Super cute & Fluffy


Fluffy kisses
Have I got a treat for you tonight: A freshly blended rare breed adventure, because life gets wayyyyy more interesting when you add new adventures doesn't it? Especially the fluffy and cute kind of adventures.
But before I start talking about  that, I am going to share a bit of what my week looked like...not really very adventurous but packed to the rafters with so much to do !!! And then of ocurse my brain has this "brilliant" idea  of organising a virtual egg hunt of Easter on the website. LOL... The best way to describe to anybody who I am, is by the quintessential typical conversation of a few lines with Paul I frequently have:
Me: " OMG, I just had this fun idea!! I am so excited !!"
Paul : ....silence...with an eyeroll and a smirk....
          "Oh no....there we go again..."
Me: " Whaddayamean? again?..."     giggle
Paul : "Well, your fun ideas always mean a ton of extra work:" .....
            followed by a grin like a Cheshire cat
Yes, that is what happened again ...No relaxing for this Easter bunny...
(Felted) eggs to hide here, there and everywhere on the website and trying to figure out the tech issues involved to make it work ! What did I get myself into..again?! lolol 
But hey, it was heaps of fun!! I hid loads of eggs, it took me a full day to organise and take photos and get the tech stuff to work and...the eggs got found in a record time of FIFTEEN minutes !!! gigglegiggle
Congrats to all the Egg hunters who won an IxCHeL gift voucher !!
I am so happy everybody had a great time and telling me with numerous facebook, email and insta messages about how much fun it was! Yeah !!! mission accomplished ! Next year, I will have to so make the egg hunt a bit harder and more fun, but I am sure my brain will come up with something by then...lol
What else? Oh yes, the April Clubs are all dyed ! Unfortunately the weather here was pretty wet so my self imposed deadline of getting everything shipped out today was not accomplished, BUT all the club parcels will go out on Monday morning ! Yeah !!! 
This is the teaser label of the April club. It is a pastel painting by Giovanna Fratellini (Cecilia Pazzi portrait) from 1717 !  Here it is together with a self portrait of Giovanna :
What drew me in to this artwork was not only the beauty but also quirkiness of it: the powdered wig young girl with  big smiling eyes holding a squirrel….yes, a squirrel ! Coz I mean, who doesn’t have a pet squirrel? Lol

The colour palette can only be described as pastel with a bright blue sky and I my "translation" of this artwork onto fibre and yarn reflects the essence of the painting.   

The biggest challenge for me, who always has vibrancy and colour saturation on their mind, was to create this "powdery look". This pastel look that Giovanna created so beautifully.
Taking into account that i am not working with oil pastels nor paper or canvas but with liquid pigments and fibre and yarn, it was a big challenge. As usual I have adapted the blend for the artwork as well (more will be revealed later...don't want to spoil it for all the club members! but it is pretty and special ) ; the sock yarn is a bit more involved, because I not only tend to create the painting by the colours it has but also with the subject matter, the action of movement in the painting and the arrangement/interaction  of the colours.
In short: I tend to paint the yarn.. yes, literally paint. This time, because it involves superwash yarn, which reacts extremely sensitively to temperature of the liquid pigments, I opted to paint with cold temperature pigments rather than hot. If you were to "paint" onto superwash yarn with hot/warm liquid pigments it sucks the dye up immediately and very strongly...that would totally defeat the powdery look I needed to achieve. And, as with pastel and water colour painting, once you add colour to your fibres or yarn, you cannot say "Oops, I made a mistake! Ill just get the big eraser out " once it is on it is there forever. lol
Here's a bit of a sneak peek of my work of the first layer before the later manipulation of glazing with more colours to reflect Giovanna's artwork.

When I am not in the dye room, I am either planning fun fluffy  stuff (LOL), preparing new blends or spinning !

I have a full huge tub filled with yarn cakes, waiting to be plied and dyed to take with me to the Handknitters and crochet guild of Victorias Yarn and Fibre weekend show in May with lots of spinning yet to be done. To spin our angora bunny  and also our rare breed yarns you have to know  it is all done by hand and by me. No big machinery to spin these yarns for me, nor do I get these precious yarns already spun by big companies in: all is done here on the IxCheL fibre farm and it takes a long time. It is not called slow fashion for nothing I guess...lol 
The good thing about this is that you know where it comes from, that the animals are well cared for  and loved and you are supporting a small farm business. But, like I said, it takes a lot of time. Just with any resources of this planet, everything I offer you on the website but also at the yarn and fibre shows is done with love and time and care: there is only a finite amount I can do. I could try and stay up even longer and work more hours but I think I am at the limit already. I am super fortunate to have a partner who helps me out and actually goes out into the real world and does all the grocery shopping and post office runs !
...ever since the pandemic started and maybe even before that as an introvert , I was not exactly a social butterfly...lol  but now, I only spend time with the animals, around the house and every now and again when I have to , go to doctors appointments.
Every single hour is filled with work or something work related. I often hop out of the dye room standing at one dye pot and go :‚ÄĚnow it‚Äôs time to stand at the other stove to do dinner..‚ÄĚ lolol
 For one who is always advocating sustainability, my actions towards self care are totally lacking in every sense of the word. I live for what I create almost 24/7. Some may say it is a very solitary way of life but I am okay with that. However, I am getting very, very, VERY tired ….no exhausted, by the self imposed deadlines and targets I set myself: weekly updates, monthly clubs and show prep etc.  
I am definitely going to have to have a stern talking to myself after the  handknitters guild show in May.. to get some time off, maybe even go out ! or ....shock-horror!!..on a holiday somewhere in Australia…somewhere sunny?? Where I can go diving and snorkelling and converse with fish and turtles ?!?!?!   LOL...we'll see ! I will definitely keep you posted!  
Tonight’s special adventure update is my out of this world blend with guanaco !!
 


