jumper!
Great yarn with fab stitch definition and drape.
All hand dyed and labelled on the IxCHeL Fibre farm with Love by me in the Yarra Valley !
+/- 431 meters / 470 yards per 100g
“make it rain”, “Black Star” and “Sing!”
or why not this combo
of “Rose” “Velvet touch” “illuminati” “Pinot Noir” and “Rose”
This combination of “Castle on the Hill” speckled yarn with “Rose Petals”
or make your own amazing colour combination choosing from the many colour ways below:
Dates to put in your Calendar !!
Saturday May 6th 10am-3pm
Healesville Spinners and Weavers Guild AGM and talk and shop (it is a general meeting and after 12am I will give a talk and there will be fluff for sale. It will be just me there though: not a spin in as such. So Please contact the Healesville spinners and bring a plate to celebrate !)
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 little 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 21st 10am-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 14th- Sunday 16th, 9am-5pm
date and venue info to follow soon.
Black n Coloured Sheep FIELD DAY in Pakenham!
250 g tubs AU$26
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.