A Brave new World

Another week has flown by and what a week it has been since we last chatted on this blog !!! I mean, I did hope that the launch of the new IxCHeL website would be a positive one, but not in my wildest imagination, did I believe it would be that mind blowing ! As soon as “high noon” on the Saturday came and I pressed the “GO LIVE” button, it was an avalanche of online shop visits and not just people having a browse but actually buying fluff and spindles and club memberships. I have no clue why I thought there would be just people looking and it would be a slow moving tortoise growing into maturity over a time period of years….LOL No, it was immediate! Instant! It was out of this world !! It just kept coming and coming and this, you have to know this little titbit: because I wanted to have lots and lots of products on the website, I had put everything I could on it. Absolutely everything that was ready went on. Meaning: I would only have a Sunday and Monday to prepare NEW stuff … “Aaaah easy” , I thought to myself. “How hard can it be?” , I thought to myself? “It’s hardly going to be like a boxing day sale run now is it?”….and I laughed and laughed….because it was !!!!! LOLOLOL
Paul and I were still packing and getting orders labelled and ready to ship on Monday morning ! I thought we would need a bigger “boat” to go to the post office!!! LOLOL I was totally flabbergasted, surprised and overwhelmed by all the responses and steadily going into more and more of a , what can only be described as, Panic !…..LOLOL
I cannot thank everybody enough! Everybody who had a look at our new online shop, everybody who has supported us (sometimes even twice or three times!!!) by ordering fluff or spindles or club memberships or yarns! You are all AMAZING !!!! I could not have done all of this without your support !! I am super super grateful and actually still overwhelmed by all your amazing responses ! 
So, after the initial shock was over on Monday, I realized I had absolutely no time left to dye and get anything dry for this Fridays update… I still had custom orders to get out as well and there was also the “little” (well, hardly little….lol) September club fibres and pigments to get ready and organized and prepped. In short: if I thought that I would be getting more time instead of less, I was totally mistaken…..lol In the end, tired of being in a constant mood varying between “Amazement” and “Sheer Panic” , I got a grip and thought: “ Change the way you think ! Do little things! If you tear up big things and put them into little sizeable morsels, they are easier to deal with (and ignore..I hear you say with a laugh…lol) True! But I am done ignoring. No more procrastination or ignoring because those pesky little morsels just tend to clog up the system. How do I know this? I have been there before…see my 12 year battle with getting a website…lol .
Here are some bit by bit photos of what my week looked like getting lots (but not enough…its never enough..lol) done:
custom spinning and dyeing angora silk cashmere yarn in Gold and over dyeing another spinners' angora yarn in deep, deep navy blue; close up, these yarns have about 200meters per 50 grams, so about a 4ply fingering weight.

Then there was: organizing the artist and painting , designing the label and getting all the pigments and fibres and yarns ready for the September club. A fascinating artist by the way: Janet Sobel! I did put a little story together with the teaser on my social media, but all the members will receive a full bio and background on this amazing artist. Which brings me to showing you a compilation of the August Clubs that went out mid August:


Apart from that, I am also spinning heaps new angora yarns and angora blend yarns to fill up the online shop but no teasers: all will be revealed next week ! 
 So, what is on offer tonight?
If you would like to see all the new products here's the link to  the What's New Section of the online sHoP: https://ixchel.com.au/collections/whats-new
Well !! two exciting blends that I have been trialing: A Wensleydale and Mulberry silk blend PLUS my quest into creating a blend that is excellent for spinning sock yarn. There is a lot of ideas floating around in my mind at the best of times. As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland “ I can think of at least 6 impossible things before breakfast”. Welcome to my life…lol Some impossible things make it almost directly onto the planning table and becoming reality, some take a bit more time and some…… never make it. Just so you can have a bit of look inside my head and how everything works…more or less….: I think of something that needs solving or have a better or new option. Like in this case: a top blend that works excellent on its own AND for a specific purpose and has “Personality!” Then the sampling begins, on a very small scale, then on a bit bigger scale like a kilo and then a full blown “Let’s go for it” with anything from 20kgs to a 100 kilos. Depending of course if I can source enough, blending speed (depending on how many times all the fibres nee dto be blended for that particu;ar project. Some blends are only blended once, others 5 times) , my speed...lol  etc etc. 

