Friday, February 12, 2021

A Fluffy Romance



Another roller coaster ride of a week! Labelling, packing the huge amount of February clubs, custom orders dyed and spun and blog update fibres dyed and ready to show off. 

Still lots to do over the weekend, but, since the whole of Victoria is in Lockdown again because of the corona virus on the rampage again, I am not going anywhere…
Just to explain the whole situation for all of you who are in Europe and the USA: "rampage" means that there are 13 positive cases of the UK corona virus variant! All of those cases are in quarantine and none have been discovered in regional Victoria. How ever hard and tough it is for some to be in lockdown for only 5 days this time, I have to say I am so grateful that we are dealing with it this way rather than having hundreds, if not thousands of cases, with all the terrible consequences that might hold for all those who are vulnerable and might end up sick or worse. 
It is of course hard for businesses, especially restaurants, who probably would be doing a roaring trade on Sunday because of Valentines day. Please support small businesses if you can, especially now and if you have any problems dealing with the lockdown, please talk about it. 

It seems to me that never before, has craft been so important. It seems to be amazingly calming to knit and spin. I know it is for me. So when it all becomes a bit too much or I feel I get stressed out: I spin yarn. See it as a super calming mediation ūüėä And again, if you feel the need to talk, my virtual door is always open: contact me anytime: always here to help and enable I always say ! To cheer you all up this weekend I have a special blog update ready to go for you: pretty amazing handdyed with Qiviut  or, Musk Ox! 



This weekend is the time to treat yourself to something special ! : the IxCHeL Tundra blend with  Qiviut from the Norwegian Dovrefjell national park!!

Now it is time to give you some more information on this magical ancient animal ! Qiviut is the name of the wool that comes off of the Musk Ox, a gentle giant of a creature often found in Alaska. 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 $35-$56/28grams/oz, and skeins of yarn often sell for over $100-200 each!! 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.

If you watch the TV program, you’ll see that 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 …

A Qiviut cowl, the warmest and softest thing you will ever wear

So, this week it is Qiviut !!!!

Only a small amount available so please don’t wait too long for this amazing blend that spins like a dream !


So, here it is: a Qiviut blend to cuddle up to tonight ! There’s still time to sign up for the next IxCHeL Clubs starting in April ! All the info for joining the clubs are below.

Have a fun weekend with lots of fibre play and love!!

All my contact details and "HOW TO ORDER" are also to be found at the end of this week’s blog entry. And please remember: Every time you buy from a small business or a farm you are not only getting something unique and handmade but you are supporting so much more !

IxCHeL Tundra Tops

50 grams AU$25

Qiviut 25% , Cashmere, Silk, Tencel, superfine merino, English Angora Bunny








Indigo Night (dyed with home grown Japanese Indigo)  
sold






Sky (dyed with home grown Woad)   sold









Bee Sanctuary    sold










Starry Night      SOLD




Herbology Love   2 left 








Rock Lobster  SOLD




Gem Corn Magic   SOLD 



Autumn Bliss     SOLD




Romantic Weekend  1 LEFT






Roses   SOLD




Girl Power!  Sold




Happy       SOLD




Be My Valentine    3 LEFT




To order: email or message me on facebook or Instagram, quoting the colourway and the quantity you would like, together with your postal address and I will get right back to you with all the payment details.




IxCHeL club sign ups for April, May and June 2021 !!!!! are open ! 

 Here are some photos of the previous clubs.





August 20 Fibre Club



August Batt Club


August Yarn Club




June Club





June Club

Note to all International club members:
All international club parcels are now being shipped with tracking and expedited. 
There is an option if you want all three of your clubs to be shipped together to save on shipping cost:  Just ask me for a postage quote !

