Friday, May 3, 2024

Yakety yak!

 


It’s been almost a month between blogs! For years and years I have been consistently blogging every Friday at 8pm and it “only” took the upkeep of an online shop, social media marketing, emails and what have you to let me totally lose my medal in the consistency department.

And if that’s not the only thing: keeping lots of hand made and hand dyed fibre, yarn and spindles consistently stocked up, is proving to be extremely hard as well. In short: I cannot keep up!  Hilarious but true, I thought having an online shop and not going to weekly markets and lots of big shows would take the pressure off. Hilarious! Hilariously out of touch with reality you mean! Lol

Anyway, Paul has been nudging me to look into having a holiday, but at this point, even remotely looking into that proves amazingly hard. And yet, I always said to myself, if it is important you will find time. And that, proves to be hard as well. I think it’s to do with the fact that I have been so conditioned to working all the time, through everything: whether it be sickness, pandemics or even just hard times. My brain can’t seem to cope with anything that is not productive or creative. As soon as I sit down with a book for half an hour or even when thinking about having a relaxing bath, my mind goes in “guilty mode”…as if I’m a naughty kid doing something wrong! Am I the only one ? Do any of you experience that as well? You know, that guilty feeling of doing nothing..well, I mean something for yourself instead of working. It’s really strange and it’s obviously not sustainable or healthy. So, I had a relaxing bath last night, I read for an hour, but…I still am not closer to deciding where or when to take a holiday. If I don’t decide fast, Paul will rebel I’m sure and I can’t have a rebelling bearded dragon on my hand..lol

Anyway, no time to relax yet because in a months time there’s a fabulous market I will be attending and I still have about 30 kilos of yarn to dye, numerous yarns to spin and dye, oh! And a May club to dye and ship out…. If I was organised enough to abide by lists, I’d be freaking out….!

so, the whole house is currently filled with drying yarns and  fibres and a manic bunny, me, trying to do all the things all at onceūü§£ 

The April clubs have been shipped two weeks ago so it’s about time to show you all the photos: 

The May clubs are currently being prepped and getting ready for a dyebath ! The teaser for the May club will be posted on my social media over the weekend so keep an eye out!

This week I have some amazingly soft and rich chocolate …. Yak tops for sale ! Check them out in the “what’s new” section on www.ixchel.com.au  

Also: new tulip wood and beech twist it little helpers aka orifice hooks with a WPI gauge.

plus NEW anniversary products sale : Stitch markers!

you can find them all on the IxCHeL website in the what’s new section!

well, this bunny is off to cook some dinner and feed the hungry masses before I have a revolution on my hands!

wishing everybody a fabulous craft and fun weekend!

Let the adventures begin !

big fluffy hugs

Charly

Friday, April 5, 2024

A Fibery Solar Eclipse

 

Happy Friday everybody! Its been another exciting busy week here with lots of new carding, blending and dyeing.

The new quarter of art journey clubs are starting again this month so that means heaps of extra prep work and getting everything from pigments to fibres and yarns, organised and ready. I will post a teaser label of the April clubs over the weekend so all of you can see what art journey adventures we will be getting into this month.

I hope everybody will enjoy the fibery solar eclipse i have organised for you on Monday, since all of us here in Australia will be missing out on this special event this monday April the 8th.
The 2024 Total solar eclipse will carve a very narrow path across Mexico, the USA and eastern Canada, but us Australians will have to wait til July 22nd, 2028 to experience a total solar eclipse. 
The next Total Solare Eclipse visible in Australia will pass straight over Sydney harbour so you better start booking your stay on a yacht now...lol !

For tonight I have some pretty amazing hand dyed tops for you: Bunny Bison Bliss tops!

American Bison mean a lot to me. Bison hold such stories and history that for me, as one with Native American roots, means something very special. Enormous herds of bison once occupied the American Great Plains, and were critically important to Native American Plains tribes as sources of meat, hides, horn, bone and sinew. American Bison were hunted close to extinction by white settlers and the American military during the western migration, but they were given protected status and the population rebounded in the second half of the 20th century.

