Friday, January 30, 2015

The Art of Gentle Creating in a Fast World

Another week has passed and yep, in the supermarkets they just cleaned out the Christmas stuff and Easter eggs and hot crossed buns are already piled on the shelves…it is scary and crazy..hence the spoof of the easter bunny meets Game of Thrones in the art above..lol

I do not know if this kind of supermarket behaviour and the speed of internet connections are  to blame for the expectations of people : everything has to be done now!. You write a message or email to someone and BAM! you immediately expect the answer to arrive in seconds. Real time, real fast and right now. And yet, here I am, selling fibre that takes months to grow, months to prepare and blend and days to dye and dry and then when it lands in the hands of hand spinners, takes hours , days or even weeks to be made into yarn. It is todays’ very strange combination of wanting it now and at the same time, taking deep breaths and calming down and taking it s..l..o..w……very slow. .
Maybe that’s why a lot of us are so attracted to the world of spinning and knitting and weaving: the “slow” art of living and creating. It makes us stop and listen and notice little things. Not move so fast, or expect it all to be finished in seconds..at the speed of light…some things need time, lots of time, to start and to finish. And maybe that “taking it slowly” is a good thing. A meditation to keep us grounded and focussed , rather than speeding along in a fast car on a highway, not noticing the landscape that wooshes passed us in a blur of lights.
Slow and easy, in a time that so much is demanded from us at such high speeds, maybe is a good thing and not only because it is relaxing, but also because it creates something personal and beautiful, with every turn of the spindle or wheel. Creating something, takes time, like stop motion animation where hours are spent in creating just a few seconds of a movie. Creating something slowly, makes us appreciate time and life and makes it easier to smile. Rome was not built in a day and the universe, although the Big Bang started it all off in a millisecond (just an expression because time did not exist then…lol) , the actual action of creating everything as we know it, took millions and millions of years. At least spinning is not that slow and a lot warmer too.

This weeks update I thought I would focus on something that a lot of people have asked me about: what is a good fibre blend for socks. I always say “: my super hero blend with stainless steel” ..stainless steel is strong and , just like stainless steel tipped boots, do not tend to wear out thath easily either. So, for all of you intrepid sock knitters/spinners out there, or all of you who want to make a EMF protective jumper: Super hero tops are “it! “
I also have on offer : the pure stainless steel tops for you to spin. Just in case you want to make yourself a Game of Thrones outfit that can withstand any enemy attack AND last but not least : an offer of undyed stainless steel tops you simply cannot refuse ! Happy Snaffling !

Now, I won’t keep you waiting for this update for too long…
Have a snaffle and Happy Spinning !
Big hugs,
Charly

Super Hero Tops

Angorino (superfine 18micron merino + angora bunny), Silk, Suri, Cashmere, Stainless steel 316L
100+grams/ 3.6 oz AU$25
Magical to spin and wear.


Viseria-sold-



Sansa-1 left-



Grey Wind Dire Wolf-sold-



Rhaegal-sold-



Nymeria-sold-



Khal Drogo -sold and gone to his Khaleesi-



Ice and Fire-SOLD OUT-



Drogar-1 left-



Dire Wolf-1 left-



Brienne-SOLD-



Stainless steel tops

Pure stainless steel tops , 316L, the best quality steel, does not rust
+/- 50grams/ 1.56 oz, AU$16
Stainless steel fiubre is soft and easy to spin !


Pure Stainless steel tops


Undyed natural Super Hero Tops

Angorino (superfine 18micron merino + angora bunny), Silk, Suri, Cashmere, Stainless steel 316L
400+grams/ 14.4 oz AU$75 or 1 kilo for $130 !!!
A deal you cannot miss ! !

Remember when you want to dye the super hero tops DO NOT DYE IN THE MICROWAVE !! the stainless steel will not like it and neither will your microwave !

 
Natural undyed Super Hero Tops


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 weeks blog entry. Have fun !!!

Dates to put in your Calendar !!

 
April

Saturday 11th, 10am-3pm

McClelland Spinners and Weavers Open day “sock it to me”
 
I will be there with lots of hand dyed tops for spinning and felting and happy rainbow yarn and sock yarn !!!! As well as some amazing Lair of the Bearded Dragon spindles and bowls that are pure magic to spin on !


