So many things have been happening it feels like it’s March already ! : Rare sheep adventures, blending, very interesting blending trials and dyeing and getting all the clubs ready for their colourful dye coat, also some very interesting chemical dye experiments that I so want to work but I have to take it back to the drawing board and do some more calculations…and then ofcourse I sprained my ankle and somehow finished up in bed with a high fever after being bitten by a spider on my non sprained ankle while watering the veggie garden… I can laugh about it now but it was not funny. Anyway all good, but I am getting the faint impression that 2018 is handing out all these , let’s call them “tests” to see if I can really STAY CALM!!! As per my new years resolution…..I AM STILL CALM ! (promise!!!) (insert laugh)....
For tonight's blog update I have something very special in the Rare Sheep breed adventure style for you that took quite a bit of organizing and blending and lots and lots and lots of prep work and more carding..I am totally in love with the end result though and it was worth every bit of the hard work that went in to it. So what breed is it you ask? Hebridean Sheep !
The Hebridean is a sheep breed now classified as rare or at least a conservation breed. The Hebridean originated from the islands off the western coast of Scotland. Some say that they are closely related to the primitive sheep brought to the islands by the Vikings a millennium or more ago. They are classified as one of the Northern Short-tailed breeds. Over the centuries, Hebridean ewes have been selected by natural systems for hardiness in all weather, ease of lambing, milkiness and good mothering instincts. Because Hebrideans have not been modified by artificial selection they remain a small, economically efficient breeding ewe with a surprising ability to produce quality cross-bred lambs.
Hebridean sheep are a multi-horned breed. Both ewes and rams may have two, four, or even more horns, and some are occasionally polled. The two horned sheep are more numerous than the four horned. The horns of mature two horned rams are sought after by walking stick makers.
Hebridean sheep are relatively small, fine-boned and particularly attractive sheep. Fully grown ewes weigh around 40kg with rams being proportionately larger. More Hebrideans can be kept per hectare than a larger breed and, being lightweight, they do minimal damage to pasture even in wet conditions. In addition, their hard black hooves are not susceptible to foot problems. The sheep have black wool which sometimes fades to brown at the tips in the sun and often becomes grey with age; there is usually no wool on the face or legs. They have shown a greater tendency to browse than other sheep breeds which has made them useful in ecological projects where the control of brush and weeds was needed.
The Hebridean fleece has a deep colour, mostly black or very dark brown. The older the sheep get the more grey they become though (that sounds familiar…lol). The Hebridean sheep grow fleece that is exceptionally valuable in texture and is a double coat. The fleece may contain kemp or guardhairs, but this exceptional difference in outer hair and inner soft layer makes that the sheep can shrug off the wet and wild weather and stay warm and dry.
Hebrideans are hardy and able to thrive on rough grazing, and so are often used as conservation grazing animals to maintain natural grassland or heathland habitats. They are particularly effective at scrub control, having a strong preference for browsing. This desire to browse does mean that hedges alone are not sheep-proof barriers: you need stock fencing, or you will have lots of escapees. They are a prolific breed: ewes generally bear twin lambs, while shearlings mostly have singles. The lambs are keen to live and get up and suckle quickly. When cross-bred, this vitality is passed on to the cross-bred lambs. Today, when low intensity, low input farming provides the only viable option for many of our harsher regions, the Hebridean ewe is, once again, finding a role in modern agriculture and for environmental land management. Because Hebrideans have not been modified by artificial selection they remain a small, economically efficient breeding ewe with a surprising ability to produce quality cross-bred lambs. Trials have shown Hebridean flocks produce greater profit per hectare than mainstream commercial ewes.
This Hebridean Adventure has some very nice selected fine fleece in gorgeous pure black, together with some very luscious hand dyed black mulberry silk (If there was anything like Black silk naturally I would have gone for that but unfortunately there is no such thing as black silk…) and a tiny bit of black diamond bamboo in it.
I added the silk because of,well, it is silk and it has amazing softness to it and shine.
I added the black diamond bamboo or as it is also known as : Carbonized bamboo because I was intrigued by it’s properties. Balck Diamond Bamboo has the amazing silky softness of bamboo and a gorgeous charcoal colour, and is a fiber that is actually beneficial to your skin.
According to the American Chemical Society, Thomas Edison invented the first incandescent light bulb (1879). It used electricity to heat a thin strip of material, called a filament, until it glowed. Edison may also have created the first commercial carbon fibre. Early filaments, were made from bamboo slivers which were formed into the proper size and shape then were baked at high temperatures. Since bamboo consists mostly of cellulose, a natural linear polymer made of repeating units of glucose, the filament was "carbonized," when heated.
Tungsten wire soon displaced these carbon filaments, but they were still used on Navy ships as late as 1960 because they withstood ship vibrations better than tungsten.
Black diamond fibre also absorbs moisture (like sweat) and is antimicrobial so it helps eliminate odour, making it great for socks, active wear, and anything that you’d like to wear close to your skin. This material is even used in fancy cosmetics and beauty treatments because it has so many unique properties! Like silk, this fibre will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, and it’s also incredibly soft. The fibre resists pilling, is very durable, and it resists static electricity. Due to having the properties of far-infrared rays (which are used in quite a few different therapeutic treatments), black diamond fibre is also known to promote blood circulation
Hebridean , spun, then woven and made into this gorgeous jacket
Here are all the offerings for tonight : the Hebridean Adventure and a new yarn colourway called "Fun side of Venus" to accompany the Dark Side of the Moon yarn. And please do not forget : if you would like something custom dyed, let me know! I love to enable ! Big hugs to you all !!!
Rare Sheep Breed Hebridean Adventure Tops
Hebridean sheep fleece (60%), carefully selected with only the finest fleeces used making the tops close to skin wear with a comparable 20micron feel; Hand dyed black mulberry silk(30%), Black Diamond Bamboo (10%)
Only a VERY limited amount available !
I only have about 3 kilos of this gorgeous blend this year!
IxCHeL Sock Yarn blend
+/- 410meters which is enough for gorgeous pair of socks or a shawlette!
Super fine Merino, Silk and Nylon (75/5/20) Spun in Victoria and hand dyed by yours truly at the IxCHeL Fibre Farm in the Yarra Valley
Sunburnt Country -1 left-
Spinner’s Control, Yarn Gauge and Ply angle card
a great way to gauge the thickness of your yarn and plying. A nice tool with an info sheet to hang on your spinning wheel or carry wit you anywhere you go.
Have a fun weekend !!!
How To Order:
2. Message me on facebook or
3. Message me on www.ravelry.com where I am ixchelbunny.
4. message me on Instagram 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.