There are now substantial populations living in the United States and Canada; all the wild-ranging herds are found in state, provincial and national parks. In addition, there are several herds owned by private farmers and even some in Australia !



socializing with the domestic Bison (Dungog Farm NSW)

As a spinner and weaver I love to play and experiment with all sorts of fibres and the Bison being so close to my heart and heritage, I could not resist to try and design a blend that would not only do it justice but also excel in its beauty, handle and all over amazing way to spin and use in our fibre art.

Bunny Bison Bliss tops have the following ingredients: Superfine 17micron merino, angora bunny , Bison, Baby Camel, cashmere and tencel. It spins like a dream!

“Buffalo,” the name most Americans grew up using for bison, does not immediately evoke the image of soft, useful fiber. Yet the bison’s downy undercoat that grows each fall and sheds each spring is the finest truly luxury fibre available. The down fiber produced by an adult bison has a fairly short staple length, and measures 17 to 22 microns. An adult cow (female) bison will have roughly 1 to 3 pounds of down on her body when the fibre has fully matured, which is usually around the first of each year. The soft down grows close to the skin and is what will keep this 500kilo animal insulated and warm through the winter months. Bison populations are now estimated to be between 450,000 and 500,000, mostly in the United States and Canada. This is almost double the estimated population of 250,000 when our family started raising bison in the 1990s. Annually, around 55,000 are processed for meat. It is from these production animals that we are able to harvest fiber during January, February, and March, when the fibre is at its longest and least matted. Before that time of the year, the fiber is still growing and too short. After that, it is shedding and being rubbed into matts and balls that just cannot be untangled. After harvest, the fibre has to be thoroughly scoured even though it contains no lanolin or grease. Bison don’t have sweat glands, so to keep cool bison wallow, rolling in wet dirt to pack a layer of soil next to their skin. As such, their short, crimpy fiber retains a lot of the prairie landscape, which needs to be thoroughly removed without felting the down fibers. Scouring bison requires a lot of clean water and repeated long soaks. 
 
Next, the fibres need to be separated, sorting the fine down from coarse hair. A bison fiber study done by North Dakota State University identified four, or possibly five, different fiber types on a mature bison. A dehairing machine can be used to separate the coarse fibres (primary coat) and guard hairs from the desired fine fibers (secondary coat). The dehairer works primarily by using centrifugal force, transferring the fine fibers between cylinders operating at different speeds, while the heavier, coarse fibers are preferentially ejected. The down is predominantly dark brown, but there are often light or white down fibers as well. There are no measurable differences between fibers of different colors, and when spun, it is all but impossible to see the white down. Unspun, it is relatively visible, but when the fibres are carded or combed and then spun, the down has a very consistent chocolate colour.
 

 

 
Bison love to rub themselves and so these big hairy poles were designed that catch their rogue down fibres every time give it a rub. 

a Bison pair


Here are some new colourways on the Bunny bison bliss tops :

Minty Rainbow
Spring Meadow
Love Birds
And, of course, there is also "Whale Song" (see the top photo of the blog) and many, many more to explore.
 
Since it is the start of a new month, there is also a new product I am offering with a 20% discount to celebrate the 20th anniversary of IxCHeL yarns & Fibres. This month i offer you the awesome solid dyed merino tops! Great to blend, spin on their own, or to ply with variegated singles.  They are also fab to needlefelt and wet felt with !



I absolutely love Merino Tencel Silk tops and it was time to do a little restock and some new colours as well. I am waiting on a new shipment of tencel and everything seems to be a bit harder to get atm so bear with me please until more stock is available.


I just love how the colours pop on this blend! 

You can find all these and more on in the "What's new" collection this week or hop to the search in the shop and type in tencel and you will see them.

Apart from dyeing and prepping all the clubs, I will be super, super busy to get a tonne of yarns spun and dyed for the upcoming handknitters guild yarn and fibre show at the Merribek TOwn hall in Coburg, VIC, on June 1dt and 2nd. So please put this date in your calendar !  I will of course give heaps of more information and share lots soon !

Have a funtastic weekend and heaps of crafty fun !

Big hugs,
Charly

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Happy hoppy Easter!

