Friday, July 30, 2021

Viva Rare Sheep Breeds !

Viva Frida tops with  LotBD Frida phangs
( His support spindles are awesome and I know he has some more Frida and others coming into his Etsy shop soon !

The last Friday of July already ! Can you believe it ! 
The year is flying by, although sometimes I kinda look track: Ha it been today? A week ago? Last month? It has been another super busy week here with lots of dyeing, carding and batting and trying my best to get everything dry. The July club was shipped off Monday July 26th and believe it or not, I am already prepping and starting dyeing the August one already, together with an extremely rare sheep breed for the update next week! 

Yes, I will be extending the rare sheep breed “month” to go into August because…………… 

I have just received a very looooong awaited shipment from Norway and another country and I cannot wait to show them to you!!!! And, when I say to you a long time in the making for some rare sheep breed productions, I mean a LOOOOOOOOng time. The last time I was able to offer that particular Norwegian sheep breed was in 2014 !!!! 

Yep… that is a looong time: Patience and Passion. That’s what it takes. But, more on that next week !
 I cannot wait to tell you more !

I am starting to struggle to keep up at this pace, but my enthusiasm makes up for a lot ! LOL Which reminds me of the “rules on how to be an artist” from Edvard Munch:

 1. Don’t be afraid to bare your soul;
 2. Paint what you saw, not what you see;
 3. Colour should be applied emotionally, not realistically;
 4. Don’t strive for perfection: it will hinder your work.

I think I am going to try his approach for a while in the future and see how it goes !

Time for this week’s fibery offerings : my Viva Frida blend tops with some Agave cactus !! And when you are REALLY commited, you can sit on a cactus couch while spinning it

A cactus (C)ouch by Toonzee Nopales

A little history on why I came up with putting these particular fibres together: I have spent a lot of time working in Mexico, in and around Toluca and Pueblo and even more time soaking up the wonders of Yucatan and Oaxaca. I knew that there was trade in the far past between the Navajo Nation and the Aztec, Mixtec and Mayan communities, especially when weaving was concerned. So that is when I thought of this new blend combining a plant fibre used by both cultures and the ever important Churro sheep of the Navajo Nation: into existence came m y quest to create a blend of both cultures that have meant so much to me in my fibre art: the Agave plant (Maguey) and the Navajo Churro.

Frida in a photo session with a majestic Agave plant

You may know I have a soft spot for Navajo Churro sheep and the navajo rugs. Spending a substantial time of my childhood spinning and rugs being woven and the stories being told. I guess that is what is really the most important: the stories that are so intrinsically woven into the yarn and the rugs and the making of warps and baskets.

It is not only a craft , but also a way of translating how we look at the world and incorporate its magic into a two dimensional framework. Even the way that we see looms are different: the ropes to hold the warp threads are the thunder and the the warp itself is the rain falling down from heaven to earth. I was always taught never to weave when there was a lightning storm because of that.
Of course sitting at a large loom , exposed to the elements , is never an extremely good idea when a big lightning storm hits, but you see how it all interweaves into ones life. Everything has a meaning, everything around you is transformed and has its own magic. Just look at how the corn rug below resembles reality...abstract and yet so similar.

There are so many things going on in a navajo rug, whether it be something minuscule woven into certain spots like a feather into a horse blanket to make sure that the horse is fast as an eagle, or bits of hair or plants, all have their meaning.
In the old days , the midwife collected corn pollen and then a horny toad was found and the pollen was put on its head and mouth. It was an extremely good omen that the toad spat out the corn mush and often that is why these kinds of ceremonial birthing rugs have yellow woven in to them, much like this one here:

Night times; daytime rug

Weaving and spinning yarn is more than just a craft to me and the Navajo people. It is an expression of culture. The yarns are used to weave the rich history and tell the stories and this history is passed down from generation to generation. There was lots of trade between the Aztic, Mixtec and Navajo people, and the weaving tradition of the Navajo was certainly influenced by it.

The rugs sing a song, tell a story and that is what makes them so magical. If the past and the stories are forgotten, then the rugs won’t mean anything. Not only are there rugs but also other items that are woven : baskets and so called Tump line weavings ( an object woven with a warp of Agave and wool or just agave fibres) , worn over the head to help carry heavy loads) Here is a photo of one that survived from the pre-columbian times (= pre 1500s)

But now back to the Viva Frida tops I offer you today : a passionate blend of Agave ( used for weaving , making tequila and Mezcal: please do not try to drink this blend ;-) ) and the Navajo Churro rare sheep breed.

