The Bumblebee Acres Mission
Our goal at Bumblebee Acres Farm is to spread love through art and cute, fluffy animals.
We believe that every artist should work with the highest quality materials, whether that be Cormo wool shorn ourselves from our own flock of sheep, using scissors to ensure the best cut, ultra soft and luscious angora tenderly clipped from each bunny, or handdyed yarn in vibrant, lasting colors. What's more, we treat our fluffy fiber friends as members of our own family, so you can be sure that those cormo rolags or clouds of angora you're spinning came from the happiest sheep and bunnies.
To learn more about our variety of products check out the "About Our Products" page!
Our story begins in rural Latvia in the early 1900s, where a little girl with big, blue eyes- Marta -grew up on a sheep farm. Marta, a fiesty girl, watched over the flock, collected eggs, spun yarn, and dreamed of life in the city. When she was old enough, she ran away to Riga and became a seamstress, because sewing and designing were her true passions. She married and had two daughters, Ina and Ilze.
During WWII, while Latvia was being overrun by Russia and Germany, Marta and her small family escaped on a long journey to America. In New York City, Marta's story is parallel to many immigrants who escaped war-torn Europe, but she never stopped sewing. She passed her passion for creating and her skills of crochet, knitting, and sewing to her daughter, Ilze. Years later, Ilze started her own family, and moved from NYC to upstate New York, to Texas, and finally settled in Northern Illinois. Marta and Ilze were always close, and she followed her youngest daughter to be a part of her four grandchildren's childhoods.
Carissa, the youngest, grew up hearing stories of Latvia from her grandmother. She fell in love with tales of shepherding, and how a young Marta was always knocked down by a particularly unpersonable ram, and how one day she pricked him in the behind with her sewing needle -legend has it, the ram never bullied her again! There were stories of geese and chickens, and photographs of the Latvian countryside and traditional weavings, and Carissa was enchanted.
Art and creativity passed from Marta to Ilze, and was inherited by Carissa. In the 1980's, when Carissa was 12 years old, the trio began crafting together for fun- sewing handmade teddy bears from beautiful fabrics and dressed in miniature outfits, painted clothing, crochet and knit ornaments, and more. On weekends they would sell their handmade treasures at local craft fairs. In 1994, Marta passed on, but her legacy of art and farming lived on in the hearts of Ilze and Carissa, and even Carissa's own children.
And finally, in 1998, Bumblebee Acres was created- named for the beloved nickname "Bumblebee" Marta had called Carissa as a toddler. The business began with raising AKC Shetland Sheepdogs and Dollface Himalayan and Persian Cats. It was only natural that the animal loving duo, Ilze and Carissa, would dream up a small hobby farm,soon adding English Angora rabbits, two llamas, chickens, and even a trio of ducks to their small menagerie. Samantha and Sarah, Carissa's eldest daughters, grew up surrounded by and loving on these fuzzy animals, involved in 4H, creating in the craft studio, and showing their beloved bunnies and dogs on the weekends in ARBA and AKC shows, respectively.
Ilze, Carissa, and Carissa's own four children moved in 2003 to a bigger farm where they gradually acquired Havanese dogs, Angora goats, a few more llamas, two alpacas, pygora goats, a whole rabbitry of beautiful English Angora bunnies, and, finally, the beloved Cormo and Shetland Sheep. In the beginning the farm focused soully on producing naturally grown vegetables vended at the Woodstock, IL Farmer's Market. However, the love of crafting and animals slowly began to take over, with Ilze, Carissa, Samantha, and Sarah all creating items from their own fiber farm, ranging from handspun yarns to handmade accessories.
Nearly 15 years later, Ilze has joined Marta in heaven, and Carissa runs Bumblebee Acres Fiber Farm with the help of her four children- three grown daughters Samantha, Sarah, and Hailianna, and son, Joey. Together, we lovingly raise Cormo, Shetland, and Cormo x Shetland sheep, English Angora bunnies, Pygora goats, and LlamaxAlpaca for their fiber (and occassionally we still have a litter of AKC Havanese or Dollface Persian and Himalayan kittens because we adore them). We create art from our woolly family members' fleece and responsibly sourced wool- hand spinning yarn, hand dying, and creating handmade pieces of decor and accesories through felt, crochet, knitting, and weaving.
Meet the Bumblebees!
Carissa - aka Queen Bee
Professor of Potions, yarn colorist, & animal lover
Full-time mother, farmer, business owner, artist,
Spinner, knitter, crocheter and potions (hand dying) expert.
Samantha - aka Sam Bee
Art yarn sorceress, social media guru, avid friend maker,
& bunny snuggler
Pattern Concepts and Design, and Marketing Specialist
Sarah - aka Sen Bee
Batt artist extraordinare, shearing pro, hat and sock making genius,
Pro Photographer and Pattern Designer.
Rolag roller, assistant shearer, fastest sock knitter in the West,
Mother of Goats and Fierce Needle Felter.
Unprecedented sheep wrangler, hay-bale-tosser, and man of the house.