 


 Wishing all of you a wonderful, happy, hoppy, crafty Easter with lots of fun!
I’ve been a bit slack these last few weeks..well, with writing blogs I mean, not with dyeing, spinning or doing everything to keep the shop happening. Who knew that having an online shop would be soooooooo much work? I should’ve known of course, because that is what happens when you make everything you sell (well apart from the Ashford wheels etc..) and of course I can never stick to repeating the same colourways or products. I always think of something new and exciting that needs a lot of extra work. No wonder when I say to Paul “hey! I got this great idea!” , I can literally see him holding his breath and silently say to himself “oh no, here we go again…” lolol

Anyway, I’m Still here. Not really in one piece anymore I might add, because the last few weeks I had a hellish tooth ache, which actually had nothing to do with the tooth, which was in Perfect shape!darn it, but apparently because there was an abcess the size of a grape happening on my jaw. Fabulous…NOT!  So I went in for a little excavation and came out with one less tooth and a grape size thing plus a hole and quite a bit of pain. This is obviously one way of shutting me up and making me a more subdued person. I’m on anti biotics atm and every now and again I pop a painkiller, but I’m not a big bill taker at all. If anything, I hate taking pills…oh well, this too will pass, someone once said. Or, as I like to call it :  “I’m extremely good at losing weight by just losing parts of my anatomy” …lol

Allons-y! The show must go on and all that Jazz..

What news have I got this Easter? I thought qiviut would be a great idea to just envelop yourself in this amazing, luxuriousness, because let’s face it “we deserve it!”

 


Here are some of the new colourways:






I was asked to do a custom order to represent a whale and I was inspired so from the description came a watercolour, from the water colour came a drill down of pigments needed for the dye job and then after finishing that, I thought “why not dye some on a different blend for the update because it looks amazing”..I’m nothing if not thorough and a bit weird..lol

If you ever want something you cannot find on the shop, please let me know! I am always welcoming custom orders! I looooove doing custom orders. They make me work and look at things in a different way and I love that!

Just have a browse on the IxCHeL shop right here: https://ixchel.com.au/products/tundra

There might not be a lot of animals still around whose origins date from the ice age to tell the tale and be around for us to marvel at them and their unique and magical being, but tonight’s update is one of them: QIVIUT! Or Musk ox as they are also known as ox Qiviut is the name of the wool that comes off of the Musk Ox, a gentle giant of a creature often found in Alaska, but also in Norway, more specifically in the Dovrefjell National park.  Once hunted to the brink of extinction, Musk Ox are now considered to have the most precious, softest fiber in the world. Eight times warmer than wool and finer than cashmere, qiviut is rare and it is one of the most luxurious fibres you can choose for a garment.

  


The softness of Qiviut is something that must be touched to be believed! Qiviut is not only soft, it is also non-irritating to the skin, and is very durable - garments made from it are worn for years and can be hand washed in mild detergent. It retains warmth even when wet. 

The lightweight fibre preserves heat in the winter, while also providing cool, breathable comfort in warmer weather. This fibre has been carefully gathered by hand and no animals were harmed in the gentle shedding of it. This fibre generally sells for anywhere between $70-$100/28grams/oz, and skeins of yarn often sell for a lot more!! Fibre count is 100s+ (12-15 micron)!!!

A musk ox mum and her baby

the Qiviut (down of the musk ox)  peeking through the guard hairs

Musk Ox male in Alaska

One of the baby musk ox 





The mighty muskox (Ovibos moschatu) is a survivor from the ice age. Possessing powerful curved horns, which hang down like side bangs from a helmet-like skullcap, muskoxen are actually more closely related to sheep and goats than to cattle and oxen (although all of the above are members of the Bovidae family). 

Adult muskoxen weigh from 180 to 400 kg (400 to 900 pounds) but they look much larger on account of their thick coats and large heads. Once muskoxen proliferated throughout the northern hemisphere alongside woolly mammoths, but hunting and habitat loss caused them to retreat further and further into the remotest parts of the north until the end of the nineteenth century when the animals could only be found in the unpopulated wilderness and empty islands of northern Canada and deep in the arctic vastness of Greenland. In these remote locations tiny herds of one to two dozen muskoxen still subsist on grasses, willows, lichens and moss while contending with terrible arctic predators and fearsome cold. 