Navajo Churro sheep are very special just like the history they have : The Navajo call them "the Old Ones" and see the Churro sheep as a gift from the Gods. The wool from these sheep are the basis of the Navajo Weaving and also is a wonderful fibre to make socks and ponchos. The sheep were nearly wiped out during the tribe's forced relocation in the 1860s and again in the stock reductions of the 1930s: federal agents just went from hogan to hogan and shot a large percentage of the livestock and horses, more than 250.000 animals were killed and the Churro sheep were almost extinct with fewer than 700 head by 1990! But they are making a comeback, due to the efforts of the Navajo Sheep Project so they can return to their historic place and purpose among the Navajo and that it can benefit the Navajo People. The hand dyed tops that I am offering you here are blends of soft white Churro fleece with Angora Bunny: it makes for a wonderful mix and will make the most wonderful yarn, suited for socks and outerwear as well as sweaters. The Bunny and the Cashmere added to the Churro makes it very soft to handle and very easy to spin.

The Agave , or the Maguey as it is also called, has lots of different uses. Archeologists have found evidence that agave were used for food as far back as 9,000 years ago. The agave plant was used for cloth and fermented drink for at least the past 2,000 years. Agaves grow in a remarkable range of terrains and climates. They are found in forests, hillsides, arid plains, deserts and sea coasts, at altitudes extending from sea level to 2,400m (approx. 8,000 ft.).They can survive temperatures ranging from -9 to +41 degrees Celsius (about 15 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit ). Agaves were the source of many essential items, including fibres for clothing, poultices for wounds, medicines, poisons for arrowheads, building materials and food. As food, the use dates back about 11,000 years based on archeological remains of cooked agave in pits. Even today, agave fibre is used for cloth and paper, although not nearly as much as the industry produces as waste from the tequila production. The agave provided so many essential materials and that it became known as El Arbol de las Maravillas (The Tree of Wonders).

Many Pre-Columbian people in Mesoamerica cultivated the agave. Domestic agaves included (popular names in parentheses): Agave zapota (sapodilla), Agave atrovirens (maguey), Agave fourcroydes (henequen), Agave latissima (maguey). Agave mapisaga (maguey). Agave sisalana (sisal) and Agave tequilana (tequil maguey).

 In about 2,000 BCE, maguey was grown in Tula, Tulancingo and Teotihuacan, where obsidian scrapers have been found, suggesting the agave was used for aguamiel or pulque. The ancient Aztec riddle asked "What points its finger at the sky?" and the riddle's answer is "the Maguey Thorn."

 When the Conquistador Hernan Cortez wrote to King Carlos V of Spain in 1520, he noted, "honey is also extracted from the plant called maguey, which is superior to sweet or new wine; from the same plant they extract sugar and wine, which they (the natives) also sell." In The Agaves of Continental North America, Howard Scott Gentry wrote, The hunting and gathering tribes had good reason to regard agaves with special attention, because agaves supplied them with food, fibre, drink, shelter, and miscellaneous natural products. Protection may have been one use, for when planted around a cottage, the larger species make armed fences, a common practice in modern Mexico. While much about the first beginnings of agriculture will always remain obscure, there is a great deal now known about the history of man-agave relationship.

The main source of food in agave is the soft starchy white meristem. in the short stem and the bases of leaves, excluding the green portion. As the plant matures the starch and sugar content of these organs increases, as does their palatability. Some species and varieties are more palatable than others; those with high sapogenin content and other toxic compounds were generally known and avoided. The young, turgid, tender flowering shoot of most species is edible, as are the flowers of many. The early agriculturist doubtless selected only the sweet sorts for cultivation. Since merely supplying heat converts the starches to sugars, the Indian cooked the softer parts by direct fire or with hot water. "Cooking appears to have been largely of the roasting type, with the outside frequently charred, and the interior still raw. This is true of such plants as Ceiba, Agave, and Opuntia, though they appear to have been eaten raw almost as frequently" (Callen, 1965). Charring of agave flowering shoots by laying them in the fire or in hot coals and ashes overnight was still observed among the backcountry Mexicans in the 1970s, especially to appease hunger on longer journeys. From the time the Mexicans had pots, these flowering shoots were probably boiled, a practice extended to modern times in Mexico. A more sophisticated or communal method for cooking agave was pit baking, which became universal, at least north of Mesoamerica, and which has been mapped and fully discussed by Castetter et al. (1938).
The Aztecs used agave fibre in the manufacture of an all-purpose sack called an 'ayate.' In 1531 an ayate was imprinted the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, since then the Patron of Mexico. In Hidalgo, the Otomis still make fabric from the agave; the men and boys separate fibre from leaves while the women and girls do the weaving.