Here are some beautiful photos of Guanacos in the wild :

Guanaco striking da pose in Peru

Warning: There is only a tiny bit of this awesome fibre. Safe to say I have had to be extremely careful and not breathe too heavy because I cannot afford it being blown off in the wind never to be seen again; it is just too preciousssss: Guanaco.

Guanaco near the observatory


It has always been a dream of mine to get my hands on the wonderful and super soft Guanaco and here it is: I concocted a blend that is literally so soft it cannot be described other than ‚Äúorgasmic‚ÄĚ ..yes, really. Lots of careful blending and calculating and trials have brought this blend to you comprising of 60% guanaco, Luscious Muga silk, Amazing cashmere and the ever lovely Angora bunny! As you can imagine, it is already extremely hard getting your hands on this fibre in normal times, but last year and this year with the Pandemic going on, have proven to be super tough. I am happy to say that all the almost super human effort has paid off !

So what is Guanaco and where does it come from?

Guanaco fibre is particularly prized for its soft, warm feel and is found in luxury fabric. The guanaco's soft wool is valued second only to that of the vicu√Īa. The guanaco is double-coated with coarse guard hairs and a soft undercoat, which is about 16-18 ¬Ķ in diameter and comparable to the best cashmere. Only the super soft undercoat is used in this blend and it is amazing !

The guanaco is an animal native to the arid, mountainous regions of South America. They are found in the altiplano of Peru, Bolivia and Chile . In Argentina, they are more numerous in Patagonian regions, as well as in places such as the Torres del Paine National Park, and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. In these areas, they have more robust populations, since grazing competition from livestock is limited. Estimates, as of 2011, place their numbers at 400,000 to 600,000. A small introduced population exists on Staats Island in the Falkland Islands, with a population of around 400 as of 2003. Guanacos live in herds composed of females, their young, and a dominant male. Bachelor males form separate herds. While female groups tend to remain small, often containing no more than 10 adults, bachelor herds may contain as many as 50 males. When they feel threatened, guanacos alert the herd to flee with a high-pitched, bleating call. The male usually runs behind the herd to defend them. They can run at 56 km (35 mi) per hour, often over steep and rocky terrain. They are also excellent swimmers!! A guanaco's typical lifespan is 20 to 25 years. Guanacos are one of the largest wild mammal species found in South America (along with the manatee, the tapir, and the jaguar). Natural predators include cougars, jaguars, and foxes. Guanacos often spit when threatened, same as their alpaca and llama counterparts! To protect its neck from harm, the guanaco has developed thicker skin on its neck, a trait still found in its domestic counterpart, the llama, and its relatives, the wild vicu√Īa and domesticated alpaca.
 
A little Chulengo with its mum



Some Guanaco family fun


Mating season occurs between November and February, during which males often fight violently to establish dominance and breeding rights. Eleven-and-a-half months later, a single chulengo, or baby Guanaco, is born. Chulengos are able to walk immediately after birth. Male chulengos are chased off from the herd around one year of age.

Although the species is still considered wild, around 300 guanacos are in US zoos and around 200 are registered in private herds.
What a pretty Guanaco !!


Another titbit of information: Guanacos are often found at high altitudes, up to 4,000 meters above sea level, except in Patagonia, where the southerly latitude means ice covers the vegetation at these altitudes. For guanacos to survive in the low oxygen levels found at these high altitudes, their blood is rich in red blood cells. A teaspoon of guanaco blood contains about 68 billion red blood cells ‚Äď four times that of a human !

Some guanacos live in the Atacama Desert, where in some areas it has not rained for over 50 years! A coastline running parallel to the desert enables them to survive. Where the cool water touches the hot land, the air above the desert is cooled, creating a fog and thus, water vapour. Winds carry the fog across the desert, where cacti catch the water droplets and lichens that cling to the cacti soak it in like a sponge. When the guanacos eat the cacti flowers and the lichens, the water is transferred to them. So when they eat the cactus flowers they basically get a drink at the same time.


I'll have some guanaco handspun yarns plus some vampire deer yarns, together with  some very special wallaby-angora bunny. possum-angora bunny and lots of our own IxCHeL sock yarns, Silver star yarns, the whole colourful tweed range and our special organic GAIA 8ply yarns available at the handknitters and crochet guild show in May ! You can book tickets to this awesome  event on the try booking website and to know more just scan the QR code on the poster. 



Have lots of fun exploring the new adventures on the IxCHeL shop ! To find everything NEW. go to www.ixchel.com.au and go to the "What's new section"
Big fluffy hugs,
Charly

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