Now why am I that into rare breeds? Well, that is a bit of a story really. It started a long time ago....
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 I would possibly not survive either .....Life can be endangered in a blink of an eye….Moreover, I felt more than ever, the importance of focusing on rare and 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…...lol
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 sustainable, 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 also known as vampire 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 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 (Yangcheng 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 !!! the Demilitarized zone !! but, 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 short..it is extremely soft and nice. I am able to offer you only a very very small amount of handblended Vampire Deer top.
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 !
I ran a little Quizz on my facebook page this morning with a close up photo of the ear of a vampire deer.
The first person who guessed right, will win a vampire deer top .
Announcing the winner now!!! Better start the drumroll……..
The winner of the quiz is….
KATIE LACZKO !!!!!!
Pm me your postal address and a vampire deer will be hopping to you on monday
To all my fabulous readers: 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 Handblended Vampire Deer Blend Tops
Vampire Deer, Merino, Yak, Muga Silk, Cashmere
+/- 50gram skein AU$32
300meters per 50 grams
There is only a very very VERY limited supply!!
The New IxCHeL Club sign ups are OPEN until June 30th or until spaces are filled !!!
Get a monthly fibre and yarn surprise !
Always great blends and new colourways inspired by the Art Journey Theme !
July, August and September 2018
IxCHeL Fibre Club July , August and Septembere 2018
The IxCHeL Sock Yarn Clubs July, August and September 2018
IxCHeL Funky Bunny Batt Clubs July, August and September 2018
Numbers are strictly limited ! The July 2018 club is going to be shipped out end of July, the August club mid August and the September club mid September 2018. Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me
Have a fun weekend !!!
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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.
Dates to put in your Calendar
Friday July 20th to Sunday July 22ndAustralian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo.
Go to http://www.sheepshow.com to see what is happening and book your tickets. The Bendigo Sheep and Wool show is the biggest wool show in Australia ! with an amazing amount of woolcraft, indie dyers, a huge amount of tops, yarn, craft, felt and spindles, spinning wheels and anything you need for your knitting,crocheting and crafting.
I will be there with an amazing amount of new exclusive wool blends and yarns, batts, felt and landscape and botanical natural dyes and so much more !!!
I will also have spindles by the amazing Bearded Dragon and lots of fibre tools as well from darning mushrooms to noste pinne and needle cases to distaffs. And, there will also be some wonderful Turkish spindles from my friend Scott Snyder available again !
Get ready for a fabulous weekend filled with lots of craft and fun !!!