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 ravelry 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.
Thank you so much for your help and support !


 RABBIT ON !
((hugs))
Charly

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Helping a Bunny in need

Tonights update is special. Not because it is to do with extra special rare breeds or super Super fluffy extra special fibre, well ofcourse it is..in a way..lol…but no, it is special because of a very special cause I need your support with. 

Jen, a good friend of mine, has asked my help with a heart wrenching situation that needs to be made better. Organisations, big companies, Medicare, social services, the government, all those institutions that we have often expected to step up in these circumstances are failing and failing miserably and so it has come to pass that Jens’ friend is at the end of her rope.
 
As if it isn’t hard enough being a single mother of three, it is even harder when dealing with a system that does not make it easier to keeping her 5 year old son alive. It makes me angry to see so much insensitivity and apathy.
 
This is where crowdfunding and us “regular” human beings come in. We can help!   So I have promised Jen to help as best I can with the limited funds I have to my name, and do what I do best in a fluffy yarnie kind of way! :  A big portion of this weeks blog will go to the good cause !

You can either buy in the knowledge you are helping that way OR you can go to the website address I will give you and donate whatever you can. To read more about the good cause and helping, go here: http://www.gofundme.com/kpjbkc
 
Here is the story of Bryn:

At first glance, Bryn Sykes is like any other five year old Australian boy. He loves watching cartoons and listening to music. He has countless hours of fun bouncing on his trampoline, and he can't get enough tickle fights on the floor. But in reality, Bryn Sykes isn't like most five year old boys.
 
Bryn was born with Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic condition which often causes significant intellectual disability, some physical disabilities, and is the leading genetic cause of autism. Bryn is severely autistic. He cannot speak. He is still in nappies. He tires easily because of extremely low muscle tone (a common characteristic of Fragile X Syndrome sufferers). Bryn suffers from acid reflux and has never taken food orally – he has been tube fed since he was only weeks old.

Early in his life, Bryn had a naso-gastric tube – a thin, flexible tube which was inserted through his nose and down the back of his throat, into his stomach. Bryn was connected to an electronic pump which slowly fed him prescription formula all day, every day. Bryn was not strong enough to carry the pump himself, so one of his parents or a carer was required to follow him around for hours a day to ensure he was getting the nutrition he needed to grow.
Along with the prescription formula, he was taking double to triple the adult dose of a prescription anti-reflux medication to try and control his almost constant projectile vomiting.
 
When Bryn was about 18 months old, he had a fundoplication, a procedure intended to strengthen the valve between the esophagus and stomach, which stops acid from backing up into the esophagus as easily. This procedure was combined with the installation of a “button” in his stomach which could be opened, and a tube inserted, which would replace the naso-gastric tube. For the first time since he was only a few weeks old, Bryn's handsome face could be seen without tape and tubes.
 
Despite the surgery and prescription formula, Bryn was still showing all the signs of acid reflux. The surgery had made it impossible for him to vomit, but he still had the acid building up in his stomach. Bryn now had to be “vented” at least once a day – his feeding tube had to be inserted, and his excess stomach acid drained out. Sometimes the build-up was so severe, when he wasn't screaming in pain, he would faint and have to be admitted to hospital. Once admitted, he would be placed on a drip to administer fluids and sugar intravenously until he seemed healthy enough to go home, and the whole cycle would start again.
The never-ending parade of doctors, specialists, nutritionists, dieticians and therapists were out of ideas. They had no idea why Bryn's little body wouldn't tolerate anything they recommended.
As he grew taller, he became extremely thin and frail. He had a hard time holding his head up. He could hardly walk, and he couldn't begin to keep up with his older brother and sister. He spent most of his time either asleep or screaming in pain, and still he grew thinner and thinner. Bryn was slowly starving.
 
One nutritionist finally suggested a particular formula for Bryn, Sustagen Kid Essentials, which so far seems to be working. Bryn has been on the formula for just over a month and has already put on a kilo, something he hadn't managed to do for more than two years. He has more energy, so instead of spending his whole day sleeping, he can enjoy his trampoline in the sunshine.
 
