Happy Bunny and Cute Stitch Markers

batt club clubs fibre club handdyed handdyedfibre happy bunny tops hemp ixchel spinning spinningyarn stitch markers yarn club


angora bunny making a peace sign with its paw, dressed in a colourful shirt and shorts, holding a colourful sheep

Another busy week at the funny farm....eh I mean fibre farm...lolol
There has been a huge amount of blending and dyeing happening again plus prepping all the september club fibres and yarns but more about that later.
This week I have a very special blend to offer you: Happy Bunny Tops. I have put this blend together because I found that there were hardly any hemp fibres or blends with this amazing plant fibre available in Australia at all..

In 2019, at the Bendigo show I showcased the Happy Sheep blend for the first time and now it’s the time for my Happy Bunny Blend to shine. I started this happy bunny blend with hemp (albeit with a slightly different fibre contents) way back in 2016 and I thought it was time to do some more !

Hemp always has this stigma attached to it that almost always makes people think you smoke the plant rather than see it for how amazing and versatile this plant really is. In so called Industrial hemp, which is also part of the marihuana/cannabis family, there is no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis, the ingredient which gives the meaning to "feeling high" ..is not present in the hemp grown for industrial purposes)Growing industrial hemp as a farmer is totally different  from growing medicinal cannabis. 


Hemp is really one of the most versatile plants known. It can be grown in most climates, is drought resistant, requires little fertiliser, no pesticides or herbicides, and has a range of uses. The seeds can be used as food and fodder, and can be processed to produce hemp oil. The stalks provide fibre for textiles, clothing, rope, paper and building products. The bulk of the woody stalks can be used for paper, animal bedding, and building material. The hemp plant biomass can be used to produce fuel. Anything that trees/timber can be used to produce, hemp can produce and more, including house construction. Actually in the early 1900s Henry Ford built the bodywork of a car out of hemp fibres that proved to be ten times more dent resistant than those made out of steel and weighed ¾ less ! Due to the lobbying and pressure of the steel industry , well, we all know what happened…the bodywork of cars are not made of hemp fibre blends anymore are they….

A hemp crop can provide the basics of life – food, shelter, clothing, fuel and medicine. In fact almost anything from 'dynamite to Cellophane' can be made from hemp.

Why use hemp for all these products? There are two main reasons – one ecological, one economic.

Ecological: As a renewable resource from living plants hemp does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. The growing plants absorb as much CO2 as will later be released when oil or other plant matter is burnt. Unlike fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) or nuclear fuels hemp could supply us with raw materials for thousands of years, without ever changing our climate and without producing waste that remains radioactive for millions of years. Hemp is a natural plant material that can be grown with little or no herbicides and pesticides, and little fertiliser. Therefore in terms of the agricultural system it is more ecologically sensitive. In paper and textile production, it can be processed without toxic chemicals, whereas alternatives such a cotton or textiles and wood pulp for paper, require large amounts of toxic chemicals. Because hemp is not a fussy grower and can grow in a wide range of soils and climatic conditions it is ideal for a bio-regional approach. It is a bulky crop and does not require high capital technology to process, making it ideal to process locally, increasing local employment and economy, and saving transport costs and pollution.
Economic: Hemp is the number one biomass producer - 10 tons in approximately 90 – 120 days. One acre of hemp will produce as much fibre as 2-3 acres of cotton. One acre of hemp will produce as much paper as 4 acres of trees. Hemp clothing will last six times as long as cotton clothing. Hemp also does not need any herbecides or pestecised and uses wayyyyy less water to grow than coton does.

Natural fibres from the hemp stalk is extremely durable and can be used in the production of textiles, clothing, canvas, rope, cordage, archival grade paper, paper, and construction materials. There are two principal types of fibres in hemp – bast or long fibres and hurds or inner short fibre. Traditionally hemp has been grown for its valuable and versatile high quality bast fibres.

Bast fibres account for 20-30 percent of the stalk (depending on the seed variety, and planting density). There are two types of bast fibres: primary bast fibres. Primary bast fibres make up approximately 70 percent of the fibres and are long, high in cellulose and low in lignin. Primary bast fibres are the most valuable part of the stalk, and are generally considered to be among the strongest plant fibres known. secondary bast fibres. Secondary bast fibres make up the remaining 30 percent of the bast fibres and are medium in length and higher in lignin. They are less valuable and become more prevalent when the hemp plants are grown less densely, making shorter fatter stalks since they do not have to compete for light. The production or extraction of the primary bast fibres has traditionally been a very labour intensive process, but recently an alternative fibre separation process has been developed using technologies such as ultrasound and steam explosion, which are much less labour intensive. Once separated the bast fibres are ready for spinning and weaving into textiles, or for pulping into high quality pulp. Bast fibres are ideal for specialised paper products such as industrial filters, currency paper or tea bags.

Hurds are the short fibred inner woody core of the hemp plant. They comprise 70-80 percent of the stalk and are composed of libriform fibres which are high in lignin. Traditionally hurds have been considered waste as they are the by-product from bast extraction. The hurds are 50-77 percent cellulose making them ideal for paper making. One acre of hemp can replace 4.1 acres of trees for pulp production. Although the fibres are shorter than bast fibres they are suitable for a range of products such as rayon, biomass fuel, cellophane, food additives, industrial fabrication materials and newsprint pulp.

