Friday, August 3, 2018

Pearls, Shells and Bunnies

The responses after the Bendigo show of two weeks have been heart warming. I keep on getting messages and emails saying how everybody had such an amazing good time and enjoyed wool diving at my stall and then there is always a sentence as an intro saying: "I hope you have recovered".., which always puts a big smile on my face because, as you know, there's no recovery, just a dive back into the studio, dyeing up clubs and orders and new plans to make into reality.  And then of course there is the fact that this bunny has a very hard time stopping at all. But you all knew that already didn't you?   All the clubs were shipped last week and soon teaser photos will be posted on both my instagram  (@ixchelbunny) and the IxCHeL fibre and yarns facebook pages.  This week was all about dyeing the sexy scientist range yarns and I am happy to announce that parcels for those of you who have signed up, will be shipped out next week. 

So yeah, I have been a very busy bunny !  and...apart from taking it a bit slower in the next couple of months to regroup, re-allign my body and mind, I am looking forward to taking you on more fibre, craft and art journeys.

The one new blend I was especially enthusiastic about for the Bendigo show was my Pearl Bunny or Boticelli Bunny tops with an amazing new and strange fibre: Chitin. I had an extremely fun time saying to customers at the show "hey, did you feel that fibre with Chitin ?" While pronouncing it as "Shit-in" not "Ky-tin" as it should have been pronounced. LOL  Anyhoo, Chitin is one of those elements that I always am on the look out for , just like the stainless steel blend fro years ago I unleashed on all of you.  I am always looking outside of the box to combine either technology, science, bizarness, call it what you like, into my special blends. This one took a bit of doing and literally years of combining science with the craft of blending different fibres together.  But, let me start by explaining what exactly brought me to add shitin mean..Chitin... to my fibre blends ready for handspinning :

Chitin was discovered by the French chemist and pharmacist Henri Braconnot in 1811 and, after cellulose, it's the most important biopolymer in nature.  In fact, it is made of  the exoskeleton of insects, shellfish and  Shells, many fungi.  
Chitin is a polysaccharide. Chemically speaking it looks like a  long-chain in which pearls are molecules of N-acetylglucosamine. The N-glucosamine is a very important substance for the human organism, in fact, it is the precursor of hyaluronic acid and it is used in therapies for the functional recovery of the joints. Chitin is also widely used in the medical world to make suture wires because it can be degraded by enzymes present in human tissue. It is also used as wound dressing, enormously important to treat burn victims.  Chitin has a remarkable strength and it accelerates the healing of wounds.  (want to delve deeper into some research? Here are some publications in the international journal of Niological Macromolecules:

As a medical anthropologist, the medical application of a fibre always peaks my interest and so I did some more research. So wait , there is more ! Obviously I will not tell you to eat the Pearl bunny tops, but Chitin has many other applications than medical suture wires and wound dressing. It is also extensively used in  food and pharmaceutical products. It is often used as a food thickener and stabilizer, and it can also form edible films. Chitin is also  used in supplements to manage healthy cholesterol levels and body weight. Additional uses of chitin include the support of kidney function.  Some early research shows that Chitin supports the body’s natural ability to heal skin damage and nerve regrowth.

Now something that really alerted me to the oddity of this fibre is based on , well, is it a protein or cellulose fibre? The chemical answer to that question is , well, interesting to say the least. 

Chitin, being derived from shells, made me think it was more like a protein than a cellulose fibre since there is obviously no cellulose in a crab.  So I looked deeper into the chemical structure of  Chitin and here it is:

Chitin is a “polymerized N-acetylglucosamine.”  The only thing you need to remember from that extremely  long a word is “glucos”  and “Amine” which opens a whole other box of contradictions, because Glucose is a cellulose and Amine is a Protein. Could it be the best of both worlds then? And the short answer of it is : YES!  

In my top notch dye laboratory (please note the sarcasm) I tested this odd fibre with both fibre reactive and acid dyes ! Bingo ! The fibre  takes both acid dyes and fibre reactive dyes! Very odd isn’t it?   

In the chemical structure of the Chitin you can see the OH (hydroxide) Highlighted in pink , which is helpful in reactive dyeing , and the NH and NH2 , which are necessary for acid dyeing. So there you go:  chitin is  one of those bizarre fibres  that will bind with both acid and reactive dyes.  However, when you closely look at the structure you can see that there are way more hydroxide “binding sites” (just look at  how many OH’s there are for short ). So after all that research I have to admit it’s like a cellulose/plant fibre that loves acting like a protein/animal fibre…  I hope I satisfied your inner bio chemist  and can't wait to do some of your own .. spinning..

The blend spins up like a dream! It is a bit cool to t he touch, has a gorgeous drape, feels very silky. Totally different from any blend with bamboo  or soy  or seacell (seaweed) or even tencel. I love working with it and it will make an excellent jumper as well (or socks) since the tensile strength is huge and it also has excellent anti bacterial properties (read that as : it is great for combating sweaty feet and armpits).

So, here they are: Pearl Bunny Tops (I thought that was a better name than calling it Bunny Crabs....let's not go there LOL)

Pearl Bunny Tops

A blend of Superfine Merino, Angora Bunny, Cashmere, Chitin
100g    AU$25

(This was an extremely popular blend at the bendigo Show so I only have a very limited supply left ! I will try and blend more in the near future but  that will probably be only available end of 2018, start of 2019.)

Natural  SOLD

Pebbles SOLD

Sexy Weatherman SOLD

Velvet -SOLD-

Unicorn Narwhal  -2 left--

Zombies and Mermaids -2left-

Parrot Fish -SOLD-

Have a fun week Creating your Dreams!

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 here:

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 
3. Message me on  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.

Dates to put in your Calendar

Sunday September 30th

Sheep and Woolcraft Field day
Pakenham Hall
Corner Henry and John Street , Pakenham
9.30 - 3.00pm

This awesome event is hosted by the Black & Coloured Sheep Breeders of South East Victoria
There will be craft demos, wonderful fleeces, a petting farm from the Elisabeth Murdoch College, Raffle prizes and of course a huge amount of stall holders offering fantastic fluffy fibres and yarns.

I will be there again as well of course (would not miss it for the world) and I will have some new products again that could not be ready for the Bendigo Show like, natural dyes, plant seeds to grow your own dye garden, natural dye kits, new yarn and design kits as well as my usual range of super fluffy yarns and blends.

I will give you a nice overview closer to the date to help you prepare your shopping list  ;-)


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