 Prehistoric and historic Indian archeological sites in the Southwest USA show evidence for agave roasting pits, as well as some evidence for agave agriculture. Prehistoric peoples in the Sonoran Desert may have transported agave pups from as far away as Mesoamerica (the great city states in southern Mexico) and may have planted tens of thousands of these agaves in fields that covered square miles in the northern Tucson Basin. The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum internet site says the Indians of the Hohokam Puebloan tradition cultivated the Hohokam agave in areas that covered hundreds of thousands of acres: "All of the agave populations from Caborca, Sonora, to New River, Arizona, are so similar that they may be one genetic clone.” Agave was considered sacred by many Pre-Hispanic people. The oldest records come from the Aztec codex, the Tonalmatl N├íhuatl, ("Aztec pilgrim's papyrus"), which tells the story of the Mexican people. According to the codex of Nutall, Laud, Florentino and Mendocino, natives had many different uses for agave and its sub-products: food, threads, needles, shoes, roof tops, clothes, nails, weapons and paper among others. The seeds have been ground into powder to make bread or to thicken soup.

 In 1577, the Spanish explorer Francisco Hern├índez wrote about the maguey in the central highlands of Mexico: "As a whole (maguey) can be used as fuel or to fence fields. Its shoots can be used as wood and its leave as roofing materials, as plates or platters, to make paper, to make cord with which they make shoes, cloth, and all kinds of clothes…. From the sap…they make wines, honey, vinegar, and sugar…From the root, they also make very strong ropes which are useful for many things. The thicker part of the leaves as well as the trunk, cooked underground…are good to eat…There is nothing which gives a higher return."

 The agave is still used as food today, although it is not as critical to the natives as it was in the past. Agave syrup or nectar (aguamiel) has always been popular in Mexico, but in the past decade has become popular in the health food circles because it provides a good alternative to cane sugars that diabetics can also tolerate.

 For millennia, the Hnahnu people used the agave as a source of material to produce more 100 different products including fibres for weaving, brushmaking and other crafts, construction materials, soap, small furniture, toys, ornaments, food and beverages, paper, medicinal products, firewood and even boundary markers in the countryside. The Hnahnu retain a deep traditional knowledge of the life-cycle, characteristics and uses of the agave.

 Agave is still used as medicine, particularly in boticas - pharmacies - usually in alternative medicine boticas that offer natural or homeopathic remedies, often selling them beside religious icons and images on the same shelf. One botica online promises agave essence will cure "emotional immaturity, aggressive conduct, impatience, fatigue and premature aging. Before the mid-1800s, there were a dozen agave species used for tequila. But the producers were specializing, growing those that made the best economic as well as aesthetic product.

 By the 1870s, the indigenous people of Mexico had so refined their cultivation practices that physiological ecologists of today have barely bettered them. By the 1870s tequila was reduced to the monoculture of blue agaves. In March, 2007, scientists at the University of Guadalajara have announced they believe the blue agave contains compounds that may be useful in carrying drugs to the intestines to treat diseases such as Crohn's disease and colitis.

 Perhaps the biggest potential market for agave food products today is the growing agave nectar or syrup market. Agave syrup consists primarily of mostly the easily digested fructose and s smaller percentage of glucose, the amounts depending on the producer. It is sold as a sugar substitute in many health and grocery stores (agave syrup is three-four times sweeter than table sugar). While similar to honey, agave nectar's glycemic index is only 27, compared to honey at 83, which means it is absorbed more slowing into the bloodstream.

And ofcourse, the Agave is also used to produce Mezcal and Tequila !

 But enough of sugar and other contents, I assure you that spinning this fibre blend does not impact negatively on your calory .

There are lots of colours to choose from in this update!

Have lots of fun !

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.

Viva Frida Tops

Navajo Churro rare sheep breed, Agave Cactus fibres, Cashmere and Angora Bunny

100 grams             $26


Pebbles  sold

Gem Corn Magic   SOLD

Southwest Canyon   SOLD
(to see a sunset in the canyon was always magic: reds, lilacs all mixed and melted together with the rock surrounding me..definitely one of my favourite colourways)

Medicine Woman SOLD

Window Rock (tseghahoodzani)  1LEFT


Cactus Flower  SOLD

Sandpainting Ceremony   2 LEFT

Turquoise River  sold

Viva Rainbow  sold

Frozen Gold Sunset SOLD

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 club sign ups for October, November, December 2021 !!!!! are open ! 

 Here are some photos of the previous clubs.

April 2021 Fibre Club

April 2021 Club

April 2021 Club

June 2021Club

June 2021Club

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 October, November, December 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 #49 and receive your special hand dyed top :)) for three months (October, November, December 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 #49 now. Numbers are strictly limited ! Payment via direct deposit or credit card or paypal. Just PM or email me your details.

 The IxCHeL Yarn Clubs October, November, December 2021

Every month for three months (October, November, December 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 October, November, December 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 October, November, December 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


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



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


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


Great Barrier Reef

Leafy Seadragon

Flying Fox

Airlie Beach

Sea Mist


(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)

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

( 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) )

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

( 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 )

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

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

( 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  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!!