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:
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 !
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact us ! Always happy to enable !