Fortunately the muskox is provisioned with fearsome horns and doughty neighbours to fend off polar bears and wolves. The herd is capable of assembling in a ring formation with horns outward to stand off wolves and ice bears (although such a strategy works less well against humans with our projectile weapons). To fight the cold, the muskoxen have fat reserves and one of the most remarkable insulating coats in the animal world. 

A muskox’s coat is divided into two layers: a long stringy layer of coarse outer wool and an inner layer of soft warm undercoat called qiviut (this Inuit word now primarily denotes muskox wool but it was once also used to refer to similarly soft warm inner down of arctic birds). Qiviut is one of the world’s premier luxury fibres: it is allegedly 8 times more effective at insulation than sheep’s wool and yet is softer than cashmere. 

The Musk Ox survived when the other greats of the Pleistocene – woolly mammoth, mastodon, sabertoothed cats, giant sloth – all went away. And it returned to Alaska by way of New York Harbour. Now, it turns out, the musk ox could again be the great survivor in our new Arctic age of extinction. Ross MacPhee, a curator in the department of mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, says the musk ox’s homogenous genetic makeup suggests it has been through population stress before and can survive boom-and-bust cycles. 

“What we find with living musk oxen is they’re not exactly clones, but they’re so amazingly similar that there’s only one explanation,” MacPhee says. “And that explanation is that they had to have had a very severe pinch on their populations. We estimate that that happened about ten thousand years ago.” But that doesn’t mean it’s all good news for the cold-weather beast, which is most closely related to goats and sheep and can weigh up to 800 pounds. The pace of these changes could challenge even an animal as resilient as the musk ox, scientists say. 

Brendan Kelly, an Arctic ecologist and research scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says all Arctic species are currently endangered by the rapid speed of climate change. “For organisms to adapt – whether it’s changing body size, or changing the timing that they have their calves, and hence can match when the plants are most nutritious – it really depends on the rate of the environmental change relative to the generation time of the organism,” Kelly says. “So if there’s a really, really rapid environmental change, it’s very hard for there to be an adaptive response.” 

As I was reading about Musk Ox I found out that all of the muskox at the Myskoxcentrum in H√§rjedalen, Sweden, came from Ry√łya, near Troms√ł, Norway. What?!? Muskox on Ry√łya? I knew about the Dovrefjell group and an attempt to introduce muskox on Svalbard, but I had never heard of a group in northern Norway. The search was on. 

It turns out that there is a flock of more 40+ animals now running around free on a small island named Ry√łya off the coast of Troms√ł. NRK’s Ut i naturen television program made a 24-minute show about “Moskus√łya” (“Muskox Island”) in 2006. Unfortunately the show is in Norwegian, but even if you don’t speak Norwegian, it’s still worth watching for a while if you want to see muskox running around and scientists trying to catch them. In the Ut i naturen program, we also get to see some historic television clips from the 1960s when the muskox first came to Troms. 

In 1969, 25 muskox calves arrived in northern Norway via boat from Greenland. The idea was to raise muskox for their wool as domesticated livestock. The University of Fairbanks in Alaska had some kind of research project related to muskox husbandry (I haven’t looked into that yet) and the idea was transferred to Norway.

The undercoat wool of muskox, known as qiviut, is a highly valuable wool: it is warmer than wool, finer than cashmere and hypoallergenic. Sounds like the perfect winter clothing material, except that muskox are pretty rare and not widely domesticated – which makes it a very, very expensive material 

In 1969, the herd was established at a farm in Bardu with the hope that eventually every farm in the area could have 2-3 muskox for a meaningful supplementary income. But by 1975, calls for the end of muskox experiment were being made. According to media reports, a hunter was killed by a muskox and the muskox population was being devastated by a virus (hmmm, sounds familiar, right?). So in 1976, the herd was moved to northern Troms, and five years later, the Troms√ł University is taking care of them to preserve the species. 

The Department of Arctic and Marine Biology took over the herd and moved them to Ry√łya to study their behaviour and adaptation as arctic animals. Muskox as livestock in Norway didn’t work out, but who knows what the future holds. The Qiviut are still here.