Bryn is starting Prep this year – he has wonderful opportunities for learning and development in front of him ! One thing is standing in Bryn's way – the financial cost of the formula that has given him a chance.
Sustagen Kid Essentials costs $30 a tin, and Bryn goes through almost a whole tin each day. Unlike the prescription formulas Bryn has used in the past, Sustagen Kid Essentials is not on the PBS and is not eligible for any kind of rebate or reduced cost.
Bryn's mother, Dr Shelley McRae, is a single parent of three children and she receives a carer's pension. After paying for Bryn's weekly formula requirements, there's isn't a lot of money left. She has been turned away by Centrelink, Medicare and her private health fund.
 
The nutritionists have no other alternatives that would be suitable for Bryn. When faced with the decision to pay for Bryn's formula or pay the electricity bill, the choice is obvious – Shelley wants to keep her son alive and healthy. But because the system doesn't allow for exceptional circumstances, Shelley will have to continue to make decisions about what bills do and don't get paid just so she can continue to feed her son.
 
Her older children, Rohan and Freya, aren't able to participate in their school's extra-curricular activities and there are no family trips to the zoo, because there simply isn't any money after feeding Bryn.
 
If you feel you can donate something, even the tiniest amount please do. We are asking for absolutely anything you can spare to help this family. Bryn is a loving, gorgeous little boy who deserves the opportunity to grow and develop to his full potential.
Thank you !
 
 
Now, I won’t keep you waiting for this update for too long…
Have a snaffle and know you are helping Bryn and his family!
Big hugs  and blessings to you all,
Charly

 Grey Merino Bunny Silk Tops

Angora bunny, natural grey merino, mulberry silk
 
100+grams/ 3.6 oz AU$25
Magical to spin and wear.

 

 
I can dye these tops for you in any solid colour you like for the same price to help Bryn .

Just let me know the pantone nr you would like your tops dyed in !

Hand spun Bunny mink 3 ply

Angora bunny, Mink (all humanely harvested ofcourse !)
 
+/- 50grams/ 1.56 oz, +/- 300meters, AU$28
Super soft to knit and wear.
Obviously there are not a lot of skeins available seeing this is my handspun and a three ply..lol..be quick :-)
Rose (dyed with mushroom pigments)

 

Mint green (dyed with nettle plants on a light grey base)


 

natural light grey handspun bunny mink handspun


 

natural dark grey bunny mink yarn

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 weeks blog entry. Have fun !!!

Dates to put in your Calendar !!

 
April

Saturday 11th, 10am-3pm

McClelland Spinners and Weavers Open day “sock it to me”
 
I will be there with lots of hand dyed tops for spinning and felting and happy rainbow yarn and sock yarn !!!! As well as some amazing Lair of the Bearded Dragon spindles and bowls that are pure magic to spin on !


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 ravelry 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.
Thank you so much for your help and support !


 RABBIT ON !
((hugs))
Charly

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Magical Hungarian Racka Adventures

 
This update is a very special one. It is to announce the very first Rare Sheep Breed Adventure of 2015 ! The rare sheep breed in the spot light is the very special Hungarian Racka sheep ! It is a very rare breed especially known for its unusual spiral shaped horns that are unlike any other domestic sheep horns and can grow to be 2 ft/0.61meters long ! The smallest standard size of the horns is about 51 cm for rams and 38cm for ewes. Whatever the size , you wouldn’t want to get caught on the end of one!

Lucky this breed of sheep is very gentle and very shy and not blood thirsty..lol.


HISTORY
 
The Racka Sheep originally come from Hungary and have existed at least since the 1800s when there was a first registry established. Their history goes further back than that though : In South-West Asia have been found skulls and bones of Racka-like sheep dating from about 11.000 years ago. About 8.000 years ago, in Mesopotamia, the ancient Iraq, and in the ancient Egypt lived long-tailed sheep with the same drill-shaped horns as the Racka, as can be seen on wall-paintings found in local caves. Possibly, the Racka is originating from the wild Middle-Eastern sheep: the Ovis ammon arkal.
 