Safe to say: todays offerings are in the second stage and I wanted you to have a sneak peek into what the “bigger” picture will look like in the future. I am super happy with the end result and since I already had Indigo baths and woad dye baths ready to roll, that is what I dyed the tops with. So, sorry for those of you with a dislike to blues, but that’s all I have atm…plus some natural…lol

So, What is a Southdown Sheep? 
The Southdown is undoubtedly the oldest of the English down breeds and was the first recognised breed of British Sheep to be introduced into Australia. Records show that Reverend Samuel Marsden imported Southdowns from England soon after his arrival to Australia in 1793. After 1950 the popularity of the Southdown started to decline and breeders took to developing a heavier and longer Southdown, larger in size, with longer necks, cleaner faces and less wool around the eyes and ears - a breed to suit the Australian commercial meat market. During the change from the small compact Southdown to the large modern Southdown, a few studs continued to breed with the small bloodlines and the type of Southdown we now call Babydoll survived. Finding favour among hobby farmers, vineyards and orchards with their docile temperaments and ease of handling, Babydolls were fast finding a place among sheep owners Australia wide. Maturing between 45-62 cm in size these friendly sheep with their woolly face and legs, teddy bear smiles and adorable lambs are in great demand with eager buyers sometimes finding themselves on long waiting lists. It is estimated there are less than 350 purebred ASSBA registered Babydoll type ewes in Australia with most breeders eager to add to that number. Although they are now called Babydolls due to their similar size and look of the American Babydoll, there have been no imports from America. Often also referred to as Olde English Babydoll Sheep our Australian Babydolls do not contain any bloodlines of this American breed either. Southdown babydoll is a down like, springy “perfect for socks” fibre ! It is versatile, resilient, medium hqandling wool, that haqve dense blocky fleeces , almost rectangular staples that tend to hold together well. It is light, soft, and grippy; perfect for a modified half-backward/half-longdraw double drafting sort of technique that lets you spin super fast, and then squish out the air before wind-on (because socks have to wear well). Fast as well as woolen. Firm as well as worsted. The best of both worlds. Southdown is not over eager to felt so whatever you make may be machine washed (try a swatch first though!). I have combined it with another breed not so eager to felt either : Blue Faced Leicester! I wanted the characteristics of the Southdown but with a bit more lustre and shine, so ,that was why I blended it with BFL AND Tencel: Tencel to add that little bit of pearlescence to it as well as providing a bit of strength: in short : the perfect sock blend !!

Also, The IxCHeL Art Journey club sign ups for the next round starting in October are open now ! So, if you want to be part of some awesome fun and receiving a yarn, batt or fibre lovingly hand dyed and inspired by a unique artwork : Please sign up ! You will receive a fluffy parcel every month with an extra surprise too ! All the information on all the clubs you can find further down on this blog and on the website (www.ixchel.com.au)

And : don't forget there is TWEED YARN, sock yarns,angora yarns and lots of different tops  and so , so much more on the online shop !!!! Go check it out! It’s fun to hop around and look at all the fluffy goodies! You may even be tempted to add something to your cart !

To order: 

Go to www.ixchel.com.au and click on the “What’s NEW!” section on the home page. 
Select the product you want (either the Wensleydale Silk blend or the Southdown BFL Tencel Blend, click on the colour you like and “add to cart”. Easy ! 
No more waiting for me to answer you when you message me! Of course you can still message me as well. This is all of us still trying to figure things out and I am very approachable and enabling as usual !

Have some questions? Please let me know and email (hop@ixchel.com.au) or contact us ! Always happy to enable !

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