While the scientists herd the muskox to collect measurements and/or for transportation to the overwintering station on the mainland, they quickly pull out the qiviut, which they sell to support their research. Qiviut is a bonus of having muskox in Norway — if you can catch them. 

Well , don’t you worry I caught some of it for you to support the musk ox population growing not only on the American continent but also in other habitats that are good for them. This will enable the species to grow, get stronger, adapt and hey, probably outlive us all, since they already did that to the woolly mammoth. 

Don’t worry, if I EVER find a woolly mammoth, I will share its’ wool with all of you … 

As far as rare breeds are concerned and especially with the musk ox, they are being monitored by scientists to see what is happening with the herds and what their health is. A musk ox can be up to two metres long. The animal is characterised by a long and dense coat and wide hooves and drooping horns. Like domestic cows, musk oxen are ruminants, and allow their food to ferment in a separate stomach prior to digesting it. Musk ox are well protected against the cold Arctic winter. They have two layers of hair--a thick undercoat and heavy outer coat of long, dark hair. Musk ox are a key species in the Arctic, but populations are in decline. A new method is helping scientists to monitor these animals in often difficult to reach, remote locations.

A new method of hair analysis reveals what musk ox in the Arctic have been eating in recent years. The hair is sampled from the animals’ buttocks where it is longest and preserves a longer time series of the animals eating habits. Buttock hair also grows continuously throughout the year and so it gives the most representative picture of the animals’ yearly food intake. “Musk ox [are] a key species in the Arctic that we know surprisingly little about,” says lead author Jesper Bruun Mosbacher, a PhD student at the Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark. “We use a new method that has never been applied in this way before. And we can use it to monitor [musk ox] populations in locations where we otherwise wouldn’t visit very often,” says Mosbacher.

Musk ox are found throughout the Arctic, in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Norway, and Russia. And some local populations are thriving. 
In west Greenland, populations have soared from just 27 in the early 1960s to around 25,000 estimated individuals today, says Mosbacher. But scientists still do not know where most musk ox are or how they are faring. "No one knows how many there are among the [unmanaged] population on the east coast [of Greenland]. The most recent estimate in 1990 was between 2,900 and 4,600 musk ox within the area of the Zackenberg research station," says Mosbacher.
Mosbacher and his colleagues analysed hair from ten Greenlandic musk ox and discovered that the animals’ diet is directly linked with their environmental surroundings and the number of calves born. Fewer calves were born during and after particularly snowy winters.

 

 

"In winters with lots of snow, the animals starved and burned their layer of body fat. Musk ox live in such extreme areas and they are very dependent on sufficient body resources both to survive and to be able to produce calves," says Mosbacher.


 The scientists analysed the stable isotope composition of the hair, which indicates the type of food that the animals ate in recent years. An isotope is a specific version of an element and every element has several different isotopes. A stable isotope means that it is not radioactive and does not change into another isotope by radioactive decay.

The analytical tool is useful when predicting future population trends in the face of climate change, says Mosbacher. “Our study tries to understand how climate influences the musk ox’s diet, in a region where [climate] is changing twice as fast as in other ecosystems and where populations [of musk ox] are declining,” he says.

 

“Understanding the connection between the environment and food is important, because then we can begin to understand what will happen as the climate changes."
This new Tundra blend top are perfectly blended  super fine fibres which will make fine spinning very easy and more homogenous. 
It is not only easier to spin but also a very nice overall halo once spun into yarn. I love this blend and I hope you do too !

Have a wonderful weekend with lots of happy crafting ! 
This weekend, my lighter and bruised self, are going to enjoy a lot of reading, relaxing, spinning and no dyeing, to give my body some much needed rest. I’m sure my brain will come up with plenty of weird and wonderful ideas all the time though, because you know, that’s me…

Big fluffy  hugs
Charly


Friday, March 15, 2024

Spinning Pearls

 














It’s been a roller coaster ride again as usual. I have been dyeing and blending and spinning lots of fibres and oh wait til you see what is in store tonight  !!! 

The teaser label for the March club has been released but just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is: 

I just love this painting from  1559 which apparently has about 140plus proverbs hidden in it. The more you look, the more you see. Can you find the woman holding the distaff and the woman spindling? What are they whispering to each other I wonder? 