There was a time that the world depended on this fibre: most ropes for the ships were made out of hemp. In fact England made sure that their colonies produced a lot of this product to fulfill their needs. Unfortunately , the production of hemp stopped when cheaper products like sisal were imported. The second world war made it necessary for America and the allied forces to start to “condone” the growth of hemp again since all the countries who produced sisal and hemp were not able to produce anymore for them. Here follows a recent “discovered” American agriculture department promotion film to explain all the steps in hemp growing and what is needed for the war effort. It shows you the growing AND the further processing and everything that is needed to get the fibres ready for making ropes and yarn.  It is very enlightening.  Enjoy !

China is currently the prime producer of hemp textile. China has had an uninterrupted hemp trade for approximately 6000 years. Other countries are now producing textiles to a lesser extent. The once major hemp textile industry has now almost completely disappeared from the Western world. Currently the bulk of our demand for textiles is met by cotton and synthetics, both of which have serious environmental problems associated with them.

There is a huge change happening though with a production taking place in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania at the moment. There is a big  demand for hemp seed and hemp seed oil and it is starting to make economic sense that the hemp fibres are now also used ! Both to make building materials and fibre products.

 Hopefully we can soon have a bigger production of Australian Hemp fibres to spin and make textiles with. Not only are there environmental benefits through hemp cultivation, hemp fabrics themselves have advantages to us.

Fabrics with at least 50 percent hemp content block the sun's UV rays more effectively than do other fabrics. In comparison to cotton, hemp fibres are longer, stronger, more lustrous and absorbent, and more mildew resistant. Woven and knitted hemp textiles are used in the production of clothing, shoes, apparel, canvas, rugs and upholstery.

Another titbit of information: In 1916 the American government predicted that in 40 years time there would be no need anymore to cut trees down for paper production: hemp production would be enough since 1 acre of hemp would produce the equivalent of 4.1 acres of trees…I guess the prediction didn’t eventuate…but the fact remains: one acre of hemp can produce 3 tonnes of protein, about 4000 liters of fuel and 30 tonnes of fibre.

The Happy Bunny Blend I am offering you today is awesome to work with: the hemp in it will provide lots of strength (great to spin a durable and yet soft yarn ; great for socks) and is just a fabulous blend to spin and knit up. Super soft next to skin wear as well with the fabulous cashmere and angora and silk.
There is only a limited quantity available and you can find them all here: https://ixchel.com.au/products/happy-bunny-hemp-merino-silk-cashmere-tops
happy bunny tops morts library colourway
The September club is well underway to being finished this weekend which means that , drying weather permitting, the September clubs are on schedule to be shipped out to all the Art Journey Club Members next week ! Yeah ! it is looking super special and here is the club teaser label for this month to give you an idea:
teaser label of the art journey club september showing a painting by Marie Denise Villers (1801) of a girl drawing with the light behind her of a window looking out over a building where there is a couple talking together
This painting has always mesmerised me: the light, the hypnotic gaze of the girl, the broken window (why?) and what were the couple discussing in the back ground? It only adds to the mystery of the painting that for a very long time this painting was attributed to a male painter David when it was purchased by the Met in NY in 1922. Only after extensive research the attribution was changes and then, all of a sudden "art critics" started to negatively comment on it ... typical....In her fabulous book (2001) “The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work”, Germaine Greer wrote that the picture "does not seek to charm, nor does it seek to portray the sexual vitality of its sitter" and felt that it was a feminist painting in nature (…) a woman painting another woman, who both wanted to become acknowledged in the art world.
All the Art Journey club members will receive their batt, fibre and or yarn club (whichever they signed up for) plus some extras and a biography of the artist and extra info.  Remember that if you are a member of the Art Journey Club 3rd quarter this month is the last of your 3rd quarter club parcels. Sign ups for the 4th quarter of IxCHeL Art Journey Clubs are open now on the shop and you can find them here: https://ixchel.com.au/collections/clubs
What else is there to report? Oh yes !!! Something new ! Because you cannot leave me alone with myself and my ideas for new fun stuff...ROFL  So I have been distracted and making...Stitch Markers ! Becasue hey, why not? and I wanted something fun and colourful and even quirky. So, I am offering you some fun stitch markers of cats hiding in pot plants (because I love cats), some super cute Cactus stitch markers (coz I love cacti), Rainbow stitch markers (Because Love is Love and Rainbows are awesome) plus some very special Fairytale resin stitch markers !!
I mean, you don't even have to use them as stitch markers because they look extremely cute as earrings or pendants as well ! Anything goes I always say !
Here are some photos of the cute stitch markers on offer and the link: https://ixchel.com.au/collections/whats-new (You can find all the stitch markers in the what's new section on the shop this week or, later, you can type in stitch markers in the "hop to it-search box" and you will be transported straight to them.)
cats are plant lovers stitch markers
cactus stitch markers pink
cactus stitch markers blue
cactus green stitch markers
rainbow stitch markers
fairytale stitch markers set bfairytale set a stitch markers
On a personal note: I have not dyed my hair yet.. LOL...somehow it always comes down to dyeing fibres and organising the weekly shop updates and work first  rather than self care or...."self upkeep".
I cannot tell you how many times I have said to myself to have more "Me-time" but then I forget, focus extremely hard on what needs to be done to pay the bills and then... it's bed time...LOL  I have to do work on that and...myself...sigh  I'm a work in progress....hahaha
Wishing all of you a fabulous weekend with lots of fun craft time !
Big hugs

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