Ixchel and Inkle

Over the last few years I have managed to find quite a few Aussie artisan yarn dyers and some great online stores. However, since joining the Australian Handspinners and Knitters Facebook group I have discovered even more very talented artisans selling their wares either on this Facebook page or through their Etsy shops. One very clever person who attracted my attention was Ixchel Angora Bunny and Funky Fibre Art.

Ixchel is an Australian Fibre Farm in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, breeding their own fluffy animals pesticide free and organic. Charly McCafferty (Ixchel Bunny) does all the spinning, dyeing, knitting and weaving and loving every second of it: Angora Rabbit, Cashmere, Mohair, Merino, Alpaca, Camel or even Yak. Paul McCafferty is constantly juggling work on the fibre farm and is the brain behind making all the animal housing and organising the farm harmoniously. Paul also makes wonderful handcrafted wooden spindles and other goodies. His wares can be found on his Facebook page Lair of the Bearded Dragon.

I bought this rather little nifty “Twist it Little Helper”  from Paul. It’s an orifice hook, WPI meter (gauge) and a spinning yarn parker. As well as an orifice hook and WPI meter you can with the grooves ‘park’ your yarn when you have to stop spinning and you don’t want your yarn to disappear back on the bobbin. Just hold your “Twist it Little Helper” over your yarn and twist around the grooves in the handle.. and there you have it! It’s parked. The handles are made from different types of timber. I bought the camphor.

Twist it Little HelpersI also bought this lovely drop spindle not long ago…

Drop Spindle 05Paul has just finished a small job for me which I will show you once I receive it next week.

I have digressed slightly; back to Ixchel. I am in the bad habit of checking my Facebook feed nearly every night and this is when I stumbled upon Ixchel’s beautiful fibre. Every Friday night Ixchel releases a blog post which features different blends. The photos of the fibre are preceded by a wonderful story of the sheep and various animals whose fibre is featured that particular week. Who said spinning wasn’t educational?? You can learn lots from reading these blog posts.

Now the secret is that you have to be very, very quick as there are only limited numbers of each colourway and they go FAST. As soon as you see something you like you need to immediately message Charly of your interest and then wait patiently until she gets back to you. I really don’t know how she manages with everyone either messaging or emailing her. I have missed out on a couple of my preferred colourways but I have also managed to snaffle some beautiful buys such as these..

These were my first two buys from the week Time For a Little Madness. Happy Tiger Bunny Tops are made from a blend of Hemp, Suri, Silk, Eco Merino, Angora Bunny and Llama. I  bought March Hare…

March Hare 11and Tweedledee…

Ixchel Tweedle Dee 01I think it was only the next week I stumbled upon Ixchel’s blog release called Don’t Blink and sucumbed to these lovely Cashmere Fling Tops which are a blend of cashmere, tencel, bamboo and glitzy nylon. I bought the colourways Minions…

Ixchel Bunny Cashmere Fling Minion 01and Absinthe Fairy…

Ixchel Bunny Cashmere Fling Absinthe Fairy 01Enough is enough I said to myself. This is getting into a habit!! So the next couple of weeks I avoided my phone but alas on Friday night I was back on it and I seem to pick the time when the Ixchel blog release is happening because I stumbled across last Friday’s post called Imagine and bought these GaGa Bunny Tops which are a blend of Blue Faced Leicester, Cashmere, angora bunny and Glitz in the colourways Peacock in a Pear Tree…

Peacock in a Pear Tree 01and Very Zen of You…

Very Zen of You 01Can you see how very addictive this could become?? The top I really wanted but it was sold out is called Imagine and here’s a picture…

Ixchel ImagineSigh…oh well you can’t get everyone you want can you?

By the way, Ixchel has has a Fibre Club, a Sock Yarn Club and a Funky Bunny Batt Club which all run from January until March 2016. Details are on the website. I must resist!! 🙂

You’ll be pleased to know that I have already spun March Hare and knitted a shawl. It’s been blocked and is awaiting a story to be written about it which will happen in the not too distant future. Here’s a sneak peak of the spun yarn which I plied with a gold metallic thread…

March Hare 03Remember the Schacht Inkle Loom I picked up for a bargain a couple of weeks ago? Well, last Tuesday one of my dear friends from my spinning group offered to each me and another spinner how to use the inkle loom. It was a lot of fun and I learned how long it takes to warp the loom and also what heddles are. The hardest part was keeping the edges tensioned correctly. Thank you Rona for spending around six hours teaching Vanessa and me 🙂

Yesterday, I sat down and actually did some more weaving and found it strangely meditative. I would do a bit,wander off and do something else and then back to the weaving.

First Inkle Weaving 03I actually warped it incorrectly as this is not how the pattern should be but my aim at this stage is just to get the hang of it, especially the edges but I think I am improving looking at these two photos.

First Inkle Weaving 01a-tileI’ve already ordered this book…

The Weavers Inkle Pattern DirectoryThat’s another hobby started 🙂 Next it will be looking at a little loom 🙂

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend and I have whetted your appetite for some spinning or weaving.

And by the way, I have started a MelsNattyKnits Instagram account which I am quite enjoying. It’s a whole new way of interacting with other like-minded crafty people. There’s  an Instagram button the right hand side of my blog page 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

 

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