The March clubs will be ready to ship later next week.

The next quarter starts in April and sign ups for the 2nd Quarter of teh art journey clubs will be closing at the end of this month, so if you haven’t signed up yet, hop to the club section of the shop to secure your spot! If you’d like a combo of two or three different clubs email or message me so you can save on shipping big time! Also, for those of you overseas: there is an option to have all three months shipped at once at the end of the 2nd quarter which can save you lots on shipping cost as well. Just email me if you have any questions.

So if you don’t want to miss out on a monthly parcel of fun and excitement, please go to the club section on the website here

For this blog update I have something very special for you:
Pearl Bunny Tops ! lots of new colourways too like "Cherry Blossoms" , "Lotus Flowers", "Green Fairy” and "Botticelli".
You can find all the new colourways and this fab blend here: 


I am especially enthusiastic about this blend that has an amazing new and strange fibre: Chitin. That is pronounced KAI-tin btw, not Shit-in (yes...i am 5...lol)

 Anyhoo, Chitin is one of those elements that I always am on the look out for , just like the stainless steel blend from years ago that 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 ..eh..i 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. 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:

 www.brommarin.com/blog-en/blog-posts/publications%20chitin%20scaffolds%20tissue%20engineering.php
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 research..eh .. spinning.. 
The blend spins up like a dream! It is a bit cool to the 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) 

Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any questions okay? Always happy to enable.

Have a wonderful weekend !


Big Fluffy Hugs
Charly

Friday, March 8, 2024

Get your dopamine fibre fix !



It’s official: I have officially lost track of all time… people tell me it’s March and the second week of March at that, but somehow my mind (and body) thinks it’s almost Christmas already…I know, right?! What a year…lol

i have been going non stop, not really taking a break over the holidays last year so maybe that’s it? I dunno.. also, it’s hectic: I feel like for some inexplicable reason there are less than 24 hours in a day, maybe because I keep on stuffing them with lots and lots of things to do. I should keep reminding myself that no matter what, there will always be more things to do, more things to go on my endless list of to do stuff and less time to do them in before my next big market is on (the handknitters yarn market at the Merribek aka Coburg town hall on june 1st and 2nd). I have never been one to say to myself…it is what it is, whatever I have will just have to do, always pushing myself to do it all and more. I’m not quite at the stage of total anxiety ..yet..but I am definitely at a point where my exhaustion shows signs of exhaustion…lol

as this little cartoon from last month tells it all…

Not to worry: I think I may have a day off tomorrow doing nothing else but spinning and reading while the temperatures are said to rise to about 40degrees Celsius (way too hot to hang over the dye pots..lol)

Therevis exciting news though: more possum merino silk cashmere batts are in stock again after some major carding and blending sessions

PLUS fabulous new colour ways of Magic Tops, freshly dyed are available in the shop now as well! I love spinning these magic tops: soft and an amazingly nice sparkle of rainbow in every bit of fluff. 

It’s really hard to see the rainbow sparkle, but just get it outside and you will light up a room!



IxCHeL art journey club news: The March Clubs are getting their dye bath now and I will be revealing the teaser label on my social media pages over the weekend. It is going to be a very special one with a fun and fabulous back story as well! 

wishing everybody a fun weekend and happy crafting !

big fluffy hugs

Charly

Friday, March 1, 2024

New colourways, a freshly dyed blend and much more !

 

Romanov Sheep With Quadruplets 


Happy Friday ! 

It’s always super hectic..well, even more busy and hectic as usual I should say, because Friday is reserved to get everything organised on the shop with the freshly dyed tops and new products. And oh wow are there a lot of new products for you to feast your eyes on ! 

Apart from a re stock of some colours on cashmere fling and cashmerino silk tops, there is a new product line of merino tops in solid colours. I have been asked many times to offer some solid dyed merino tops for spinning and feating, so here they are! I will be offering more colours as time goes by, but I started off with the most requested: Fluro colours, deep dark blackest of black, silvers, purples and reds!


Also Niddy noddies are back in stock: yay! You can find them in the Yarn Tool section!