IxCHeL Fibre Club April, May and June 2021


The subscription is for a period of three months and you will receive one special hand dyed and special blended top/roving per month
All the tops will be hand dyed and will be especially made for the members of IxCHeL Fibre Club ! Price to join the IxCHeL Fibre Club #47 and receive your special hand dyed top :)) for three months (April, May and June 2021) is AU$78 + postage (parcel post or airmail). AND there are good value double and triple serves available !!!

For Australia : single serve $78+$30 postage (parcel post), double serve $150(save $6) +$30m postage or triple serves $225 (save $9!) + $30 postage

For New Zealand : single serve $78+$45 postage (parcel post) double serve $150(save $6) +$45 postage

For USA + Canada: single serve AU$78+AU$60 (Airmail) double serve AU$150+AU$60; triple serve $225 (save $9) + AU$60postage

For UK,Europe, rest of the world: Single serve AU$78+AU$78 (airmail) Double serve AU$150+AU$78; triple serve $225 (save $9) + AU$78postage

 For Asia: Single serve AU$78+AU$57 (airmail) Double serve AU$150+AU$57; triple serves $225 (save $9) + AU$57postage 

If you want to receive a fibre surprise every month then join the IXCHEL FIBRE CLUB #47 now. Numbers are strictly limited ! The April Club is going to be shipped out end of April. the May club mid May and the June club early June. Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me your details.

 The IxCHeL Yarn Clubs April, May and June 2021


Every month for three months (April, May and June 2021) you will receive: enough hand dyed luscious yummy yarn to make a pair of socks or a lush shawl or scarf of course! (the hand dyed yarn will be exclusive for the Ixchelbunny SOCK-IT-TO-ME Yarn CLUB and will range from a sockweight yarn (a 4ply/fingering weight yarn); Every month a sock or scarf pattern, tips and instructions ! Now is that GOOD or is that GOOD ??! 
 I will even offer a double serve for those of you who like their socks or scarves extra long ! 

For Australia : single serve $96+$30 postage (parcel post) double serve $177( save $15!!) +$30 postage

For New Zealand : single serve $96+$45 postage (parcel post) double serve $177( save $15!!) +$45 postage

For USA + Canada: single serve AU$96+AU$60 (Airmail) double serve $177 (Save $15!!) +AU$60 

For UK,Europe, rest of the world: Single serve AU$96+AU$78 (airmail) Double serve $177 (Save $15!!) +AU$78

For Asia: Single serve AU$96+AU$57 (airmail) Double serve $177 (= Save $15!!!) +AU$57

Numbers are strictly limited ! Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal . Just PM or email me your details By the way: you don’t HAVE to knit socks if you don’t want to.. the hand dyed yarn is amazingly nice for scarves, cowls, beanies and even tops ! Anything goes Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me your details

IxCHeL Funky Bunny Batt Clubs April, May and June 2021


Here are all the details. Just pm me when you have any questions or want to be part of the funky bunny batt club Movement ;-) Welcome to the blingy dark side ;-D The subscription is for a period of three months and you will receive one special hand dyed funky bunny batt per month to the value of AU$40 or more . The batts will range in weight from 140grams to 170grams with luxury fibres like camel , angora, cashmere, silk, yak, llama even wallaby and bison, and rare breeds !!!! All the batts will be hand dyed and will be especially made for the members of IxCHeL funky bunny Club ! Every month you will receive a HUGE luxury funky bunny batt ! 

Sign up now and you will receive an IxCHeL Hand dyed , super luxurious funky bunny batt for January, February, March 2021

Price to join the IxCHeL Funky bunny for three months is :

For Australia : $114+$30 postage (parcel post)

For New Zealand : single serve $114+$45 postage (parcel post)

For USA + Canada: AU$114+AU$60 (Airmail)

For UK,Europe, rest of the world: AU$114+AU$78 (airmail)

For Asia: AU$114+AU$57 (airmail)

If you want to receive a fibre surprise every month then join the IXCHEL FUNKY BUNNY BATT CLUB now. Numbers are strictly limited !

Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me your details.



