It's that time of year again : everybody seems to get ready for Christmas, there are so many Black Friday Sales emails I'm being bombarded with just like everybody else I suppose and I do not know what to do first or next. I feel like I am one step away from feeling like a deer staring at the headlights of oncoming traffic, but//thanks to my chaotic organising skills (insert sarcasm) i just keep going and hope for the best. Trying to survive as a small craft producer is hard enough but I see more and more feeling they need to compete with large companies who can afford to slash their prices every now and again…for small businesses that is just not an option, especially when you are not an on seller but make everything your self. So, I have decided very early on in my journey, which I can proudly say has been almost twenty years…(oh gawd I feel very very old now🤣), that I would do my own thing, try the very very best at all times and not do any sales..specially not Black Fridays since it has such a bad connotation in Australia ( Black Friday is known here as the bush fire disaster 1939 and black Saturday bushfires in 2009). So sorry to disappoint all of you who thought there was going to be a big sale on, BUT I am planning my yearly twelve days of Christmas event again: more on that later !
The December clubs are al dyed and drying as I type this, the organising of the batts and the labels and the packing comes next. It is looking so pretty!! No, I am not saying another word...but I can show you the teaser label
Btw: The Art Journey club sign ups for the first quarter of 2024 are filling up fast, so if you want to join the fun please head over to the ixchel shop and go to the fibre , batt or yarn club product page. If you would like to become member of more than one, please email me so I can combine the shipping for you to save you heaps of shipping costs!
Here is the link : https://ixchel.com.au/collections/clubs
There are also new shop updates planned for the next few weeks of course, the dye pots will be busy !!! AND, to top it all off: THE event of the year is happening very, very soon too: THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS EVENT !!! I may not do any sales or black Friday events or discount galore stuff during the rest of the year, but I AM doing a very SPECIAL twelve days of Christmas event with special products and extra special prices as a fundraiser for wildlife preservation just like every year!
More on the twelve days of Christmas event next Friday !
This week I have a fab blend for you :
A Ouessant/Blue Faced Leicester/Mulberry Silk blend that is so smoochy and soft and fluffy you have to try it ! The different colours in all the fleeces blended together made a gorgeous base to dye on and resulted in amazing tonal values of the dyed tops.
I love dyeing tops that have different coloured fleeces in them: it is magical ! spinning this blend will give you a gorgeous heathered and saturated, magical colour play yarn, that is soft and suitable to close to skin wear with a gorgeous drape.
Located 12 miles off the French coast in the Sea of Iroise, the island of Ouessant (or Ushant in English) is the original homeland of Ouessant Sheep.
Ouessant sheep are the most primitive of the native French breeds. For centuries, they were raised in isolation on the island where they played an integral part of the self-sufficient closed economy, providing both wool and meat. By the end of the 18th century there were over 6,000 sheep on the island of Ouessant. But economic improvements along with a move toward modernization at the beginning of the 19th century radically changed the future prospects of this small primitive breed. ortunately, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a number of wealthy families imported small numbers of traditional Ouessant sheep to the French mainland to graze the lands around their estates.
Ultimately, this seemingly insignificant event insured the survival of the breed. Today, Ouessant sheep are sought after both as companion animals and as “environmentally-friendly lawn mowers”.
They have also gained a certain amount of popularity in several different European countries : Most notably Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain.
A member of the Northern European Short-Tailed breeds, Ouessant sheep are distant cousins of the Shetland and Icelandic breeds. The two most distinctive features of Ouessant sheep are their size and their color.
Considered by many to be the smallest breed of sheep in the world, adult ewes measure less than 18″ (46cm) at the shoulders and rams are under 20″ (50cm).
Additionally, Ouessant sheep come in a number of different colors : Including black, white, brown, and grey. It is true that the small size of Ouessant sheep contributes to the breed’s characteristic charm and appeal. However, their diminutive size also means that the breed is not commercially viable in the modern world of agricultural production. In fact, one of the primary objectives for breeding Ouessant sheep today is the preservation and conservation of the rare genetic resources that are found in the breed.
Despite their small size, these charming little sheep produce a particularly beautiful and versatile wool. Ouessant sheep have a distinctive double-coated fleece with an average fiber diameter of 25 microns and, on average, fleeces weigh approximately 750 grams (1.5 lbs.). It is important to keep in mind that Ouessant sheep are an unimproved breed, which means that from one sheep to another there is less standardization and more variability in wool type and quality than one would normally find in modern improved breeds.
For the handspinner, this variation presents a unique opportunity : From one small flock of Ouessant sheep it is possible to produce wool that can be used for a wide variety of projects, ranging from lace shawls to hats, cardigans, and more.
I have taken great care to only select the finest of the Ouessant fibre and blending that with the shiny Blue faced Leicester and the mulberry silk to create a beautiful heathered effect when dyed. The natural colour of this blend is fabulous and takes the dye beautifully: because there are so many different natural colours in the base, it creates a magical depth and variety of tones.
I have dyed up some new colourways again…(couldn't help myself..) like: Just Ken (celebrating the fabulous Ryan Gosling as Ken in the Barbie movie..I couldn’t get that song out of my head🤣), Kingfisher blues, a new take on Mermaid Reality Show and secret garden and of course: freshly Dyed versions of Pumpkin King and Autumn Glow and secret Garden. I think Secret Garden together with Just Ken are my favourites this week.
Which ones are yours?
mermaid reality show top
secret garden tops
Wishing everybody a very happy and craft filled weekend !