Still hopping !

A Bunny knitting beside a Xmas tree sitting on top of a bunch of presents

It’s that time of year where I am looking forward to having a little breather, take up my knitting and spinning, and create new adventures for the new year! All this year’s art journey club productions are dyed, shipped and done (more on that later in this blog), major shop updates for this year are nearing their end with tonight Friday, December 15th being the last blog and fresh product update for this year AND the twelve days of Christmas event is over, shipped and a big donation has been taken care of ♥️
Thanks to all of you who have enthusiastically shown their support for the yearly IxCHeL 12 days of Christmas fundraiser event, we have been able to donate a pretty substantial amount and even a bit more than last year ! I am so super grateful to you all ! Thank you💕
You are all AMAZING !
Now, what to do now? After all the hectic excitement??!! And…ALL the Christmas parcel packing of all the orders! 🎁
It’s time to breathe and take stock (Paul is doing that literally atm) before Some major baking, relaxing, spinning, reading and knitting time off.  Mind you, with the website being there and automated as it is, we decided to keep the shop open. I mean, yarn and fibres and spindles are essential products right? 😉 plus, since we are not exactly going on a holiday anywhere like on a tropical island being brought fancy cocktails with little umbrellas in them, we might as well be there for all of our super loyal people who have shown us so much support during the last years. We love you all ♥️
Healesville sanctuary donation 2023
There may be some delays shipping when you order now until New year, but that will not be because we are lounging about, but because post offices will close on certain days during the holiday period and Australia Post is not known for its …ahem… super expedient, super sonic shipping times. If you have any questions, requests or anything else on your mind, we want you to know we are here for you, so send us an email or a message on our social media and we’ll do our best to help and enable.

A word of warning: I will not be dyeing every day during our Holiday “break” and I will not have a dye production going on with a 100 kilos a week. My body needs a rest 🤣 This year has been especially hard on my physical being: I have developed a swollen disc on my spine due to the heavy lifting, posture of constant standing in the dye studio and carders and…obviously…being me…not taking care of myself enough by stretching or doing anything rather than concentrating on the tasks at hand. I am known for being extremely focussed and determined (not to mention stubborn) often forgetting to drink or eat (although you wouldn’t know that by looking at my “inflated” being..obviously I am genetically related to those plants that can survive and grow (read: get fat) on mere air ..there’s absolutely no other explanation..lolol). Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I will not be dyeing…saying that I know that’s not exactly true because I still have a kilo custom order to dye this week, but then…it’s me, my books (planning to reread Terry Pratchett’s Discworld again -I’m in desperate need of some other worldly satirical humour), my ideas, hopefully my watercolours and pens and my knitting needles and probably my spinning wheel.
On that note: I have come to the terrifying conclusion that angora yarn (Anny Blatt from France) are selling their machine spun and dyed pure angora yarns in balls of 25g for $65. I nearly fell off my chair because I handspun and hand dyed our animal friendly harvested pure angora bunny yarn for $49/50g… Somehow I missed the world going absolutely bonkers with price rises! I know! I know about house prices, rent rises, the obvious food price hikes and the petrol prices, but somehow I haven’t really changed anything for my own handmade fluff! I have always aimed at staying small and sustainable since I started in 2004..yes! That’s TWENTY YEARS ago! And I have never aimed for world domination so to speak. My personal “weird” disposition (meaning introvert, non ego oriented and also not exactly “neurotypical🤣) certainly would not allow that…lol
Anyway..I digress…again…Squirrel!! 