To become a member just email me on ixchelbunnyart at gmail dot com or message me on facebook or Instagram. More on how to order the clubs and anything from this update later in the blog in the section “how to order”

To order: email or message me on facebook or Instagram, quoting the colourway and the quantity you would like, together with your postal address and I will get right back to you with all the payment details.


IxCHeL Tweed Yarn  

Hand dyed


Super soft lambs wool 70% and Kid Mohair 30%

Spun singles, fingering or sock weight yarn

+/- 200meters/218yards

50grams      1.76oz

AU$18







Botanical dyes 
(dyed with Eucalypt, Madder root, Walnut, Elderberry, Indigo,Acorn)



Indigo



Unicorn Speckles SOLD



Jewels





NEW NEW NEW NEW colours !!! 

 IxCHeL Tweed Yarn 


Super soft lambs wool 70% and Kid Mohair 30%

Spun singles, fingering or sock weight yarn

+/- 200meters/218yards

50grams      1.76oz

AU$16





Nephrite Jade 
 (A beautiful deep sage green colour with fun blue, lime and salmon speckles)



Grevillea + new ! 
 A vibrant raspberry pink tweed with deep purple, lime and soft pink speckles)





To order: email or message me on facebook, Ravelry or Instagram, quoting the colourway and the quantity you would like, together with your postal address and I will get right back to you with all the payment details.


IxCHeL Tweed fingering weight yarn


Super soft lambs wool 70% and Kid Mohair 30%

Spun singles, fingering or sock weight yarn

+/- 200meters/218yards

50grams      1.76oz

AU$16





Great Barrier Reef




Leafy Seadragon




Flying Fox




Airlie Beach




Sea Mist





Amethyst

Wattle
(A beautiful sunshine yellow that goes so well with the kookaburra the silver grey)



Kata Tjuta           BACK IN STOCK !!!
(an intense pure red that goes well with the Kookaburra and the Wattle and the Amethyst colourway and soooooo  many others)



Kookaburra
(a beautiful silver grey with ochre accents that complement the dingo colourway)



Dingo
( A beautiful warm honey ochre with pops of royal bluebell, kingfisher and kangaroo paw)





Dusky Grevillea
(a gorgeous raspberry base with pops of royal bluebell, flowering gum, grey and daintree)






Flowering Gum
( a gorgeous medieval warm red with bright red, kookaburra and fern forest accents)







Fern Forest
( a deep forest green with accents of bright red, dusky purple and daintree) )









Jacarandah 
( a fabulous deep purple with accents of royal bluebell, daintree, grevillea and kingfisher )







Wombat
( a fabulous deep walnut brown with accents of dingo and kookaburra)






Kangaroo Paw 
( a fabulous warm orange with accents of fern forest, royal bluebell and grevillea and dingo )





isn’t it gorgeous how the Kangaroo paw knits up?! )








Royal Bluebell 
( a deep blue with accents of flowering gum, kookaburra and fern forest )






Wallaby
( a warm light brown with accents of soft blue and kookaburra)







Daintree ( a soft green with accents of fern forest and dingo)







Kingfisher 
( a fabulous Turquoise blue with accents of fern forest, kangaroo paw, Jacaranda and Grevillea)





Landscape dyes




 100g tubs   AU$12
250 g tubs AU$27

Want to dye your own with easy to use acid dyes? I have been selling these Landscape dyes at my workshops and shows for a long time :  They are extremely easy to use and come in great shades.
Just contact me with the name of the colour you are after and I will get right back to you.




All my contact details are here:

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 to be found at the end of this week’s blog entry. 
Have a fun weekend !!!


How To Order:
1. You can email me on ixchelbunnyart at gmail dot com  or ixchelbunny at yahoo dot com dot au
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.



Keep your eyes out for any news on the 

ixchelbunny Instagram feed and the IxCHeL facebook page!!






 RABBIT ON !
((hugs))
Charly
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