Do you ever find yourself totally in love with a new colour? Mine at the moment is a fabulous moss, lime, greens colour which is hard to define. These mossy and lime greens combine so well with browns! I think they’re my favourite new colourways at the moment. Maybe it’s because I am craving “calm”…who knows.lol

oh, and before I forget: it’s March and that means a new 20th anniversary celebration Sale product with 20% off ! This month it’s the awesome Flower Power. These merino/alpaca tops with their heathered look are amazing to spin, soft and fabulous to felt with as well !


Now on with info about this amazing rare sheep breed : 
Romanov sheep sourced from Ukraine ! As you can imagine it has taken quite a bit of doing to get my hands on this fibre to make this very special blend but it is so worth it. Not only to handle this fibre blend but also to support the small farms who are lovingly raising and caring for these animals in the middle of harsh war time conditions.







The Romanov Sheep originally hail from the Upper Volga area of Russia and were named after a town in the region. The breed first came to prominence in the 18th century.  Mature male rams reach up to 80kgs in weight, with ewes averaging 40-50kgs. 

The Romanov sheep are a very early maturing breed, the Romanov can reach full sexual maturity as early as 3-4 months old! 
They can also breed at any time of the year and ewes are very prolific, sometimes having up to six lambs per birth. Multiple births are extremely common in this short-tailed breed.  

They are very hardy and very strong and are well adapted to harsh cold climates. They are generally black in colour when born, though this changes to grey as they mature. Their face and legs are usually black in colour as well, with large white markings common on the top of their heads. 

Their wool is famed for being very strong and resourceful and is double-coated. Their undercoat is about 16-22 microns and their outercoat is 40-150 microns. 
The average fleece shorn from a Romanov weighs 4.5kgs in total. 

From sourcing to dehairing and blending it took me about two years for me to get this blend to you. Lot sof sourcing, lots of forms and administrative rules and regulations !  And, The wool needs a lot of creativity in preparation! 

Unlike most double coated breeds where the outercoat is significantly longer than the undercoat, the Romanov’s two coats are of similar length. This complicates the job of separating the coarse fibres from the fine undercoat! The right set of wool combs have done the trick but it takes a loooooong time. 
 You may know I love to dye over a base that is grey or brown: it makes the dye so much more interesting and deep. The colour of the Romanov is grey and absolutely amazing to dye and spin There are no guard hairs in the blend at all and because I have blended it with Silk, Cashmere, Angora and the softness is out of this world. I wanted to incorporate a bit of that shine and shimmer that you see when a fresh coat of snow has fallen and the sun shines on it, so I added mulberry silk for that lustre and shine effect. As you can imagine I only have a very limited amount available: some natural and some dyed. 

Here are tonight’s exciting new offers !

 

Romanov Sheep Blend Tops  

Romanov Sheep, Mulberry Silk, Cashmere, Angora Bunny  
100+ gram tops

You can find all the new colourways on the IxCHeL shop here: https://ixchel.com.au/products/romanov-tops



IxCHeL club sign ups for the 2nd quarter 2024

(APRIL, May and June)  are open !

If you want to receive a fibre, yarn or batt club  surprise parcel every month then join the IXCHEL art journey clubs 2nd quarter now. 
Numbers are strictly limited !

Visit the IxCHeL shop here for all the details: https://ixchel.com.au/collections/clubs

Note to all International club members: All international club parcels are  shipped with tracking.   There is an option of having all three of your clubs shipped together to save on shipping cost:  Just ask me for a postage quote  

Better get back to the dye pots! Something very special is brewing for next weeks shop update and the clubs are getting their dyebath as well ! I will post teaser photos of the March clubs early next week so keep an eye out on the IxCHeL posts on Instagram, threads and Facebook.

Have a fun weekend !!! 


Any questions? Any custom orders for yarn or dyeing fibre? : Please don’t hesitate to ask! Always happy to enable.


To shop the new update and all things new on the IxCHeL website click here: https://ixchel.com.au/collections/whats-new


To see what I am up to on a day to day bases, please follow me on Instagram where I am @ixchelbunny 


 RABBIT ON !
 ((hugs))
 Charly