Next year, just out of pure essential survival necessity, I will have to make some changes. There may be some price rises since taxes, customs and power bills are pretty brutal atm and I really hope to be around for a while longer. I will also have to face the fact that I will not be able to work 14 hour days in the dye room anymore. So there will be changes, but you know me, I’m planning exciting new things, new blends, new products, new fluff, new adventures! Most of all 2024 will see a big celebration of TWENTY YEARS of IxCHeL yarns and fibres ! Lots of new exciting things! Fibre and yarn fun!
If you would have asked me twenty years ago before I started on this adventure, what do I see myself doing in 20 years time, I would not have dreamt it to look like this! No way!
I was a medical anthropologist, working contracts in between all kinds of other dead end jobs in between, to keep the money to pay bills coming in (anthropologists, academic and field workers don’t tend to make any money if at all..). I was working all kinds of administrative desk jobs in Europe then, just met Paul, waiting for my Australian visa and then, moved to Australia, to do other jobs that had nothing to do with my medical anthropology degree or languages (the joy of a PhD of a big European degree not recognised in Australia)..
I finally managed to land a job “working nights on St Kilda road”.. yeah, not what you think it is.  lol.  Mind you when I said out loud to people who asked me what I did and I said THAT..they all looked away and went to talk to someone else…
I asked Paul if I was saying something wrong and he laughed and said : “well…St Kilda rd has a reputation of wild women roaming to pick up men etc for you know., a good time” lolol.   See what trouble you can get into when you don’t know the goings on in a different country ?!!! Lolol
anyway, I worked for a New Zealand company doing international telephone cold calls to Latin America and Europe (my language skills came in handy at least) during the night and they were located on St Kilda road. Not quite that exciting now is it? Lolol
My brilliant idea to taking the night job was: I could work during the night and then do my painting during the day! Genius! I kept it up for 9 months and then my biological clock went BOOM! But I made enoug stuff that I thought, well, I’ll quit and let’s try and sell my art work! Brilliant idea…NOT! because art doesn’t really sell..(unless maybe you’re dead) my market stalls, I was knitting and spinning wool! And THAT got peoples attention! At the end, I sold more of my handspun yarns than my paintings or prints, so hey..what is the obvious choice? Right! You sell and make more stuff that actually sells: yarn and fibre! That was 20 years ago. The first market I was at was Balnarring market and all I sold were handwoven inkle bands…two to be exact… to my father in law….(Thanks Dad !!)  Nobody else bought anything ! It’s a wonder really that I am still here.
i have done weekly markets. The whole circuit around Melbourne. And art centre sunday markets in the centre of Melbourne, art markets, even went to Flemington market and kept driving even after I found out my brakes on the very old car I drove at the time, stopped working ! I arrived, set up and sold practically nothing. But, I still kept going! Mind you, this was a few days after I had a miscarriage! See how stubborn I am? I never went back to Flemington market though: I thought that was tempting fate…lol

And here I am! 20 years later! Still going…selling my yarn, my fibres and my painting. Only, it’s not on canvas or paper, it’s in fibre. Who knew? Who could possibly ever predict something as weird as this?
Was I ever doubtful? Hell yes! 
Was I ever desperate? Hell yes!
Did I keep going? Hell yes!
I could NOT have done this without Paul ! The times I drove myself crazy with worry about not making any money, or not enough money to cover the market stall, not enough to cover the rent let alone food, the times that most of our bunnies died of a horrible disease we could not vaccinate them for because Australia doesn’t allow these vaccinations. The multiple heartbreaks of the miscarriages I had. The cancer diagnosis’s. The cancer treatment. The cardiac arrest. It’s a bloody miracle I am still here to type this!!!!  
Paul was there every time to tell me: it’s okay! You are great! Look at the big picture! Don’t give up! You can do this! I love you! To have someone believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself, is priceless. So, I kept going and I am still going.

And, of course, I am so grateful to all of you reading this and still caring and still supporting me. I could not do this without you. And THIS is ALL I can see myself doing! It is everything for me. IxCHeL is my baby, my purpose, my focus and my inspiration. It is what gets me up in the morning and inspires me to do more and better. YOU inspire me to do more and better. And, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Who knows what else I would be doing if it wasn’t for this crazy wool and yarn adventure I have been on for the last twenty years. Who knows, I would probably still be working nights on St Kilda road 🤣
Life is funny.

Lace jumper in bright green nephrite tweed yarn with a enamel badge with a quote saying “Beware for I am fearless & therefore powerful”
So, what’s NEW on the IxCHeL shop tonight?  it’s time to go BATTY !
There are merino silk cashmere batts : colourful and super soft, and
Rainbow Cashmere silk batts,
Possum Angora cashmere silk batts in natural and a gorgeous sky blue;
Swamp Wallaby bunny silk cashmere batts too !
Your can find them all in the What’s New section.
if you have not signed up for the IxCHeL Art Journey Clubs for the next round starting in January, please have a look! All the club sign ups are in the what’s new section as well. I will be sending out reminders to all of the last club members, who have not signed up yet and probably will try to send out a newsletter later next week as well (I so have to educate myself on the marketing newsletter side of things….)
There are still batts, yarn and fibre clubs available and sign ups will be open til December 30th or until quotas are reached. So, don’t wait too long ! I will be posting an overview of what the 2023 Art Journey Clubs looked like plus their inspiration artworks on next week’s blog with a special view of all the December clubs  ♥️ 
Have lots of fun exploring the IxCHeL shop and most of all: crafting and having FUN !
big hugs
Charly & Paul

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