The Racka left his original area during the Great Migrations . The Avars, Petschenegs, Jazygs and Huns brought them to Central- and East-Europe. In 1750, half of the total flock of seven million Hungarian sheep were Rackas! Somewhere around that time, about 50.000 lambs and sheep were traded on the market near the Hortobâgy Bridge. Economically, in these days the Racka was very interesting: they managed to survive quite well on the open, dry and poor plains of Hungary, the Puszta. The fleece of 2-3 day old lambs were sold to make very fine bonnets and collars for the richer Hungarians.
 
The farmers used the fleece of the old sheep to make their coats. When the weather was dry, the coats were turned with the wool inside, when it was raining the coats were turned inside out, the water dripping from the wool. Clipped wool was used to make coats for the poorer people. The in the 18th century imported Merino, now 95% of the total Hungarian flock, almost drove the Racka to total extinction. In 1939 the Hungarian government had to interfere and centralized the lasting 4000 Rackasheep on a State farm in Hortobâgy, on the puszta east of Budapest.
 
Wrong methods of reproducing and far-going consanguinity made that during the Second World War, there were only 1450 Rackas left. In the 50's the flock was decimated till about 200 ewes! The state farm of Hortobâgy was ordered from the Hungarian government to save the Racka .
 
In 1973, the Hortobâgy area was installed asthe first National Park of Hungary and the Racka was saved; Now there are about 5000 ewes again. Other rare Puszta-breeds were also saved as the Grey Puszta cattle, the Noniusz and the Mezöhegyes horse, the Hungarian water buffalo, the Mangalica pig and the typical Hungarian sheepdogs: the Komondor, the Kuvasz, the Puli, and the Pumi. In 1983 the organisation of Hungarian Racka breeders was founded in Debrecen. Now the exceding part of Racka ewes may be exported again, though a number of minimum 750 ewes has to be kept in the National Park of Hortobâgy, thus creating a genetic bank for the Magyar Racka.
 
DESCRIPTION
 
The Racka is a relatively small sheep with large horns, a mixed fleece (hair/underwool = 1/2), a long body and fine bone-structure. The rams are circa 70cm and weigh about 50 Kg, the ewes are circa 65 cm and weigh 40 Kg. The horns of the rams are ± 52 cm long and have 3 windings. The distance between the points of the horns is almost 80 cm. Ewes have ± 25 cm long horns with 2 windings. The distance between the points of the horns should be 41 cm. The peculiar shape of these horns is the result of the interaction between the length-growth of the horn and the circular-growth.
 
If these two kinds of growth are in balance, then the sheep get horns like the Merino, the Drenth Heath sheep, Dorset Horn, Black Welsh Mountain and the presumed ancestor of the Racka: the Argali. If the length-growth is much more important than the circular-growth, then we get the typical shape of a corkscrew as we see with the Racka.
 
The fleece can have two colors: black and cream-white. In the Hortobâgy flock, ± of the sheep are black, with a black skin, the other half is cream-white with a light brown-yellow skin. Some sheep are white or have spots on head and legs. The wool is very long and curly (staple-length 25-30 cm with a fibre diameter of 15-60 micron). Legs and head are unwooled, except for a little tuff on the forehead. The position of the ears is almost horizontal, the shells downwards. The tail is very long with very long wool.
 
The horns of white and cream animals are yellow, sometimes with black stripes, the horns of the black are black. Lambs of the cream variety are born with a yellowish to darkbrown fleece, getting lighter with growing. When cross-breeding with white and black animals, the white is dominant, but in the F-1 generation can appear also white sheep with dark brown or black spots.
 
PROPERTIES
The Racka is a relatively shy and very resistant breed, that can have a reasonably production under harsh climatological conditions. The flock-instinct is extremely developed, they are grazing as if they are tied shoulder to shoulder, they can live on dry hay, and remind us a little bit of deer.
What's typical is the somewhat over-developed hind-quarters, the equal standing under and upper jaw, And the deep laying and relatively few muscles in the neck, so the sheep can lift his head very high to watch out on the plains. Fertility is low: about 100%, twins birth is 5 to 15%. Some of the ewes don't reproduce for one or maybe more years. The average weight of the lambs is 10 Kg after 30 days, 14 Kg after 60 days. Wool production is 3 to 4 Kg for the rams, 2-3 Kg for the ewes. The wool was used to make traditional coats, carpets and the typical Cserge blankets.
Ewes produce 50 to 70 l of milk during 100 days of lactation (producing about 10 Kg of cheese). The Racka was mainly kept for as well the meat, the milk and the wool.
 
