SunbonnetFarm

From Sheep to Shawl, I do it all.

Honoka‘a, Hawaii | 13 Sales

SunbonnetFarm

From Sheep to Shawl, I do it all.

Honoka‘a, Hawaii 13 Sales On Etsy since 2014

5 out of 5 stars
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Announcement   Select shawls, hooded shawls/capes, and the poncho, are on sale. Ends December 14th.
If you have been dreaming of buying one of my shawls, hooded capes/shawls or the poncho, this is your chance to buy a beautiful handmade woolen, at a great price.

Free shipping on all orders in the USA.

Announcement

Last updated on Nov 29, 2018

Select shawls, hooded shawls/capes, and the poncho, are on sale. Ends December 14th.
If you have been dreaming of buying one of my shawls, hooded capes/shawls or the poncho, this is your chance to buy a beautiful handmade woolen, at a great price.

Free shipping on all orders in the USA.

Leila Gerrish

Contact shop owner

Leila Gerrish

About

From Sheep to Shawl, I do it all

Welcome to Sunbonnet Farm!
Everything I sell, I handmade with wool from my family's sheep and angora rabbits. Everything is unique and completely handmade. I do everything, from shearing the sheep to spinning the yarn and weaving the shawl.

I want to share a little about my family's farm and how I make my woolens.

Sunbonnet Farm is a small family owned and operated farm, on the Big Island of Hawaii. My family is dedicated to natural, environmentally friendly and sustainable farming methods and educating others about raising livestock humanly and naturally.
We raise dairy cows, horses, wool sheep, angora rabbits, laying hens, Guinea fowl and turkeys. All our animals are grass fed, have plenty of room to run and play and are treated with love and kindness. We also have several acres of Macadamia nut orchard and a vegetable garden.

I am the flock Shepard and do all the daily sheep care myself. This includes, moving them to fresh grass every day, health care, shearing, lambing and lamb care.
The sheep we have are Clun Forest, they are a rare heritage breed. We are the only farm in the state of Hawaii, raising purebred Cluns. My grandmother and mother, imported our original sheep from Oregon, in 1985.
Our sheep are all friendly and some enjoying being petted. I can tell all the sheep apart and they all have names.
I also have a few English Angora rabbits for wool. I have been raising angora rabbits since 2012. English Angora rabbits have the softest wool of all wool producing mammals.

So how do I get the wool off of a sheep and make in to a shawl? Here is a quick look at the process. I will also get some photos up soon.

From Sheep to Shawl:

Shearing:
Our sheep are sheared in March/April, each year. Lambs are first sheared when they are 1 year old. I shear them with hand/blade shears. After the wool has been shorn from the sheep, it is skirted(removal of the lesser quality wool) and bagged for storage, till washing.
I clip my Angora rabbits about 4 times a year.

Washing:
I hand wash the wool with cold water and a natural wool wash, in large tubs. The cold water and natural wool wash, make sure all the "lanolin"( the natural oil on sheep wool which makes it water resistant) is not washed out. If all the lanolin is washed out, the wool will be dry and scratchy. A small amount of lanolin will make your woolens water resistant and soft.
After the wool has been washed and rinsed, it is air/sun dried in racks. Then bagged in cloth bags.
Because rabbits are naturally clean, their wool does not need washing until after it has been woven into something.

Picking:
Next the wool will be put trough the "picker" to fluff up and untangle the wool. The picker is a hand operated machine, some what like hand cards, except much larger, with long metal spikes and designed for fluffing the wool, not combing it out.
The wool is now ready for carding in to "bats" or it can be used for stuffing in pillows, pin cushions and balls.
Angora wool does not require picking, so it goes straight to carding.

Carding:
The fluffed wool is now put trough our hand-crack drum carder and turned in to bats. The purpose of carding is to comb all the wool fibers in the same direction, so that the wool will be easy to spin. It takes about 5 - 10 minutes to make 1 bat.
I card my Angora wool with hand cards, as I have less of it.
If I am going to dye the wool, I will do it before spinning the bats. I use some purchased Rit dyes and a selection of natural plant dyes. Most of my wool is natural colored, not dyed.

Spinning:
I hand spin all the yarn used in my woolens. I mostly make a medium weight, 2 ply yarn. For some projects I make finer yarn. I use a treadle spinning wheel and it takes about 30 - 40 minutes to spin 1 bat. Angora bats, take about 5-10 as they are smaller.

Weaving:
I hand weave the yarn on a medieval style, triangular shawl loom. Our loom is adjustable, to make different sized shawls. Depending on the size of the shawl, it takes upward of 2 hours for me to weave a shawl. I put the fringe on, while the shawl is still on the loom.

Washing Again:
I remove the shawl from the loom and hand wash the shawl to set the weave. The shawl is washed in coconut shampoo, to keep the yarn soft. The shawl is then spread out flat to air dry. My mother, Sharon, often washes the shawls.
After the shawl has dried, I check the fringe to make sure they are all the same length and clip any that are to long. Then I fold the shawl and box it, read to sell.

I hope you enjoyed reading this & Thank you,
Leila

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Shop members

  • Leila Gerrish

    Owner, Creator, Designer

  • Sharon Gerrish

    Assistant, Embroidery

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