VARIETIES
 The Racka belongs to the large group of Zackel-sheep, living in South and East-Europe, as the Vlach in Greece, the Karakachan in Bulgary, the Pramenkain Yugoslavia, Walachian in Czechia and Slovakia, the Volochian in Russia and so on. The large group of Zackel -sheep can be divided in breeds of the plains and the mountains, possessing all a mixed fleece, a long body, a fine bone-structure, and straight horns for the rams.
With the Turcana, the Transsylvanian Racka of Roumania, only the rams have horns. They are mainly light brown skinned with a white fleece. The Moldavian Racka has not V-shaped horns, but these grow somewhat more to the exterior, the spiral growth is not so strict .
Other Racka varieties are the Walaschka, the Zigaja, the Zikta and the Zurcana. It is a very tough breed and use for milking, meat and WOOL!
 
Their wool is long with a gentle lock definition and is similar in handle to other longwool breeds. The staple length can be 12”/20cms and can vary from 12micron to 40 micron. The long locks have some really nice luster. I found it to be crunchy and crispy. Not for a next to skin wear but it would be wonderful or for outerwear.
 
And that , my friends, Is where I always take the challenge on. First there is a selection of the best fleeces, then it is all about preparation and blending. And blending it with bunny and cashmere fibres in a special blending process, makes it that this rare breed Racka sheep , in my humble opinion, can be close to skin wear. I loved the feel and airyness of it in the blend. I find the lustre amazing and most of all, I felt very priveledged to be able to put together a blend with this magical fleece.
 
Here you can see some photos of the herd, their cute behaviour, their fleeces and their magical horns ;-) Enjoy !

 
hmmmm food


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are all the details and the mood board for the colourway of the rare sheep breed adventure called DRACUL, after the fierce Lord of the Dragons, in Transylvania, which by the way was part of Hungary at one point.
 
I could have ofcourse opted for the famous Hungarian inventor of the rubicks cube too, but…since this rare sheep breed is going to be part of the Mythical magical spin a long on my Ravelry group in MARCH! ......Dracul won ;-)

 
So, here it is the New Fibre Blend adventure Sign up starting tonight:

IxCHeL Fibre Adventure Sign up

----the last Rare breed fibre adventure sold out in under 48 hours so please be quick if you want to be part of this ---

Dracul Batts and matching Dracul Tops!

Sign in to receive your Dracul batts and tops, Shipping date: mid february !! in a very special super limited release !

 
Here’s your chance to spin some amazingly special batts and tops with a blend of :

a very RARE SHEEP BREED !!:

Hungarian Racka sheep
Eco merino
Silver stellina
Tencel
Cashmere 
English Angora Bunny

The Dracul  batts will be inspired by the mystery and magic of Hungary and Transylvania. I will ONLY make enough batts for those who sign in. Same thing goes for the tops!

Sign in on the Dracul batts and tops will close February 1st or until the amount that I can make runs out, whichever comes first !!!

Only the ones who sign up for the Dracul will have these exclusive IxCHeL Dracul Batts and tops!

the batts will each weigh appr 150grams each!  AU$34
the tops are a 100g + each ! AU$25

There will only be a very very VERY limited supply!!

You will have to sign in before February 1st! Pm on Ravelry or facebook or email me :-) 

Single double or combined serves will be available !

All the tops and the batts will have a limited amount of silver stellina in them. (you know to combat vampires and werewolves..lol)


I have added “inspiration photos” below. Enjoy !

 



Painting by the Hungarian Painter Diana Torok




If you are not a spinner of yarns but would love to participate in this new fiber adventure, please let me know and I can spin the yarn for you !

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 weeks blog entry. Have fun !!!

Dates to put in your Calendar !!

 
April

Saturday 11th, 10am-3pm

McClelland Spinners and Weavers Open day “sock it to me”
 
I will be there with lots of hand dyed tops for spinning and felting and happy rainbow yarn and sock yarn !!!! As well as some amazing Lair of the Bearded Dragon spindles and bowls that are pure magic to spin on !

 

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 ravelry 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.
Thank you so much for your help and support !


 RABBIT ON !
((hugs))
Charly

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